Rushaga Gorilla Sector in Bwindi

Rushaga is a sector of the Bwindi Impenetrable National Park in southwestern Uganda where travelers go for gorilla tours. This sector is found in the southern part of the park. Bwindi Impenetrable National Park is one of the most visited parks in Uganda for the gorilla safaris. The Rushaga sector is the nearest sector to the Volcanoes National Park. It can be easily accessed by travelers from Rwanda to Uganda for gorilla safaris. Rushaga is the only sector where gorilla habituation is done for the gorillas to be familiar with the human presence for tracking.

This sector also has views of the Gahinga and the Sabyinyo Mountain found in the Mgahinga Gorilla National Park. The Rushaga sector is also best for travelers for the double gorilla trekking in Rwanda and Uganda. More so, the Rushaga sector has several gorilla families. This makes it the best destination for gorilla trekking than other sectors in the park.

Gorilla families in the Rushaga Sector of Bwindi

Nshongi gorilla family

This family was habituated in 2007 and was set for the gorilla trekking in September 2009. The family originates its name from the river Nshongi. The name is from a Rukiga word “Omushongi Gwoboki” which means “honey’’ since the water of the river looks like honey. This is one of the largest families and with a quite number of silverbacks. In 2010, the group had to split up and the Mishaya the silver back formed a new family. This family is always available for the gorilla trekking each day.

Mishaya gorilla family

The Mishaya gorilla family came into existence in 2010 after the dominant Mishaya silverback usually attacked other families to bring the females into the family. On 3rd February, the Mishaya sliver back died due to obstruction in the intestinal gut. This group broke off from the Nshongi family and the family is currently led by the Tinfayo Silverback. After the death of the Mishaya silverback, the other members lacked an adult male and started joining other families like the Bweza family. The park authorities in 2018 discovered that the family had a dominant silver back called Tinfayo silver back who was once a member of the Shongi family.

Rwigi gorilla family

This is one of the newly created families in the Rushaga family that broke off the Kahunge group due to the misunderstandings between the Rwigi silverback and the dominant male Ruhemuka. The family currently comprises about 10 members which include 1 silver back, 5 females,2 juveniles, and 2 babies.

Kahunge gorilla family

The family originates its name from the hill within the Rushaga sector called the Kahunge Hill where the family was first sited. The habituation process started in 2009 and the family was available for the gorilla trekking in 2011. During the habituation process, the family had over 27 members led by the dominant Ruhemuka who died in March 2013 due to severe injuries from the head. After the death of Ruhemuka, the family split into 2 forming the Busingye group. Currently, the group is led by the dominant silver-back Rwigi and the assistant Rumanzi.

Busingye gorilla family

This family broke off from the Kahunge family in 2013 due to misunderstandings in the family. The family is led by the sliver back Busingye. The park authorities have registered about 9 members living in this family.

Bikingi gorilla family

The gorillas in this family came from the Mishaya group after dissatisfaction and as the family started, they were joined by the unhabituated gorillas. The group was under the leadership of the Bikingi silver back who died after a fight in the forest with another silver back. The death of Bikingi led to the separation of the family members joining the Kahunge group. The current silver back in the group is also called the Bikingi and the name has been passed on for 2 generations.

Mucunguzi gorilla family

The family is led by Silverback Mucunguzi who was the 3rd youngest silverback in the Bweza family. The fight that had started in the Bweza family led to Mucunguzi being sent out of the group. This family is one of the newly habituated families for gorilla trekking and it consists more of females than males. Mucunguzi recently took over the females from the Bikingi family.

Bweza gorilla family

The Bweza gorilla family was part of the Nshongi family which was the largest family in the park. The family had fights since 2013 which led to the rise of the Bweza gorilla family. The family is led by the dominant male Bweza and the family consists of about 7 members.

What are the requirements for gorilla trekking in the Rushaga sector?

As you plan for gorilla trekking in the Rushaga sector, you are recommended to have the following.

  • You must have a fully paid gorilla trekking permit which costs 800 dollars for foreigners, 300000Ugx for Ugandans and East African citizens, and 700 dollars for foreign residents.
  • Gorilla trekking must be done by a person who is 15 years and above.
  • The travelers are advised to be healthy enough not to spread the diseases to the gorillas.
  • There is no use of the Flash cameras during the viewing of the gorillas.
  • Travelers are not allowed to share food with the gorillas during the gorilla trekking.
  • Only 8 people are allowed to visit the gorilla family each day.
  • Do not litter in the park
  • Travelers are allowed to interact with the gorillas for one hour
  • Travelers are recommended not to eat in front of the gorillas.

Other than the Rushaga sector gorilla trekking in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park can also be done in other sectors. These include; the Ruhija, Buhoma, and Nkuringo with different families.

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