Mountain Gorilla Trekking in Bwindi's Rushaga Sector in Uganda
This is considered to be the best area for Gorilla trekking in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park. This is the only area for the one of a kind Gorilla Habituation experience of four hours with the mountain gorillas.
Birding, hiking like the waterfalls hike, the Village visits and the cultural interactive adventures including hands on craft making. This sector has the most gorilla families along with the nearby Nkuringo area that you can track with in Bwindi Forest.
The southern area of Bwindi forest is also one of the most scenic areas of the park. New lodges have been constructed, given more choices in and around the south of Bwindi forest and lots of things to do and see.
The future holds a lot of promise for the south of Bwindi forest and mostly Rushaga an Nkuringo. Many tour operators and visitors are eyeing Rushaga and Nkuringo areas of Bwindi Impenetrable National Park.
It’s also speculated that the Rushaga- Nkuringo will overtake the famous and original gorilla tracking area in Uganda, the Buhoma. Which is already happening this year as there are now 8 gorilla families to be tracked in south Bwindi Forest.
The main reason as to why Rushaga is famous is accessibility. It’s a 4 hour drive from Kigali and permits are only $600 as compared to $1500 in volcanoes national park. The Buhoma Area was the first spot for gorilla treks in Uganda and Rushaga as well as Nkuringo came later, however, most habituated for gorilla trekking groups are now found in the southern side of Bwindi forest.
Rushaga is the only area in Bwindi for the Gorilla habituation experience. There are two groups that are being habituated in the Rushaga area and you can join the researchers, trackers and others in spending the four hours with a gorilla family, add the hike to the group and back out again and you have a full-day activity that will stay with you for a long time to come.
The permits for the Habituation experience are sold at $1500 and the number of permits is limited to 4 for a group being habituated in the Rushaga area of the park. Rushaga sector is easily accessed from Rwanda side; it’s usually a 10 hour journey from Entebbe Airport in Uganda to the Rushaga area of Bwindi forest. What most do not know that it’s only 3 hours from Kigali airport to the Rushaga Area, its uslally called Fly into Rwanda and trek in Uganda?
The combined Rwanda- Uganda safaris have become famous where the visitors track the gorillas in both Uganda and Rwanda along with other activities to do and see in both countries. In case you access Uganda to visit Rushaga area of Bwindi forest you can take the advantage of the East African Visa which allows you in accessing both countries and Kenya.
The lodging in Rushaga and Nkuringo Area
The choices for lodging in Rushaga-Nkuringo have also increased over the years with the high class Clouds Mountain Lodge, Gorilla safari Lodge and Chameleon Hill Lodge that overlooks Lake Mutanda.
The Moderate lodge choices include; Gorilla Valley Lodge, Nkuringo Bwinsi Gorilla Lodge, Mutanda Lake Resort. The Budget Lodges include; Traveller’s Rest Hotel located in the town of Kisoro.
Other Budget options can be arranged in the town of Rubuguri which is near to Rushaga and Nkuringo. The Hiking Trails in South Bwindi forest like the Kapata Trail which is an easy 3 hour trail where you combine nature, local history and the culture.
The Kara Ridge trail is known to be moderate in difficulty where you have great views of Bwindi impenetrable Forest and Rubuguri. The trail takes in the local culture, traditions including the original people of the forest, the batwa people.
There is also the six hour 360 degree trail which is a bit challenging and its views will make up for it as you can look into the Congo, Rwanda and the nearby Uganda. The other popular trails through Bwindi Forest that either start or end in Kisoro and include canoeing across Lake Mutanda.
Cultural Activities in Rushaga Area
The one activity not to be missed is the Buniga forest walk with the Batwa pygmies who have lived in the area for many years and were the original people of the forest. There are village walks, home visits, the hands on crafts activities and many more.
Always remember to buy some locally made arts and crafts to take home. It will benefit you and also the ones who made it which will in turn give income to their families. In case you are interested in more cultural activities including; dancing, drumming, Jewelry making and like. The Buniga Forest walk is a great way to get to know the Batwa people who are the first people of the Forest.