Primate Holidays

Ruhija Sector in Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park

Ruhija Sector in Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park : Ruhija Sector is one of the four gorilla trekking safari sectors in Bwindi others being the Buhoma sector, Rushaga sector, and the Nkuringo sector. One of the national parks in Uganda with the greatest concentration of critically endangered mountain gorillas is Bwindi Impenetrable National Park, which is situated in the country’s southwest.  Gorilla trekking safari takes place in the Ruhija sector, which is located in the eastern portion of the Bwindi Impenetrable National Park. Ruhija is easily accessible from all directions since it is situated between Kibale town in the south and the Buhoma area in the north. As the least visited sector of Bwindi National Park, the Ruhija sector is also home to a few habituated gorilla families, namely the Oruzogo family, Bitukura family, Kyaguriro A family, and Kyaguriro B family, also known as Mukiza. As a result, during gorilla trekking, it is not always as busy as other sectors. Compared to other sectors of Bwindi National Park, such as Rushaga, which is home to the greatest concentration of habituated gorilla families, and Buhoma, which receives the most visitors, Ruhija is reputed to be less crowded.

Gorilla trekking in Ruhija Sector.

In the Bwindi National Park, gorilla trekking safari is a popular activity where tourists explore the park’s deep tropical rain forests in an effort to spot mountain gorillas. The finest place to go gorilla trekking is Ruhija, where you may hike the four habituated gorilla families, which include

Oruzogo family, this family began operating for gorilla trekking safari activity in 2011, after habituation Oruzogo family had 25 members with two silverbacks. The Oruzogo family now consists of 17 individuals, including the family’s dominant silverback, Tibirikwata, two black backs, five adult females, two sub-adults, and five newborns. In the Ruhija sector, this family is the only one with the greatest number of gorilla members. The name of the Oruzogo family comes from a few plant species that are close to its original native zone. Oruzogo, who is renowned for being the most lively and happy family in Bwindi National Park and for entertaining guests on safari while they are there, rose to fame in 2013 after giving birth to a set of twins by a female Kankonda.

Bitukura gorilla family, this gorilla family was habituated in 2007 and became available for trekking safari in 2008 which means that it was habituated for one and a half years, compared to other families which are habituated for two years. The gorilla family consisted of 24 individuals following the habituation process, however some of them broke out to create separate gorilla groups as a result of internal conflicts. The Bitukura family gets its name from the river that was initially seen in the Bwindi forest. There are four silverbacks, four adult females, two adolescents, three babies, and one baby among its fourteen members. The second youngest silverback in the family, Ndahura, is the head of the Bitukura family, which is renowned for being the calmest gorilla family in Bwindi National Park.

Kyaguriro gorilla family, this was the first group to be habituated in Ruhija sector in 1999 but was set aside or reserved for research. After being habituated, the family of gorillas numbered twenty, with Rukina the silverback serving as their leader until his death in 2015 due to a lightning strike. In 2016, Mukiza, an adolescent silverback, took over as the family’s leader. The group broke up into two groups as a result of fights between Mukiza and Rukara, an immigrant silverback from Bitukura. Kyaguriro A, led by Rukara, has ten members, and Kyaguriro B, also known as the Muzika family because it is led by Mukiza, has ten members, including two black backs, three adult females, two juveniles, and two infants.

Gorilla trekking in Ruhija.

Gorilla trekking safari in Ruhija sector enables a maximum of 8 people to pay a visit to each gorilla family hence there are 24 available gorilla trekking permits daily. In the Ruhija and other sectors of Bwindi National Park, a single gorilla trekking permit costs $700 for non-resident foreigners, $600 for residents, and UGX 250,000 for citizens of East Africa. With this permit, visitors can spend an hour in the natural habitat with a habituated gorilla family, taking pictures and videos, among other activities. However, people above the age of 15 are eligible to apply for a gorilla trekking permit.

When on safari in Ruhija, Bwindi National Park, guests may enjoy activities other than gorilla trekking in the Ruhija sector.

Ruhija Sector in Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park
Ruhija Sector in Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park

Bird watching, Ruhija sector is the most effective bird watching safari destination in Bwindi national park with 23 bird species which are endemic to the area. Early in the morning, bird watching is conducted with the assistance of an expert birding guide and a pair of binoculars, which are used to see birds high in the trees and at a distance. Slender billed greenbul, Grey bush shrike, Brown chested Alethe, Purple breasted sunbird, Dusky crimson wing, Starred Robin, Great blue Turaco, Yellow streaked greenbul, strange weaver, Banded Prinia, African green broadbill, Striking handsome francolin, White tailed crested flycatcher, Ruwenzori Batis, Red-faced woodland warbler, and Grey cuckoo shrike are just a few of the bird species you can see while birdwatching in the Mubwindi swamp and bamboo zone. Bird lovers can visit the Ruhija sector to have a wonderful time of the unique and colorful bird watching which can be combined with gorilla trekking.

