How To Plan A Safari To See Mountain Gorillas In Rushaga Sector Of Bwindi
Are you going for gorilla trekking in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park, but your niche area is Rushaga? You must know it lies in the southern sector of this park. The number of gorilla families in the Rushaga area has expanded so far, counting eight gorilla families in this area. These are the Kahungye Family, Busingye Family, Nshongi Family, Bweza Family, Rwigi Family, Mucunguzi Family, Mishaya Family, and Others.
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The expanding gorilla families of the Rushaga area result mainly from subdividing gorilla families in this area as they fight for supremacy.
If you hope to do gorilla trekking in the Rushaga area, you have 64 chances of getting a gorilla permit for the Rushaga area per day. If you have a specific reason for choosing gorilla permits for the Rushaga area, booking your permit in advance at least 6 months to a year upfront is best. This is because chances of making choices of where to do gorilla trekking keep slimming as days go by, especially in the high Uganda tourism seasons, which run in June, July, August, September, December, and January.
Rushaga sector has been picking momentum since the introduction of gorilla habituation experience in the southern sector of Bwindi’s impenetrable national park in 2014. The gorilla habituation experience is an adventure where tourists accompany a team of researchers and trackers in the wilderness to follow semi-habituated mountain gorillas and stay with them for 4 hours. At the moment, only two gorilla families are open for gorilla habituation experience.
How To Plan For Gorilla Trekking In Rushaga Sector
Book A Gorilla Permit
Reserving a gorilla permit for the Rushaga area is necessary to confirm that you are booked to this area. To make this choice, it is best to purchase your gorilla permit in advance, at least 6 months to a year before so that you can suggest your area of preference.
As days close in, choices of where to do gorilla trekking become narrower as most areas are overbooked at least 90 days before the trekking date.
The peak season, which runs June through September and December to January, has cutthroat competition for gorilla permits, yet they are limited. A first come, first served basis is used when reserving the gorilla permits, and none is secured without payment.
Before enquiring about gorilla permit availability, you must know the number of people traveling with you to avoid moving back and forth with checking.
What Is The Cost Of Gorilla Permit?
The gorilla permit for the Rushaga area currently costs $700 per person per trek for foreign nonresidents, $600 for foreign residents, and 250000shs for East Africans.
Inclusions And Exclusions Of Gorilla Permit For Rushaga Area
The gorilla permit cost includes park entrance fees for the days, ranger guide fees, security during gorilla trekking, certificate after gorilla trekking, mountain gorilla conservation, community support, and one hour with the mountain gorillas.
Exclusions of gorilla trekking permit cost are no transport to the destination, accommodation, snacks, tips, porter hire, and any other items of personal nature.
Can I Reschedule A Gorilla Permit?
In case you are not in a position to honor the gorilla trekking date but hope to travel in the future, you can reschedule your gorilla permit, but it must be within the Rushaga area as booked before.
Gorilla Reschedule Procedure
Write to the management of Uganda Wildlife Authority requesting to reschedule your gorilla permit to a date of your preference. You may include a reason for wishing to move your gorilla permit in case you have one.
When your gorilla permit reschedules request is finally endorsed, your permit is moved per your new date but based on prevailing availability.
Uganda Wildlife Authority accepts two free times for your gorilla permit; the third time can only be approved by the executive director of Uganda Wildlife Authority.
Book Accommodation For Rushaga Area
The best advice is to book accommodation within or out of the Rushaga gorilla trekking area. This is because having your night before gorilla trekking close or in the areas where your gorilla permit is booked saves you from waking up early to drive in the dark to catch up with briefing in another area.
Rushaga is located in the southern sector of Bwindi Impenetrable National Park with Nkuringo area. You can also overnight in the Nkuringo area.
Rushaga Accommodations: Clouds Lodge, Nkuringo Gorilla Lodge, Rushaga Gorilla Safari Lodge, Rushaga Gorilla Lodge, Ichumbi Lodge, Bwindi Backpacker’s Camp.
Reserve Transport To Rushaga Area
Road transport is the main means of transport to the Rushaga area. It would be best to have a professional driver guide with experience navigating this mountainous area. Hiring a 4×4 wheel drive vehicle saves you from having to maneuver the rough and winding roads that are slippery during the severe rainy season.
How To Get To Rushaga Area Of Bwindi Impenetrable National Park
Kampala To Kabale To Nkuringo/ Rushaga Area
The drive from Kampala or Entebbe to Kabale lasts about 414 kilometers for about 5 hours to 6 hours, then continues 105 kilometers to the Nkuringo / Rushaga area for 4 hours. The terrain is rough as you go through mountainous marram road.
If you are not going for gorilla trekking the following day, you can overnight in Kisoro town, about 80 kilometers from Kabale. In the morning, you can proceed with your journey to Rushaga area, driving about 35 kilometers in about 1 hour and 30 minutes.
Daily flights commence from Kajjansi airstrip or Entebbe airport to Kisoro. Still, departure time may vary due to some extreme weather conditions in this place, especially early morning and during the severe rainy season. You need a transfer vehicle from the Kisoro airstrip to the Rushaga area.
