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Guide to Rushaga Gorilla Trekking Permits – Numbers & Availability

Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park is located in the southwestern part of Uganda and boasts half of the population of mountain gorillas.

The park has four regions where gorilla trekking can be done: Nkuringo sector, Buhoma sector, Ruhija sector, and Rushaga sector.

Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park is not only home to mountain gorillas but also endowed with 120 species of mammals, 348 species of birds, and 400 species of plants.

The park was established in 1991 and recognized as a World Heritage Site in 1994 by UNESCO.

Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park has the highest concentration of primate species in the world, with 13 species of primates, 120 species of mammals, 400 species of plants, and 348 species of birds, 23 of which are endemic to the Albertine region.

Rushaga sector is a popular sector for Kigali to Bwindi gorilla trekking tours.

Gorilla Families in Rushaga Sector of Bwindi

Gorilla Families in Rushaga Sector of Bwindi

  • Busingye Gorilla Family. The Busingye gorilla family can be trekked in the Rushaga sector of Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park. The Busingye gorilla family broke away from the Kahungye gorilla family in August 2012. The name Busingye is derived from a local word meaning “peace,” given to the dominating silverback.
  • Kahungye Gorilla Family. The Kahungye gorilla family consisted of 23 members at the time of habituation and was dominated by the silverback Rumansi. However, after habituation, the group split in less than a year to form the Busingye gorilla family.
  • Bweza Gorilla Family. The Bweza gorilla family was formed after Bweza, the dominant silverback, separated from the Nshongi gorilla family to form his own in 2012. The group now has 12 members, including 2 silverbacks, 3 adult females, 4 blackbacks, 1 juvenile, and 2 infant gorillas.
  • Nshongi Gorilla Family. The Nshongi gorilla family was the largest habituated gorilla family in Bwindi at the time of their habituation. The group was opened up for tourism in 2009 when it consisted of 36 members, and the name was derived from the Nshongi River where they were first sighted. The Nshongi gorilla family split in 2010 when the silverback Mishaya broke off with 10 members to form his own family, now known as the Mishaya gorilla family. In less than two months, Bweza also decided to break away and form his own gorilla family, leaving the group with only 7 members.
  • Mishaya Gorilla Family. The Mishaya gorilla family was formed after the silverback Mishaya broke away from the Nshongi gorilla family to start his own family. Mishaya was known for fighting other gorilla groups to recruit members into his own family. Unfortunately, due to several fights with other silverbacks, Mishaya sustained several wounds that later led to his death on the 3rd of February 2014. His death was also attributed to coiling of his intestines. The group is now led by Mwine.

Where to Stay

When trekking mountain gorillas in the Rushaga region of Bwindi, you will be advised to book a lodge in the Rushaga sector.

Some of the lodges in the Rushaga sector include Rushaga Gorilla Camp, Ichumbi Gorilla Lodge, Chameleon Hill Lodge, and many others.

Gorilla Permits

Gorilla permits in the Rushaga sector of Bwindi cost $700 per person, and gorilla habituation permits cost $1500 per person.

Children under the age of 15 years or tourists with infections like the flu will not be allowed to trek gorillas.

When to Visit

The Rushaga sector of Bwindi is an all-year-round destination, but some months are better than the rest.

The best time to visit is from June to August and December to February.

What to Bring

Tourists going for gorilla trekking or gorilla habituation should bring along good hiking boots, garden gloves, raincoats, warm clothes, long-sleeved shirts, drinking water, energy snacks, and insect repellents, among other essentials.

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