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Gorilla Families In Uganda

Uganda is a very diverse destination with many unique activities that you can do while on a safari. This a complete Guide highlighting the top things to do in Uganda  while on a safari.

Gorilla Families In Uganda

According to the Uganda Wildlife Authority (2018), there are only about 1006 mountain gorillas left in the world. The majority of these live in the various sectors of Uganda’s Mgahinga National Park, which is located in the far southwest of the country, and Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park, which is a well-known world heritage site.

The remaining gorilla population in the world is found in Rwanda and the nearby Democratic Republic of the Congo because mountain gorillas can only be seen in three countries worldwide. 14 habituated gorilla families, each led by a dominant silverback, have been located in Uganda; 12 of these groups are open for gorilla trekking, while the other two are for gorilla habituation experiences.

A maximum of eight (8) gorilla permits are available for each gorilla family so that tourists can experience gorilla trekking and see these beautiful hairy forest giants in their natural setting. During the gorilla trekking safari adventure, you will have to travel through the forests for 2 to 44 hours seeking for mountain gorillas because they rarely stay in one location for more than one night and move to new sites each day.

The four (4) different categories listed below are based on the locations (in Bwindi National Park) of the many habituated mountain gorilla groups that can be found in Uganda.

Rushaga sector.

The Mishaya Gorilla Family, Kahungye, Bweza, and Nshongi Group all call the Rushaga section of Bwindi Forest home.

Nshongi Gorilla family.

The River Nshongi, after which this group was given its name, was where it was originally observed. With a total of 36 people, it was the largest habituated gorilla group in Uganda when it was first opened for tourists in September 2009. Three (3) silverbacks and a total of seven (7) blackbacks made up this huge gorilla family, which coexisted peacefully without any efforts at leadership. This group broke into two in the month of July 2010; a contingent of 10 people, including the silverback Mishaya, left. There were just 26 people left in the group, and there were still four (4) silverbacks.

Mishaya Gorilla family.

This group split off from the sizable Nshongi group led by silverback Mishaya in July 2010. He met many other gorilla families thanks to his fighting spirit, and over the years he was able to multiply. Sadly, he came into a family of wild gorillas in April 2011 that hadn’t been habituated, and both he and a two-year-old infant in his party suffered several injuries. Fortunately, the Mountain Gorilla Veterinary Project veterinarians took care of them and they made a full recovery.

Kahungye gorilla family.

There are twenty-seven (27) members of this gorilla family, one of the newest to have been habituated, in the Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park, including three silverbacks. It was made available for tourist use in the month of October 2011; around a year later, this gorilla family broke up to establish the Busingye gorilla family. The gang is currently led by powerful silverback Gwigi, whose name means “door.”

Bweza gorilla family.

The Nshongi gorilla family, the largest habituated group ever in Bwindi National Park, was made available for tourist viewing in September 2009; however, silverback Mishaya split off to start his own gorilla family in July 2010. But only two years after the group’s founding, silverback Bweza made the decision to split out, creating the Bweza family. In December 2012, the gorilla family was made accessible to tourists.

Bwindi Impenetrable National Park’s Rushaga area is home to the Bweza gorilla group. There are 7 members in this troop of Bweza gorillas, including a silverback and two young.

 The Bweza gorilla group initially included the Nshongi family, which at the time was the largest mountain gorilla family to be habituated in Uganda. However, as a result of certain miscommunications among its members, the group later dispersed into further groups.

2013 saw quite a few fights in the family, and Bweza arrived quickly. The family has never exhibited any convincing signs of reunification since the silverback chose to finally split off from the rest of the clan.

The park rangers had hoped that the family would reunite at some point, but sadly they never did, and this further pushed the group to be made available to tourists in 2012.

Bweza is one of the most intriguing mountain gorilla groups to walk among all the others in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park. It is such an exciting experience to watch this family go about their daily routines of feeding, playing, and grooming one another.

You pass through the scenic hills of Kigezi Town on your way to the Rushaga region of Bwindi. Along with the enchanted views of lake Bunyonyi, one of the deepest crater lakes in the world, you will also experience the reasonably stunning Virunga volcano scenery.

Rushaga gorilla permits are less difficult to obtain than those for Nkuringo and Buhoma, but you should still make your reservation months in advance to exclude any chance of missing out.

Looking for a more enjoyable trekking group? Undoubtedly one of such entertaining bands is Bweza. You can see Bweza the silver back by asking your safari company  Adventure in the wild Safaris  to reserve your permits for Rushaga.

