gorilla groups in Bwindi

Silverback in Bwindi Forest

Gorilla families in Uganda

Gorilla families in Uganda

Over half of the world mountain Gorilla population is in Uganda-Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park and other few in Mgahinga Gorilla National Park located in south western Uganda. The mountain gorillas are among the wild animals that are close to human beings with about 94.5% DNA similar to humans. This means that the gorillas have some typical human beings characteristics. Uganda has over 15 Gorilla groups or families habituated for trekking while one is for research. Gorilla families in Uganda are allocated in four sectors include Buhoma, Ruhija, Rushaga and Nkuringo sector, below are some of the gorilla families in Uganda. Check out best time for gorilla trekking in Uganda and Rwanda

Mubare Gorilla Family

Mubare is the oldest habituated gorilla group in Uganda located in Buhoma. It’s found in Mubare hills, deep in Bwindi forest, and was fully habituated in 1993. The group started with 12 family members, led by the dominant silver back Ruhondeza. In a few years the group grew to 18 individuals. Unfortunately, due to fights with wild gorilla groups and loss of members up to 9 members including one silver back.

Habinyanja Gorilla Family

The Habinyanja group is located in Buhoma region with 15 members including 2 silver backs. The family was first visited by tourists in 1999. The name comes from “Nyanja” which is the local word for ‘body of water’. It refers to the swamp in Bwindi Impenetrable Forest where the group was first sighted. Habinyanja is a fascinating family with a lot of drama and commotion. This is caused by the power struggles between the dominant silver backs and fights for the family leadership. The adult females are led by the shrewd alpha female called Kisho

Rushegura gorilla family

The Rushegura gorilla family is located in Buhoma region with 18 members with no silver back. Rushegura Gorilla Family was brought together in 2002, after one of the silver backs from the Habinyanja group decided to break away. They started with 12 individuals including 5 females. This “Habinyanja 2 group” quickly received a new name that derives from “Ebishegura” – a tree species that was abundant in the home area of the new family. The Rushegura group is a calm family. In the past they used to cross the border to neighboring DRC every now and then but always returned to Bwindi Impenetrable Forest. They are usually not far from Buhoma Village and sometimes even wander through the gardens of the lodges

Bitukura Gorilla Family

The Bitukura group is located in Ruhija region with 12 members including 4 silver backs. The family was named after a river where the family members were first sighted. The habituation that started in July 2007 was a relatively easy process as the gorillas were already frequently encountered by the UWA rangers. Although the habituation process normally takes a minimum of two years, this group could already be visited by tourists within 15 months after the start. Bitukura is a peaceful family including 4 silver backs and some playful juveniles. They share a close bond and often have ‘group meetings’ or get-together.

Nkuringo Gorilla Family

The Nkuringo group is located in Nkuringo with 19 members including 2 silver backs. The group was named after the Rukiga word for “round hill” and was launched in 2004. One of the most important reasons for their habituation was the problems they created for the local communities by destroying crops and other products. By opening up the gorilla family for visitors, the community could directly benefit from tourism and it formed a protection for the gorillas as well. The family was led by the silver back Nkuringo who died in 2008, leaving behind 2 silver backs in the group. In November 2008, the Nkuringo family expanded thanks to the special birth of a twin – Katungi and Muhozi – though Katungi unfortunately died at the age of 1.5 years.

Nshongi Gorilla Family

Nshongi is located in Rushaga with 36 members including 5 silver backs, and is the largest group ever habituated and was officially launched in September 2009. It was named after the river Nshongi, close to the place where the gorilla family was first seen. Although most gorilla families in Uganda usually consist of 25 members with one or two silver backs, this family is a rare exception. Another remarkable fact is that the group is led by Nshongi, who is not even the oldest silver back in the family.

Busingye Gorilla Group

Busingye gorilla group is located in Rushaga with 7 members including 1 silver backs and is the newest family to break away from Kahungye which was opened for trekking in 2011. It was suspected that at one time Kahungye would split as it had three silver backs and a bigger group.

Mishaya Gorilla Family

Mishaya Gorilla Group is located in Rushaga in southern region of Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park together with Nshongi, Kahungye and Busingye with 12 members with 1 Silverback. Mishaya is a silver back in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park, who left Nshongi group in Bwindi with a few females to start his own group. He was able to gather a few other females from the other groups in the area, reaching a total of group size of 12 gorillas including three infants.

Oruzogo Gorilla Family

The Oruzogo gorilla family comprises of 16 members headed by 1 silver back which located in Ruhija region. The Oruzogo group is among the most recent groups habituated for gorilla trekking. The family is accessed between Buhoma and Ruhija under the leadership of the dominant silver back Tibirikwata.

