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Which Sector is the Best for Gorilla Trekking in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park?

The four trails of Nkuringo, Ruhija, Rushaga and Buhoma offer amazing gorilla trekking encounters in Bwindi forest.

Bwindi Impenetrable National Park is located in south-western Uganda, near the Rift Valley. Its mist-covered hillsides are surrounded by one of Uganda’s oldest and most ecologically diversified rain forests, dating back over 25,000 years and containing around 400 plant species. This “impenetrable jungle” also protects an estimated 459 mountain gorillas – about half the world’s total, including many habituated groups that can be followed. Around 120 animals live in this biologically rich region, including various primate species such as baboons and chimps, as well as elephants and antelopes. This woodland is home to over 350 bird species, including 23 Albertine Rift endemics. Bwindi Impenetrable National Park in south-western Uganda has a total of four gorilla trekking sectors that visitors can during your Uganda gorilla safari and these include Buhoma, Ruhija, Nkuringo and Rushaga gorilla trekking sectors.

Which Sector is the Best for Gorilla Trekking in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park

In order to determine which sector is best for gorilla trekking in Bwindi impenetrable national park, you will need accurate and detailed information on each sector. Here is a look into each of the gorilla trekking sectors in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park;

BUHOMA GORILLA SECTOR

Buhoma sector, located in the northern part of Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park, is one of the four most fantastic gorilla trekking sectors that you should not miss when on a gorilla trekking safari in Uganda. When it comes to mountain gorilla activities, Buhoma sector is most well-known as the oldest trailhead in Uganda. Buhoma gorilla sector in Bwindi impenetrable national park is a pioneer of gorilla trekking tours in Bwindi Forest and Uganda; with the Mubare gorilla family as the first gorilla group to be habituated in the park in 1993.

What is the Cost of Gorilla Trekking in Uganda?

Pros of Gorilla Trekking in Buhoma Sector in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park.

  • Rushegura, Katwe, Mubare, Habinyanja and Binyido gorilla families are known gorilla families Buhoma sector and among the most trekked gorilla families during Uganda gorilla trekking safaris in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park.
  • Buhoma sector is easily accessible by visitors traveling from Kampala and Entebbe with drives to the park taking approximately 8-9 hours as compared to other sectors like Rushaga which is about a 10 hour’s drive.
  • In case you are not interested in driving to Buhoma sector, you can fly from Kajjansi or Entebbe International Airport to Buhoma hence cutting down on the long drive. Bar Aviation and Aerolink both offer scheduled and chartered flights to Kihihi Airstrip in Bwindi national park, taking about 1-2 hours depending on the flight routing. From Kihihi Airstrip, you can drive to your lodge in Buhoma sector.
  • Buhoma sector is the best option if you are looking to combine a gorilla trekking safari in Bwindi impenetrable national park with a wildlife safari in Queen Elizabeth National Park.
  • Buhoma sector can also be accessed by visitors travelling from Kigali city in Rwanda via the Katuna border. A 3 days gorilla safari to Bwindi from Kigali is possible if you are looking for a cheaper gorilla safari option.
  • Buhoma sector also the best sector if you are looking do guided nature walks/hiking or birding tours; with interesting trails to explore like River Ivy Trail, Rushura Hill Trail, Munyaga River Trail and Muzabajiro Loop Trail.
  • Buhoma sector offers a variety of lodging options as compared to other gorilla trekking sectors in Bwindi impenetrable national park. Accommodation options in Buhoma sector include Buhoma Lodge, Buhoma Haven Lodge, Buhoma Community Rest Camp, Mahogany Springs, Bwindi Lodge, Sanctuary Gorilla Forest Camp, Engagi Lodge and Silverback Lodge to mention but a few.
Which Sector is the Best for Gorilla Trekking in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park?
Which Sector is the Best for Gorilla Trekking in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park?

Cons of gorilla trekking in Buhoma Sector

  • Given that Buhoma sector is high demanded for by most visitors travelling to Bwindi impenetrable national park on a gorilla safari in Uganda, gorilla permits are always fully booked hence requiring you to book your gorilla permit at least 6 months in advance.
  • Also, Buhoma sector doesn’t provide the best option for visitors looking to do gorilla trekking from Kigali in Rwanda given its central location in Bwindi Impenetrable national park.

