Kabale Tour Operator and Lake Bunyonyi, Kabale town is a town located in southwestern Uganda. It’s part of what was formally called the Kigezi district that formed districts of Rukungiri, Kisoro, and Kabale. Kabale is the biggest town in southwestern Uganda and is the headquarter of the Kigezi region. Kigezi region is now comprised of 7 districts namely; Kabale, Rukungiri, Kanungu, Kisoro, Rukiga, and Rubanda. The district headquarters are located in Makanga. Kabale has a population of approximately 50,000 people and the Bakiga, Bahororo, and the Bafumbira/ Banyarwanda inhabit the districts of Kigezi.
Kabale is approximately 400km southwest of Kampala and 430 km from Entebbe by road. Lake Bunyonyi is located 10kms north of Kabale town.
Ruhija sector is located in the eastern sector of Bwindi impenetrable national park. its located between Buhoma which is approximately 50kms North of Ruhija and Kabale town which is 49kms south of Ruhija. This means that Ruhija can easily be accessed from both Buhoma and Kabale town.
Ruhija sector has four habituated gorilla families open for tourism. The gorilla families in Ruhija include;
BItukura gorilla family
This is the first gorilla family to be habituated in the Ruhija sector. The habituation process of this family started in 2007 and was open for tourism in 2008. This family derives its name from the name of the river called Bitukura where it was first sighted.
The family currently has 9 members with 2 silverbacks.
Oruzogo gorilla Family
Oruzogo gorilla family is the second family of gorillas to be habituated in the Ruhija sector. It has the biggest number of gorillas in this sector totaling 23. It’s headed by Tibirikwata the dominant silverback. The habituation process of this group started in 2009 and was open for tourism in 2012.
Kyaguriro gorilla family
This is a family in the Ruhija sector that was first reserved for research. Due to the increase in demand for gorilla permits, UWA Decided to use this gorilla family for both Research and tourism. if you are visiting for research purposes, you have to first seek permission from the Uganda wildlife authority which is the body that manages all the national parks in Uganda. This family was first led by Zeus the dominant silverback who later died in exile.
The group currently has nine members with 1 silverback.
Mukiza gorilla family
This is the fourth gorilla family formed in the Ruhija sector. This group was formed after the separation of some family members from the Kyaguriro gorilla family. It is led by the dominant silverback Mukiza.
The group has 9 members and 1 silverback.
Ruhija sector apparently has 4 gorilla families, each family is supposed to be visited by 8 people per day. This means that there are 32 gorilla permits available every day.
Can I stay in Kabale and do gorilla tracking in 1 day?
Yes, it’s possible to sleep in Kabale or lake Bunyonyi and participate in gorilla tracking. KABALE is approximately 50kms from Ruhija which is 1hour 30 minutes in a car. you need to arrange with a tour operator to organize transport to take you to and from Ruhija. Make sure to depart at 6 am in the morning so that you arrive in time for the briefing.
Gorilla permits are sold by the Uganda wildlife authority which is the body that manages all the national parks in Uganda. You can contact them to book for a gorilla permit however you can use a tour operator like Safari Vacations and travel services ltd to buy for you a gorilla permit.
Lake Bunyonyi Kabale
Lake Bunyonyi is approximately 10kms away in the hills of Kabale. It is the second deepest lake in Uganda with a depth of 900m. its 25kms long and 7kms wide. It is made up of 29islands including Bwama island, Bushara island Byoona Amagara island, and the most infamous Akampene (punishment island).
Swimming. Swimming is one of the best activities to do in Lake Bunyonyi. The waters are so fresh and clean, free from bilharzia and free from wild animals such as hippos and crocodiles.
Canoeing. canoeing is the most common means of transport around the lake. Take a dugout canoe and explore the islands in the lake. don’t miss to visit the Akampene island where young girls who could get pregnant before marriage were dumped and left to die from their due to starvation.
Birding. Birding is yet another activity one can do around lake Bunyonyi, a visit to Nyombi swamp will reward you with different types of birds. More than 200 bird species have been spotted around Lake Bunyonyi, they include Herons, cormorants, grey crowned crane, paradise flycatcher among others.
Nature walks. Take a walk in the hills and villages around Lake Bunyonyi, you will be rewarded with panoramic views of Lake Bunyonyi and the lush green terraced fields. You will get to interact with the locals to understand the culture of the Bakiga while they are telling you stories about how they lived long ago.