Rushaga region is located in the southern section of Bwindi Impenetrable National Park. It is located in Kisoro District together with Nkuringo Region. It has several gorilla families which include Nshongi, Mishaya, Busingye, Kahungye and Bweza.
The Rushaga sector boasts the highest number of gorilla families and lies between Kabale and Nkuringo coming from either Ruhija or Kampala.
The region is dominated by high hills and because of this, habituated gorilla families have kept on separating and subdividing to take up different hills in the region. Because of these hills, tourists who trek gorillas from Rushaga tend to enjoy great scenic views and at some points, you can as well see the Virunga ranges in Rwanda and Uganda that include Mgahinga, Muhavura, Sabinyo, Karusimbi, and Bisoke among others. There is Lake Mutanda which is one of the only two lava damned lakes in Uganda. You can enjoy a canoe ride on the lake before or after your gorilla trek.
Gorilla Tracking in Rushaga
Rushaga is the perfect sector in Bwindi Impenetrable Forest when it comes to mountain gorilla tracking and it is also the only sector where visitors can do Gorilla Habituation Experience.
Nshongi gorilla family:
This is one of the largest habituated gorilla families in Bwindi Impenetrable Forest after the current split with where Mweza group was created. This group was previously composed of 36 gorillas but today it boosts of over 25 mountain gorillas with dominant silverback, two sub silverbacks, three black backs, six adult females, six juveniles and three infants. This is one of the unique gorillas to have over four silverbacks and still, it controlled by Nshongi who is not the oldest silverback in the group and surprisingly all the three silverbacks and seven silverbacks stayed peacefully and never had cases of power struggle. Nshongi gorilla group was established with a lot of fanfare and celebrities from far and wide came in 2009. In 2010, Nshongi group broke off and only 26 mountain gorillas were left as others went to form their own families for instance Mishaya gorilla family. In 2013, the group still broke off and reduced to 18 members with new split establishing the current Bweza with ten gorillas. Being the largest gorilla group, visitors also have higher chances of sighting at other apes, forest birds and butterflies.
Mishaya gorilla group:
This group split from Nshongi group in 2010 due to disputes under silverback Mishaya. The silverback went away with other females and today it boosts of over seven mountain gorillas and one silverback. Mishaya silverback is a real fighter and he managed to gather many females around and the number shot up to twelve including 3 infants. Mishaya is the only adult mountain gorilla which is famous for fighting and often begins interacting with other mountain gorilla groups. However, by 2015 this group was left with only seven members due to continuous battles.
Kahungye gorilla family:
This group is composed of 13 mountain gorillas and three silverbacks and the dominant silverback is known Rumansi followed by the other 2 male mountain gorillas called Rwigi and Ruhamuka. This group was ready for gorilla tracking in 2011 but unfortunately not more than a year the group broke off and hence a new family call Busingye gorilla group was formed. Prior their split, the group was composed of 27 members including three silverbacks.
Busingye gorilla group:
This group is composed of 9 mountain gorillas and it includes one silverback, three infants, two adults and many young ones. Busingye gorilla group broke off from Kahungye gorilla group in 2012. It was Busingye silverback that decided to break away and form his own group. The word Busingye denotes “peace” which a bit astonishing since his ambitious silverback is popular for his legendary fights with other gorilla families. He enjoys demonstrating his power and whenever he encounters a wild group he mercilessly takes a female gorilla to add to his own group.
Bweza gorilla group:
This group is comprised of only seven mountain gorillas including one silverback and two infants. Bweza gorilla group is a splitter group of Nshongi gorilla family and it is the most versatile and exciting gorilla group that is worth visiting while in a safari to Bwindi Impenetrable Forest.
This sector is comprised of only one habituated gorilla group known as Nkuringo gorilla group. This group is composed of 19 mountain gorillas and tracking mountain gorillas in this group is the most breathtaking experience and visitors to this family are advised to be a little fit. Despite its toughness, the experiences thereafter are really worth appreciating in life. Surprisingly, even a 94 year old woman in 2013 came to track mountain gorillas in this group and indeed she successfully did it though she had to be carried by porters on stretches to Bwindi Impenetrable Forest.
For those interested ion gorilla habituation experience, they can visit Bikingi and Bushaho gorilla families where they will spend four hours exploring the daily behaviors of these spectacular primates.
Where to Stay in Rushaga Sector
Accommodation for those interested in trekking Rushaga Gorilla Families can be booked in Kisoro Town-Kisoro Travellers Rest Inn, Nkuringo Safari Lodge, Nkuringo Gorilla Camp or even Clouds Gorilla Lodge.
If you are driving, please budget for a whole day since it may take you approximately 9-10 hours drive on a winding road.
If you are interested in flying to Rushaga, you can book a scheduled flight operated by Aero link or charter flights by Fly Uganda among other companies in Uganda.
From Rushaga, you can continue to Rwanda, by driving to the nearby Uganda Rwanda Boarder at Chanika. From Kisoro town to the Uganda Rwanda boarder is a 15 minute drive but if you want to cross over to Rwanda then you need to have applied for their visa online at least two weeks before arrival.
There very many up market and budget accommodation facilities offered in the sector