Located in the southern part of Uganda and within the southern hemisphere of Bwindi Impenetrable National Park. Rushaga sector offers a breathtaking experience for gorilla enthusiasts. Accessible from Kigali through the Cyanika border in Kisoro, it provides stunning views of the Virunga Volcanoes. This includes Gahinga and Muhabura in Mgahinga National Park in Kisoro District. Additionally, visitors can enjoy visiting of the lava-dammed Lake Mutanda and Lake Bunyonyi. Bunyonyi is the second deepest Crater Lake in East Africa, with Lake Tanganyika visible from specific vantage points.
Gorilla habituation occurs in the Rushaga sector and Nkuringo in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park, allowing for a unique opportunity. Each group is limited to four visitors, and they are accompanied by researchers and experienced trekkers. This affords you a once-in-a-lifetime chance to interact with gorillas and gain insight into the process through which these magnificent creatures learn to coexist with humans.
A group of indigenous natives “Batwa” are a group of local pygmies who lived in the forest with the Rushaga sector in Bwindi who are welcoming and hospitable. Once you’re done with trekking you can undertake this historic experience of understanding how these ancient people lived in the forest. They display their hunting skills, traditional performances and make local cups through bamboo. By choosing to participate in this experience you will have supported the local communities indirectly.
Five families have been habituated in Rushaga sector in Bwindi which include Bweza, Busingye, Nsongi, Kahungye, Mishaya. the number of Gorillas in a family as described below are current as of January 2018. They may and will change during the year. The Key to a successful Gorilla Trek is not the number of Gorillas but the experience that you have.
This is one of the groups in Rushaga sector from Nshongi group. Mishaya emerged as the Alfa silver back who rebelled against his family Nshongi group in 2010. This inspired others groups like Bweza who as well broke away from the family in 2012.
In April 2012, Mishaya initiated a conflict with a non-habituated Gorilla family, resulting in the loss of his two-year-old infants and causing several injuries that nearly claimed his life. He was subsequently rescued by the Mountain Veterinary Project.
In 2014, Mishaya’s family had grown to 12 members when he passed away. He was succeeded by Mwiine, who took on the role of the new alpha silverback for the family. Succession of Mishaya by Mwiine has been more advantageous as tourists can still have visits to the family in in Rushaga sector and increase the availability of permits to trek in the sector.
In December 2012, Bweza family was formed under the leadership Bweza. Locally this means “ more productive” after separating from its family members. Alfa silver back Bweza is made up of 2silverbaacks, 4 black backs, 3 adult females, 1 sub adult and 2 infants.
It’s a versatile and interesting group where by since separation from Nshongi group due to feuds rangers thought that the family would re-unite back with the former family but the breakup became infinite.
The Busingye family, consisting of 9 members, is situated in the Rushaga sector. The name “Busingye” translates to “peace.” Originally, Busingye was a member of the Kahungye family but separated from the group in 2012 with just 7 members. Over time, the family has grown in size.
Busingye, known for her assertive nature, has been observed engaging in conflicts with other groups. She had a penchant for taking female black backs from them. It is through this dominance that the Busingye family has managed to increase its size from 7 to the current count of 9 members.
This is another gorilla family in Bwindi Impenetrable forest National Park from a family of 27 members including 3 silverbacks. Kahungye split from the group reducing it to 13 family members and led by the head silverback Gwigi locally meaning “door”.
The group was opened to visitors in October 2011 with 13 individuals which increased trekking places for mountain gorillas in Rushaga sector.
The Nshongi family is one of the largest habituated groups in the Rushaga sector of Bwindi Impenetrable Forest Park. It derives its name from the Nshongi River, a prominent feature in the park, predating the family’s habituation.
Established in 2009, the Nshongi Gorilla family was introduced to visitors as the largest habituated family in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park, comprising 36 members living together harmoniously.
The name “Nshongi” has local significance, translating to “Omushongi Gwobuki,” which means honey. This refers to the deep brownish color of the Nshongi River. This family is one of the largest within the habituated groups, consisting of 36 members, including 3 silverbacks and 7 black backs, coexisting without conflicts. Over time, however, the family size diminished to 26 as some members branched off to form their own families.
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