Seeing the Ruhija Gorillas
Interested in seeing the Ruhija Gorillas? Ruhijja is among the four sectors found in the Eastern region of Bwindi impenetrable forest national park, and four gorilla families which include Kyaguliro gorilla family with 7 members, Bitukura gorilla family with 12 members, Mukiza gorilla family with 13 members, and oruzogo gorilla family with 15 members. They are all open for tourism though the Kyagurilo gorilla family is reserved for tourism and research. Therefore, this sector has 32 gorilla permits are available and each gorilla family is visited by only 8 people per day at the same time.
Gorilla families in Ruhija.
Are you interested in seeing the Ruhija gorillas, you are most probably to encounter any of the following gorilla families;
Kyaguliro gorilla family has 15 family members, this family was mainly formed for research that is why it is not usually trekked by tourists. With 2 infants, 2 juveniles, 3 adult females, 2 black backs, and 1 silverback and headed by Rukara a dominant silverback.
Oruzogo gorilla family consists of 17 members. These are of prominent members include 6 adult females, 1, 2 infant males, 1 infant female, 3 sub-adult males.
Bitukura gorilla family has 14 family members with 1 baby, 3 infants, 2 juveniles, 4 adult families, and 4 silverbacks. This gorilla family was formed in 2007 with 24 family members but due to constant conflicts cause many members to have to run away from the family.
Mukiza gorilla family, This is a new gorilla family which split from the Kyaguriro family. Mukiza gorilla family consists of 10 members and is headed by 1 silverback with 1 sub-adult, 4 infants, and 4 adult females.
Other activities to do in the Ruhija sector apart from seeing the gorillas.
You can only visit Rihija sector when you wish to visit the endangered mountain gorillas. Trekking gorillas of Ruhija begins in the early morning with a short briefing about the dos and don’ts of gorilla trekking, what is expected. Ruhijja sector is a natural habitat for 4 gorilla families which are already for trekking every day. Each gorilla family is trekked by only 8 people depending on physical fitness and there are 32 gorilla permits available every day. Trekking gorillas of the Ruhija sector take about 2-6 hours through hiking deep into the forest. The gorilla trekking permit for the Bwindi forest costs 700USD for foreign nonresidents per person per trek, 600USD for foreign residents for each person, and 250,000 Ugandan shillings for Eastern citizens per person in the very trek. Porters are also available at the park offices, so you can hire one and help carry your things mostly those with heavy luggage also support you where necessary during hiking. Each porter goes at $15 which is paid directly to them after the experience. When coming for trekking in try to carry Long-sleeved, Hiking boots, Garden gloves, a good camera with extra batteries, insect repellent, a hat, waterproof jacket, sunglasses, enough drinking water, snacks, and packed lunch, and A walking stick will be provided at the starting point.
The Batwa community
After gorilla trekking, spare some time and visit the Batwa communities on the edges of the Bwindi forest. This forest was occupied by the Batwa people in the beginning but later they were relocated at the boundaries in 1991 when the forest turned into a national park to protect mountain gorillas and for gorilla tourism. Visiting the Batwa, you will get an opportunity to know more about their traditional forest life, culture, and norms. This activity is led by the Batwa people hiking deep into the forest while explaining to you their initial forest practices such as collecting honey, hunting, picking medicinal herbs. Then, you go back to their homes in the evening and entertain yourself with dances, songs, and storytelling.
Ruhija sector is among the best spot for birding, with over 23 endemic bird species to the park. Some of the species you can see while at this sector are Chapin’s Flycatcher, Dusky Twin Spot, short-tailed warbler, Western Green Tinkerbird, Grauer’s Rush Warbler, Chestnut-throated Apalis, Kivu Ground-Thrush, Africa Green Broadbill, Africa wood owl, Black-breasted Barbet, Handsome Francolin, strange weaver, Collared April and among others. Birders do not forget to carry a binocular for spotting every bird and our guide is experienced with everything about Bwindi forest so he will help you to explain and identify the names of birds.
This is also among the amazing experience in the Ruhija sector. Nature walks are done through natural features like rivers, streams, waterfalls, scenic hills, and valleys. Nature walks also give you a chance to see the forest mammals, butterflies, reptiles, bats, and several monkey species and also enjoy the sounds of birds singing in the trees.
Where to stay while at Ruhija sector after seeing the Ruhija Gorillas.
Ruhija sector is surrounded by various accommodation facilities where one can stay and complete his trip. They are range from Luxury, Mid-range up to Budget. These are some of them as explained briefly below;
Agenda Eco lodge. This lodge is positioned near the Ruhijja sector. It is informed of Ugandan-style accommodation which is constructed with local materials and art. They offer Wi-Fi, 2 self-contained units with a shower and toilets, a dining room, 1 campfire place for listening to music, listening, and discussing in the evening after gorilla trekking. Other activities to do after gorilla trekking are visiting the Batwa community, bird watching, guided nature walks, and so on.
Broadbill forest camp is positioned in the East near the Ruhija sector, for budget visitors. The broadbill offers 4 tents which are self-contained with single, double and twin. It has a restaurant and a bar with all types of drinks which are all ready to serve. Besides gorilla trekking, other activities to do while staying here are bird watching, guided nature walks, you can visit the Batwa community.
Bakiga lodge. It is constructed around the Ruhijja sector just a few minutes from the starting point for gorilla trekking. It offers 6 family cabins and two twin tents and they are all self-contained with en-suite bathrooms. The lodge offers Wi-Fi internet, flush toilets, showers, solar, and others. In the evening, after gorilla trekking relaxes at the bar which is stocked with all types of drinks, and enjoy the breathtaking views from the lodge. other tourist activities to do while staying at Bakiga lodge are bird watching, guided nature walks, forest walks, participating in craft-making dancing, signing together with the Batwa people.
How to access the Ruhija sector if interested in seeing the gorillas
Ruhija sector can be reached from the capital Kampala via Kabale town which takes about 8-9 hours’ drive. Tourists are advised to use 4×4 vehicles due to its muddy and bumpy. You can access this sector from Kigali-Rwanda through Kabale for like 3-4 hours’ drive.
Tourists with short time or who do not want to take long hours in the way can use flight but there are no direct flights to Ruhija. One can fly from Entebbe international airport to the Kihihi airstrip and then use ground transport from here for just 2 hours to the Ruhija sector.