Habituated Gorilla Families in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park :  Well, it is more interesting one to know all the gorilla families -groups in Uganda? Or knowing which is the best Uganda gorilla group to trek? Recently, Uganda has a total number of 23 habituated gorilla families and the number is increasing year by year. Although, each group is composed of 10 to 40 members of varying ages headed by a silverback gorilla ‘’ an adult male gorilla’’ who leads the group. More fact, Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park hosts over 23 habituated gorilla groups and 2 families available for gorilla habituated experience. Only 8 Gorilla permits are available each day for each gorilla families and over 162 gorilla permits are available on sell on that particular day. So, if you’re planning to do a gorilla trekking in Bwindi, we recommend you to book in advance before your arrival time before especially in peak season. Peak season tend to happen from June to Mid- September and December to January.

More so, gorilla families are given names depending on their formation history, group location and name of the dominant silverback.

Note; Uganda is gifted with two gorilla national park that is; Mgahinga National Park also home to mountain gorillas and hosts two gorilla families; Nyakagezi group and Hirwa gorilla group. And few visitors tend to visit Mgahinga for gorilla tours despite having few gorilla families and among the two – Nyakagezi gorilla group is the most visited.

Below is the detailed information for each of Uganda’s mountain gorilla families found in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park as follows; Bwindi National Park has got four habituated  gorilla sectors where gorilla trekking takes place that is ; Buhoma ,Nkuringo ,Ruhija and Rushaga.

Mubare Gorilla Family – Buhoma

Habinyanja Gorilla Family -Buhoma

Rushaga Gorilla Family -Buhoma

Bitukura Gorilla family -Ruhija

Oruzogo Gorilla family -Ruhija

Nkuringo Gorilla family -Nkuringo

Nshongi Gorilla Family – Rushaga

Mishaya Gorilla Family – Rushaga

Kahungye Gorilla Family- Rushaga

Bweza Gorilla family- Rushaga

Busingye Gorilla Family – Rushaga

Kyaguriro Gorilla Family -Ruhija

Nyakagezi Gorilla family -Mgahinga

Gorilla families in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park

Mubare Gorilla Family- Buhoma ‘Bwindi’’

When choosing a gorilla family to trek, must consider their location and if you not good in hiking. This is one of the easiest gorilla family to track in Bwindi. Well, the name Mubare were got from the first gorilla trackers in the area. Currently, the family contains 8 members led by Kanyonyi.  This is the oldest gorilla families in Uganda and opened back in 1993. Initially under the leadership of Ruhondeza but the gorilla family has decreased in number over the years from 18 members when first sighted. When fights started happening and death – some members have to migrate to other groups like 5 by 2012.

Ruhondeza’s leadership ended when another family attacked and took away his females in 2012. Guest what, Ruhondeza lived the group at the age of 50 years but was being monitored by researches till his death. His grave is marked and can be found by a guide.

Habinyanja Gorilla Family – Buhoma ‘Bwindi’

 This gorilla family is one among the first opened gorilla group for tourism. It has been existing for quite long period of years and it contains over 17 members  led by Makara who replaced Habinyanja.

 The group was habituated in 1997 and was led by silverback Mugurisi ‘’old man’’.  The family was named ‘’Habinyanja’’ ‘place with water’ in Rukiga because they were first seen near a swamp in Bwindi. After passing away due to old age. He was replaced by his two brothers Rwansiazi and Mwirima who had different personality traits. Mwirima liked staying within a specific range while Rwansigazi loved moving around different sections of the forest. Then in 2002, the two brothers separated warmly. Rwansigazi left with some of the groups and kept the ‘Habinyanja’ name while Mirimas group was named the Rushegura family.

Rushegura Gorilla Group -Buhoma ‘Bwindi’

The Rushegura family contains 19 members that includes one silverback. This is the gorilla family that was formed when Rwansigazi and Mwirima set apart from the larger Habinyanja group in 2002. The Rushegura name were got from ‘’Ebishegura’’, a tree species common grown in the family’s territory. Mwirima’s ability was to create a stable and calm family -as the number of individuals increased to from 12 to 19 by April 2010.

