Many of you have read so much about Gorilla Tourism in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park since it is home to over a half the number of gorillas in the whole world. This montane forest national park is located approximately 590km from Entebbe International Airport which is the main gate way to Uganda a country populary known as “The Pearl of Africa”
How many gorillas are in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park
According to the 2013 gorilla census, the number of gorillas in Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park including both wild and habituated gorillas was put at 400 individuals from 320 of previous years. This implies that Bwindi which is wholly located in Uganda has more gorillas compared to Rwanda and Democratic Republic of Congo. Ever since this census, was conducted, some new baby gorillas have been born. This is attributed to good and improved conservation policies in Uganda.
What is the History of gorilla Tourism in Bwindi?
Gorilla trekking in Bwindi Gorilla National Park started in 1993 with one gorilla family called Mubare group. Tour operators could take clients to Bwindi Impenetrable National Park through hardship as the roads were impassable, there was poor telecommunication net work and in general, drive guides could take 2-3 days to reach Bwindi Impenetrable National Park. Gorilla trekking was therefore limited to the Northern Sector of Bwindi which is Buhoma. On top of poor roads, accommodation properties were also very few and more suited for adventurous clients. As gorilla trekking became a popular activity, more and more tourists started flocking bwindi impenetrable National park which resulted in private investors constructing more lodges in Buhoma which now include Gorilla Forest Camp, Buhoma Lodge, Buhoma Community Rest Camp, Engagi Lodge, Bwindi View Lodge, silver back Lodge and so many others.
Uganda Wildlife Authority in conjunction with other conservation organization then started a campaign of habituating more gorilla families in the different regions of Bwindi Forest National Park. Mubare remains one of the popular gorilla families located in the hills of Buhoma Region. Its greatest silver bark known as Ruhondeza died in 2012 and was buried honorably. Before his death, Ruhondeza’s inefficiency had resulted in the loss of Members from the family. He would jealously guard group members to the extent that tourists started hating this group since you could only see Ruhondeza alone. After the his death, the heir embarked on recruiting more members to the family.
How many Habituated Gorilla Families are in Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park?
Following the success of gorilla trekking in Buhoma and elsewhere in Uganda, Uganda Wildlife Authority through its research and monitoring unity with the help of donor Agents embarked on habituating more gorilla families in the different regions of Bwindi Impenetrable Forests. Habituating one gorilla family takes approximately 2-3 years followed by mock visits and then tourists are allowed to trek such a gorilla family.
Due to nature dynamics, habituated gorilla families kept on separating to create more gorilla groups and by 2013, Uganda had eleven gorilla families located and trekked from different regions of the forest. The Northern sector commonly known as Buhoma now has three gorilla families of Mubare group, Rushegure Family and Habinyanja Gorilla groups. Ruhija has three gorilla families-Bitukura, Oruzogo and Kyaguriro group which is for research. In the southern sector, Bwindi has Rushaga sector that has Nshongyi, Mishaya, Busingye, Kahungye and then Bweza. The last section is Nkuringo that has Nkuringo Gorilla Family.
For more information of Accommodation properties in different regions, how to access Bwindi, or booking your gorilla permits please do contact or reservations team.
RUSHAGA REGION IN BWINDI FOREST NATIONAL PARK
Rushaga region is located in the southern section of Bwindi Impenetrable National Park. It is located in Kisoro District together with Nkuringo Region. Ruhaga has several gorilla families which include Nshongi, Mishaya, Busingye, Kahingye and Bweza.
Rushaga region and the southern sector of Bwindi Impenetrable National Park has the highest point in teams of altitude. The region is dominated by high hills and because of this, habituated gorilla families have kept on separating and subdividing to take up different hills in the region. Mountain gorillas are non territorial but will try as much as possible not inter fear with other gorilla families.
Because of these hills, tourists who trek gorillas from Rushaga tend to enjoy great scenic views and at some points, you can as well see the virunga ranges in Rwanda and Uganda that include Mgahinga, Muhavura, Sabinyo, Karusimbi, Bisoke among others. There is lake Mutanda which is one of the only two lava damned lakes in Uganda. You can enjoy a canoe ride on the lake before or after your gorilla trek.
Accommodation for those interested in trekking Rushaga Gorilla Families can be booked in Kisoro Town-Kisoro Travellers Rest Inn, Nkuringo Safari Lodge, Nkuringo Gorilla Camp or even Clouds Gorilla Lodge but you may need to drive for some time to reach the starting point.
If you are driving, please budget for a whole day since it may take you approximately 9-10 hours drive on a winding road. If you are interested in flying to Rushaga, you can contact us so that we book you on scheduled flights operated by Aerolink or charter flights by Fly Uganda among other companies in Uganda.
From Rushaga, you can as well visit Mgahinga National Park for Golden Monkey trekking, volcano climbing and visits to the Batwa Cave. If you want to continue to Rwanda, then you can drive to the nearby Uganda Rwanda Boarder at Chanika. From Kisoro town to the Uganda Rwanda boarder is a 15 minute drive but if you want to cross over to Rwanda then you need to have applied for their vise online at least two weeks before arrival.
With our dedicated team of professionals, please do send us all your questions and queries and we will advise you accordingly in relation to Rushaga Region of Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park
BUHOMA REGION IN BWINDI FOREST NATIONAL PARK
If you talk about gorilla trekking in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park, then Buhoma region ranks as number one in the minds of Tour Operators in Uganda. There is no doubt that of all regions of Bwindi Impenetrable National Park, Buhoma region is more touristic compared to others.
Buhoma is popular partly because it is where gorilla trekking started from. The first group of tourists to trek gorillas did so in 1993 and they did so at Buhoma. This was because the first gorilla family ever to be habituated was Mubare located in the nearby hills of Buhoma. Its because of this that buhoma remains a popular region when it comes to trekking gorillas and ofcourse Mubare is still favourate to those seeking to trek the first habituated gorilla family.
There are three gorilla families that are located in Buhoma region and they include Mubare Group, Habinyanja and Rushegura. Other gorilla families that can be accessed from Buhoma are the Ruhija groups of Bitukura and oruzogo. The last two groups require you to wake up early and drive to Ruhija region of Bwindi Impenetrable National Park. You can stay in Buhoma and trek in Ruhija only if you fail to get accommodation in Ruhija.
Buhoma region of Bwindi Impenetrable National park has several lodges ranging from up market properties such as Gorilla Forest Camp, Buhoma Lodge and Mahogany Springs. Mid range properties such as Engagi Lodge, Silverback Lodge and basic accommodation such as Buhoma Community rest camp and Bwindi View Lodge.
Buhoma can be accessed by road from Entebbe and it is approximately 8-9 hours drive through Rukungiri, Kihihi, butogota and then Buhoma. If you prefer flying, Aerolink operates daily scheduled flights in the morning and afternoon. Please do contact us for more details about flying safaris to Buhoma in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park.
Apart from gorilla trekking, you can enjoy birding, forest walks, buhoma village walk, Batwa experience and so much more. If you are interested in Buhoma region, please do contact us for more information.