The Ruhija Sector of Bwindi is found in the Eastern side of Bwindi Impenetrable National Park. There are three gorilla families in Ruhija which include Bitukura Gorilla Family, Oruzogo Gorilla Family and Kyaguliro Gorilla Group.
Out the 3 groups, Kyaguliro is predominantly for education and research. This implies that active gorilla trekking encounters happen with Oruzogo and Bitukura families. And these are 16 gorilla permits every day in Ruhija and 8 permits per group per day. At times when the demand is huge especially in high seasons, the research group is also opened for tracking on the permission of the Uganda Wildlife Authority. Unlike other groups in Bwindi where 8 persons are allowed to track, the Kyaguliro Research Group is exceptionally granted 6 trekkers. Because of the little number of gorilla permits in Ruhija, this sector is less congested compared to other regions of Bwindi Forest.
Getting to Ruhija
By Road from Kampala
Ruhija is easily accessible from several areas. Those coming from Kampala are fine if they drive through Kabale town and continue to Ruhija.
Alternatively, one may drive from Kampala branch off from Ntungamo-Kabale road, connect Rukungiri then Kihihi, Butogota and drive for about two hours to arrive in Ruhija. Four Wheel drive safari vehicles are the most ideal for such longer routes from Kampala/Entebbe.
By Road from Rwanda
If gorilla visitors are coming from Kigali, Rwanda, they go through Kabale and continue to Ruhija. This is like a four-hour drive.
By Air from Entebbe Airport
There are direct flights from Entebbe to Bwindi in Kihihi Airstrip near Buhoma or Entebbe to Kisoro. This means that there are no direct inland flights to Ruhija. The only available alternative is to fly straight to Kihihi, get picked up and transfer to Ruhija by road for a duration of 2 hours.
But with a chartered helicopter, you can fly direct to Ruhija and land at any open place like a school pitch. And in case you charter a Fixed Wing aircraft, you land in Kabale town and then connect to Ruhija by road.
Things to do in Ruhija
Besides gorilla trekking, other activities to do in Ruhija include the following:-
Forest Walk and Nature Tours
Forest or nature walks in Ruhija are worth the time. Such excursions will expose you to Bwindi forest’s wide-ranging biological diversity like several mammal species which include various primates. Such primates include the blue monkey baboon, L’Hoest’s monkey plus black and white Colubus monkeys among others. During the walk under forest shady trail, expect to see an array of butter flies, moths, reptiles and plant species.
The ridge top route of Ruhija offers tourists the sight of a deeper valley featuring undisturbed rainforests that harbor the duikers, primates and bird species. Visitors are at liberty to hike through the bamboo zone to see the Afrotropical vegetation realm as well as panoramic sights in the direction of the magnificent Lake Bunyonyi and Mafuga forest.
Ruhija is a great hub community walks through the villages. Interested visitors may go through the communities to observe culture and lifestyle. Lodge staffs can arrange this kind of community walks prior. One can as well visit local schools, a traditional herbalists, banana brewery among others.
Gorilla Tracking in Ruhija Sector
This area is not well developed in terms of accommodation facilities and other tourist activities apart from gorilla tracking, nature walks, hikes and birding. However, every year new accommodation facilities are constructed around Ruhija sector that suit the traveler’s pockets. The sector is comprised of the following gorilla groups;
Where to stay in Ruhija
Some of the lodge facilities in Ruhija sector Gorilla Safari Lodge, Gorilla Mist Camp, Bakiga Lodge, Gift of Nature, Bakiga lodge, Broadbill Forest Camp and Gift of Nature Lodge among other lodges.