Forest walks, Ruhija sector provides a chance for visitors who are interested in taking part in forest walks which take place in Bwindi forest and Ruhija ridge top where the visitors will be capable to have excellent scenic views of the deep valleys, Mafuga forest, Lake Bunyonyi in Kabale, tree species like bamboo, flowers, reptiles, butterflies like moth, bird species in the forest trees, primate species like L-Hoest monkeys, Blue monkeys, Black and White Colobus monkeys, chimpanzees, baboons among others which make your safari exciting.

Village walks, this is an excursion in Ruhija sector where visitors proceed around the villages in ruhija community, visit the local schools, traditional healers who use herbs to treat different diseases, go to the gardens and farmlands to see how people plant and harvest, visit local businesses for example how local brew is made from bananas among others. During the village walks, you may visit the art and craft projects, where the village women weave baskets, mats, hats, purses, and sandals, among other things. Visitors are shown how these craft products are created using local resources. You can also see the bee keeping projects. The tourist industry provides funding for the community initiatives in Ruhija, which raises living conditions by giving the locals in Ruhija a source of work.

Batwa encounter in Ruhija sector, Batwa are the initial people who lived in the forest decades ago before it was published into a national park in 1991 to protect and conserve the endangered mountain gorillas. Batwa were relocated to the Ruhija area, which is outside the park and borders it. A pygmy guide will accompany you on Batwa encounter, taking you through the Batwa route into the forest where they formerly lived. There, you will learn about their methods of subsistence, which included fishing, hunting small game, and harvesting fruits and honey. Batwa will show off their bow and arrow and collecting techniques, among other hunting abilities. They’ll enthral you with songs, dances, and tales of their former existence in the forest. The Ruhija sector of Bwindi National Park offers an exciting and thrilling Batwa encounter that will teach you about their way of life and culture. You will acquire tremendous experience from this encounter, making your safari unforgettable.

Best time to visit Ruhija Sector.

Ruhija sector of Bwindi National Park is accessible year-round, but it is best visited in the dry months of June, July, August, December, January, and February when there is less rainfall in the Bwindi forest. This makes gorilla trekking easier during these months because the trails are passable rather than muddy, wet, slippery, and constantly raining during the wet months.

With less crowds of people and easy access to the gorillas without requiring a lengthy journey, the Ruhija sector is an excellent safari destination to go gorilla trekking. It also offers other activities like bird watching, has comfortable lodges and can also be used as an interchange point where you are able to link to other destinations like Queen Elizabeth national park for game drive hence making you safari tour in Bwindi national park of Uganda captivating with intriguing and unforgettable moments.

How to get to Ruhija Sector.

Because it is situated between the Buhoma and Kibale towns, Ruhija sector, which is found in the eastern portion of Bwindi National Park, may be reached from either one. Both road and air transportation are available to reach the Ruhija sector. By air, you may take a flight from Entebbe airport to Kihihi airfield, which is close to the Buhoma sector. From there, it would take you two to three hours to drive to Ruhija. For gorilla trekking, you may alternatively take a plane from Rwanda’s Kigali airport to the Kisoro airstrip and connect to the Ruhija sector.

By road, you are able to drive from Kampala via Mbarara, Kabale to Ndego gate, you can also drive from Kampala via Mbarara, Ntungamo, Rukungiri, Kihihi, Butogota, wherefrom Butogota to Ruhija it takes around 2 hours’ drive to Ruhija sector.

In addition, the Ruhija sector serves as a gateway to Queen Elizabeth National Park, allowing you to go on a game drive in the Ishasha sector and witness the lions that climb trees. Additionally, you may go 52 km from the Ruhija area to Kabale’s Lake Bunyonyi, where you can have a paddle boat excursion.

Where to stay in Ruhija Sector.

Ruhija has a variety of accommodation facilities that are categorized into luxury, mid-range and budget accommodations where visitors on a safari in Bwindi national park can stay including Ruhija Gorilla Friends Resort, Ruhija Community Rest Camp, Gift of Nature Lodge, Gorilla Mist Camp, Bakiga Lodge, Ruhija Gorilla Safaris Lodge, Trekkers Tavern Cottages, Ruhija Gorilla Resort among others that offer cosy housing, particular camping sites, superior meals, drinks, wireless internet, reading rooms to visitors on a safari.

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