At the age of 25 years of age Mwirima is strong and dominant, never shying away from confronting wild families through threatening his authority. Because of the groups stability and calmness. The gorilla family is no longer shy around people and can be seen around lodge gardens.

Bitukura Gorilla Family – Ruhija ‘’Bwindi’’

The Bitukura family comprises 14 individuals from its original 24. The family is lead by Ndahura who took over from the retired Karamuzi. It had three other silverbacks named after arriver near their territory. While the habituation process for mountain gorillas can take 2 to 3years, it took only 15 months with this gorilla family. In October 2008, it’s when visitors were first allowed to take part in the group but the group had already frequent encounter with park rangers whenever they mixed with the already habituated Kyaguriro.

Oruzole Gorilla Family

This gorilla group comprises with the largest member over 25 individuals by usual standards, making it the second largest family in the Ruhija region and includes two silverbacks. In 2011, it’s when the group were first opened to visitors and is led by silverback called Tibirikwata.

The group is much loved to visitors because of its playful youngsters resulting from several births from the females Ntamurungi ‘June 2011, Musi ‘October 11’’ and Kakoba ‘’March 2012’’.

Nkuringo Gorilla Group – Nkuringo ‘Bwindi’

This gorilla family consists of 19 individuals and was first lead by great silverback Nkuringo who passed way in 2008. He left two silverback Rafiki and safari. Safari took over after his death. The group was first seen near around hill. Because the group lived close the villages outside the park, they had frequently encountered with humans and often sneaked to eat crops thus having creating conflicts. In 2008 it was opened for tourism.

Habituated Gorilla Families in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park
Nkuringo Sector

Nshongi Gorilla Family -Rushaga ‘Bwindi’

By the time the group was opened to visitors in 2009, the Nshongi gorilla group had 37 individuals- the largest ever habituated. Currently has 26 individuals and 4 silverbacks. It was first seen near a river thus the name Nshongi ‘’means the deep honey like color of the river’’. When it was opened for tourism in September 2009, the family was perfect due to its large size. Before they divided in 2010, the family lived in harmony despite the many silverbacks.

The Nshongi family under the dominant silverback Nshongi remained with 26 individuals whereas silverback Mishaya moved away with 10 individuals.

Mishaya Gorilla Family – Rushaga ‘’Bwindi

Mishaya separated from Nshongi in 2010, he developed a reputation of starting flights with other gorilla groups not only to protect his own but his purpose was to steal females from neighbors.

And he succeeded in gathering a few females but wounded in one of the fights with a wild gorilla family ‘which is not habituated’’

Luckly enough, now the group has 12 individuals with Mishaya the only dominant silverback.

Kahungye Gorilla Family- Rushaga ‘Bwindi’

This group consist of 13 members including 3 silverbacks led by Rumansi. Ruhamuka and Rwigi are the one of the old males. It was opened for tourism in 2011. Currently, the group has grown big to over 27 members led by Gwigi.

Bweza Gorilla Family – Rushaga

It was open ed for tourism in 2012 and contains 9 individuals led by Bweza.

Busingye Gorilla Family –Rushaga Gorilla Trekking Sector

This group was opened to visitors in 2013 and consists 9 members lead by Busingye. Busingye splinted from the Kahungye family in 2012. Busingye means peace. He is very known as ambitious dominant and uses every opportunity to show his power.

Kyagulio gorilla family -Ruhija

This gorilla group consists 15 members led by Rukina who stole power from the old Zeus. This group is good for research purposes.

Gorilla Families in Mgahinga National Park;

Nyakagezi Gorilla Family – Mgahinga

This is one of the two gorilla families found in Mgahinga. The group often migrates to Rwanda and Congo led by Mark the dominant Silverback. More so, the group contains 10 habituated members including 2 silverbacks. Fortunately, they now settle in Uganda, before you visit the park you need to contact the park authorities or tour operate in charge of to know their exact location.

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