Nestled within the eastern realm of Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park, the Ruhija region stands as an extraordinary haven for those seeking an authentic gorilla trekking escapade. This section of the forest harbors four distinct Gorilla families, each contributing to the allure of this remarkable sector. The families include Bitukura Gorilla family boasting twelve members, Oruzogo Gorilla family with fifteen members, Mukiza Gorilla family with thirteen members, and Kyagurilo Gorilla family, which not only invites tourists but also facilitates essential research endeavors. A total of thirty-two Gorilla permits are available daily, with only eight individuals granted the privilege to trek a specific Gorilla family.
Travelers can reach the Ruhija sector from Kampala or Entebbe through Kabale town, requiring an eight to nine-hour drive. Alternatively, Ruhija is readily accessible from Kigali, Rwanda, via Kabale, a journey that spans approximately three to four hours. The attributes that make Ruhija an exceptional stopover for your Uganda Gorilla safari encompass:
Central to the Ruhija experience is the captivating world of mountain gorillas. This region proudly hosts four Gorilla families open for daily treks. Similar to other sectors, each Gorilla family welcomes only eight visitors per day, thereby granting thirty-two Gorilla permits daily in the Ruhija sector. Trekkers enjoy the liberty to select their preferred Gorilla family, contingent upon permit availability. As you embark on this adventure, ensure to equip yourself with the necessary gear – hiking shoes, long pants, and rain jackets – to enhance your gorilla trekking experience. The coveted Gorilla permit is an essential requisite, priced at USD 700 for foreign non-residents, USD 600 for foreign residents, and 250,000UGX for East African residents. Enlisting the assistance of porters, recommended at a fee of USD 15, can alleviate the physical demands of the trek, particularly in carrying your belongings. Given the occasionally strenuous nature of gorilla trekking, a certain level of fitness is advisable.
Engage with the indigenous Batwa community, an integral part of the Bwindi forest. Evicted to the forest’s fringes in 1991 with the inception of Gorilla tourism, the Batwa people offer insight into their traditional forest life, customs, and cultures. A visit to the Batwa community unveils the forest’s secrets as Batwa elders guide you through their historical practices of hunting, honey collection, and herb picking. The experience extends to the realm of traditional songs and dances, offering a glimpse into their unique forms of entertainment.
Ruhija emerges as a haven for avid birdwatchers, showcasing nearly 23 endemic bird species. Among these avian treasures are the grey bush shrike, starred robin, yellow streaked greenbul, Dusky Crimson Wing, and yellow-eyed black fly-catcher. The region’s distinction as a recognized Important Bird Area (IBA) underpins its global conservation significance. Equip yourself with binoculars for an enhanced spotting experience, guided by local experts versed in the unique attributes of each bird species.
Embark on a nature walk through the tranquil embrace of the impenetrable forest. This leisurely journey unveils an enchanting tapestry of waterfalls, caves, and rocks that adorn the landscape. The encounter may also introduce you to the forest’s inhabitants, while the melodious symphony of bird songs further elevates the ambiance.
Ruhija’s unique climate, characterized by cool, invigorating breezes, is a defining feature. The elevated terrain and dense forests contribute to the region’s distinctive but enjoyable cold weather. Forest fog lends an ethereal quality to the mornings, lingering until 11 am, providing an ideal backdrop for photography. To combat the coldness of the night, travelers receive warm water bottles, offering solace in the midst of the chill.
Ruhija hosts an array of accommodation options catering to various budgets, spanning from budget to mid-range. Alternatively, visitors can opt for accommodations in the northern Buhoma sector of Bwindi, known for its luxury offerings, and still access Ruhija for gorilla trekking. This choice involves an early morning drive of approximately two hours. Lake Bunyonyi near Kabale town also offers a suitable accommodation base, reachable through a roughly two-hour drive.
For your rendezvous with Ruhija’s Gorilla treasures, reach out to us at Trek Africa Tours. Share your preferred travel dates, and we will seamlessly orchestrate your journey, checking availability for services and Gorilla permits. With your Gorilla Safari pre-booked within your desired time frame, anticipate an encounter with these majestic creatures that will forever linger in your memory.