One question that needs answers before deciding to trek mountain gorillas in Ruhija while staying around lake Bunyonyi is how far is Ruhija region of Bwindi Impenetrable National Park from Lake Bunyonyi. Ruhija region is the easily accessed region for gorilla trekking in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park for those planning to stay around Lake Bunyonyi in Kabale District. Lake Bunyonyi is approximately 59kms and one and a half hours’ drive to the Ruhija region of Bwindi Impenetrable National Park. Due to the nature of the road, we recommend you drive early at around 5 am in order to arrive in time for briefing and gorilla trekking. Ruhija region is one of the four regions of Bwindi Impenetrable National Park in the east of the forest. It has different habituated gorilla families open for gorilla tracking experience as cultural activities. Ruhija sector has four Gorilla Families that is Bitukura, Oruzogo, Mukiza and Kyaguriro.
Bwindi Forest National Park is in the southwestern part of Uganda, sharing a border with Congo. It is one of the few two national parks in Uganda where you can trek and see the magnificent Mountain Gorillas in their natural habitat in the world. It is home to more than half of the only remaining Mountain Gorillas in the wild, making it a famous and the best place to trek the Mountain Gorillas. It is approximately 2-3 hours’ drive from Lake Bunyonyi to Ruhija region of Bwindi and this gives you an opportunity to do different activities and return.
Lake Bunyonyi is in Kabale District in south-western Uganda. It lies at 1,962 m above sea level about 25km long and 7km wide. We know it to be the second deepest lake in Africa after Lake Tanganyika with a recorded depth of 144ft and 2952ft. It has 29 historical islands, with each island having its unique heritage attached to it. Lake Bunyonyi is also home to a variety of bird species, making it one of the great places in Uganda to watch birds. Lake Bunyonyi has, for years, attracted many visitors because of its beauty, heritage, and the Local community leaving around it. Lake Bunyonyi has 29 recorded Islands, each with unique history and heritage attached to it. Of these Islands, the main Islands are more focused on than others, which include Bushara Island, Akampene Island, commonly known as the Punishment Island, Kyahugye Island, Bwama, and Njuyeera (Sharp’s Island), and Bucuranuka Island. It is possible to drive from Kampala, stay around Lake Bunyonyi and trek habituated mountain gorillas in Ruhija.
The primary reason people staying around lake Bunyonyi prefer trekking habituated mountain gorilla families in Ruhija is that Ruhija is the closest region to Lake Bunyonyi compared to other sectors of Bwindi impenetrable National Park such as Nkuringo and Rushaga in the south and Buhoma in the north. It only takes an hour or so to drive from Lake Bunyonyi to the Ruhija region of Bwindi Impenetrable National Park.
Visitors prefer to stay around Lake Bunyonyi before and after gorilla trekking in Ruhija region of Bwindi impenetrable National Park in order to enjoy the beauty and activities around Lake Bunyonyi. Relaxing at Lake Bunyonyi is one of the most rewarding things after your trek and taking a canoe ride to visit some historical islands in Lake Bunyonyi is another activity that pulls people to stay around Lake Bunyonyi.
Gorilla trekking is the principal activity considered doing in Ruhija region of Bwindi Impenetrable National Park from Lake Bunyonyi. You can do a return journey from Lake Bunyonyi to see gorillas in Ruhija, and most of our clients have done it. Gorilla tracking refers to moving in the forest to see/view a given habituated mountain gorilla family. Gorilla trackers/advanced team/rangers use many signs and methods to trace these gorillas before gorilla trekking takes place, the trackers wake up very early every morning and go to the forest in search of these mountain gorillas. They use natural means to track them like clapping, making wild sounds. Once they find them, then they will communicate to the park headquarters and it’s then the guides after briefing the visitors on dos and don’ts. They will start to walk and trek through the forest as the trackers direct them. This gives you 99% chances of seeing the gorillas in their natural environment in Bwindi.
The gorilla trekking permits cost USD700 per person for Non- Foreign Residents, USD600 for Foreign Residents, and Uganda Shillings 250,000 per person for East African citizens and allows you one hour of watching the gorillas once you find them. Uganda has half of the remaining population of mountain gorillas in the world. It is such a lifetime experience to watch the endangered and rare mountain gorillas which have 95% DNA as human beings in Bwindi. We can find the Mountain Gorillas in Uganda in the hilly tropical forests in south-western Uganda and you will view the gorillas in their natural environment.
Trekking Ruhija gorillas requires one to book gorilla permits for Ruhija region. Contact Encounter Africa safaris to assist check gorilla permits of Ruhija on your preferred date, reserve it for you as long as you make payment. Encounter Africa safaris books gorilla permits on behalf of clients who book an all-inclusive gorilla safari with us.
There are Guided walks which will introduce you to broad biodiversity with varied mammal species which include; primates like Chimpanzees, L’Hoest’s monkey, blue monkey baboon, while the black and white Columbus with its lovely flowing white tail is prominent. The shoddy trail will expose you to an array of butterfly species, species of moths, species of reptiles, tree species, the bamboo forest, flowers and many other attractions.
The Ruhija ridge top route offers visitors the insight of a deep valley containing the undisturbed rainforest as they watch the duikers, primates and both forest and grassland bird species. Visitors can also climb through the bamboo zone to find Afro montane vegetation and panoramic views towards Lake Bunyonyi and Mafuga forest.
Ruhija is a great place for cultural and village walks and guests who are interested in visiting the local community, you can opt to visit a local school, a traditional local healer, a banana brewery or combine the community tour with a nature tour towards the forest. You will see the dances, traditions, and culture of the local people. You can also decide to do volunteer work while in the Ruhija region of Bwindi impenetrable National Park. Encounter Africa safaris supports Schools, Youth and women projects, Orphanages, and organizations involved in Environment conservation. You can save one or two days to share your skills in one of our supported projects.
Ruhija region of Bwindi Forest National Park used to be inhabited by the Batwa people commonly referred to as the pygmies for many years until recently when they were removed from the Bwindi Forest to the surrounding communities of Bwindi Forest National Park to ease mountain gorilla conservation and tourism. The cultural tour will give you an opportunity to see these pygmies used to spend their time in the forest, where they used to stay, how they used to harvest wild honey, and hunting. They will show off their dances and explain how they have settled and enjoy normal life outside the forest. You can as well visit the rest of the community in the outskirts of the forest, the women groups that do crafts and sell food, the community schools.
Ruhija region has a variety of accommodation places to stay based on your budget structure, with a budget, mid-range and luxury accommodations facilities all available. For budget and camping Gorilla Mist Camp, Gift of Nature Lodge, Trekkers Tavern Cottages and Broadbill Tented Forest Camp while Mid-range accommodation there is Bakiga Lodge and Luxury accommodation option, you can stay at Ruhija Gorilla Safari Lodge. Some travelers opt to stay in hotels/ lodges/camps in Buhoma region of Bwindi impenetrable national Park which is very close to Ruhija sector.
Encounter Africa safaris is a local tour operator based in Uganda with its head offices in Entebbe. Encounter Africa safaris is run and owned by Ugandans. We have been in operation for over 15 years and we specialize in life-changing experiences and sustainable tours and holidays to all East African countries. We are members of AUTO (Association of Uganda Tour Operators) and are registered by UTB (Uganda Tourism Board). We have a good and long working relationship with UWA (Uganda Wildlife Authority) and local communities in Ruhija making it easy to book your cultural safari. Encounter Africa safaris is highly reviewed on trip advisor and Safari bookings.
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