Gorilla Trekking Families, Gorilla Groups in Uganda
Uganda also known as the pearl of Africa , a home to the primates like the mountain gorillas, Chimpanzees and Wildlife viewing in over 10 National Parks and game reserve. Gorilla Trekking ranks as the first safari activity to be enjoyed by tourists that come to Uganda for safari holidays . Among the top add on safari activity to Rwenzori Mountaineering tours, is gorilla trekking & Chimpanzee Tracking . Uganda is one of the few african countries in the world to host the endangered mountain gorillas and perhaps it’s known as a leading mountain gorilla tracking destination in the world. Gorilla Trekking in Uganda is open in two destinations that is Bwindi Impenetrable forest national park & Mgahinga National Park with over 10 gorilla families that are open for trekking Uganda is known as a safe country with no political instabilities which means it’s very safe for gorilla tracking.
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Unlike Rwanda ( Volcanoes National Park that has 10 Gorilla groups) , Uganda has 11 habituated gorilla families and two gorilla families for research purposes. The Uganda gorilla families include Rushegura, Habinyanja, Mubare, Nkuringo,Oruzogo, Mishaya, Nshongi, Kahungye, Busingye and Bweza. The Kyaguriro gorilla group which is located in Ruhija is mainly for research purpose. The habituation process normally takes about 2-3 years and below are some of the gorilla families in Bwindi
Mubare Gorilla Family:
This is known as the oldest Bwindi gorilla family, the group is located in the Buhoma sector of the park the most visited Bwindi gorilla family, by the time of writing, the group has 9 members and one silverback however the number is likely to increase due to births of new babies and members from other groups.
By the time the group was habituated it had 12 members and kept on growing up to 18 members, however due to death and fights, other members joined different gorilla families resulting into reduction of members to 9 members. The dominant silverback is Ruhondeza who was the leader of the group was over powered and forced out of the group he took refuge to the nearby community where he later died and he was buried in the forest. Don’t hesitate to remind your gorilla guide to take you to his cemetery. He is believed to have lived for over 50 years
Habinyanja Gorilla Family:
This is also another gorilla family found in Buhoma sector of the park; it consists of 15 members and 2 silver bucks. The group in 1999 was ready to receive tourists and up to now, the group is visited daily. The name Habiyanya comes from the name ‘’Nyanja’’ which is a local word meaning place of water. Bythe time the group was established, it was led by a dominant male called Muguris meaning a local word an ‘’old man’’ however when he died the two brothers namely Rwansigazi and Mwirima took over power and now the group is led by a dominant male who is responsible for any activity taking place in the group. Habinyanja is the most interesting group due to constant fights that exist between these two dominant silverbacks fighting for leadership and it’s known as one of the most interesting to visit gorilla families.
Rushegura Gorilla Family
This group is also situated in Buhoma Sector of the park and it was established in 2002, the group split from the Habinyanja group and the silverback which separated run away with various females and members from other group slowly joined the group and by the time the group separated it had 12 members including one silver buck. The leader of the group is known as Mwirima, the group went by increasing and by the time of writing the group is consisting of 19 members. The place where the group was separated from was known as Rushegura hence the gorilla group separate from Habinyanja was named ‘’Rushegura’’.The group is known as one of the peaceful gorilla families in Bwindi national park, its known as one of the most peaceful gorilla families in Bwindi national park, They are usually not far from Buhoma Village and sometimes even wander through the gardens of the lodges.
Bitukura Gorilla Family:
This gorilla family is located in Ruhija sector of the park and it was established in 2008. It was named Bitukura after the river where the group was first sighted and by the time of the writing the group consists of 13 members including 4 silver bucks. The Bitukura gorilla family/group is known as the most easy to habituate gorilla family with 15 months, the group was ready to receive tourist, many other gorilla families to over 2 years to become familiar to human presence, this was so because the gorillas were already frequently encountered by the UWA rangers. The Bitukura is a peaceful family; they share a close bond and often have ‘group meetings’ or get-togethers, the group has four silver bucks, no serious fight ever recorded in the group. Ndahura the second youngest silver buck is known as a leader of the group, he took the role from former silver buck karamuzi who lived for over 40 years and is now retired.
Oruzogo Gorilla Family:
This gorilla family is located in Ruhija being established in 2011 and it is one of the gorilla families with the highest members over 28 members are recorded to live in this family and it has 2 silver bucks. The leader of the group is called Tibirikwata. The group is popular for its twin births; birth of twins in the life of gorillas is a very rare case.
Nkuringo Gorilla Family:
The group was established in 2004 and the group was named after the Rukiga word for ‘’round hill’’ where the group was first seen before it was established. By the time of writing, the group is consisting of 19 members including 2 silverbacks. The major reason why the group was habituated was because of the problems they created for the local communities by destroying crops and other products. After it was opened to tourist, the local community is benefiting directly from tourism and it formed a protection for the gorillas as well. The group is famously known for its twin births in 2008, the twins where named Katungi and Muhozi – however unfortunately Katungi died at the age of 1.5 years. Safari is the leader of the group and he took leadership from his father Nyuringo who died in 2008
Bweza Gorilla Family:
This is a Rushaga gorilla family and the group was opened to tourists in 2012 and it’s regarded as one of the newly established gorilla family Bwindi national park. The group was originally a member of the Nshongi gorilla family, although it split and formed his owned gorilla family called Bweza gorilla family and by the time of writing, the group consists of 11 members
Nshongi Gorilla Family:
This gorilla family is known as the largest ever habituated gorilla family, it was established in 2009 and it consists of 36 members including 5 silver bucks. The group was named because of the River Nshongi closest to the place where it was first seen. The group is situated in the Rushaga sector of Bwindi national park. The group leader (the silverback) is called Nshongi who is not even the oldest silverback in the family.
Mishaya Gorilla Family:
This gorilla family is lead by Mishaya who separated from the Nsongi gorilla family in 2010; he split and formed his own group called Mishaya gorilla family/group. He snatched some of the members and later on he was joined by other members, by the time of writing the group houses 12 mountain gorillas including one silverback, females and infants.
Busingye Gorilla Group:
Busingye is one of the latest established gorilla families in Bwindi national park being habituated in 2011. The group inhabits 9 members and 1 silverback (by the time of writing) and it’s located in Rushaga sector of the park. The name Busingy is a local word which means peace’’ busingye was a member of Kahungye gorilla family although he separated and formed his gorilla family which exists even up today.