Located in the southern sector of the park, Rushaga sector is one of the trekking sectors of Bwindi gorilla park. Bwindi gorilla park is home to the highest population of mountain gorillas living in the 4 sectors of the park and these are Rushaga, Nkuringo, Ruhija, and Buhoma. Rushaga sector is popular for being home to the highest number of mountain gorillas and being one of the sectors where mountain gorilla habituation is done.
Gorilla trekking in Rushaga sector
The sector has the highest number of gorilla families for trekking compared to other sectors of the park. Trekking mountain gorillas in Rushaga sector is done among gorilla families such as Nshongi, Bweza, Busingye, Mishaya, Rwigi, Mucunguzi, and Kahungye. Gorilla trekking starts early in the morning at 8 am when trekkers gather to learn about the rules and regulations from the park wardens.
Each of the gorilla families in Rushaga region is trekked by a group of 8 people who are led by armed ranger guides that know the trekking trails to use very well and can protect the trekkers from dangerous wild animals. Trekking takes 2-7 hours of passing through thick vegetation cover and rugged terrain while looking for mountain gorillas.
When the mountain gorillas are located, the armed ranger guides will give trekkers 1 hour to be around mountain gorillas, learn about their behaviors, take photos and watch them do daily activities such as hunting, nesting, climbing, feeding, and much more.
Gorilla trekking in Rushaga sector is done among 7 gorilla families and each is trekked by 8 people which means that 56 trekking permits are available for trekkers at Uganda wildlife authority every day. Gorilla trekking permits for Rushaga sector of Bwindi gorilla park do cost $700 for foreign non-residents, $600 for foreign residents, and UGX250,000 East African citizens.
Gorilla habituation experience in Rushaga
Gorilla habituation experience in Rushaga sector of Bwindi gorilla park gives trekkers an opportunity to spend 4 hours with a mountain gorilla group. Gorilla habituation in Rushaga sector is done on Bikingi gorilla group where trekkers get in a process of making mountain gorillas get used to human presence. Just like gorilla trekking, mountain gorilla habituation starts early in the morning with a briefing, and all treks are led by armed ranger guides.
The gorilla habituation activity involves trekkers being around mountain gorillas for 4 hours and during this time, they get involved in making mountain gorillas get used to human presence, watch the mountain gorillas do day to day activities, take photos and learn about their behaviors. While trekking, there are always chances of seeing different park mammals, primates, and birds.
To be part of the gorilla habituation experience in Rushaga region, you will need a gorilla habituation permit which is issued by Uganda Wildlife Authority but can be got from a trusted local tour operator. Mountain gorilla habituation permits do cost $1500 for foreign non-residents, $1000 for foreign residents andUGX750,000 East African citizens.
Other activities in Rushaga
Apart from gorilla trekking and gorilla habituation, there are more activities that can be done in Bwindi gorilla park and these include Batwa cultural encounters, birding, and nature walk among others. The Batwa cultural tours give travelers an opportunity to interact with the Batwa pygmies that used to live in Bwindi before the government evicted them to settle around the park margins.
The nature walks give tourists an opportunity to explore the national park on foot and encounter some of the park’s primates, birds, and mammals. Birding activities in Rushaga sector are done to encounter over 350 bird species of the park and some of these include black bee-eater, grey cuckoo-shrike, African wood owl, Rwenzori nightjar, collared apalis, red-throated alethe, collared apalis, mountain masked apalis, African green broadbill, strange weaver, dusky twinspot, regal sunbird, kivu ground thrush, tit hylia, red-faced woodland warbler, and montane oriole among others.
Accommodation in Rushaga sector
After confirming the safari in Rushaga sector of Bwindi gorilla park, next is planning where to stay in that sector in case you want to spend a night or more in the park. There are so many lodges and hotels to stay in Rushaga sector ranging from budget to mid-range to luxury options for travelers to stay. These include Rushaga Gorilla Lodge, Four Gorillas Lodge, Ichumbi Gorilla Lodge, Rushaga Gorilla Camp, Bwindi Jungle Lodge, Gorilla Valley Lodge, Lake Mulehe Gorilla Lodge, Nsongi Camp, Rushaga Gorilla Haven Lodge, Rushaga Gorilla Resort, and Wagtail Eco Safari Lodge.
When to visit Rushaga sector
Rushaga sector in the southern sector of Bwindi gorilla park is open for trekking all year round however there are certain months that are better than the rest. The dry months that occur from June to September and December to February are the best to visit Rushaga region because they are characterized by little or no rainfall which leaves the trekking trails dry, the vegetation is thin with clear views of animals and the roads leading to the park are passable.
The sector can still be visited in the rainy season of March to May and October to November and those who visit the park in that season do enjoy huge discounts on accommodation facilities. Travelers should note that in the rainy season, the trekking trails are muddy and slippery, the vegetation is tall with unclear views of animals and photography, and the roads leading to the park are impassable.
Getting to Rushaga sector
Located in the southern sector of Bwindi gorilla park, Rushaga region can be accessed using road transport or air transport. For those using road transport, there are domestic flights by Aerolink Uganda that operate daily from Entebbe international airport or Kajjansi airstrip to Kisoro airstrip. At Kisoro airstrip, you will meet your driver-guide for a transfer to Rushaga sector of Bwindi gorilla park which takes a few hours.
Travelers that use road transport to get to Rushaga sector in the south of Bwindi gorilla park will have to drive from Entebbe/Kampala via Masaka, Mbarara, and Kabale where they will branch off Rushaga sector of Bwindi. The journey takes 9-10 hours of great views on the roadsides and stopovers. Travelers from Kigali can access Rushaga sector of Bwindi gorilla park by crossing to Uganda using Katuna border in Kabale.