How to book Ruhija gorilla permits and safari holidays
Ruhijah gorilla area is among the four sections into which Bwindi Impenetrable National Park is subdivided for better administrative reasons. Ruhija area lies in the eastern part of the Bwindi forest, but because of the poor road network, the public does not often visit it. As you draw your plan to do a gorilla trekking safari, you may have reasons for selecting the Ruhija area as your permit preference.
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Currently, Ruhija has gorilla families like the Kyaguriro Family, Mukisa Safari, Bitukura Family, and Butukura Family. 32 gorilla permits for the Ruhija area are open for public booking each day.
When you enquire about the status of gorilla permits per your date of preference, you need to suggest where you wish to book the gorilla permit. This is because Bwindi Impenetrable National Park has three other areas: the Rushaga, Nkuringo, and Buhoma.
Ruhijah is the prime birding destination of Bwindi Impenetrable National Park, and keen birders on gorilla safari take this a double opportunity even to spot some birds. While in Ruhija, keen birders can also take a private hike to visit the Mubwindi swamp, where an array of bird species can be spotted.
Some of the birds you may encounter in the Ruhija area include Rwenzori Batis, Mountain Masked And Chestnut throated Apalises, collared Apalis, and Western Green Tinkerbirds, to mention but a few.
How to book Ruhija Gorilla Permits And Safari Holiday
Identify a day when you wish to do the gorilla safari and the number of gorilla permits you hope to secure. You can enquire from an accredited tour operator like Encounter Africa Safaris or the Uganda Wildlife Authority. State that the Ruhija area is your most preferred permit choice and the reason why in case you have any.
Our safari consultant checks the availability of gorilla permits per your selected date from the Uganda Wildlife Authority listing. No gorilla permit is reserved for anyone without payment. As the number of gorilla permits is limited to a maximum of 8 per family, a first come, first served basis is used to reserve the permit. Ruhija area has 32 gorilla permits open for public booking per day. They sell out fast, so advance purchase is necessary.
Upon approval. You must purchase your gorilla permit as soon as possible to avoid chances of not finding availability later. The demand for high-season gorilla permits, that is, June, July, August, September, December, and January, sell out fast due to overwhelming demand worldwide, yet supply is limited.
Forward personal details like your full name as presented on the passport, nationality, date of birth, and passport expiry date. These are used for identification on the day of the trek, and some details are filled on your certificate after completing the gorilla trek.
How much is a gorilla permit for the Ruhija area?
Gorilla permits cost $800 per person per trek for foreign nonresidents, $700 for foreign residents, and 300000shs for East Africans.
The Cost Of Gorilla Permit Includes:
Ranger guide service fee, park entrance fees for the day of the trek, security during gorilla trekking, local community support, mountain gorilla conservation, certificate after gorilla trekking, and one hour with the mountain gorillas.
Exclusions of the gorilla permit cost:
Transport to gorilla safari destination, accommodation, snacks, and any other items of personal nature.
At Encounter Africa Safaris, we can tailor the gorilla safari on your behalf, reserve accommodation, driver guide services, and more. We lift off your shoulder the burden of having to put together different safari amenities to create a gorilla safari package fit for your holiday duration and suit your budget.
When Is The Best Time To Book a Gorilla Safari In Ruhija Area?
All year round, gorilla trekking in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park is open for all areas, including the Ruhija area, despite a poor road. Most tourists, however, prefer the dry season that normally runs in June, July, August, September, December, And January.
Access to the Ruhija area is more possible with road transport, but you must have a 4×4 wheel drive vehicle in good mechanical condition regardless of season because the road to the Ruhija area is in poor condition.
The precipitation in the forest is lower in the dry season. Yet, more sunray penetration to the ground is allowed, creating a more favorable condition for many primates to enjoy life. Even trekkers worry less about finding the mountain gorillas because they are more active in the dry season. Other forest dwellers, like birds, butterflies, and monkeys, make a lot in the forest in the dry season.
The chances of going on the gorilla trek alone are high for the wet season, which is March, April, May, and November. Fewer people are visiting, so on the days of the trek, you may be the only one booked.
Even chances of getting discounted prices are more open in the wet season, which serves as the low-season gorilla safari period. Some service providers like lodges, driver guides, and others may offer some discounts to break even in the low season. You may use this opportunity if you have a limited gorilla safari budget.
No matter the season, reserving your gorilla permit in advance saves you from last-minute panic, as permits are limited per family for conservation purposes.
When Can I Book A Gorilla Permit For the Ruhija Area
Book the gorilla permit 6 months to a year upfront for the peak gorilla trekking season and at least 3 months to the gorilla trekking date for the low season. This is because chances of getting a gorilla permit at the last minute may prove futile in the high season, yet even those on resale may be in another area. During the low season, last-minute gorilla permits may be available but only sometimes guaranteed.
Can I Do Gorilla Trekking In A Nother Area With A Ruhija Gorilla Permit?
