An updated list of habituated gorilla families in Rushaga and available permits per day
Rushaga gorilla trekking area is of the southern Bwindi Impenetrable National Park areas. This area so far has the biggest gorilla trekking families in the Bwindi forest. Currently, the Rushaga area has 8 gorilla families that are fully habituated and open for public booking. Some gorilla families in the Rushaga area include Nshongi Family, Kahungye Family, Busingye Family, Bweza Family, Mucunguzi Family, Mishaya Family, and Rwingi Family.
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Rushaga area, in the southern part of Bwindi National Park, is part of the mountain gorilla families under the gorilla habituation experience. So far, Bwindi has two gorilla habituation families.
A gorilla habituation adventure is an experience where you escort a team of researchers and habitats in the forest to help a semi-wild gorilla family get used to the presence of humans without altering their nature. Only a maximum of four tourists are allowed to participate in the gorilla habituation experience for four hours in the company of the mountain gorillas.
When booking a gorilla permit, you can request for Rushaga area permits. To have a better advantage, you need to book the gorilla permit as soon as possible to have an open choice. When you book the gorilla permits late, there are limited options for where to trek and accommodation facilities.
During your stay in the Rushaga area, you can enjoy a birding experience. Bwindi forest is Uganda’s birding haven, hosting over 350 bird species, including seven on the IUCN red list. Some of the birds you may get to spot include handsome Francolin, Shelley’s Crimsonwing, Rwenzori Turaco, and African Hill Babbler, to mention but a few.
The rich other primate presence in the Rushaga area of Bwindi is unmatched. During gorilla trekking, you may spot other primates like olive baboons, vervet monkeys, grey-cheeked mangabey, red-tailed monkeys, ghosts, blue monkeys, chimpanzees, although rarely seen, and others.
What Are The Gorilla Families In Rushaga Area
- Nshongi Family
- Kahungye Family
- Bweza Family
- Mucunguzi Family
- Busingye Family
- Mishaya Family
- Rwigi Family
How To Book Gorilla Permits For Rushaga Area
Select a date when you hope to do gorilla trekking and the Number of gorilla permits you wish to purchase. This helps you avoid moving back and forth with checking gorilla permit availability.
Enquire about gorilla permit availability from accredited tour operators like Encounter Africa Safaris or Uganda Wildlife Authority. State your area of preference, the Rushaga area, and give your reasons, if any.
When you get a positive response, we advise clients to purchase these gorilla permits as soon as possible, especially peak season gorilla permits. They sell out fast yet are limited in Number with each gorilla family; a maximum of 8 permits can be booked daily. The peak Uganda tourism season is normally June, July, August, September, December and January.
Provide personal details like your full name as indicated on the passport, nationality, date of birth, passport expiry date. These details are used for identification on the day of trekking as this information is retrieved from the gorilla permit card when swiped.
When is the best time to book gorilla permits for the Rushaga area?
Booking gorilla permits is open all year around, no matter which area, including the Rushaga area; however, peak season gorilla permits sell out fast. When you purchase your gorilla permit at least 6 months to a year upfront, you save yourself from the last-minute hassle of seeking permit availability and accommodation options.
You can still book gorilla permits 3 months to the day of trekking, but chances of not finding availability are more possible especially peak season permits. They are sold on a first-come, first-served basis, so none is secured without payment.
Last-minute gorilla permits are more open in the low season because fewer bookings are made, but this is only sometimes guaranteed. The low Uganda tourism season usually is March, April, May, and November.
How Many Gorilla Permits Does Rushaga Area Have?
Rushaga area has so far 64 gorilla permits open for public booking. The area currently has 8 gorilla families that are fully habituated and available for public booking. You need to book your Rushaga gorilla permit before taking advantage of your place of preference, as gorilla trekking is a dream come true experience that is a once-in-a-lifetime encounter.
For the gorilla habituation experience, two gorilla families in the southern part of Bwindi Impenetrable National Park are the only homes of this adventure. Only 16 gorilla permits are sold daily for anyone going on a gorilla habituation adventure.
Which Accommodation Can I Book For Gorilla Trekking In Rushaga Area?
Rushaga area is in close proximity to the Nkuringo area, so you can also spend the night in the Nkuringo area.
The Rushaga area accommodation comprises luxury, mid-range, and budget facilities.
Some of the accommodations you can book for gorilla trekking in Rushaga include:
Rushaga accommodations: Clouds Lodge, Rushaga Gorilla Safari Lodge, Bwindi Back Packer’s Camp, Nkuringo Gorilla Lodge, Ichumbi Gorilla Lodge, Rushaga Gorilla Haven Lodge N[U2] Shongi Camp.
How To Get To Rushaga Area Of Bwindi Impenetrable National Park
From Kampala to Kabale to Rushaga area, the drive from Kampala to Kabale is about 414 kilometers for approximately 5 to 6 hours. Kabale to Rushaga area is about 105 kilometers, taking about 4 hours to 5 hours. The roads meander around mountains where you can enjoy great views of highlands and deep valleys covered in green.
You can overnight in Kisoro town, which is 80 kilometers from Kabale, then carry on to Rushaga area, about 35 kilometers away.
