Bwindi impenetrable national park and its different trekking sectors are part of the gorilla trekking experience in Uganda.

About Bwindi national park

Mountain gorillas are Uganda’s foremost attraction and mountain gorilla trekking is on top of the bucket-list of almost every traveler to Uganda. In Uganda, these gentle giants can only be seen in two tropical rainforest parks of Bwindi Impenetrable National Park and Mgahinga National Park.

Because of it’s incredible biodiversity, Bwindi Impenetrable National Park is the best mountain gorilla trekking destination in Uganda. Bwindi alone is a sanctuary to 18 habituated gorilla families which visitors are permitted to encounter on their visit to Bwindi.

Nkuringo sector of Bwindi Impenetrable National Park

Nkuringo sector of Bwindi Impenetrable National Park

With 18 habituated gorilla families in this park, over 140 gorilla trekking permits are available on a daily. This is because every day, each Gorilla family can only be visited by a maximum of 8 people. Every day before the visitors go into the forest for trekking, they are briefed about the rules and regulations for Gorilla trekking.

This is to ensure safe and responsible tourism when in this park. After the briefing, trekkers are put is groups of 8 and assigned 2 armed rangers to protect them and a guide to embark on the gorilla trekking in the Forest. 

The greatest trekking hour is typically at 8:00 am because you may be able to see these gentle giants search for food then before the heat of the day arrives. Gorilla trekking also being a strenuous activity, starting the trek by 08:00am is a great time because of the cool and gentle breeze that keeps the trekkers energized. 

Bwindi is one of Uganda’s most visited tourist attractions, well known for drawing so many tourist arrivals through the year. Bwindi Impenetrable National park lies at an altitude of 1,160m – 2,607m. The bio-diverse thick forest is home to half of the world’s remaining mountain gorillas an endangered primate.

The gorilla trekking experience in Bwindi is so thrilling because the park not only has Gorillas but a diversity of flora and Fauna which all complement the trekking experience.

The four sectors of Bwindi impenetrable National park

Bwindi is divided into 4 sectors major sectors for gorilla trekking with 18 families of habituated mountain Gorillas.  This was for ease in accessibility according to one’s location when going to the national park. Each of these sectors is unique in its way and has different habituated families i.e.

  • Buhoma sector located in the north of the forest has 4 families i.e Mubere, Rushegura, Katwe, and Habinyanja
  • Rushaga sector located the south has 8 families i.e Nshongi, Kahungye, Bweza, Busingye, Bikyingi, Mishaya, Mucunguzi, and Rwigi.
  • Nkuringo sector located in the south has 3 families i.e Nkuringo,Bikingi,Bushabo
  • Ruhiija sector located in the East has 3 families Bitukura, Oruzogo, Kyaguliro


Buhoma is the most popular and the oldest sector located in the Northern part of Bwindi impenetrable national park. Buhoma sector is where gorilla trekking was first started in 1993 with the Mubare group being the first gorilla family to be habituated and tracked. The Buhoma sector is one of the busiest sectors in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park.  

The Buhoma trailhead currently has 4 habituated groups and these are; Mubare Family, Habinyanja family, Rushegura family and Katwe family. Mubare Family is the first family that was habituated and to be trekked in Uganda. Rushegura is the one with the highest number of members in Buhoma Sector. 


Nkuringo is located in the southern part of the park north of Kisoro at the highest altitude of 6,800m. Nkuringo  currenty has 3 habituated gorilla families I.e Nkuringo,Bikingi,Bushabo.

Nkuringo is the most physically challenging compared to all the other trailheads and this is because of the terrain. It is therefore recommended for those who are fit enough for the strenuous hike. This sector is also one of the most popular sectors among the tourists and was the second sector to be established in Bwindi impenetrable national park in 2004 with Nkuringo as the first family to be habituated.


Ruhija is the most beautiful and quiet trailhead situated on the East side of the park at an altitude of 2,340m with appealing views of the western rift valley and Virunga.  There are three gorilla families that can be tracked in Ruhija and these include; Bitukura, Oruzogo, and Kyaguriro. 

Ruhija is known for its beautiful scenery but since It has few gorillas it has fewer visitors compared to the other sectors and is mostly used for science and research. This sector can also easily be accessed from Buhoma.


Rushaga is also located south of Bwindi at an altitude of 1,900m. The sector currently has 8 habituated gorilla groups and these include; Nshongi, Kahungye, Bweza, Busingye, Bikyingi, Mishaya, Mucunguzi, and Rwigi.

 Rushaga is very scenic and therefore offers great views of the jungle and Virunga volcanoes. The area is a haven for birds and attracts many bird lovers with species like the Rwenzori turaco and Shelly’s crimson wing and many endemic species are found in this sector too.

What makes Rushaga outstanding is that it is the only sector where Gorilla habituation experience is permitted. Here, the tourists are given more time of 4hrs to spend with the gorillas compared to the normal Gorilla trekking where they spend 2 hrs.

Gorilla Habituation involves introduction of Gorillas to the presence of humans for purposes of conservation and research. It is the closest sector from Rwanda compared to the other sectors and many tourists combine their Gorilla trek from Rwanda to Uganda through Rushaga sector.

In conclusion, all the four sectors of Bwindi are beautiful and unique in their way and Mountain Gorillas can be seen in any of the sectors one chooses to go to.  Mountain Gorilla trekking can also be done anytime throughout the year although most people prefer the to visit in the dry months of June through October and December to February when the trails are less slippery.

You can use a trusted tour operator like Jewel Safaris to book and plan you Gorilla safari in Bwindi impenetrable national park in any of the sectors of your choice.