Ruhija sector is one of the gorilla trekking sectors in Bwindi that inhabit the endangered mountain gorilla species that are habituated for trekking.
The mountain gorillas are the most visited creatures with over half of their population found in Bwindi Impenetrable national park and the rest shared by Rwanda and Congo. In Bwindi Impenetrable national park, there are four identified sectors for gorilla trekking given the nature and population of the gorilla families including; Buhoma, Rushaga, Nkuringo and finally Ruhija whereby each sector is exceptional in its own way. Ruhija sector has stunning breezes that cover the area. Ruhija cold weather is credited by the hilly terrains and the dense forest which actually make up the forest. The morning hours are covered with fog, during the day the weather is cool and in the nights, it is extremely cold reason why lodges around the park provide warm water bottles in their beds to provide them with some warmth.
Ruhija sector is located in the Eastern part of Bwindi Impenetrable national park and has three gorilla families which include; Bitukura gorilla family, Kyaguriro family and Oruzogo family all available for trekking. Just like other sectors, 8 people are only allowed to trek on a daily basis after acquiring a gorilla permit from the Uganda Wildlife Authority or from Achieve Global Safaris. Only 24 permits Ruhija sector offers more eco-tourism experience given that it has only 3 gorilla families compared to the Buhoma sector which is the closest to Ruhija sector as compared to other sectors given. A visitor has a choice of selecting their own gorilla family to visit however it depends on availability for a given date. Given the Bwindi is rainfall, the rains there are unpredictable so trekkers are advised to carry good hiking shoes, long pants and shirts, rain jackets/coats, and possibly gardening gloves. A gorilla permit goes for $700 for foreign non-residents, $500 for foreign residents and 71$ for East African Residents. Gorilla trekking in Ruhija sector starts at 7 am with a briefing about the sector and gorilla trekking experience before you embark on the search. Trekkers are only allowed an hour to spend in the presence of the gorillas.
Activities in Ruhija Sector
Apart from gorilla trekking, there are other available activities for visitors to engage in including;
Community tours: While staying in the Ruhija sector for gorilla trekking, visitors also have an opportunity of visiting and supporting the communities around the park area. There are different community projects set up and have enabled the locals to get involved in tourism as a source of income to their families by simply doing projects like making of crafts, baskets weaving, and beekeeping, these have supported the local livelihood of the communities as source of employment some of whom are porters for gorilla trekking in the park. Visitors who visit these projects are also given an opportunity to participate in these activities and also participate in the entertainment provided by the community as a way to make them feel your involvement in their activities. The community projects help to generate a balance between the environment, wildlife conservation and sustainability development in the Bwindi at large.
The Batwa community experience is yet another experience not to be missed on your visit to the Ruhija sector. The Batwa are the indigenous people of Bwindi forest who were evicted from the forest when gorillas were discovered and introduced in the park in 1991. A visit to the Batwa rewards visitors with an understanding of their cultural lifestyle, norms, and traditions while still the forest which includes hunting, making local herbs, beekeeping for honey, and entertainment through songs and dances.
Forest walks/nature walks are unique activities that take you through the impenetrable forest. A forest walk is a better way to discover the forest and its features like waterfalls, rivers, caves, and rocks. During the walk, you are given a ranger guide who will guide you through the forest. Learn about the tree species and expect to find some bird species located in the park in their sweet sounds singing up on the trees, also expect to encounter some animals in the forest.
Bird watching is yet another interesting activity to do after the gorilla trekking experience. For bird lovers, Ruhija is one of the destinations with several birds. Ruhija has been reported with about 25 bird species including; hornbills, starred robin, bush shrike, Dusky Crimson Wing to mention a few. Visitors are highly advised to bring their binoculars for easier identification of the birds.
Accommodations in Ruhija
Ruhija sector offers good accommodation facilities which provide safety to visitors and are comfortable for visitors and have great views of the forest. Accommodations in Ruhija range from Luxury, mid-range, and budget with great services and affordable prices. Commonly visited lodges include; Ruhija Gorilla Lodge, Gorilla Mist lodge, Bakiga lodge, Agandi Uganda lodges, Trekkers Tavern lodge to mention but a few. These lodges practice professionalism of their staff to provide the best experience for visitors. To confirm a booking, you are advised to secure a book 3 months before your arrival after securing your gorilla permits as well.
In conclusion, the Ruhija sector of Bwindi Impenetrable national park is worthwhile to visit. Book a safari tour to Bwindi forest with Achieve Global Safaris and encounter the mountain gorillas in their own natural habitat, memorable experience for a lifetime.