RUHIJA GORILLA SECTOR

Ruhija Gorilla Sector is situated in the eastern part of Bwindi forest national park. It is the closet sector to Buhoma and has four gorilla families available for trekking during your gorilla trekking safari in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park; Bitukura, Oruzogo, Kyaguliro, and Mukiza gorilla families.

Pros of gorilla trekking in Ruhija Sector in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park.

  • Ruhija sector is the best option if you are looking to visit Lake Bunyonyi after your gorilla trek as it close to Kabale.
  • Ruhija sector is the quietest of the four gorilla trekking sectors in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park, providing you with the most private gorilla trekking experience.
  • Given its close proximity to Buhoma sector, its is possible for visitors to sleep in Buhoma and do gorilla trekking in Ruhija sector.
  • Ruhija, located slightly over 2,500 meters, offers unparalleled vistas of forest crest after forest ridge, all the way to the Virunga mountains.
  • Hiking to the summit of Rwamunyonyi peak which is 2,607 meters above sea level, often known as the “hill of many birds,” is possible from Ruhija sector; hence is a great option for visitors interested in hiking or guided nature walks in Ruhija sector. Rwamunyonyi is the highest and coldest point in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park, and it has a vast swamp.
  • Ruhija sector in Bwindi impenetrable national park is also the park’s sole region where elephants may be found. Monkeys and antelopes are among the other animals.
  • Ruhija sector is one of the best gorilla trekking sectors in Bwindi impenetrable national park if you are looking for a challenge during your gorilla trekking experience since this sector is situated on a high altitude.
  • Ruhija sector can be easily accessed from Kampala taking approximately 9 hours of driving. This sector can be accessed from Kampala or Entebbe through Kabale town and then connect to Ruhija. Another route to use passes via Ntungamo to Rukungiri, Kihihi and Butogota before driving for another two hours to reach Ruhija.
  • Ruhija sector also offers visitors other activities such as primate tracking, birding, guided forest walk/hikes and Batwa community tours.
  • Ruhija sector can be accessed by air with flights from Kampala or Entebbe to Kihihi Airstrip. Bar Aviation and Aerolink both offer domestic flights to Ruhija park taking between 1-2 hours depending on the flight routing.
Which Sector is the Best for Gorilla Trekking in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park?
Is Gorilla Trekking better in Uganda or Rwanda

Cons of gorilla trekking in Ruhija Sector in Bwindi impenetrable National Park.

  • Ruhija sector has limited lodges making accommodation options limited to a few. Lodging options in Ruhija sector include Bakiga Lodge, Ruhija Gorilla Safari Lodge, Broadbill forest camp, and Gorilla Mist Camp.
  • Gorilla trekking in Ruhija sector can be quite strenuous given its high altitude hence it’s not advisable for visitors who are not physically fit nor up for the hiking challenge to see gorillas in this sector.

NKURINGO GORILLA SECTOR

Nkuringo sector, located appropriately in the southern portion of Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park, is incredibly one of the four primary gorilla trekking sectors in the park. Nkuringo gorilla sector in Bwindi impenetrable national park is surprisingly one of the least popular areas that provide incredible gorilla trekking experiences to travelers on gorilla trekking safaris in Uganda. The first ever gorilla family to be habituated in this sector is called Nkuringo gorilla group. Nkuringo sector has two other habituated gorilla families which include; Bushaho and Christmas Gorilla families.

Pros of gorilla trekking in Nkuringo Sector in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park.

  • Nkuringo sector is popular for its views of Mount Nyiragongo and Mount Nyamuragira which are situated in the Democratic Republic of Congo.
  • Nkuringo sector in Bwindi impenetrable national park is the best option for visitors looking to have a stopover visit at Lake Mutanda or Lake Mulehe in Kisoro. Visitors can always enjoy a boat ride on Lake Mutanda or Lake Mulehe before or after a gorilla trek in Nkuringo sector.
  • This sector of Bwindi national park is recommended for visitors who love long hikes given that the terrains in Nkuringo sector are not as steep as those in other sectors of Bwindi impenetrable national park.
  • Nkuringo sector is also a great sector for visitors looking to do gorilla trekking in Bwindi national park from Kigali city in Rwanda. This is because the sector can easily be accessed via the Cyanika border in Kisoro district taking approximately 5 hours.
  • Visitors can also combine gorilla trekking in Nkuringo sector with other activities such as community tours, guided nature walks and bird watching tours.
  • There are also domestic flights from Kampala or Entebbe to Kisoro Airstrip and then drive for about 2 hours to Nkuringo. Bar Aviation and Aerolink Uganda both operate domestic flights from Kampala/Entebbe to Kisoro, taking approximately 1-2 hours depending on the flight routing.