Busingye gorilla family.

Silverback Busingye broke away from the Kahungye gorilla family in June 2012 to form his own group. Contrarily, the dominating silverback Busingye, whose name means “peace,” enjoys fighting and has on numerous times repelled attacks from wild gorilla groups while grabbing females to add to his own gorilla family.

Buhoma Sector

The Mubare Gorilla Family, the Habinyanja Gorilla Family, and the Rushegura Gorilla Family all call the Buhoma Area of Bwindi Impenetrable Forest home.

Mubare gorilla family.

The Mubare gorilla family has been acclimated to humans since 1993, making it the oldest mountain gorilla family in all of Uganda. This family was given its name when it was first observed on Mubare Hill, which is located deep within the Bwindi impenetrable forest. This group, which was originally discovered by trackers, consisted of eighteen members, with Ruhondeza acting as the dominant male silverback.

The gorilla family lost one of its baby gorillas, and by 2012, there were only 5 remaining. As time passed, several of the members of this gorilla family fled; some joined other groups, while others perished during the violent conflicts that were taking place at the time. When a wild gorilla troop assaulted his family and fled with a few females in March 2012, the silverback Ruhondeza’s leadership was put to the test. Ruhondeza, who had been defeated, had at that point become old and frail and had fled to the nearby town of Forest, where he sought safety.

Nevertheless, the Bwindi national park’s wildlife biologists continued to follow his progress till his tragic death in his sleep on June 27, 2020. This respectable silverback, who was believed to be older than 50, was buried close to the park’s administrative buildings, and his gravestone may still be seen today. His moniker, which means “sleepy fellow,” perfectly captures his reputation as a well-mannered yet indolent boss.

Habinyanja gorilla family.

Habinyanja gorilla family habituation started in 1997, but the facility didn’t open for tourism until 1999. The name Habinyanja, which is derived from a local Rukiga word that means “a location with water,” was given to this group after it was first observed near a swamp in the dense forest of Bwindi National Park. The dominant silverback that was in charge of this group at the time it was discovered was known as Mugurisi, which means “old guy.” Sadly, he passed away from old age, and his two brothers, Mwirima and Rwansigazi, assumed control over this gorilla family.

This dual leadership did not endure very long because of the differences in their personalities; Rwansigazi loved to go around a lot because he was an adventurer, whilst Mwirima preferred to cover a smaller area. The two brothers parted ways in a surprising very amicable manner without any fighting as a result of this and other factors. Rushegura family was the name given to the group that stayed with Mwirima, whereas Habinyanja was kept for the group that departed with Rwansigazi. The Habinyanja gorilla family is currently led by silverback Makara, who succeeded Rwansigazi as leader. It has been observed that these tribes occasionally cross paths and coexist happily.

The very outgoing and sociable blackback Mizano was found dead in June of 2011 with many spear wounds to his neck and shoulders. It is believed that some porches with dogs attacked this group. An tragic incidence occurred in which a gorilla was murdered by poachers for the first time since 1995.

Rushegura gorilla family.

This group split off from the larger Habinyanja family in 2002, and it was named Rushegura after the location where the split occurred. The dominant silverback Mwirima departed the group with twelve (12) individuals, five (5) of which were females. The family now consisted of nineteen (19) people as of the year 2010. Silverback Mwirima had devoted his life to defending his family throughout the years, repelling numerous attacks from wild gorilla groups.

This family used to enter the Democratic Republic of the Congo, which shares a border with Bwindi National Park, but eventually decided to settle and establish permanent home there. Fortunately, this troop has coexisted peacefully with the residents of the adjacent community and has been seen several times visiting the gorilla Forest camp’s gardens.

Nkuringo Sector

The name Nkuringo means “round hill” in the native Rukiga language, and it was on a circular hill that this group was originally observed. This family had a propensity to relocate to the adjacent village settlements on the lower slopes, where it proved to be a problem for the locals since it would devour crops like sweet potatoes, bananas, and other farm products. After receiving repeated complaints from the locals, this group was eventually trained to accept tourists in order to both protect it and provide the community a chance to profit from the money generated by gorilla tourism. The silverback Nkuringo, who was then old and worn out, commanded this group at the time of habituation.

Two silverbacks, Rafiki and Safari, continued to live in the family after his death in April 2008, although his son Safari took over as leader. Soon after, a female adult named Kwitonda gave birth to twins named Muhoozi and Katungi, but the younger of the two perished at the age of one and a half years due to illness.

