Gorilla families in Ruhija sector- Bwindi impenetrable national park
Gorilla families in Ruhija sector- Bwindi impenetrable national park : Ruhija sector is one of the four gorilla destinations located in the Eastern part of Bwindi impenetrable national park between Kabale town and Buhoma sector. Ruhija sector is a home of four habituated gorilla families namely Bitukura family, Kyaguriro family, Oruzogo family and Mukiza family also known as Kyaguriro B. Bwindi impenetrable national park is located in south western part of Uganda in Kanungu district and it’s the most visited gorilla destination due to the fact that it harbors the highest number of mountain gorillas in the world.
Gorilla trekking in Uganda is the major activity which involves visitors moving on foot deep into the forest in search of the mountain gorillas and once found spend one hour with them in their environment. Apart from Ruhijja sector, gorilla trekking in Bwindi impenetrable national park is done in Nkuringo sector which is located in the southern part of the park, Buhoma sector in the northern part of the park and Rushaga sector in the southern part of the park.
Gorilla families in Ruhija sector
Bitukura gorilla family
Bitukura is one of the gorilla families in Ruhija sector and the group was named after the river Bitukura where the group was citied the first time. Bitukura gorilla family was habituated in 2007 and 2008 which makes it the only group in Bwindi impenetrable national park to be fully habituated in one year yet other groups take 2 to 3 years for the habituation to be complete.
Bitukura gorilla family is peaceful and also known to be friendly gorilla family in Ruhijja sector, its comprised of 13 family members including 4 silverbacks such as Karamuzi, Rukumu, Rukara and Ndahura who is the youngest and also the dominant silverback. Ndahura took over the throne from the former leader Karamuzi who retired at the age of 42 years, 3 adult females Ruhara, Kamuga and Bettina, 2 blackbacks namely Obia and Mugisha, 1 juvenile Kabandize and 2 infants Mubwindi and Kadogo. Bitukura gorilla family in Ruhijja is open for trekking on a daily basis.
Kyaguriro gorilla family
Kyaguriro group is another gorilla family that can be visited in Ruhija sector. The group was habituated in 1999 which makes it the oldest gorilla family in Ruhija sector to be habituated but was put aside for research purposes. At the time of habituation the gorilla family was under the leadership of Zeus silverback who had a fight with another silverback Rukina who banished him to the forest and later died in exile the group was left under the leadership of Rukina who was struck by lightning.
Kyaguriro gorilla family was later open for trekking due to high demand for gorilla permits in Bwindi impenetrable national park. In 2016 the gorilla group split into two groups after a fight where Mukiza silverback was challenged by an immigrant silverback Rukara from Bitukura family.
The two groups that immerged were Kyaguriro A which is led by Rukara and Kyaguriro B which is led by Mukiza hence sometimes called Mukiza gorilla family. Kyaguriro A gorilla family is known to be friendly and it’s comprised of 10 members including 1 silverback, 3 adult females, 2 blackbacks, 2 juveniles and 2 infants while Kyaguriro B is comprised of 10 members including 1 silverback, 4 adult females, 1 sub adult and 4 infants.
Oruzogo gorilla family
Oruzogo is another habituated gorilla family in Ruhijja sector, the group was named after a famous plant called Oruzogoto where the gorilla family was first sighted. Oruzogo gorilla family is the most loved gorilla group due to its stubbornness and braveness especially when it comes to tourists. The gorilla group was opened in 2011 and was habituated with 17 members under the leadership of Bakwata silverback. Other members in the family include 2 blackbacks, 5 adult females, 2 sub adults and 5 infants.
Gorilla trekking experience in Ruhija sector
Gorilla trekking in Ruhija sector is an interesting activity which starts very early in the morning, with a briefing about the rules and regulations to follow during trekking. After the briefing you will be sub-divided into groups of 8 people where each group will be allocated a habituated gorilla family to trek and a park guide who is knowledgeable about gorillas and also conversant with gorilla trails.
Gorilla trekking in Ruhija sector takes about 30 minutes to 6 hours depending on where the mountain gorillas are located because they like to move from one place to another in search of food especially during the dry season. During trekking you will be able to view different bird species, plants, other primate species, beautiful scenery among others and once the gorilla family is located you will be allowed to spend one hour with the mountain gorillas in their natural habitat which gives you an opportunity to observe their habits, behaviors, take photos, record videos, watch them carry out their daily activities like feeding, playing, resting, grooming young ones among others.
Visitors interested in the adventurous gorilla trekking activity are required to first purchase a gorilla trekking permit through Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA) or through a trusted tour operator like Achieve Global Safaris. a gorilla trekking permit in Ruhija sector costs 700 USD per person for foreign non residents, 600 USD per person for a foreign residents and 250,000 UGX per person for East African citizens.
Best time to visit the gorilla families in Ruhija sector
Gorilla families in Ruhija sector can be visited all year round though the best time is during the dry season in the months of June to September and December to February because that’s the best period when vegetation in the forest is thin which makes gorilla viewing easy. Also during the dry season access roads and gorilla trekking trails are passable compared to the wet season when access roads to the park and gorilla trekking trails are muddy and slippery which makes trekking difficult.
Where to stay in Ruhija sector
There are several accommodation facilities where you can stay during your gorilla trekking safari in Ruhija sector. The accommodations range from midrange and budget including Gift of Nature Lodge, Ruhija Gorilla Resort, Trekkers Tavern Cottages, Ruhija Gorilla Friends Resort, Ruhija Community Rest Camp, Bakiga Lodge, Gorilla Mist Camp, Ruhija Gorilla Safari Lodge, Broadbill Forest Camp among others.
How to get to Ruhija sector
Ruhija sector is located in the eastern part of Bwindi impenetrable national park and can be accessed by road transport means where by visitors will drive from Entebbe or Kampala via Masaka, Mbarara, Kabale and then to the park headquarters which takes about 8 hours drive.
Visitors can as well access Ruhija sector from Kigali Rwanda by flying to Kigali international airport and then connect the park headquarters via Katuna border in Kabale which takes about 3 to 4 hours drive.
Ruhija sector can also be accessed by air transport means whereby you will book charter or domestic flights with Aerolink Uganda from Entebbe international airport or Kajjansi airfield to Kihihi airstrip and then connect to Ruhija sector which takes about 2 to 3 hours drive. Domestic flights to Kihihi airstrip can be booked your tour operator.