Bwindi Impenetrable National Park is situated in south-western Uganda and is divided into four major sectors that include Ruhija, Nkuringo, Buhooma and Rushaga sectors with exceptional attractions worth exploring during safaris in Uganda.
Ruhija sector in particular is found in the Eastern part of this National Park, a home to over 400 (almost half the population) of the critically endangered Mountain gorillas left in the whole Word. This sector is a haven to three habituated gorilla families that include Kyaguriro, Bitukura and Oruzogo families hence 16 gorilla permits are sold per day, since Kyaguriro family is only reserved for Research purposes.
Kyaguriro gorilla family
This family is habituated for research purposes hence cannot be visited during gorilla safaris. Interacting with the Mountain gorillas allows researchers, subtends and conservationists to explore and acquire more knowledge about the Gorilla families within Bwindi Impenetrable National Park including their exceptional characteristics in terms of environment and behavior.
Oruzogo is one of the recently habituated gorilla families within this sector opened for tracking on 20th June 2011 and the reigning Silverback is Tibirikwata. This family is popular for the happy and playful toddlers and juveniles hence making it one of the most exhilarating families to track within the sector and beyond. Visit this group and be amazed by these playful creatures while on a gorilla safari in Uganda. At the time of habituation, Oruzogo family was made up of 24 members but eventually reduced to the constant disputes within the family.
Bitukura gorilla family
This gorilla family derived its name from River Bitukura, where they were first spotted by trackers (UWA rangers) in 2007. This is one of the friendliest, calmest and most peaceful groups and was open for tracking after only 15 months (1 year 3 months) of habituation much as this process usually lasts two to three years. The family is made up of four silverbacks and playful juveniles that interact freely much as traditionally a family is made up of one dominant silverback, several females and infants.
As mentioned earlier, 2 habituated families are open for tracking hence only 16 gorilla permits are available per day (8 people allowed to visit each family per day)
Besides the two habituated gorilla families (gorilla trekking), other activities also exist within the sector and these include:
This sector is a popular Birder’s Paradise rewarding tourists with spectacular views of exceptional bird species such as the Green Broadbill. Some of the bird rich areas in this sector include ITFC Guesthouse, the trail through the hill from this Guesthouse to the junction to Bitanwa Primary School, extending for more than 300 meters to a steep path on a ridge. This trail leads you through about 500 meters of lush tropical forests with extraordinary bird species such as the regal birds and the Dougherty’s Bush shrike.
This sector is endowed with numerous trails within the forest. These trails lead tourists to some of the swamps while offering phenomenal views of the ancient Bwindi Impenetrable forest. When on this activity, you will encounter several birds, primates such as the black and white colobus monkeys and other mammals.
Accommodation facilities within Ruhija sector
There are a number of places to stay within this sector and they include Ruhija Safari Lodge, the Bakiga Lodge, Gorilla Mist Camp and Ruhija Gorilla Resort among others. Alternatively, you can spend nights within the facilities in Buhoma sector (2 hours drive away), within Lake Bunyonyi (Bunyonyi Resort, Arcadia Cottages, Birds Nest and Bunyonyi Overland) or in Kabala Town (White Horse Inn).
How to Access the Ruhija Sector
This sector can be accessed by both road and air transport and with the former, you can use several routes that include; Kampala-Masaka-Mbarara-Kabale to Ruhija. You can also use Kampala-Masaka-Mbarara-Ntungamo-Rukungiri-Kihihi-Butogota to Ruhija. Due to the poor state of the roads, you are advised to use four wheel drive vehicles that can maneuver though the muddy roads when it rains. Flights can be organized to Kihihi (perfect for Buhooma) whereby you will drive for two hours to the sector.
In conclusion, Ruhija sector is a home to three habituated gorilla families but is also known for birding and forest walks. There are a number of accommodation facilities in the sector including Gorilla Mist Camp and Bakiga Lodge among others.