This is one of the most difficult walks in Uganda, but it is without a doubt worthwhile because it is the most enjoyable. The lodging options at Nkuringo give a spectacular view that is worth the price of the gorilla permits. The group, which has 19 members, is a favorite among those who have followed more than one group.

Bushaho family group.

There are multiple gorilla groups in the national park with the largest resources, Bwindi Impenetrable Forest. The Bushaho gorilla family can be found in the Nkuringo area.

Nkuringo sector yielded only 8 gorilla permits for a period and was dominated by one gorilla family. This made it more difficult for decision-makers to decide which gorilla family to watch in this area. After good acclimatization to the Bushaho gorilla family and an increase in the number of gorilla permits, a decision could be taken.

Nine gorillas make up the Bushaho gorilla family, which is headed by Bahati silverback. This group can be found in the Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park’s Nkuringo area.

A small number of the Nkuringo gorilla family group’s members vanished in 2012. It was discovered that they had joined the Bushaho gorilla family group after extensive search efforts.

Nkuringo sector gorilla families Bwindi.

Bahati, a silver-back who later rose to prominence in the Bushaho gorilla group, is one among the members of the Nkuringo gorilla group that departed.

The hikers’ surveillance team examined how the people in the parallel group behaved. Later, the name Bushaho was given to this family and they were acclimated.

The Bushaho gorilla family spends much of their time foraging in Bushaho. Bushaho There are 11 people in the group, including a silverback, a blackback, four adult females, two semi-adult females, and three newborns.

In the dense, impenetrable jungles of Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park, the dynamics of gorilla families never really seem to change over time. They frequently take place, as evidenced by the birth of numerous mountain gorillas, family divisions brought on by rivalries, and other circumstances.

The quantity of gorilla trekking permits is occasionally rising. For any mountain gorilla safari in Uganda, get in touch with Baboon Adventure Safaris.

You can start your gorilla trip in Uganda from either the Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park or the Mgahinga Gorilla National Park.

Count on us for your gorilla trekking expedition to encounter these big animals in the Ugandan jungles

Ruhija Sector

Bitukura gorilla family.

This gorilla group was given its name in the Ruhija region of Bwindi Forest National Park when it was first observed near the River Bitukura. Following a process of habituation that began in July 2007, it was made available for tourism in the month of October 2008. This gorilla family is special since it was totally habituated and ready for tourism in only 15 months, as opposed to other groups whose habituation procedure takes two (2) years

The tight bond between the Bitukura and Kyaguriro families, which prompted the former to frequently come into contact with rangers from the Uganda wildlife authority, is said to have contributed to this distinctiveness by making habituation easier. It used to have 24 members, but over time, some of them joined other families, and the number was eventually reduced to just 14.

There are currently four (4) silverbacks in the Bitukura family, and astonishingly, the dominating silverback Ndahura is not the eldest but rather the second youngest. He replaced silverback Karamuzi, who retired after over 40 years of leadership, as the family’s leader. This joyful and close-knit group welcomed a new member in 2013, which dominant silverback Ndahura carefully guards.

Oruzogo gorilla family.

This gorilla family, headed by the silverback Tibirikwata, first welcomed visitors in 2011. Since then, the family has grown in size as a result of several births within the group. A female adult named Ntamurungi  gave birth in the month of June 2011, and a second adult female named Musi did the same in the month of October of the same year. The gorilla family experienced great delight in 2012 when Kakoba, another adult female, gave birth to twins in the month of March.

Kyaguriro gorilla family.

This gorilla family’s habituation procedure was finished, but the area has not yet been made accessible to tourists. However, environmentalists continue to closely monitor and analyze it. It was formerly commanded by the dominating silverback Zeus, but after being attacked by rival gorilla Rukina, the aging Zeus was sent into exile, where he eventually perished.

The Mukiza gorilla family.

The dominant silverback Mukiza leads the Mukiza group, which is located in the Ruhija tourism sector of Bwindi Impenetrable National Park. After the parent kyaguliro group split, the group was created in May 2016. Manx Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology’s Mukiza group is also mostly focused on gorilla studies (MPI- Evant). There are currently 13 members in the group, including a silverback, six adult females, one subadult, two adolescents, and three newborns. To view gorilla groups in the Ruhija sector, get in touch with Adventure in the Wild Safaris. We’ll acquire gorilla permits for customers who confirm their gorilla tours with us

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