Each day, flights depart Entebbe Airport or Kajjansi Airstrip to Kisoro Airstrip. These flights are conditioned by prevailing weather of the day as sometimes this area is misty.
You can charter from Entebbe Airport or Kajjansi Airstrip, too.
How safe is the Rushaga area For Gorilla Trekking?
Rushaga area is safe for gorilla trekking as teams of ranger guides are well-trained to defend the forest dwellers, including mountain gorillas, the gorilla habitat, and visitors.
Before entering the forest, tourists must attend a briefing at the ranger station, where they are taken through the dos and don’ts of gorilla trekking. You must follow these rules so everything goes smoothly while trekking to find the mountain gorillas. At least two ranger guides escort a group of tourists in the forest, one holding a machete and another carrying a rifle in case you need some defense. The rangers follow the pace of the slowest trekker so that everything is remembered in the wilderness.
Other Uganda security agencies are in place to keep law and order around the gorilla trekking destinations. They collaborate with the ranger guides in case the need for backup arises.
Tourists are urged to keep close to the gorilla trekking party they are trekking with so that nobody is forgotten in the wildernesses. Only entering the forest with an escorting ranger guide as the forest has unhabituated dwellers that may be harmful.
Only enter the forest with an escorting ranger guide, as the forest is thick, and the exit point may be hard to locate.
How aggressive are mountain gorillas?
Mountain gorillas are very calm primates, sensitive and serene despite their massive body structure covered in dark fur from head to toe. Their knuckle locomotion style makes them look scary, especially at a glance. You cannot stop falling in love with the mountain gorillas when you realize how calm they are.
When angry, the mountain gorillas hoot, thump hard their chests, pull grass around them, and so much more. This, however, doesn’t mean any of the trekkers have done something wrong. Wait for the ranger guides to establish the cause of the matter. Sometimes, it’s a family feud or an attack from a wild gorilla that may be trying to conquer the territory.
Can I Use A Rushaga Gorilla Permit In Another area
Once you are allocated a gorilla permit for a particular area, you are met to attend gorilla trekking there. This is because there is a limit to how many people are allowed to see a specific mountain gorilla family daily, a maximum of 8 people per day.
Even overnight in the Nkuringo area, you must get to the Rushaga area to catch up with briefing and gorilla trekking.
Spending the night in another area other than the Nkuringo area may require you to drive late to catch up with a briefing at the ranger station in Rushaga. You need to overnight in the Rushaga area or close to this gorilla trekking location to avoid waking up and driving in the dark. You must complete a briefing before gorilla trekking to ensure you are not disqualified even though you possess a gorilla permit.
How Long Is Gorilla Trekking In the Rushaga Area?
The time you take doing gorilla trekking varies depending on factors prevailing in the forest. When the mountain gorilla feeding area is close to the start point of the trek, locating them may be quicker, and the opposite is true. In case of a fight among the mountain gorillas, when it rains heavily, in case the gorilla family is adventurous, and others may prompt the gorilla family to move closer to deeper in the forest.
Even the pace of other trekkers determines a lot when you are to locate the mountain gorillas and return time.
The ranger guide follows the slowest trekkers’ pace; do not delay the rest of the group. During the gorilla trek, you get breaks to refresh and continue searching for the mountain gorillas.
Some level of patience is required when trekking to find the mountain gorillas. Even having some fitness level helps you see where the mountain gorillas may be spending the day or lounging.
What Is The Age Limit For Gorilla Trekking In Rushaga Area?
The age limit for gorilla trekking is 15 years and beyond. The topography of the area where mountain gorillas live is volcanic, with ridges and plateaus where mountain gorillas sometimes spend part of their day. You may be required to hike, which may prove a challenge to a child below 15 years.
At a glance, the mountain gorillas are scared because of their furred bodies and deep, sunken brown eyes. When standing before the mountain gorillas, tourists are urged to refrain from showing freight, which is quite hard to be contained by a child below 15 years. Any impropriate reaction before the mountain gorillas may cause them to retreat into the deeper forest ends.
The age limit for gorilla trekking was 15 years and beyond to allow tourists who can withstand the forest conditions to spend one hour with the mountain gorillas comfortably.
What are the instructions to follow during gorilla trekking in the Rushaga area?
- If you catch a communicable infection like cough, flu, Covid-19, and others, volunteer to stay behind.
- Keep a distance of about 8 meters from the mountain gorillas when you meet them. This is one of the preventive measures to protect them from catching human infections.
- If you wish to smoke or eat, do it at least 200 meters from the mountain gorillas so they cannot grab it from you.
- Littering the forest is forbidden as it alters the nature of the forest where mountain gorillas live.
- Only one hour is allowed with the mountain gorillas when you locate them. This is the only time they are habituated before the mountain gorillas.
- If you wish to ease yourself, ask the ranger guide to dig a hole for you at least 30 centimeters deep and bury everything well beyond recognition.
- No taking flash photographs during gorilla trekking as this may scare the mountain gorillas.
- Try to keep your voice low when searching for the mountain gorillas in the forest. This is because they are susceptible to new occurrences in their vicinity.
Contact us for more information about gorilla trekking in Rushaga.