Four Gorilla trekking points in Bwindi Forest – Gorilla trekking regions – Gorilla trekking sectors – The four gorilla trekking Gates in Bwindi
Four Gorilla trekking points in Bwindi Forest – Here is what you need to know about the four gorilla trekking points in Bwindi and the gorilla families in each. Bwindi impenetrable forest National Park is where gorilla tourism started in Uganda in 1993. The park is found in southwestern Uganda sharing a border with the Democratic Republic of Congo. It is one of the national parks in Uganda where you can trek and see the magnificent Mountain Gorillas in their natural habitat. It is home to more than half of the only remaining Mountain Gorillas in the world making it famous and the best place to trek the Mountain Gorillas. Bwindi impenetrable forest national park is one of the oldest forests in Africa and was declared a UNESCO Natural World Heritage Site. Gorilla tracking in Bwindi Forest National Park is done in four sectors namely Buhoma, Ruhija, Rushaga, and Nkuringo sector. The experience in all sectors is the same and memorably fantastic.
What is Gorilla trekking in Gorilla regions of Bwindi?
Gorilla trekking is one of the best activities to do in all regions of Bwindi Impenetrable National Park. Gorilla tracking refers to moving in the forest to see/view a given habituated mountain gorilla family. Gorilla trackers/advanced team/rangers use many signs and methods to trace these gorillas before gorilla trekking takes place, the trackers wake up very early every morning and go to the forest in search of these mountain gorillas. They use natural means to track them like clapping and making wild sounds. Once they find them, then they will communicate to the park headquarters and it’s then the guides after briefing the visitors on dos and don’ts. They will walk and trek in the forest as the trackers direct them. This gives you a 99% chance of seeing the gorillas in their natural environment in either Nkuringo, Buhoma, Rushaga, or Ruhija.
The four gorilla trekking points in Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park
Rushaga gorilla trekking point
Rushaga sector, in the south of Bwindi Impenetrable National Park, is one of the four sectors where daily gorilla trekking safari excursions start in Uganda. Rushaga sector is popular with tourists for its gorilla habituation experience, allowing trekkers to spend more time (at least four hours) in a day with a wild gorilla family.
Rushaga Sector is beautifully sitting on a hill, looking across the vast, rugged rift valley landscapes with all the Virunga Mountains vista insight. It’s a spectacular sight to see sitting on top of any ridge in this area. It will leave you spellbound and make you feel like you are in paradise. If the gorillas don’t bring you to this side of the country, then the envious landscape right out of storybooks should.
Gorilla families in Rushaga
The Rushaga region/sector has eight gorilla families available for gorilla trekking and two reserved for research and habituation experiences. The families include; Nshongi Gorilla Family, Mishaya Gorilla Family, Busingye Gorilla Family, Bweeza Gorilla Family, Kahungye Gorilla Family, Bikini Gorilla Family, Mucunguzi Gorilla Family, and Rwiigi Gorilla Family. Rushaga has more fully habituated gorilla groups than any other sector in Bwindi and is currently the only sector offering habituation experiences.
When you buy a gorilla permit for the Rushaga sector, it does not indicate which gorilla group you’ll track. However, during the briefing at the sector’s Uganda Wildlife Authority headquarters, you’re assigned any one of these gorilla families based on your physical ability. So knowing the gorilla families in the Rushaga section will help you make that decision during the briefing.
Note that only eight tourists can track one gorilla family per day in the Rushaga sector and spend up to one hour with the gorillas at a safe distance of 32 ft (10 meters) and wearing a facemask. For more hours with the gorillas in Rushaga, one has to buy a ‘habituation permit’, which is more than double the price of the trekking permit (USD1500 for Foreign-Non Residents, USD1000 for Foreign residents, and Ugx.750, 000 for East African Citizens).
Buhoma gorilla trekking point
Gorilla tracking was done first in the Buhoma sector, and we refer to it as the back born of gorilla Tourism in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park and Uganda as a whole. Buhoma has five habituated Gorilla family groups, namely: Mubare Gorilla Family, Habinyanja Gorilla Family, Rushegura Gorilla Family, Katwe Gorilla Family, and Binyindo Gorilla Family. Only 8 visitors are allowed to trek each gorilla family per day in Buhoma and are allowed one hour of viewing the gorillas in their natural habitat as they carry out their everyday activities.
You can select a gorilla family to track in Buhoma Sector depending on your communication with Great Adventure Safaris about your fitness, your interest, or general health and wellness, your driver-guide for your trip will put into consideration and communicate to the Park management about your condition/desire to have an easy trek or long trek. We consider it an easy trek for you to visit the gorilla family that is not very far in case you don’t have energy, physical condition, or you’re aged. You can even request a specific gorilla family to trek with by selecting the name of the family, and we shall always communicate with the Park guides and Authorities to consider your request.
