Rushaga sector is located south of Bwindi Impenetrable National Park. The park is one of Uganda’s bio diverse, mountainous and most visited treasures, situated in the southwestern region of Uganda. Bwindi impenetrable forest is the top destination for gorilla trekking, forest / nature walks, Batwa encounters, birding expeditions and magnificent scenic views.
Gifted with over 600 mountain gorillas, Bwindi Impenetrable National Park is also endowed with amazing bird species such as turacos and hornbill, primates like chimpanzees and colobus monkeys, up to 120 mammal species; forest elephants, geckos, chameleons and many other endangered species.
Bwindi Impenetrable National Park has numerous exciting activities it offers to all travelers such as nature walks, birding, gorilla trekking, cultural encounters with the Batwa communities, hiking and many other activities. The park comprises four gorilla sectors; Ruhija sector, Nkuringo sector, Buhoma sector and Rushaga sector. These are gorilla zones with different gorilla families that have attract tourist across the globe.
Rushaga sector being among the four gorilla destination sectors, it is an exceptional region located in the southern part of the park, and a popular sector to view and interact with mountain gorillas. The sector is mostly visited by tourists connecting from Kigali via Kisoro district.
Rushaga is known for habituating a hyped number of mountain gorilla families that are trekked in Bwindi. It is only in Rushaga that the mountain gorillas are trained to be more familiar with human presence than in other sectors and this is done before they are declared free for trekking by any tourists.
This sector shelters five Gorilla groups, making it evident that a tourist will have an opportunity to get a permit unlike other sectors. There are 40 gorilla trekking permits issued in Rushaga on a given day, thus even last minute bookings may be favored. Each permit issued allows trekking of one family per hour by a group of only eight members. Trekking takes about 2 to 6 hours in the forest for only a habituated gorilla family in the sector.
Gorilla families in Rushaga include Bweza, Mishaya, Busingye, Kahungye and Nshongi. These families vary in size though an interaction with one of the families is a memorable experience. Each family is led by a silverback as it determines the daily activities and movements within the group.
Bweza gorilla group broke off the Nshongi family. It consists of 12 members and lead by a silver back called Kakono. It also comprises of 3 adult males, 4 black backs, two infants and 1 juvenile. Gorilla permits to trek this family go for 600 dollars and can be obtained from either the park headquarters or Uganda wildlife authority.
Nshongi gorilla family is a popular group not only in Rushaga but in Bwindi national park. Being the largest habituated and oldest family, Nshongi consists of twenty-five members, under the leadership of sliver back Nshongi. Other members include Bwire, Kutu, Busasa (black backs), shida, bukojo, munini, Bwiruka (adult females) and mahoro, Mureba, mucunguzi (juveniles) among others.
Mishaya family comprises 12 members and 1 silver back which broke off from Nshongi in 2010 due to the dispute that broke out between competing silverbacks. Among other members include, Bakunzi, Mwiza, Rutaro, Mize, among others. Please note that Mishaya – the former leader after which the group was named died and when he died, Mwine his son took over.
Being the newest family in the Rushaga region, trekking Busingye family officially opened in 2011. It has nine members with one sliver back ‘Busingye” who broke away from Kahungye family since the group had three silver backs so it was anticipated that the family would later split.
This family comprises of 13 members with three silver backs but initially consisted of 27 members with three silver backs headed by ‘a sliver back called ‘Rumansi. It’s one of the newest habituated families in bwindi national park and it was open for tourism in the year 2012.
Trekking gorillas in Rushaga sector offers a life time experience as you walk through the dense forest of bwindi, you get a chance to interact with the gorillas as you see them feed them on tree fruits, leaves and roots, also view them as they play and live there playful livelihood. As you plan your gorilla trekking safari in Bwindi impenetrable national park, Rushaga sector should be a spot that you should not miss on your itinerary.