Rushaga is a prime location for gorilla trekking within the Bwindi Impenetrable National Park in Uganda. As a leading destination for gorilla tourism, Uganda is home to half of the remaining mountain gorilla population in the world. The mountain gorillas of Uganda can be found in the lush, hilly tropical forests of the southwestern region of the country. Visitors will have the opportunity to witness these magnificent animals in their natural habitat. The chances of seeing gorillas in both Rushaga and Bwindi are quite high, with a 98% success rate due to the large population of these endangered apes residing in the area. To ensure the preservation of the gorillas and their habitat, only a limited number of visitors are allowed to visit each gorilla family per day. In Rushaga, each family is allocated a maximum of 8 visitors per day, giving visitors the chance to visit the gorillas at any time of the year.
The Rushaga sector of Bwindi Impenetrable National Park is a prime destination for gorilla trekking in Uganda. The Rushaga trailhead, located in the southwestern region of the country bordering Congo, is one of the four sectors in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park where visitors can trek and see the majestic mountain gorillas in their natural habitat. Bwindi Impenetrable National Park is home to over half of the remaining wild mountain gorilla population, making it a famous and highly sought-after destination for gorilla trekking. The park, which is one of the oldest forests in Africa, has been designated as a UNESCO Natural World Heritage Site. In addition to Rushaga, gorilla tracking in Bwindi Forest National Park can also be done in the Buhoma, Ruhija, and Nkuringo sectors. Regardless of which sector you choose, the experience of trekking to see the gorillas is equally enjoyable.
The Rushaga sector of Bwindi Impenetrable National Park is renowned for its gorilla trekking opportunities. Gorilla tracking, or visiting gorillas in their natural habitat within the forest, is a must-do activity in this region. The trek in Rushaga begins at 7:00 am with a briefing at the Rushaga Park headquarters on the dos and don’ts of moving within the forest and interacting with the gorillas. After the briefing, park guides, rangers, and trackers lead the group into the forest to search for the gorillas. Once found, visitors are given one hour to view the gorillas before returning to the starting point to receive a certificate for successfully completing a gorilla trek in Uganda. The gorillas are truly remarkable to watch, as they share 95% of their DNA with humans. To preserve the gorillas, only eight visitors are allowed to see each habituated family per day, as per the Uganda Wildlife Authority policy. In order to participate in gorilla trekking, visitors must be at least 15 years of age, as per the policy, and minors are not permitted to trek as they may not be easily controlled within the forest and may potentially transmit diseases to the gorillas. The Rushaga Trailhead is the perfect starting point for a thrilling and unforgettable gorilla trekking experience.
Uganda is home to 19 habituated gorilla families, found in both Bwindi Impenetrable National Park and Mgahinga National Park. Within the Rushaga sector, there are seven habituated gorilla families: Nshongi, Mishaya, Bweza, Bikyingi, Kahungye, Busingye, and Mucunguzi. Each of these families is only permitted to be visited by 8 visitors at a time, accompanied by guides, porters, and rangers, as per the Uganda Wildlife Authority’s policy on gorilla tourism. There are a total of 56 permits available per day for gorilla trekking in the Rushaga sector of Bwindi Impenetrable National Park.
When planning a gorilla trekking trip in the Rushaga sector of Bwindi Impenetrable National Park, it is important to understand the cost of the necessary permit. The price of the permit is the same for all sectors within Bwindi Impenetrable National Park and Mgahinga National Park. The cost of the permit is USD 700 per person for Non-Foreign Residents, USD 600 for Foreign Residents, and Shs. 250,000 for East African Citizens. It’s important to note that the permit only allows for one hour of viewing time with the gorillas.
Gorilla trekking permits in Rushaga, as well as in other sectors of Bwindi Impenetrable National Park and Mgahinga National Park, are highly sought after, particularly during peak season months of January, February, July, August, September, and December. To ensure that you secure your desired trekking dates, it is recommended that you contact Trek Africa Expeditions well in advance of your planned trip. They will check the availability of permits through the online system of the Uganda Wildlife Authority and, if permits are available in Rushaga, they will send you an invoice for payment. It is important to note that gorilla trekking permits are top priority and may sell out quickly. If permits are not available for your desired dates, Trek Africa Expeditions will assist you in finding alternate dates with availability. Once payment is received, they will book and secure your permits and send you a copy of the receipt with a booking ID to confirm your trek. The process of acquiring gorilla permits is easy and, once completed, Uganda will offer you a lifetime experience with these magnificent animals.
When planning a gorilla trekking trip starting at the Rushaga trail head in Uganda, it is important to consider the best time to go in order to have the most successful and enjoyable experience. The best time to visit the gorillas in this region is during the drier months of the year, specifically January, February, June, July, August and early September. These months experience less rainfall, making it easier to trek through the dense forest and see the gorillas. However, it is important to note that the climate can change on a daily basis and even during the drier months, there may be occasional rain.
Additionally, it is worth considering that the rainy season may also be a good time to see the gorillas as there is a lot of food growing due to the increased rainfall. This can make the gorillas more active and easier to spot. It is important to note that gorilla permits tend to sell out quickly and anyone interested in trekking gorillas during these times should book their permits in advance to ensure availability. Overall, the best time to trek gorillas in Uganda and Rushaga is a combination of considering the weather conditions and booking permits in advance.
Accessing the Rushaga trail head within Bwindi Impenetrable National Park in Uganda can be done through a variety of transportation options. One option is to fly to either Kisoro Airstrip, which is only an hour away from the Rushaga sector, or to Kigali International Airport in Rwanda. From there, visitors can choose to take a 4-5 hour road trip through Cyanika or Katuna Border, crossing into southwestern Uganda. It is important to note that this option requires obtaining an East African Visa, which allows for multiple entry into both Uganda, Kenya, and Rwanda. The fee for this visa is USD 100 and can be obtained at the airport upon arrival or online. This can be cost-effective as an alternative to buying single entry visas. Single entry visas for Rwanda cost USD 30 and for Uganda cost USD 50. The Rushaga sector is very accessible and is a great location for gorilla trekking.
When planning a gorilla trekking excursion that begins at the Rushaga trail head in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park, it is crucial to carefully consider the accommodation options available. The Rushaga sector offers a wide range of lodging choices, catering to travelers with various budgets and preferences. Trek Africa Expeditions can assist in finding and reserving a hotel that suits your specific needs and budget. Some of the popular lodging options in the Rushaga sector include the Rushaga Gorilla Camp, Four Gorilla Lodge, and Rushaga Gorilla Havens Lodge.
When planning a gorilla trekking trip starting from the Rushaga trail head in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park, it is important to consider who to book with for a safe and memorable experience. Trek Africa Expeditions, a local tour operator based in Uganda with over 10 years of experience, specializes in providing life-changing and sustainable tours and holidays to all East African countries. As members of AUTO (Association of Uganda Tour Operators) and registered with UTB (Uganda Tourism Board), they have a strong working relationship with UWA (Uganda Wildlife Authority) which allows them to easily book your gorilla permits and plan your gorilla trekking safari. Trek Africa Expeditions has received positive reviews on TripAdvisor and Safari Bookings. Trust in Trek Africa Expeditions to plan your visit to trek the gorillas in the Rushaga sector of Bwindi Impenetrable National Park, Uganda.