The Kyaguliro A&B Group

Kyaguliro group is a family with a history and with a family split; it’s located in Ruhija region with 20 members. It was originally habituated beginning in 1995, however, it was a family that was not visited by tourists and there were no permits issued for the Gorilla Group. The A&B groups are made up of Rukara which is composed of 10 individuals; 1 silver back, 2 black bucks, 3 adult females, 2 juveniles and 2 infants, while the second group, Mukiza is also made up of 10 individuals who include; 1 silver back, 4 adult females, 1 sub adult and 4 infants.

Kahungye Gorilla Group

The Kahungye Gorilla Group is located in Rushaga region with 17 members which led by Rumanzi and comprise of 3 silver backs, 3 black bucks, 3 adult females, 3 sub-adult, 3 juveniles and two infants. Kahungye derives its name from a hill with the same name which is in the home range of this gorilla family. Since October 2011 the group became available for tourism. With 27 members that are very active and full of life, the family is led by Silverback Gwigi, which means “door” in the local language.

Bweza Gorilla Family

Bweza Gorilla Group is located in Rushaga region with 7 members. Bweza started with the Nshongi family which was the largest Mountain Gorilla family by then to be habituated in Uganda but later on split into more groups because of some misunderstandings between its members. Bweza is among the most interesting to track, watching this family carry out their day to day activities such as feeding, playing and grooming each other is such a thrilling moment in a life time.

Mucunguzi gorilla family

Mucunguzi gorilla family is located in Rushaga region with 8 members. Mucunguzi means “Savior” was the third and youngest silver back of Bweza gorilla group in Rushaga region of Bwindi Impenetrable National Park. After leaving Bweza gorilla group, it formed and led the now Mucunguzi gorilla group in Rushaga. Rushaga is in the southern part of Bwindi Impenetrable National Park and has the highest number of habituated gorilla families in Bwindi impenetrable National Park hence receiving large numbers of gorilla permits in Uganda.

Christmas Gorilla family

Christmas Gorilla family located in Nkuringo region with 9 members and it is the third mountain gorilla family to be habituated in Nkuringo making it three Gorilla groups open for gorilla trekking in this region. Christmas gorilla family is a new gorilla group in Nkuringo sector, and headed by a dominant silver back known as Christmas, One black back, three females and one baby.

Katwe gorilla family

This is the newly introduced gorilla in the Buhoma sector of the Bwindi Impenetrable National Park. The Katwe group has 1 dominant silver back (Silverback Katwe), 3 black backs, 4 adult females and two infants. The exact number of the family members is still doubted and it is speculated that some members keeping moving in and out of the group.

Nyakagezi gorilla family

The Nyakagezi gorilla family located in Mgahinga Gorilla National Park, which is the only fully habituated gorilla group in Park. It offers visitors a great opportunity to track the rare mountain gorillas in the wild which is composed of 9 members; 4 silver backs, 2 infants, 2 Adults females 1 juvenile. The dominant silver back is Mark who took over leadership from his father Bugingo.

Bushaho gorilla family

Bushaho gorilla family is located in southern sector in Nkuringo area with 8 members including 1 silverback known as Bahati and it may expand in size depending on new born babies, whether the dominant Silverback will be able to conquer other members from different families. Bushaho gorilla family is open for gorilla trekking and it allows 8 members per day per trek.

Bikyingi Gorilla Family

Bikyingi Gorilla group is located in Rushaga area in Bwindi Impenetrable Forest with 21 individuals including 1 silverback. The only silverback and leader of the group was named the same as his group, Bikyingi and he is very friendly to all his young ones 9 female gorillas, 2 juveniles and 10 infants. Bikyingi Gorilla Family was discovered by one of the park rangers who were monitoring the gorilla groups in Bwindi impenetrable forest National Park.

Mukiza gorilla family

Mukiza gorilla family is located in Ruhija sector and it was one of the silver back in Kyaguriro which splits out. The family has 10 members and was splitting of Kyaguriro gorilla family means that more gorilla permits will be available for buying and hence more tourists now trekking in Ruhija side.

Kutu gorilla family

Kutu gorilla family is located in Rushaga region of Bwindi Impenetrable National Park with 8 members and one dominant silverback as the head of the family. Kutu gorilla family can be booked for gorilla trekking experience and 8 gorilla permit are sold per day per trek

Rwigi gorilla family

Rwigi gorilla family is located in Rushaga sector in the southern part of Bwindi Impenetrable National Park. Rwigi gorilla family is led by dominant silver bark with other 6 members. The process of trekking Rwigi gorilla family it requires you to book gorilla permit which cost $ 600.00 per person per trek and the process begins in the morning and last 30 minutes to 6 hours.