Rushaga Sector is one of the four Bwindi gorilla trekking sections in the south of Bwindi Impenetrable forest national park in Uganda. It is a newest sector opened in 2012. The other sectors of Bwindi forest are Buhoma sector in the north, Ruhija in the east and Nkuringo sector in the southern region.
Rushaga sector has the highest number of habituated gorilla families in Bwindi forest and is the only sector that offers Gorilla habituation experience in Uganda besides gorilla trekking adventure.
Given the many habituated gorilla families Rushaga is one of the most visited gorilla trekking destination in Uganda. Rushaga gorilla trail head is well located to offer amazing views of the Volcanic mountains and across.
There are eight habituated gorilla families in Rushaga sector and these are;
Comparing with other Bwindi gorilla trekking regions, Rushaga has many habituated gorilla groups. The eight gorilla families means that Rushaga sells 64 permits per day given that only 8 Visitors are allowed to visit each gorilla family a day. Like any other gorilla sector one needs to possess a gorilla permit to be allowed to participate in gorilla trekking tour activity. The gorilla permit guarantee you one hour to stay in the presence of gorillas once you find them in their natural habitat.
The Uganda gorilla permit cost $700 for Foreign non residents, $600 for foreign residents and UGX 250,000 for East African residents. Gorilla permits can be bought from Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA) through a registered and trusted tour operator.
Bwindi Gorilla trekking starts early in the morning at all the park sectors with briefing about the do’s and don’ts during the activity plus the expectations. Visitors are then grouped into 8 people per group and allocated gorilla families depending on their choices, physical abilities and age. Different groups are led by park ranger guides into the forest in search of the mountain gorillas.
Once the gorillas are found, visitors are alowed to spend one hour observing the gorillas behavior, feeding, playing, grooming the young ones, taking photos and learning about their lifestyle in their habitats and a lot more. visitors will then head back to the starting point. The whole activity may last between 3 to 7 hours depending on how far the gorilla family may be moving to.
There are many other activities done in Rushaga apart from gorilla trekking and these include;
Gorilla habituation is done only here in Rushaga sector where visitors are allowed to spend four hours with gorillas, training them to get used to human presence. Visitors join a group of researchers, park guides and rangers to head into the forest and spend time with these endangered species learning about their daily activities, feeding habits and more. This activity is so much rewarding and gives the best lifetime experiences.
Rushaga is open to visitors anytime of the year but the best time to visit is during the dry season in the months of June to September and December to February where there are little or no rain. During this time the area is passable and the trekking terrains is not slippery making it easy for movements.
Rushaga sector is easily accessed by both road and air transport. It’s about 3-4 hour drive from Kigali Rwanda and 9 – 10 hours drive from Kampala city by road.
By air there are scheduled and chattered flights from Entebbe airport and kajjansi airfield to Kisoro airstrip from where you connect to Rushaga by road.
Rushaga sector has all accommodation option, Budget Lodges, Mid-range and luxury Gorilla Safari lodges. For visitors interested in Camping Safaris in Uganda can also get accommodation in Rushaga camping sites. These facilities are strategically built offering breathtaking views of the great scenery in Rushaga ridges. Also camping facilities in Rushaga are equipped with all the necessary amenities to make your stay comfortable.
Some of the best Gorilla Safari Lodges in and near Rushaga sector include the following;
Camping in Rushaga can be done at Nshongi Gorilla Campsite, Wagtail Eco Safari Camp in Rubuguri town among other places.