You can access the Buhoma region of Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park by flying from Entebbe International Airport to Kihihi Airstrip which is about 2 hours. From Kihihi Airstrip, you will be transferred by road to your respective Lodge for accommodation and gorilla trekking preparation. The Buhoma sector is the most popular of the four regions of Bwindi Impenetrable National Park and securing gorilla permits here should be done in advance since there is a lot of competition.
Ruhija gorilla trekking point
Ruhija is one of the gorilla trekking regions of Bwindi Impenetrable National Park. The Ruhija sector is located on the eastern side of the forest and in Rubanda district which was formerly part of Kabale district. Ruhija can be accessed by road via the Mbarara-Kabale route and then onwards to the sector’s park headquarters in the east of Bwindi Impenetrable National Park. In case one is coming from the Buhoma sector, Ruhija is just a 40-minute drive through the forest making it easier to even stay in Buhoma and trek gorillas in Ruhija. The advantage of Gorilla Trekking in the Ruhija sector of Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park is its terrain which is not too hilly and steep compared to Rushaga and Nkuringo in Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park. This makes it a perfect place for aged travelers as well the less fit travelers. Ruhija also neighbors a variety of Budget Lodges that are affordable to stay at for accommodation and Camping during your Gorilla Trekking in Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park, making it easier for travelers and most of these accommodations are very close to the starting point of Gorilla trekking at Ruhija sector in Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park. Also when you decide to do the trek in the Ruhija sector, apart from Gorilla Trekking there are many other activities you can do apart from Gorilla trekking including Birding tours, Nature walk, Primate Walk, and Batwa Cultural walk experience which are all pocket friendly.
Gorilla Families in Ruhija
Ruhija sector has different habituated gorilla families open for gorilla tracking experience, each gorilla family has different gorilla individuals, and each gorilla family is headed and controlled by the dominant male gorilla usually a Silverback, a gorilla family is made up of approximately 18 individuals or more. Ruhija region has four Gorilla Families that is Kyaguriro, Bitukura, Oruzogo, and Mukiza. All families are open for Gorilla tracking however for you to secure a spot to trek you will need to book in advance. To trek mountain gorilla families in the Ruhija sector of Bwindi Impenetrable National Park, you will have to book gorilla permits allowing you to visit the Ruhija sector. This is done on the day of reserving and securing your gorilla permit at UWA headquarters in Kampala. Once you have secured your gorilla permit for the Ruhija region, you will have to drive to Ruhija where you will be allocated a gorilla family of your choice depending on interest and physical fitness. For more information about booking Ruhija gorilla permits and gorilla family allocation, feel free to contact Great Adventure Safaris via email.
Nkuringo gorilla trekking point
The Nkuringo gorilla trekking sector of Bwindi Impenetrable National Park is one of the core sectors for gorilla trekking in Uganda and Bwindi. Nkuringo is found in southwestern Uganda in the Kisoro district and is one of the four regions in Bwindi’s impenetrable National Park where you can trek and see the magnificent Mountain Gorillas in their natural habitat in the wild. The gorilla trekking experience is the same and very enjoyable as any other sector. You can choose to trek in Nkuringo Bwindi depending on the availability of gorilla permits and interest.
The Nkuringo sector of Bwindi Impenetrable National Park can be accessed by air or road. Those intending to fly to the Nkuringo region should contact Great Adventure Safaris about the availability of flights to and from the region. Several Airline companies operate both charter and scheduled flights from Entebbe International Airport to Kisoro Airstrip from where you can be transferred by road to the Nkuringo sector of Bwindi Impenetrable National Park. You can still access Nkuringo by road, driving 9-10 hours from Entebbe to Nkuringo or 5-6 hours from Kigali, Rwanda to the Nkuringo sector of Bwindi Impenetrable National Park.
Feel free to book your Flying safaris to Nkuringo for Gorilla trekking trips from Entebbe to Kisoro or from Rwanda.
Gorilla families and gorilla permits in the Nkuringo region of Bwindi impenetrable forest National Park
Nkuringo gorilla trekking sector has three habituated gorilla families for gorilla trekking in the region. Every gorilla family in Nkuringo is allocated 8 visitors per day which allows you to visit the gorillas any time of the year. There are 24 gorilla permits available per day for gorilla trekking that allows you to see the gorillas for one hour when you meet them. Uganda Wildlife Authority is in charge of the protection and conservation of gorillas in Nkuringo and issuing gorilla trekking permits in all regions. The Nkuringo sector of Bwindi Impenetrable National Park has the highest altitude and is recommended for people who prefer tough hikes or treks. It has been recorded that some gorilla treks can take up to an entire day and require a certain level of fitness. If you are not all that fit, don’t worry because gorilla trekking is very possible with the help of porters or hiring a sedan chair to carry you up to the gorillas. Hiring a porter cost between 15-20 dollars while a sedan chair costs from USD$300.
Great Adventure Safaris arranges gorilla treks for both the young and elderly so you should not fail to achieve your dream of seeing the rare mountain gorillas just because you are old or physically unfit.