No, gorilla permits are booked according to the area, and each has its own family. You cannot possess a gorilla permit for the Ruhija area and hope to trek gorillas in another area. Since there is a cap as to how many people are expected to trek the mountain gorillas in Ruhija, that is a maximum of 8 people per family,
Before reserving accommodation in one area, you must check which area the permit is booked, except for Buhoma with the Ruhija area. Ruhija area is 2 hours drive from the Buhoma area. The gorilla trekking areas of Bwindi forest are far apart, so when you sleep in another area, you need to rise up in the dark to drive to catch up with a briefing in another area. Sometimes, the road may be impassable because it gets slippery, deep foggy conditions cause abstraction, vehicles may be punctured, fallen logs across the road, and so many others.
Some obstacles may make you miss briefing, yet this epitomizes gorilla trekking. You may not be allowed to do gorilla trekking when you miss a briefing.
What Accommodation To Book For Gorilla Safari In Ruhija Area?
Ruhija area is limited with choices of accommodations to book. However, you can still spend the night in the Buhoma area, which is about 42 kilometers drive for about 2 hours to the briefing point.
Ruhija area accommodations: Ruhija Gorilla Lodge, Broadbill Camp, Chameleon’s Lodge,
Buhoma Accommodations: Gorilla Forest Camp, Gorilla Resort, Engage Lodge, Mahogany Springs,
When you spend the night in the Buhoma area but trekking gorillas in the Ruhija area, you must have a transfer vehicle to the ranger station in Ruhija. The drive time between Buhoma and Ruhija area is 2 hours. Each day, gorilla trekking starts at 0745hours so be there in time for the briefing.
How To Get To Ruhija Area
The Ruhija area can be accessed from Kampala to Kabale to Ruhija. The road to the Ruhija area is rough, and in poor condition, so you need a 4×4 wheel drive vehicle. From Kampala to Kabale, the drive is about 414 kilometers, yet Kabale to Ruhija is approximately 47 kilometers for close to 3 hours.
Flights commence daily from Entebbe Airport or Kajjansi Airstrip to Kihihi Airstrip. You need to catch a transfer vehicle to your lodge.
Charter flight services are available at Entebbe Airport or Kajjansi, but you need to book in advance so that necessary clearances are done upfront.
How Long Is Gorilla Trekking In the Ruhija Area?
The time it takes to do gorilla trekking is still being determined because you are still determining when to find the mountain gorillas. These primates may be bulky in size but move freely in the wilderness without any restrictions.
Finding mountain gorillas depends on factors like the weather conditions prevailing in the forest, the proximity of the gorilla food, in case of a fight amongst the mountain gorillas, the pace of trekkers, and others. This makes it hard to determine the exact time you are to locate the mountain gorillas.
Some tourists have located the mountain gorillas in two hours, while others have spent at least three-quarters of the day.
Because of the above factors, it is even harder to determine the easiest gorilla family to trek.
You need to have some patience during gorilla trekking and bear an open mind, too, so that you do not get bored in case the gorilla trek is long. Look out for other primates like olive baboons, grey-cheeked mangabey, red-tailed monkeys, and blue monkeys.
Being physically fit before gorilla trekking is vital because the nature of the topography of the Ruhija area is volcanic, with ridges and plateaus. Sometimes, you may be required to hike to find where they may be lounging. Hiring a porter to carry your belongings during gorilla trekking saves you from getting tired.
Those with a physical disability can hire sedan chairs or help with movement into the forest to do gorilla trekking.
How Sure Can I Be To Find The Mountain Gorillas In Ruhijah Area?
Finding mountain gorillas is 99% a sure deal as mountain gorillas occupy a particular area for some time until food is exhausted or fight with another family or within the family for supremacy.
Mountain gorillas are habituated to human presence for some time, so do not expect them to run away upon finding them. When you come into view, they keep doing what they do best: feeding. They may not mind your presence but follow the rules of gorilla trekking keenly because the family operates a spy network and is always on watch and alert.
Each day, a team of trackers follows the gorillas in the wilderness before anyone visits to establish their way about and provide a report to the ranger station. This is the clue followed by the ranger guides escorting tourists after the briefing.
In case you do not see the mountain gorillas, you are liable for a refund of 75% of the total gorilla permit cost according to the refund policy of Uganda Wildlife Authority.
How Safe Is Gorilla Trekking In the Ruhija Area?
Ruhija area is safe for gorilla trekking, just like other Bwindi Impenetrable National Park areas. However, you need to pay attention to personal security too.
On the day of the trek, after the briefing, the ranger guide with a machete and another holding a rifle led the gorilla trekking group of tourists into the forest. The ranger guide follows the pace of the slowest trekkers so that no one is forgotten in the wilderness.
The rangers keep constant radio call communication with the team at the ranger station just in case backup is required.
The park security team cooperates with other security agencies in the country to keep law and order around the park.
Ensure you take caution on personal security by not entering Bwindi’s impenetrable national park without an escorting ranger guide. The forest has other dwellers who are not habituated to human presence and may harm you.
Do not count large amounts of money in public during gorilla trekking, as you may attract the wrong company.
For more details about Encounter Africa Safaris kindly visit our website on www.gorilla-tracking-uganda.com