Introduction to Rushaga Sector
Rushaga, the southern sector of Bwindi Impenetrable National Park, is home to seven mountain gorilla families, the highest population density in the park.
Situated in the Kisoro and Nkuringo districts, Rushaga is one of four gorilla trekking regions in the forest and is the only sector to offer the gorilla habituation experience.
This experience allows you to spend up to four magical hours with the gorillas, instead of the standard one-hour available on a typical gorilla trek.
There are 64 permits available each day, including eight for the two gorilla families currently undergoing habituation.
The rolling hills of the Rushaga sector provide great vantage points from which you will have uninterrupted views of the forest canopy, Lake Mutanda and the distant Virunga mountains of Rwanda.
Gorillas in Rushaga
There are five fully habituated gorilla families, comprising forty gorillas. With the highest concentration of gorillas of any region, there is an excellent chance of observing one of the five families habituated to human interaction.
Which family you are assigned on the day depends on their location and the hiker's fitness. The trek can take up to six hours, depending on where they are located in the region.
Once you have found your gorilla family, you will have one unforgettable hour with them to observe, take photos and enjoy being in the presence of these majestic creatures.
Trekking permits cost $700 at time of writing, and it is recommended that you book in advance.
Gorilla Habituation Experience
If you decide to partake in the habituation experience, you will work alongside researchers and rangers to gently introduce the gorillas to the presence of humans.
You will have four hours with them, compared to the one-hour on a standard gorilla trek.
They may be more skittish than the already habituated gorillas, but you will be playing an important role in the conservation of an endangered species.
Gorilla habituation permits cost $1,500 at the time of writing, and there are only eight available each day, four for each family.
Where does Rushaga fit Into Your Ugandan Adventure
The area around these lakes is often referred to as the Switzerland of Africa due to the surrounding lush green hills and glass-like waters. The lakes are the ideal place to relax and catch your breath after trekking thanks to their serene natural beauty and tranquil atmosphere.
Bwindi Impenetrable forest also works well with a safari in Queen Elizabeth National Park, Uganda's most visited national park.
Scheduled and chartered flights with AeroLink, From Kisoro to the Mweya Airstrip in Queens, are available if would you prefer to fly.
If you book your gorilla trek with Brilliant, we deal with all the hassle of permit arrangements and logistics for you, so all you need to find is your perfect trekking shoes, and get ready to meet the gorillas.
Alongside gorilla trekking, Bwindi is fabulous for nature walks. Head out on a guided nature walk through the forest's undergrowth and discover some rare plants, birds and insects that thrive in this rainforest paradise.
Forest walks often take two hours and is an excellent opportunity for keen birders. There are approximately 350 bird species, with 14 not recorded anywhere else in Uganda.
Where to Stay
Rushaga Gorilla Camp
Rushaga Gorilla Camp is one of the best options available. Located only 10 minutes from the Rushaga headquarters, this camp offers luxury tents and suites, cottages, cabins, standard rooms and a campsite for those on a budget.
The bar and restaurant serve a blend of modern and traditional dishes, and guests can unwind with yoga classes, massages, and relaxation therapy.
A swimming pool and gym are being constructed and will be available to guests soon.
Gorilla Valley Lodge
Gorilla Valley Lodge is an excellent mid-range accommodation in the Rushaga sector.
Nestled on the edge of the forest, guests can experience the forest's splendour, sprawling within a metre of their private veranda.
There are 12 spacious rooms with en-suite bathrooms and tastefully decorated in a retro safari style.
Surrounded by evergreen forest, the bar and restaurant boast great views. The gorillas have occasionally visited the gardens, giving guests a few extra precious moments with these incredibly special creatures.
Nashongi Camp comprises four budget bandas nestled between tall trees on the edge of the forest and is great for those who want to be close to the action but at a great price.
Guests can dine under the stars and relax by the roaring campfire. They serve three-course meals and can prepare a lunch box for when you go tracking. Hot coffee, tea, and drinks are always available.
When To Visit
The best time to visit the gorillas in Uganda is from June to August and December to February.
These are the driest months in Uganda, making trekking much easier, although showers are possible at any time of year due to the equatorial climate.
The low season spans from March to May and September to November. The wetter conditions can make trekking more difficult, but it is becoming increasingly difficult to predict weather patterns - so you might get lucky if you decide to go during the rainy season.
Accommodation may also be cheaper during the rainy/low seasons.
How To Get There
From Kampala to the Rushaga sector, it can take up to 9 hours to drive via Masaka, Mbarara, and Kabale, dependent on road conditions.
Daily flights from Kampala and Entebbe to Kisoro Airstrip that take just under 2 hours and is the quickest and easiest way to get to Rushaga.
Flights only leave in the morning and are subject to weather conditions on the day.
Once in Kisoro town, it is a 2-hour drive to Rushaga.
Discover Gorilla Trekking in Uganda
Gorilla Trekking in Uganda
Uganda is home to half the world's Mountain Gorilla population. Seeing these animals up close in their natural habitat is one of the most impressive wildlife encounters in Africa. …
Gorilla Habituation Experience
The Gorilla Habituation Experience gives you the chance to spend 4 hours in the company of the Mountain Gorillas in Uganda's Bwindi Impenetrable National Park.
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.
Best Time to Visit the Gorillas in Uganda
The best time to visit the gorillas in Uganda is from June to August, and again from December to February. These are the driest months in Uganda which makes trekking much easier, …
Uganda Gorilla Permits
Bwindi Impenetrable National Park is home to an estimated 400 gorillas. To visit them, you’ll need to secure a permit, issued by the Uganda Wildlife Authority.
Gorilla Trekking Costs
Bwindi Impenetrable National Park and Mgahinga Gorilla National Park have excellent gorilla populations, and gorilla permits here are much cheaper than in neighbouring …
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 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 …
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 …
Ready to Meet the Gorillas?
The tours below showcase just some of what is possible. Use these itineraries as starting points, or to draw inspiration. Then get in touch, and let our expert team help craft the perfect itinerary for you.
Combine chimp trekking in Kibale Forest with mountain gorilla treks in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park. A well-paced highlights tour unlocking some of Uganda's most impressive experiences. Consider breaking up the journey from Kibale to Bwindi with a classic safari at…