Rushaga Sector in Bwindi National Park : Rushaga sector in Bwindi National Park is for found in the southern part of the park and it is home to about seven mountain gorilla families at the time of writing this article. The sector is located in Kisoro and Nkuringo districts and is very close the Rwanda border; hence very convenient to people moving doing mountain gorilla trekking from Kigali or Rwanda in general.
Rushaga is one of four other sectors found in Bwindi National Park. It’s the only sector that has mountain habituation as of the time of writing this article. Mountain gorilla habituation is the process of familiarising gorillas with human presence a process that enables the gorillas to be ready for mountain gorilla trekking experiences.
If a mountain gorilla is not habituated, it can easily charge at you and even fight you; hence it’s not safe to trek unhabituated gorillas. People who take part in a mountain gorilla habituation process spend about 4 hours or more with the gorillas compared to the usual one hour of mountain gorilla trekking. Habituation is more educational and is usually done by wildlife scholars and trekking is done by any wildlife lover.
Mountain gorilla trekking on the other hand is the experience of going into a mountain gorilla habitant and spending an hour with the gorillas learning about them and enjoying their company.
In Rushaga sector both activities are done there, mountain gorilla trekking and mountain gorilla habituation.
The sector is hilly, one of the roughest to trek but the beauty is the top of the hills provide trekkers vantage points from which they view the surround sceneries which include beautiful forest canopies, Lake Mutanda, the virunga massif especially the ones in Rwanda.
Mountain gorilla trekking in Rushaga sector is done all year round and on your trekking experience you will encounter one of five families that is habituated in this sector. A gorilla family has about 10 – 15 members sometimes they are more or less but on a trekking day you will see about that number of gorillas.
As stated Rushaga is one of the hilly sectors in Bwindi National Park, so its terrains are quite rough and tedious to trek so people that wish to trek this sector should always be physically fit and health.
A trekking experience in this sector is done is a group of 8 and it takes about 6 to 8 hours depending on your trekking speed and how deep the family you are trekking is in the forest. Like all trekking experiences, you will be up early have breakfast pack a snack for the trek head to the conveying point for a trekking brief before you go deep into the forest for the trekking experience.
You will climb the mountainous forest for a couple of hours before you get to the gorillas. When you get to the gorillas you will spend an hour with them and after that hour you will move down the mountain to exit the forest.
The rules of mountain gorilla trekking in Rushaga are the same as other places which include but not limited to keep at least a 7 meter distance between you and the gorillas, don’t use flash photography, don’t feed the gorillas, don’t sneeze into the gorillas, do not provoke the gorillas, don’t litter the mountain gorilla habitat among other things.
Mountain gorilla trekking permits for Rushaga sector are acquired through the Uganda Wildlife Authority and they cost 700 USD. It’s advisable to book your permit way in advance and if you prefer trekking Rushaga mention it to your tour consultant at the time of booking.