Bwindi national park gorilla groups

Bwindi national park gorilla groups: Bwindi national park is the most ecological tourist destination in Africa stretching around an area of 327 square kilometers, this park is situated in south western region of Uganda in the extreme rift valley lieing on the edges of the western arm of the rift valley. Bwindi national park is a remarkable tourism destination hosting the largest population of mountain gorillas in the world which is estimated to be 600 in number.

 Bwindi national park borders democratic republic of Congo and mgahinga national park another home of mountain gorillas in Uganda, the park is entirely dominated by thick forests and mountains which is a suitable home for mountain gorillas which are fond of living in thick forests on high altitudes.

Mountain gorilla groups in Bwindi national park

Bwindi national park hosts 19 habituated mountain gorilla groups, these families are open and safe for tracking by visitors because they underwent through habituation process which made them comfortable and less rebellious to human presence.

Mountain gorillas in Bwindi national park live in different regions/sectors of the park, for easy identification and tracking of these mountain gorillas during trekking adventure these regions were marked and given names according to their location in the park. These sectors are 4 in number that is buhoma sector, Rushaga sector, Nkuringo sector and Ruhija sector and each of them host specified gorilla families which are tracked and these groups are as listed below.

    Mubare gorilla group

   Mubare gorilla group is the first and oldest mountain gorilla group to be habituated and open for trekking in Bwindi national park, habituation process of mubare gorilla group started in 1991 and was first visited in 1993. Mubare gorilla group is found and trekked in buhoma sector near the park’s headquarters, this group derives its name from mubare hills where its members were first spotted. Mubare gorilla group consists of 9 members with one dominant silverback.

             Habinyanja gorilla group

 Habinyanja gorilla group is found and trekked in buhoma sector, this interesting peaceful family under went through habituation process in 1997 and first trekked in 1999. Habinyanja gorilla group comprises of 20 members with 2 silverbacks, this group was formerly under the leadership of a dominant silverback Munguris and after his parking he was succeeded by his two brothers who failed to agree which resulted into power struggle. Habinyanja gorilla group lives and is trekked around swamp in the forest from which it derives its name, the name Nyanja is a local word meaning water.

Rushegura gorilla group

Rushegura gorilla group is trekked and found in buhoma sector, this family broke away from Habinyanja gorilla group when two brothers failed to agree resulting into a power struggle. Rushegura gorilla group was opened for trekking in 2000 with only 12 members including 5 females, according to statistics family members in this group has gradually increased to 19 members under the leadership of a dominant calm silverback Mwirima. Rushegura gorilla group usually crosses over to Congo forests and its members are occasionally seen around nearby lodges and villages.

                Mishaya gorilla group

                Mishaya gorilla group is found and trekked in Rushaga sector of Bwindi impenetrable national park, Mishaya gorilla group split from Nshongi gorilla group following family dispute over power lead by Mishaya silverback with 10 members. Mishaya gorilla group derives its name from its dominant silverback Mishaya, silverback Mishaya is known as a fighter and in his fighter sense he started a fight in 2010 which inflicted injuries to him and other gorillas resulting in the death of his infant. Unfortunately he lost his life in in 2014 and succeeded by Mwine a dominant silverback.

                Nshongi gorilla group

                Nshongi gorilla group is found and trekked in Rushaga sector, this family was opened for trekking in 2009 and considered the biggest habituated family in Bwindi national park. Nshongi gorilla group derives its name from river Nshongi were its first members were first spotted, the world Nshongi is a local word “omushongi Gwobuki” meaning honey which is a reference to the deep brownish color of the river water. Before numerous splits Nshongi gorilla group consisted of 36 gorilla individual, splits from the group include Mishaya group which split from the group with 10 members lead by Mishaya silverback and Bweza group which split also from the group. Currently the group consists of 25 members under the leadership of 2 silverbacks.

     Katwe gorilla group

 Katwe gorilla group is one of the newly opened countries for trekking, this family is trekked and found in buhoma sector. Katwe gorilla group consists of 7 members with one dominant silverback.

    Bushaho gorilla group

 Bushaho gorilla group is found and trekked in Nkuringo sector which is found in the southern sector of the park, bushaho gorilla group consists of 8 members under the leadership of one dominant silverback Bahati.

    Oruzogo gorilla group

   Oruzogo gorilla group is found and trekked in Ruhija sector, this group is the second habituated family in Ruhija sector established in 2011. Oruzogo gorilla group is a very playful and energetic gorilla group consisting of 25 members with 2 silverbacks, it is under the leadership of Tebirikwata a dominant silverback and the oldest gorilla of the group. Over the years this group has registered many notable births such as the birth by elder female gorillas such as Ntumurungi, musi and also the birth of twins by a female gorilla Kakoba in 2013. Gorilla individuals in Oruzogo gorilla group are known for having strange meaning full words such as busungu meaning hot tempered, bwoba meaning coward and kikanga meaning the giant one. Members of this group include

  • Tibirikwata a dominant silverback
  • Otaka, Bwoba
  • Busungu
  • Kashundwe
  • Nyakiina
  • Kaganga
  • Karimi
  • Kiromba,
  • Katoto
  • Kanywani
  • Kakobe
  • Buchura the last born

                Kahungye gorilla group

                Kahungye gorilla group is the newest gorilla family in Rushaga sector and it is trekked and found in this sector around the hills of the mountain, this group was opened for trekking in 2011 with 27 members with 3 silverbacks. Kahungye gorilla group has experienced splits which led to reduction of its members, Busingye gorilla group split broke away from this group leaving the group with only 13 members under the leadership of a silverback in the names of Gwigi. The name Gwigi is a local word meaning door.

