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Gorilla Trekking Sectors Of Bwindi Impenetrable National Park

Bwindi National Park Four Sector Locations

Tourism in Bwindi focuses on 4 different sections or trailheads of the park including;

  1. Buhoma in the northeast
  2. Ruhija in the east
  3. Nkuringo in the southwest, and
  4. Rushaga in the southwest

Each of the four sectors function as a self-standing gorilla trekking destination, has its own habituated gorilla groups, its own set of accommodation options, a variety of tourist attractions, and is reached by a different approach road from the other location. 

  1. Buhoma Sector

Buhoma is set at an altitude of 1,500 meters on the Bwindi National Park’s northern boundary. It is where Uganda first launched gorilla trekking back in 1993.

It is the park’s busiest tourist focus despite the opening of other three gorilla trekking trail heads. It is relatively easy to access from Kampala and has four habituated gorilla families including;

  1. Mubare Gorilla family
  2. Habinyanja Gorilla family
  3. Rushegura Gorilla family and
  4. Katwe Gorilla family


Beside gorillas, the sector it is a great site for bird watchers with over 190 species of birds, most associated with relatively low-altitude forest. Among them 10 are endemic to the Albertine rift. Among the most remarkable birds seen here are;

  • Great blue turacos,
  • Doherty’s bush-shrike,
  • Black bee-eaters,
  • Bar tailed trogons,
  • Black-billed turacos,
  • Barred long tailed cuckoo,
  • Grey-throated barbet,
  • Petit’s cuckoo-shrike,
  • Elliot’s woodpecker,
  • Red-tailed greenbul,
  • Mountain greenbul,
  • Yellow-whiskered greenbul and many others

In additions to an outstanding number of birds, the sectors support a dazzling array of colourful butterflies and a lovely L’Hoest’s monkeys are often encountered. 

  1. Ruhija Sector

Ruhija is named after the river that runs through swamps several hundred meters below. This is the Bwindi’s highest and arguably most beautiful gorilla trekking trailhead, sited at an altitude of 2,340 meters in the hills abutting the park’s eastern boundary. Ruhija spectacular southerly views over forested ridge to distant Virunga volcanoes.

Equally panoramic views towards the Western Rift Valley are offered from sections of the road leading beyond Ruhija towards Buhoma. Ruhija was opened up for gorilla trekking in 2008 and currently has 4 gorilla groups;

  1. Bitukura gorilla family
  2. Oruzugo gorilla family
  3. Kyaguriro A family and
  4. Kyaguriro B (Mukiza) gorilla family

Besides gorillas, the sector is home to a good number of black and white colobus monkeys and L’Hoest’s Monkeys. Ruhija is also known to harbour elephants in the vicinity of Mubwindi swamp.

It supports a significantly different avi-fauna and it is one the top birding site in Bwindi. The area around Mubwindi swamp habours 20 species of birds listed in the IUCN Red Data Book and/or endemic to the Albertine Rift including;

  • Handsome francolin
  • African green broadbill
  • Rwenzori batis
  • Blue headed sun bird
  • Stripe-breasted tit
  • Dusky crimsonwing
  • Rwenzori apalis
  • Shelly’s crimsonwing and others

Other bird specials here include Grauer’s rush warbler, Pink-footed Puffback, Yellow-eyed black flycatcher, Lagden’s bush shrike, Cinnamon-chested bee-eater, Caruthers’s cisticola and others.

The sector is also one of the few places where you can see all 4 Crimson wing recorded in Uganda.

  1. Rushaga Sector


Situated at an altitude of 1,900 meters near the southern tip of Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park, Rushaga became Uganda newest gorilla trekking sector in 2009, following a usually high-profile launch wherein a brat pack of   American film stars was flown in to make a positive statement about the experience.

This sector less known compared to Rushaga and Buhoma but it contain 9 habituated gorilla families in the area including;

  1. Nshongi Gorilla Family
  2. Mishaya Gorilla Family
  3. Kahungye Gorilla Family
  4. Bushingye Gorilla Family
  5. Bweza Gorilla Family
  6. Mucunguzi Gorilla Family
  7. Rwigi Gorilla Family
  8. Bikyingi Gorilla Family
  9. Kutu Gorilla Group

Rushaga also has an additional group comprising at least 10 individuals which is currently being habituated and up to 4 visitors can join it for a more unique gorilla habituation experience.

The sector offers terrific views across deep jungle-clad valleys as well as glimpse of the Virunga volcanoes. It also hosts a variety of bird species including the localized Rwenzori turacos and Shelley’s crimson wing.

Rushaga is home to L’Hoest’s monkeys, blue monkeys, Red-tailed monkeys, black-and-white colobus monkeys, and unhabituated chimpanzee communities.

The sector is characterized by steep valleys dripping with giant tree ferns, stream filled fissures in cliffs, and towering rocks-wall atrium that contain a cascade of over 30 meters.

  1. Nkuringo Sector

Chronologically, Nkuringo is Bwindi’s second gorilla trekking trailhead. It was opened in 2004 and lies on an altitude of 2,100 meters on the park’s northern border of Kisoro.

The surrounding hills are densely settled by farming communities, but have a remote and underdeveloped feel, on account of the location  on a dead-end road ending at the nearby Congolese border.

It is a very scenic region, set along the Nteko Ridge, which provides grandstand views across Kashasha River Valley into Bwindi Impenetrable National Park and the forest which cloaks the valley’s northern slopes.

‘Nkuringo’ means ‘round stone’ and refers to a knoll-like forested hill that is set beside the river, but dwarfed by loftier ridges above it. To the west and south, superb panoramas include the entire length of Virunga volcanic range.

There are three habituated gorilla groups including;

  1. Nkuringo gorilla family
  2. Christmas gorilla family
  3. Bushaho gorilla family

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