The Rushaga sector of Bwindi is found in the southern part of the park. It has the most numbers of habituated gorillas amongst all sectors. Rushaga region is very close to Rwanda and ideal for Kigali to Bwindi gorilla trekking tours. It is only four hours away from Kigali. The Rushaga sector of Bwindi forest national park is one of the four sectors in the park where you can trek mountain gorillas from. The rest are Nkuringo sector (Western sector), Buhoma sector (Northern sector) and Ruhija sector (Eastern sector). To trek gorillas in Rushaga, you need to book Rushaga gorilla permits.
Gorilla groups in Rushaga sector
Busingye gorilla family
The name Busingye is derived from a local word meaning “peace”. This group was named after the dominating silverback Busingye that is fond of fighting fellow wild gorillas in order to capture more members to his group. This group is one of the groups you can see on your Rushaga gorilla trekking experience. Busingye gorilla family separated from Kayungye gorilla family in 2012 to form his own gorilla family. Kayungye gorilla family had 27 members before the split.
Nshongi gorilla family
Nshongi gorilla family was the largest ever habituated group in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park with 36 members at the time of habituation in 2006. The group derives its name from a river where it was first sighted. The group was under the leadership of Nshongi at the time of habituation. Mishaya one of the silverbacks in Nshongi gorilla family ran away with 10 members to form his own gorilla family, leaving the group with only 25 members.
Mishaya gorilla family
Mishaya gorilla family is a splinter group from Nshongi gorilla family. Silverback Mishaya took away ten members from his former family (Nshongi) to form his own. Mishaya was known for fighting other gorilla groups in order to grab females to his own group. He felt stronger as he grabbed more females. Due to several fights from un habituated gorilla families, Mishaya died in 2014 at the age of 28 years but the cause of his death is still not clearly known to date. The leadership of the group was taken over by an alpha silverback called Mwinne.
Kahungye gorilla family
Kahungye gorilla family now consists of 13 members after Busingye broke off with some individuals to form his own gorilla family. The group previously had 27 members dominated by Rumansizi. Kahungye gorilla family is now dominated by the silverback “Gwigi”, whose name means “door” in the local language.
Other activities to do in Rushaga Region of Bwindi
Bwindi Impenetrable National Park is home to about 348 species of birds and some of them are endemic to this area. Some of the birds that can be spotted at the park include; western green tinker bird, Shelley’s greenbul, African green broadbill, red-throated alethe, grey cuckoo shrike, Fine-banded woodpecker, bar-tailed trogon, Kivu ground thrush, mountain yellow warbler, African wood owl and many others. These birds are divided amongst the four sectors.
Bwindi Impenetrable National Park is not only home to mountain gorillas, but to also other wildlife like bushbucks, warthogs, bush pigs, forest elephants (rarely seen), giant forest genet, African civet and 13 primate species such as vervet monkeys, olive baboons, black and white colobus monkeys and red-tailed monkeys to mention a few.
Where to stay
Rushaga sector has got various accommodation options for tourists who’d like to spend nights in the misty forest of Bwindi. Some of the lodges in Rushaga include Rushaga gorilla camp, Ichumbi Gorilla Lodge, Clouds Mountain Gorilla Lodge, and Gorilla Safari Lodge among the rest.
Best time to visit
Bwindi Forest National Park can be visited all year round but visiting in some months is recommended. June to August and December to February are the peak season months. These are the best months for visiting Bwindi because the weather is favourable with minimal chances of rainfall.
Despite having plans of visiting during the dry season, weather sometimes can be unpredictable. Gorillas live in higher altitude areas which tend to be cold most of the time. You should carry warm clothing, raincoats, hiking boots, garden gloves, drinking water, energy snacks, insect repellents, sunscreens and so much more. Porters can also be hired at the park’s headquarters if you need one. Rushaga sector can easily be accessed from Kigali in Rwanda as it is only approximately 4 hours away. Travelling from Kampala calls for an 8 – 9 hours tiresome but adventurous drive.