Rutshuru Hunting Reserve

Rutshuru Hunting Reserve is one of the Hunting Reserves within the Democratic Republic of Congo, situated in the secluded Rutshuru Territory of this country. This Protected Area is about 75 kilometers North of Goma, the Capital of North Kivu Province in the Eastern Democratic Republic of Congo. The Reserve was gazetted in 1952 and covers an area of over 661 square kilometers with mountains and other hilly landscapes. With this Reserve’s location in the Virunga landscape, it is possible for travellers to add mountain gorilla trekking and Mount Nyiragongo hike.

rutshuru-hunting-reserveHistory of Rutshuru Hunting Reserve

Between 1952 (when the Reserve was created) and 1978, management of Rutshuru Nature Reserve was placed to the Ministry of Agriculture. During this time, the Protected Area went through serious challenges that left it in a condition of complete abandonment. Management was then shifted to the Institut Congolais pour la Conservation de la Nature (ICCN-the National Park Authority of the Democratic Republic of Congo) in 1978. The absence of direct control of this Protected Area led to a great loss of over 60% of the landscape between 1954 and 1988. However, the turning point in conservation was in 1994 when gorillas were discovered within the Protected Area and this led to rethinking as well as increasing awareness of the Reserve’s need for protection.

What to see within Rutshuru Nature Reserve

Animals and birds

Rutshuru Nature Reserve is part of the 19,939-square kilometer Virunga landscape that lies within the Albertine Rift and also comprises of Virunga National Park, Mount Hoyo Nature Reserve, Sarambwe Nature Reserve, Green Lake Botanical and Zoological Garden as well as Volcanoes National Park. It is very common for visitors to see Hippos, gorillas, forest elephants and chimpanzees among others. Also present in this Reserve are lots of bird species, especially the Albertine Rift endemics.

Avifauna is rich in Rutshuru Nature Reserve and visitors have great chances of seeing Cattle egrets, African grey parrots, Yellow-billed storks, Black storks and Bubulcus ibis among others.

The Batwa pygmies

The pygmy people lived inside Rutshuru area before it became a Nature Reserve and at the time of creation by the Governor’s decree in 1952, the pygmies lived from hunting and gathering within the area. They interestingly knew how to protect the forest and its animals. There is an opportunity of visiting and learning from them when you visit this Nature Reserve.

Things you can do within Rutshuru Nature Reserve

Given the rich diversity in Rutshuru Nature Reserve, it is very possible for visitors to enjoy/take part in guided nature walks, bird watching tours and cultural tours among others.

Perfect time to explore Rutshuru Hunting Reserve

Tours of Rutshuru Hunting Reserve are great all year round but travellers that go on the dry season are treated to unmatched wildlife views as animals gather around watering points, but also expect huge crowds. Travellers that go on the rainy season can expect large numbers of birds including the migrant ones but roads tend to be muddy and literally impassable due to heavy downpours. During this time, visitor numbers are smaller hence providing privacy during wildlife viewing.