Uganda - Rwanda Gorilla Safari and adventure to remember
Unganda – Rwanda Safari Offers Adventure Memories
June 29, 2016
The mountain gorillas often live in an age-graded groups, on average, 9.2 individuals of multiple gorilla age groups. Usually, there is one adult male (though there may be more than one), multiple adult females - An infant in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park
Mountain Gorilla Age Groups
July 3, 2016
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2016 Gorilla Groups in Uganda

Gorilla Groups in Uganda

The Nkuringo Gorilla Group Relaxing

The 14 Mountain gorilla families for Gorilla tracking 

Overview: As of June 2016, there are 14 habituated gorilla groups in Uganda which are for tourism purposes. Of these 14 groups, 13 are within different locations in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park and 01 in Mgahinga Gorilla National Park. These are the groups where the tourists visit on a daily basis. A maximum of 8 persons can visit each of the 14 gorilla groups per day spending a maximum one hour each visit. The Bwindi gorilla groups are organized according to the location; Buhoma area currently having 3 groups, Ruhija area currently having 3 groups, Nkuringo area group having 2 Gorilla groups (One group for habituation experience only) and Rushaga area having 5 groups (One group for habituation experience only). The two groups under Gorilla Habituation Experience have a special arrangement where one can visit these groups for habituation experience spending a maximum four hours in each visit. There is only one gorilla group available for tourism in Mgahinga gorilla National Park.

Uganda Gorilla Groups Locations

The 2011 Uganda gorilla census that was released in 2012 by the Minister of Tourism, Wildlife and Antiquities shows an increasing numbers of gorillas.  If combined with the Mgahinga gorillas, there are 480 gorillas in Uganda of which, 400 in Bwindi Impenetrable Forest and 80 in Mgahinga Gorilla Park.  In addition, the result showed that there are 36 gorilla groups in Bwindi and 16 solitary Males that roam the ancient rainforest of Bwindi.

Gorillas are naturally afraid of humans and will respond by fleeing or charging aggressively when approached in close contact by humans. The gorillas that are visited by people have undergone a process called “Habituation”. Habituation is a process whereby through daily peaceful contacts with humans, gorillas slowly loose the strong fear of humans and learn to be with humans as a neutral being in the environment. For tourists being in a position to view the gorillas, they therefore undergo habituation. The habituation takes about two years long and the gorillas become used to human presence and simply go about their daily business while you are visiting them.

In Bwindi, there are 22 unhabituated gorilla groups and 16 other solitary groups in Bwindi, all these are not available for tourism as they are wild and flee or respond aggressively when approached.

Gorilla Tracking

You can track mountain gorilla in two national parks i.e. Bwindi Impenetrable National Park and Mgahinga Gorilla National Park. You can presently track 14 habituated gorilla families in these two parks translating into a maximum of 112 permits per day. This means that 112 visitors can track gorillas in Uganda’s Bwindi Impenetrable Forest and Mgahinga. A maximum of 8 persons can visit each gorilla gorilla group per day spending a maximum one hour each visit.

Gorilla Groups in Uganda

A Nkuringo Young Gorilla Relaxing

It is also important to know the area where to track gorillas from. There are four areas within Bwindi Impenetrable Forest where you can track the various habituated gorilla families. These areas also correspond to Gorilla Families.  Booking is currently done per area and not for a gorilla group.

The areas for tracking gorillas are as described below:

  1. Buhoma area (Bwindi)
  2. Ruhija area (Bwindi)
  3. Rushaga area (Bwindi)
  4. Nkuringo area (Bwindi)
  5. Mgahinga area (Mgahinga)

BUHOMA SECTOR OF BWINDI IMPENETRABLE FOREST

Buhoma area is where the Bwindi headquarters is located. The gorilla tracking in Bwindi originally started from here. There are several lodges where one can get accommodation. There are 3 groups available and 24 permits per day. The group composition of gorilla groups in Buhoma area is summarized in the table below:

Buhoma group composition (03 groups)

Group names # of individuals Group leader Type of tourism
Mubare group 11 Kanyonyi Normal tourism
Rushegura group 15 Kabukojo Normal tourism
Habinyanja group 17 Makara Normal tourism

RUHIJA SECTOR OF BWINDI IMPENETRABLE FOREST

The Ruhija area is not as well developed as Buhoma, but there are excellent three gorilla groups available for tracking. There are a number of upcoming lodges around the area. In case you prefer to have more sleep, please stay in Ruhija, not in the Buhoma. But in case you can manage to wake up early, you can stay in Kabale and Buhoma which are about 1-2 hours’ drive to Ruhija (Leave the lodge by 6AM). But this can be tricky, especially, during rainy seasons. Never risk staying in Kisoro when you book to track a group in Ruhija.

The group composition of gorilla groups in Ruhija area is summarized in the table below:

Ruhija group composition (03 groups)

Group names # of individuals Group leader Type of tourism
Bitukura group 15 Ndahura Normal tourism
Oruzogo group 17 Bakwate Normal tourism
Kyaguliro group 20 Rukara/Mukiza* Normal tourism/Research

*Kyaguliro group is now considered two separate groups: Kyaguliro-Rukara’s group and Kyaguliro-Mukiza’s group, according to the names of the leading Silverbacks.

RUSHAGA SECTOR OF BWINDI IMPENTRABLE FOREST

Rushaga is presently the least developed area for tourism, but when it comes to gorillas, the area is referred to as “the world’s capital city of mountain gorillas” as there are 5 gorilla groups habituated here, with several other un habituated gorilla groups. Though there are few lodges here, there are several options where you can stay, and they are near.

The group composition of gorilla groups in Rushaga area is summarized in the table below:

Rushaga group composition (05 groups)

Group names # of individuals Group leader Type of tourism
Bweza group 12 Kakono Normal tourism
Nshongi group 07 Bweza Normal tourism
Kahungye group 18 Rumanzi Normal tourism
Busingye group 09 Busingye Normal tourism
Bikingi group 18 Bikingi Habituation Experience

NKURINGO SECTOR OF BWINDI IMPENETRABLE FOREST

Nkuringo area is where the headquarters of the Southern sector of Bwindi is located. There are quite a few lodges here, but very descent. Despite the area having a very tough terrain, it is having one of the best groups in Bwindi, the Nkuringo group. There are 2 groups available, one available for normal tourism while the other is for habituation experience. Tracking the Nkuringo Gorilla Group takes a bit more energy and stamina. It is probably the toughest trek in Uganda, but manageable. The group composition of gorilla groups in Nkuringo area is summarized in the table below:

Nkuringo area group composition (02 group)

Group names # of individuals Group leader Type of tourism
Nkuringo group 12 Rafiki Normal tourism
Bushaho group 09 Bushaho Habituation Experience

MGAHINGA GORILLA NATIONAL PARK

Mgahinga Gorilla National Park is having only one gorilla group, the Nyakagezi group. There are 10 members in this group, with 5 silverbacks. If you love seeing silverbacks, this is where to be. The group is also known to be having the oldest known gorilla called Rukumu who is thought to be more than 50 years old. Tracking can either be from Ntebeko (Headquarters) or Muhavura Base Camp.

The group has a migratory spirit within them and often move across DRC and Rwanda borders. They returned to Mgahinga Gorilla Park in 2012 and this time have stayed awhile up to now. The group composition of gorilla groups in Nyakagezi group is summarized in the table below:

Mgahinga group composition (01 group)

Group names # of individuals Group leader Type of tourism
Nyakagezi group 10 Mark Normal tourism

 

 

 

 

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