Ruhija is located in the Eastern part of Bwindi Impenetrable National park and has three gorilla families which include Bitukura gorilla family, Oruzogo Gorilla group and Kyaguriro group which is for research. This therefore means that 16 gorilla permits are available every day and sometimes the research group is also trekked if you formally ask permission from UWA. Only 6 people instead of 8 people are allowed to view Kyaguriro research group. Due to the fact that, there few families in Ruhija, there is less congestion as compared to Buhoma which is more touristic in nature so Ruhija offers a more ecotourism experience compared to Buhoma. (This depends and varies from Individual to individual)-Just an opinion.
Rihija can be accessed from several angels. If you are coming from Kampala/Entebbe, its better to path through Kabale town and then proceed to Ruhija. You can as well come from Kampala, branch off at Ntungamo to Rukungiri, kihihi, Butogota then drive another two hours to Ruhija. All these routes requires a Four wheel drive car as some sections of the road is rough, bumpy, dusty and during rainy seasons, they tend to get muddy. For those interested in flying, there no direct flights/scheduled flights to Ruhija so the only option is to fly via Kihihi (which ideally is on Buhoma’s side) and then drive two hours to Ruhija. You can as well land in Kabale town (use charter flights) and then drive to Ruhija. Flights remain tricky for Ruhija but we wait to see what will happen in the near future.
Several accommodation properties do exist in Ruhija and these include Rushija Safari Lodge, Gorilla Mist Camp, Bakiga Lodge, Cuckland and Ruhija Gorilla Resort. The good news is that if one is interested in staying at Buhoma in the northern sector of Bwindi Impenetrable National Park, he/she can still trek gorillas in Ruhija section. This however will take you approximately 2 hours drive on a bumpy and dirty road. Those trekking Ruhija Gorillas can as well stay in Kabale town and have an early drive to Ruhija. Accommodation properties do exist in Bunyonyi and they include Bunyonyi Overland, Arcadia Cottages, Bunyonyi Resort, Birds Nest and White Horse Inn in Kabale town.
Ruhija section of Bwindi Impenetrable National Park is popular for bird watching and therefore if you trek gorillas in Ruhija, you stand a great chance of watching birds that you might not find in other regions. Ruhija is also popular for the Black and White Colubus monkeys that jump from one branch to another and are interesting to watch..
For those interested in connecting to Rwanda, then Ruhija is much closer to Chanika Boarder and Katuna Boarder compared to Buhoma section of Bwindi Impenetrable national Park so for those whose itinerary continue to Rwanda are better off booking gorilla permits for Ruhija or the southern sectors of Rushaga and Nkuringo.
Activities in Kabale
Kabale is one of the most interesting places to visit while in Uganda. The fact that your journey to Ruhija takes you to Kabale, you will have chances of spotting the virunga volcanoes of Muhavura, Sabinyo and Mgahinga while standing at a Vantage point. If you choose to stay in Bunyonyi. Lake Bunyonyi is the deepest lake in Uganda formed as a result of Lava Damning. It is one of the stable lakes in Uganda as it has very few waves due to the fact that it is surrounded by hills. You can take a canoe ride on Lake Bunyonyi to visit the nearby islands and also view floating islands that do exist on this lake. The fact that this lake is bilhazia free, you can take a swim. The name Bunyonyi is a Rukiga word that means “small birds” and thus popular with bird watchers. You can as well take a hike to one of the few hills to get great views of kabala. There is a local museum known as House of Edirisa which you can visit to appreciate the culture of the Bakiga and there ethnographic corrections.