13 Dec Gorilla Trekking Sectors in Bwindi Forest National Park
Bwindi Impenetrable Forests National Park is one of the only four national parks world-wide to protect the lives of the endangered mountain gorillas, of which the park itself holds almost half of the world’s total number of mountain gorillas thriving in their natural habitats. The other national parks known for protecting the endangered mountain gorillas include Mgahinga Gorilla National Park (Uganda), Volcanoes National Park (Rwanda), and Virunga National Park (Democratic Republic of Congo).
Bwindi Forest National Park together with Mgahinga national park are the only destinations in Uganda where one can go and enjoy the lifetime experience of trekking the endangered mountain gorillas, and both parks lie in the south-western parts of the country (Uganda).
A gorilla trekking permit in Uganda costs US$ 600. The fact being that Bwindi protects the largest number of mountain gorillas in the world, it comprises of four trekking sectors each of which is exceptional in its own way, and these include Buhoma sector, Rushaga sector, Ruhija sector and Nkuringo sector of which each of the four sectors resides different gorilla families/groups.
As of current, Bwindi comprises of a total of 18 gorilla families resided in its four sectors as displayed below:
From Kampala (Uganda’s capital), the Buhoma sector is the easiest to access ahead of the other sectors. The sector is nestled in Kanungu district about 550 kilometers from Kampala, which is almost 8-9 hours’ drive. The sector lies in the northern parts of Bwindi and it is arguably the most loved one by most of the trekkers booking for their gorilla expeditions in the park.
Buhoma was the first place in Uganda where the gorilla trekking safaris started from. Being Uganda’s first place for gorilla trekking, the sector has the oldest gorilla family in Uganda known as ‘’Mubare’’. The other gorilla families in Bwindi include: Rushegura, Habinyanja, and Katwe, thus making a total of four gorilla families in this sector.
Besides gorilla trekking, there are many other activities that travelers to Buhoma will enjoy such as; forest/nature walks, visiting various waterfalls in the Park, visit and interact with the Batwa pygmies, identify various butterfly species, tree species, bird species, and many other primates, among others.
The sector is also within a close proximity to some of Uganda’s most treasured national parks, such as Kibale Forest National Park (for chimpanzee trekking), Mountain Rwenzori National Park (hiking Africa’s third highest mountain) and Queen Elizabeth National Park, of which here a tourist will have a great opportunity to enjoy views of the amazing tree climbing lions and many Africa’s big game such as elephants, buffaloes, hippos, and crocodiles, among others.
The sector comprises of every sort of accommodation that you will be in need of while there and some of them include; Mahogany Springs and Gorilla Forest Camp, for luxury, Lake Kitandara Bwindi Camp and Engagi Lodge (for mid-range), and for the budget travelers should opt for Buhoma Community Rest Camp, among many other accommodations.
The sector is perched in the southern parts of Bwindi Park and it is located in Kisoro district. Rushaga boasts the hugest number of habituated gorilla families in Bwindi, 8 gorilla families, which include; Bweza, Kahungye, Nshongi, Mishaya, Busingye, Mucunguzi, Bushaho and Bikingi. Rushaga sector is dominated by high hills thus habituated gorilla families have kept on separating and subdividing to take up different hills in the sector.
Due to these hills, gorilla trekkers from Rushaga sector tend to enjoy magnificent scenic views and at some points, you can as well see the Virunga ranges in Rwanda and Uganda that include; Mgahinga, Muhavura, Sabyinyo, Karisimbi, and Bisoke among others. Rushaga resides Lake Mutanda, one of the only two lava damned Lakes in Uganda, and from there you can enjoy a canoe ride on the lake before or after your gorilla trek.
More special with Rushaga sector is that; it is the only sector that offers gorilla habituation, where a tourist will spend four hours with the mountain gorillas. A gorilla habituation experience is the process where wild mountain gorillas are trained to get used to the presence of humans, and for a tourist to enjoy this activity will pay US$ 1500 for the habituation permit. There is a variety of accommodations in Rushaga sector to stay in and some of them include; Nshongi Camp, Gorilla Valley Camp, Rushaga Gorilla Camp, and Gorilla Safari Lodge, among others.
The Nkuringo sector is too close to Rushaga sector and both sectors lie in the southern province of Bwindi. The sector is a habitat to the newly habituated gorilla family called ‘’Christmas’’ together with the already existing one ‘’Nkuringo gorilla family’’, which is said to be the most fascinating gorilla family where by each individual gorilla is so amazing hence capturing great attention of the tourists.
Besides the two gorilla families (Nkuringo and Christmas) which permanently live in Nkuringo sector, at times the Bushaho gorilla family also crosses from Rushaga to Nkuringo due to the closeness of both sectors. Nkuringo gorilla family was the first group to be habituated in the whole of the southern part of Bwindi impenetrable National Park, which includes Nkuringo itself and Rushaga sector, and it is the first gorilla family from which gorilla twins were given birth to in December 2004, hence bringing up the first records of gorilla twins in Bwindi.
Traveling to Nkuringo sector for your gorilla trekking expeditions, you will enjoy the fantastic views created by the fabulous sceneries of the Kabale landscapes. Nkuringo region is found on a high altitude which makes it more strenuous for tourists to hike within the impenetrable forest in search for the habituated gorilla families, and therefore this sector is highly recommended for the young, energetic and fit youths who will manage and enjoy the trek within the hilly forest. Some of the best Nkuringo accommodations include Nkuringo Bwindi Gorilla Lodge, Clouds Mountain Gorilla Lodge, Mutanda Lake Resort, Wagtail Eco Safari Camp, and Bwindi Backpackers Lodge, among others.
Ruhija sector is located in the far East of Bwindi Impenetrable Forests National Park. It comprises of four habituated gorilla families; Oruzogo gorilla family, Bitukura gorilla family, Kyaguriro gorilla family, and Mukiza gorilla family. Ruhija has many other activities apart from gorilla trekking, such as; bird watching, primate walk where one is given a chance to enjoy a primate walk to spot out the white and black Colobus Monkeys that play all over the tree branches in this sector.
The sector is also located a few meters away from the Crater Lake of Bunyonyi – a beautiful area to relax in the fascinating lake of hills and islands, a perfect environment with canoe rides and local Batwa cultures. The sector has a number of accommodations including Gorilla; Mist Camp, Broad bill Forest Camp, Ruhija Gorilla Safari Lodge, and Gift of Nature Lodge, among others.