How Easy Or Difficult Is Gorilla Trekking In Rushaga Area Of Bwindi
Generally, the topography of Bwindi forest is jagged due to volcanic remains like ridges and plateaus. As you trek to find the mountain gorillas, expect to hike at some point, as the gorillas may spend part of their day on the slopes or deep in the valleys.
It would be best if you had some patience, as mountain gorillas are free primates that traverse the forest without restrictions on where to stop. Although they do not move fast, different factors prevailing in the forest may trigger them to relocate from their renowned habitat. Some of these may include family feuds for supremacy, especially with the silverbacks, exhausted food in the area they occupy, weather conditions, attacks from other gorilla families, and others.
Although each day a team of trackers wakes up earlier than others to follow these mountain gorillas and forward reports of their possible way about, the gorillas still move as pleased
This also makes it hard to determine the easiest gorilla family to trek as a family known to be close the previous day may be the furthest the next day.
Hire a porter if you need help with your gorilla trekking gear. A porter is a person who helps you carry your belongings as you go for gorilla trekking. They can give you a push, too, when you are too tired to move on. You pay them an affordable fee as this is one of the ways to bring the local community to appreciate the presence of the mountain gorillas in their midst.
Also, when you hire a porter, you directly contribute to their way of living as they use the funds for school dues, health care support, and other personal expenditures.
Do some pre-tour exercises to keep your body fit in case you are required to hike. Gorilla trekking is a once-in-a-lifetime adventure not worth missing, and it is worth the long flights and walks.
What Are The Criteria Used To Allocate Rushaga Gorilla Families
The criteria used to locate the mountain gorillas is hard to predict. After briefing as you go for gorilla trekking, the ranger guides have to allocate each person a gorilla family. The maximum number of people accorded each gorilla family is 8. Tourists who go for gorilla trekking may be subdivided according to age and physical fitness; if you are a parent, for easy monitoring of your children, you may be considered to and given the same family and much more.
Can I Do Gorilla Trekking In Rushaga With Kids?
The age limit for gorilla trekking is 15 years and beyond, so children of this age are allowed to participate but with an escorting parent or guardian. The terrain where mountain gorillas live is mountainous, which may not be comfortable for a child below 15 years.
The mountain gorillas are scary at a glance, which may stimulate some adrenaline and prompt a child below this age to shout. Making noise while doing gorilla trekking may cause a stampede in the wilderness.
If traveling with kids for a gorilla trekking adventure, you need to brief them about what they can expect during this encounter. The mountain gorillas may look scary at first, but they must know that they are just calm primates with no need to raise eyebrows over this.
How Aggressive Are Mountain Gorillas In Rushaga Area
In nature, mountain gorillas are calm primates with a scary outlook of dark-furred bodies and use knuckle locomotion to move. This is scary, but your heart melts with love when you realize how calm and serene these giant primates are. They are adorable to watch, and it is easy for anyone to fall in love with them.
In the history of gorilla trekking, no one has ever been reported to have been attacked by the mountain gorillas.
When angry, mountain gorillas thump their chests, hoot loudly, pull grass around them, and retreat into the deep forest. It is not all the time when they showcase these traits that they are angry with their visitors. Sometimes, it is because of a family feud, an attack from other wild mountain gorillas, and other reasons. Wait for the ranger guide in your company to establish the cause of any aggression, and do not panic.
What Is The Packing List For Gorilla Trekking
- Duffel bag with your gorilla trekking gear and other items relevant to gorilla safari.
- Rain gears to protect you from getting wet when it rains without warning.
- Insect repellent to keep away biting insects from attacking your skin
- Long-sleeved shirt and trousers because the forest is a thick jungle with staining dirt that may spoil your clothes. You need colors that are friendly to the jungle environment. Avoid Military camouflage, as Uganda doesn’t allow non-military personnel to wear it.
- Safari hat to cover your hair from dripping water off the tree branches and the rain drops.
- Tracking boots because the ground is soggy, so you need something comfortable to hike the slopes of Bwindi Impenetrable National Park during gorilla trekking.
- A pair of Binoculars to give a better view of the gorillas and other forest occupants like monkeys, birds, falls.
- Some hard cash in case you need to make purchases on the ground.
- Energy snacks to keep you going after breakfast. Do not smoke while in front of the mountain gorillas.
- Warm wear to keep you from getting cold, especially in the morning and late afternoon when it gets to col
- Insect repellants to protect your skin from stinging insects that may damage your skin.
- Sunscreen to apply on your way to the gorilla trekking destinations
- Torch to use when lights go out at night and even most lodges in this area use solar power, and at times, the panels run out of battery, creating a blackout.
- Extra fully charged batteries and memory cards to exchange with in case one run low on energy and space.
- Flip flops to change into after a long day of gorilla trekking
- A pair of garden gloves to provide a tighter grip on creepers when you slide while hiking.
- Pajamas to wear in the night.
- First aid kit just in case you need emergency treatment.
Are you interested in trekking the Rushaga sector for mountain gorillas? Please do not hesitate to contact us for more information.