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Nothing brings you the true African adventure like embarking on a self-guided drive to your favorite destination. The freedom and flexibility that comes with it presents you abundant opportunities to explore Uganda’s natural wonders like a local. One of the key areas one wouldn’t want to miss to explore on unguided drive is Ruhija.

Getting to Ruhija is possible from Kampala/Entebbe either on a driver guided safari or self-drive tour or set off from Kigali capital via Katuna/Chanika border. The long road trip to Ruhija using your comfortable 4×4 rental car in Uganda comes with plenty of other experiences en-route.

If you are connecting from Kampala to Ruhija, there are higher chances of making stopovers to key sites like Mpambire Drum Makers in Mpigi and at the Equator crossing around Kayabwe then lunch break at Igongo Cultural centre, etc.

Nature walks in Ruhija

While at Ruhija sector, Eastern sector of Bwindi Impenetrable National Park, you have a great chance to get close to nature on a nature walk. Interestingly, you can also embark on unguided walk/drive along the public road through Ruhija.

On unguided drive at Ruhija, you have a chance to explore the nearby local communities, observe locals as they carry on with their daily practices and take the best pictures of the countryside spectacular landscape characterized by rolling rolls.

Embarking on a guided walk on the other hand allows you immerse yourself into the jungles and expect to come across interesting species such as l’hoest monkeys, black and white colobus monkeys.

The key areas for guided walks at Ruhija include the 6 hour bamboo trail that introduces nature enthusiasts to Bwindi’s highest peak –Rwamunyonyi peak. This is an ideal trail for bird lovers on Uganda safaris in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park. Mubwindi swamp trail, excellent for birding excursions and best for you to identify several Albertine rift endemic species.

Along Mubwindi swamp trail, the possible bird sights include the elusive red-chested flufftail, carruthers’s cisticolas, grauer’s rush warblers and African green broadbill. Aside from birds, there are some interesting primates to be sighted including the l’hoest monkeys, red-tailed monkeys plus the black and white colobus monkeys.

While on a guided walks or unguided drive in Ruhija, expect to enjoy spectacular views of the Virunga Volcanoes, especially Mt. Muhabura.

Top experiences to enjoy in Ruhija besides nature walks


Ruhija is one of Bwindi’s most popular sectors when it comes to birding. The region is known for its abundant Albertine rift endemic species of birds, forest and migratory bird species, etc. A birding tour in Ruhija allows you identify variety of birds including the African paradise flycatchers, dusky crimson wing, yellow eyed black flycatcher, grey bush shrike, African green broadbill, dwarf honey guide, cinnamon chested bee-eaters, purple breasted sunbird, common buzzard, carruther’s cisticolas, Rwenzori turacos, red chested fluff tail, blue headed sunbird, archers robin chat, mountain masked apalis, brown capped weaver bird, Kivu ground thrush, and more.

Batwa cultural experience

Batwa community visit is a must-do after gorilla trekking. This is a great opportunity for you to get to interact with the Batwa pygmies in their community. These are renowned hunters and fruit gatherers who lived in Bwindi Impenetrable Forest but they were later evicted when area was officially gazetted as a National Park. On the Batwa cultural experience, you will learn how they managed to live in the forest, the different medicinal plants and do not miss the great dances and musical performances.

Aside from the Batwa community visits, you can also opt to interact with the Bakiga people. Get to discover the unique cultures, traditions and practices of the Bakiga people in their community.

Gorilla trekking

While in Ruhija, gorilla trekking is a must-do adventure. Ruhija tours aren’t complete without this experience. The gorilla families to track in Ruhija include Oruzogo, Bitukura, Mukiza, Kyaguriro and others. Each of these groups is visited each day by a maximum of 8 visitors led by an experienced park guide.

Where to stay

A good selection of accommodation options exists in and around Ruhija sector and include budget, midrange and luxury. Top lodges to consider for a night stay here include Gorilla Mist Camp, Ruhija Community Rest Camp, Trekkers Tavern Cottages, Bakiga Lodge, and Broadbill Forest Camp.