Rushaga Gorilla Sector
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Wondering of what sector to pick while in a safari to Bwindi impenetrable forest national park; host to half of the world’s famous endangered mountain gorillas in the western part of Uganda; African continent; Rushaga sector is the place. This piece of information will help you understand why we recommend it, the number of Gorilla families, weather, accessibility, accommodation, costs, activities, and the perfect time for a safari.
Talking of mountain gorillas, they are humans’ closest relatives possessing over 95% human DNA and are found in 4 locations across the Virunga mountains, sprawling through three countries namely Uganda (the pearl of Africa), Rwanda (land of a thousand hills), and the Democratic Republic of Congo.
These destinations are Bwindi Impenetrable forest national park, Mgahinga Gorilla national park, Volcanoes national park and Virunga national park in the east and central Africa.
Rushaga sector is one of the four sectors in Bwindi impenetrable national park, the others being Nkuringo sector, Buhoma, and Ruhija; harboring half of the world's highest mount gorilla population.
It is located in the southern part of the park; Kisoro district in the western part of Uganda. It has cool weather, lush vegetation and variety of bird species, primates and reptiles across all its corners. The region is one of the finest to track gorillas, with plenty of breathtaking sceneries, flora and fauna, and captivating landscape. Not only can you do gorilla trekking, but also enjoy 4 hours with your cousins, the gorillas during a gorilla habituation experience.
As earlier said, this is the sector with the highest concentration of mountain Gorillas in the park, living in 5 families, namely; Busingye, Mishaya, Nshongi, Bweza and Nshongi. Eight people aged 15 and above, with valid permits are allowed to track any of the families of their choices. Unless there are new births and division in the different families, expect the following families;
In 2012 Busingye, a dominant silverback, together with his loyal friends separated from the Kahungye group and formed a new group. It has 9 members, divided into 3 infants, one silverback, two adults and the rest being young ones. The word Busingye means “peace”, though the actual reality is that the dominant silverback loves fighting with other gorilla troops, after which he abducts more females to his group.
A composition of partying, happy and fanfare members, coming together in 2009, formed the famous Nshongi group; Once 36 in number, 2010 came with the reduction to 25 after a breakup of other members to form Mishaya family. Thereafter, another separation happened in 2013 with more members forming the Bweza family. It still has the highest number of members in the region; over 24 members, a dominant silverback, two silverbacks, juveniles, infants and black backs among others.
They enjoy peace, and tracking them gives you an opportunity of encountering several other primates, birds, tree species, and butterfly species among others.
This is one of the most exciting families in this sector. It split from the Nshongi group and composed of 7 very mobile members, though so playful. Tracking this group is one thing to consider.
This family is made up of over 13 members, with 3 silverbacks, females, infants, and dominant blackbucks. Its dominant silverback is Rumansi and the other two are Ruhamuka and Rwigi. Interestingly, the group was meant to be open for tracking in 2011, but it had to wait because of the division that broke a group that had over 27 individuals.
From the Nshongi group, a dominant silverback; Mishaya formed a new group in 2010, and now with about 7members. Mishaya silverback is famous for its fighting mentality, a trait that has contributed to its expansion.
GORILLA HABITUATION IN BWINDI FOREST
It is Only in the Rushaga sector that tourists enjoy an unforgettable Gorilla habituation experience; 4 hours with Gorillas that have been tamed to freely interact with humans. The two families available for habituation experience are Bushaho and Bikyingi.
Time spent with the apes helps in learning their behaviors, photography and seeing to it that all the questions concerning the gorillas are perfectly answered.
GORILLA TRACKING AND HABITUATION COSTS
To visit Rushaga sector for gorilla habituation experience or gorilla tracking, one must have a valid permit issued by Uganda wildlife authority. In line with the 2020-2022 UWA tariffs, Gorilla trekking permit is 700usd and 1500usd for habituation experience. Only those aged 15 years, and free from any infectious disease are allowed into the sector
ACCOMMODATION IN OR NEAR RUSHAGA SECTOR
You don't need to worry about where to feed or sleep while in this sector because lodges are ranging from Budget to Luxury. The notable ones include; Chameleon hill lodge, Mutanda Lake Resort, Ichumbi lodge and Crystal gorilla safari lodge among others. Bedding, meals, security, and space are all perfectly set to meet your taste.
From Kampala to Rushaga, via Mbarara and Kabale may last for about 8-9 hours, whereas you can also access it from Kigali Rwanda through the scenic Cyanika border post; a drive that can last for about 3-4 hours. You can also chatter a flight from Entebbe to Kisoro, then proceed to Rushaga on a road.
Rushaga gorilla sector is one of the most rewarding sectors in the park, with plenty of primate species. One or more days in it is very much unforgettable.