Cons of Nkuringo Gorilla Sector

  • Nkuringo sector is one of the hardest sectors for gorilla trekking safaris in Bwindi Impenetrable national park. This is because of the tough terrain in the area which makes hiking quite strenuous and challenging.
  • The gorilla families in Nkuringo sector are situated in high altitudes making it hard for visitors to access the gorilla groups and in turn making gorilla trekking challenging for those that aren’t physically fit.
  • Nkuringo sector also has limited accommodation options for visitors looking to spend an overnight Bwindi. Accommodation options in Nkuringo sector include; Lake Mulehe Gorilla Lodge, Nkuringo Bwindi Gorilla Lodge, Virunga Campsite, and Clouds Mountain Gorilla Lodge to mention but a few.

RUSHAGA GORILLA SECTOR

Rushaga Gorilla Sector is situated in the southern part of Bwindi Impenetrable National Park. It is located in Kisoro District neighboring Nkuringo sector. Rushaga sector in Bwindi forest national park has a total of 8 gorilla families namely; Shongi, Bweza, Kahungye, Bikingi, Busingye, Mishaya, Mucunguzi, and Kutu. This sector is popular for research and is the only sector in Bwindi national park that offers visitors gorilla habituation experience as an activity.

Pros of gorilla trekking in Rushaga Sector in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park.

  • Rushaga sector is the best option for visitors looking to do both gorilla trekking and gorilla habituation experience.
  • For those interested in a 2 days gorilla safari from Kigali, Rushaga sector is the best place for you to do gorilla trekking in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park.
  • Rushaga sector has the highest number of habituated gorilla families as compared to other gorilla trekking sectors in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park.
  • Rushaga sector can easily be accessed from Kigali city in Rwanda via the Cyanika border in Kisoro. Drives from Kigali to Rushaga take approximately 4-5 hours.
  • Domestic Flights to Rushaga sector are available if you are booking with either Bar Aviation or Aerolink Uganda. Flights from Kampala or Entebbe to Rushaga land at Kisoro Airstrip and then you will have to drive about 1-2 hours to your lodge in Rushaga sector.
  • Rushaga sector in Bwindi national park is also a good place if you are looking to do other activities such as birding, community tours, and guided nature walks.
  • Visitors travelling to Rushaga sector can also make a stopover visit to Lake Mutanda in Kisoro and enjoy a boat ride on the lake.
  • In terms of accommodation, Rushaga sector comes in second place after Buhoma sector. Accommodation options in Rushaga sector include; Rushaga Gorilla Haven Lodge, Ichumbi Gorilla Lodge, Four Heights Gorilla Lodge, and Rushaga Gorilla Resort, Rushaga Gorilla Camp, Rushaga Gorilla Safari Lodge to mention but a few.

Cons of gorilla trekking in Rushaga sector in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park.

  • Rushaga sector is difficult to access for those travelling from Kampala or Entebbe given that it takes approximately 10-11 hours’ drive to reach the park.
  • Gorilla Trekking in Rushaga sector can be a bit challenging given the rough terrain in the area.
  • Given its distant location in Bwindi Impenetrable national park, its difficult for visitors to connect to other national parks like Kibale national park and Queen Elizabeth National Park.

In summary; choosing the best sector for gorilla trekking in Bwindi Impenetrable national park is totally dependent on your level of physical fitness as well as interest. For those looking for a more challenging gorilla trekking experience, then Nkuringo and Ruhija are the best sector for gorilla trekking.

However, for those interested in a less strenuous gorilla trekking experience, then Buhoma and Rushaga sectors are the best options for you. In addition to this, Rushaga sector offers the best opportunity for visitors looking to do gorilla habituation and gorilla trekking from Kigali city in Rwanda.

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