Introduction to Ruhija
The Ruhija sector is located in the East of Bwindi Impenetrable Forest and is easily accessible from Buhoma and Kabale.
Ruhija is the most topographically diverse sector and is mainly used for scientific research.
Sitting at just an altitude just above 2,500m, Ruhija has unmatched views of forest ridge after forest ridge, all the way to the Virunga mountains.
You can hike to the top of Rwamunyonyi peak (2,607m), known as the 'hill of many birds'. Rwamunyonyi is the highest and coldest point in Bwindi Forest, and there is a large swamp here.
Ruhija is also the only sector in the park where elephants are present. Other animals include monkeys and antelopes.
There are three fully habituated gorillas families and although there are fewer gorillas, and fewer permits (16), Ruhija is a great option as it is quieter than the other sectors, and it has closer proximity to Queen Elizabeth National Park.
Where does Ruhija fit Into Your Ugandan Adventure
Situated in the eastern region of Bwindi Impenetrable Forest, Ruhija is superbly located.
You can stay the night in Ishasha or keep moving north to the Mweya Peninsula and the Kazinga Channel, the centre of Queens. Boat cruises, game drives, balloon safaris are all possible from this point.
Alternatively, if you wish to put your feet up and relax after those long treks, Lake Bunyonyi, often referred to as the Switzerland of Africa, is the ideal retreat.
Gorilla Trekking in Ruhija
There are three fully habituated gorilla families in this sector, including the Bitukura family, Oruzogo family, and the Kyaguriro group.
The Kyaguriro group is reserved for research, and permission to trek to this family needs to be obtained in advance from the Uganda Wildlife Authority.
There are only 16 permits a day, eight per family, not including the Kyaguriro family, who need special permission from UWA to be visited. Permits cost $700 at the time of writing, and need to be booked well in advance.
Treks can take up to six hours to find your assigned gorilla family, but it will be worthwhile once you are in the presence of these gentle giants.
You will have one wonderful hour with them before heading back.
Guided Primate and Forest Walks
Alongside the Mountain Gorilla, Bwindi is home to several primate species, including red-tailed monkeys, colobus, L'Hoest's monkeys.
Head out on a guided walk, and you may find yourself lucky to see these creatures in their natural forest habitat
Guided walks usually take 2 hours. As well as primates, you will find rare plants, butterflies and birds. There are about 350 bird species, with 14 not recorded anywhere else in Uganda.
Where To Stay
However, two standout options in Ruhija are Bakiga Lodge and Gorilla Mist Camp.
Bakiga Lodge sits overlooking a beautiful valley and is a wonderful luxury eco-lodge with fantastic views of the evergreen valleys.
The lodge offers ten spacious cabins, all self-contained with en-suite bathrooms and private balconies with spectacular forest views.
Bakiga Lodge is a non-profit lodge. Instead, profits go towards the Bakiga Community Project.
Gorilla Mist Camp has first-class views to all the six peaks in the Virunga's. The lodge consists of five grass-thatched luxurious bandas, all self-contained and decorated to blend with nature.
They also offer three tented rooms, all self-contained with solar electricity and running water. The main house consists of a well-stocked bar, library, lounge, a dining area; a fireplace and balcony.
When to Visit
The best time to visit Ruhija is from June to August and December to February.
These are the driest months in Uganda, making trekking much more comfortable, although rains are possible at any time of year due to the equatorial climate.
The rainy/low season is from March to May and September to November. The wetter conditions can make trekking more difficult.
However, it is becoming increasingly challenging to predict weather patterns - so you might get lucky if you decide to go during the rainy season. Accommodation may also be cheaper during this time.
How to Get There
From Kampala to the Ruhija sector, it can take up to 9 hours to drive dependent on road conditions.
Daily flights from Kampala and Entebbe to Kihihi Airstrip that take approximately 1.5 hours is the quickest and easiest way to get to Ruhija.
Flights only leave in the morning and are subject to weather conditions on the day.
Once in Kihihi, dependent on your chosen lodge, the drive can take 1-2 hours.
Discover Gorilla Trekking in Uganda
Bwindi Mountain Gorilla Families
Bwindi Impenetrable National Park is home to 19 habituated gorilla families, and over half of the world's wild gorilla population.
Gorilla Trekking in Uganda
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How difficult is gorilla trekking?
Gorilla trekking is one of the best wildlife experiences in Uganda. Tracking down these primates in their natural habitat means trekking through dense forest in unpredictable …
Is Gorilla Trekking Safe?
Gorilla trekking in Uganda is one of the best wildlife experiences in Africa. There are stringent safety precautions in place, and the field guides who accompany you on the treks …
Is Gorilla Trekking Ethical?
The Uganda Wildlife Authority and local stakeholders have developed comprehensive conservation initiatives and implemented protocols to ensure all visits to the gorillas are …
Is Gorilla Trekking Worth It?
In the remote, densely-forested national parks of Bwindi Impenetrable and Magahinga in south-western Uganda, a small but stable population of mountain gorillas roam. Getting up …
Ready to Meet the Gorillas?
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