                Bweza gorilla group

                Bweza gorilla group is the second largest habituated gorilla group after Nshongi group, this group is one of the breakaway groups from Nshongi group together with Mishaya group (broke away in 2012). Bweza gorilla group consisting of 9 members under the leadership silverback Bweza is trekked and found in Rushaga sector.

                Busingye gorilla group

                Busingye gorilla group is found and trekked in Rushaga sector, this family is a break way from kahungye gorilla group in 2012 and consists of 9 members under the leadership of Busingye silverback where the group derives its name. Silverback Busingye is known to be aggressive fond of picking fights and snatching females form other groups, Busingye considers this kind of life style as a way of showcasing his power.

                Kyaguriro gorilla group

                Kyaguriro gorilla group is found in Ruhija sector, this group is the most treasured gorilla family in Bwindi national park reserved for research and study purposes which are done by max Planck institute by evolutional of Anthropology. Kyaguriliro gorilla family was habituated in 1999 and it consists 15 silverbacks with 2 silverbacks, this group was initially under the leadership of Zeus a dominant silverback. Unfortunately Zeus was attacked by Rukina which resulted into his death. Since the death of Zeus he was succeeded by Rukina, Rukina also died in 2015 and was succeeded by Rukara.

                Bikyingi gorilla group

                Bikyingi gorilla group is trekked and found in Rushaga sector, this family consists of 21 individuals with 1 silverback bikyingi form whom the park derives its name. Bikyingi is known for being a very friendly leader most especially to young ones.

                Christmas gorilla group

                Christmas gorilla group is a newest gorilla family in Bwindi national park found and trekked in Nkuringo, this family consists of 9 members with one dominant silverback Christmas.

                Kutu gorilla group

                Kutu gorilla group is a family of 8 members with one silverback, this family is trekked and found in Rushaga sector.

                Mukiza gorilla group

                Mukiza gorilla group is trekked and found in Ruhija sector, this family consists of 10 members with one silverback

Mucunguzi gorilla family

Mucunguzi gorilla family is trekked and found in Rushaga sector, this family is a break way from Bweza group. Mucunguzi gorilla group consists of 8 female with one silverback Mucunguzi who is the leader of the group.

                Bitukura gorilla group

                Bitukura gorilla group is a very peacefully and playful gorilla group of 13 members, Bitukura family under went through the shortest habituation process ever record in Bwindi national park of 2 weeks. Originally this group consisted of 24 members under the leadership of karamuzi but currently consists of 14 members under the leadership of the youngest silverback Ndahura, Bitukura gorilla group consists pf 4 silverbacks that has not disrupted its peace as a family. Individuals in this group include

  • Ndahura the dominant silverback and the rule
  • Karamuzi the 2nd silverback in command
  • Rukumu the 3rd silverback in command
  • Rukara the 4th silverback
  • Betina the adult female
  • Ruhara the adult female
  • Kamuga the adult female
  • Obia the blackback
  • Mugisha the blackback
  • Twakire a juvenile
  • Kabandize a juvenile
  • Kadogo an infant and Mubwindi an infant.

                Nkuringo gorilla group

                Nkuringo gorilla group is trekked and found in Nkuringo sector around the hills of Kisoro and Bwindi making it the most challenging gorilla family to trek in Bwindi national park, this gorilla group was opened for trekking in 2004. Nkuringo gorilla group is the most satisfying group to trek, this family consists of 19 members with 2 silverbacks under the leadership of two dominant silverbacks that is Rafiki and safari. Formerly this group was under the leadership of a dominant silverback Nkuringo who was succeeded by his two brothers (Rafiki and safari), Nkuringo gorilla family welcomed a set of twins that is Muhoza and Katungi. Unfortunately Katungi died before making two years.

How to get to Bwindi national park

Bwindi national park is a very accessible park which can be reached from various towns and other tourist destinations, to get to the park both road and air transport are available. By road, From Kampala the starting spot of most safari it is 463.7 kilometers a 7-8 hours’ drive to the park which is situated in the south-western park. From Kampala there is three prominent routes which are routes which are used to reach the park that is Kampala – kabale – kanungu-buhoma route, Kampala – Ntungamo – Rukungiri – kihihi –buhoma route and Kampala-Kabale-Nkuringo route.

By air you fly from Entebbe international airport or kajjansi airstrip to three airstrips which serves the park that is kihihi airstrip, Kisoro airstrip and kayonza airstrip.

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