Gorilla trekking in Uganda is the best option for those yearning for a more comprehensive wildlife experience.
Gorilla families in Uganda
Gorilla trekking in Uganda is the best option for those yearning for a more comprehensive wildlife experience. Bwindi Impenetrable National Park is the best place you can see gorillas in Uganda. This is an old rainforest so the trekking can be a little tougher than in Rwanda.
The fact that Uganda has a diversity of wildlife, the forest itself is more dramatic than it would in Rwanda, and although the park is harder to get to by road, most times requiring an overnight stop from the capital Kampala or Entebbe, it is more than worth the effort travelling through some exhilarating scenery en-route.
If you want to make better use of your time in Uganda, there are several excellent domestic flights services available. Like Rwanda, the trekking here is done on steep, muddy paths, but it’s not as humid due to the altitude.
Usually, you are only allowed to spend just one hour with the Gorillas, although there is now an option to gain access to these wonderful creatures with gorilla researchers and therefore spend several hours in their company.
Bwindi Impenetrable Forest is considered one of the world’s most biologically diverse areas and recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It has 9 habituated families. The gorillas here live in thicker tropical forest and tracking is more challenging than Mgahinga Park in Uganda and Volcanoes National Park in Rwanda.
As the hillsides are steeper, it can take up to six hours after leaving the base to locate the gorillas. However, guests are usually split into groups for easy, medium and hard treks depending on where the gorilla families are residing that day.
Five families (Mubare, Habinyanja, Oruzogo, Bitukura and Rushegura) are accessed from Buhoma in the north.
A further four families can be tracked from southern Bwindi, which is accessed from Kisoro. These families are Nkuringo, Nshongi, Kahunje and Mishaya.
There are currently a total of 11 families in Uganda.
The Mubare Family
11 members including 1 silverback
Habituated between 1991 and 1993 the family were named after the Mubare Hills, where they were first spotted
Mubare is the oldest habituated group in Uganda
Kanyonyi is the current group leader. Took over following the death of his father, Ruhondeza, in June 2012
The Habinyanja Family
Meaning ‘body of water’, this family was habituated in 1997
Makara is the sole dominant leader of the group.
The family has a stubborn prodigal member, Maraya, who left family in August 2011 but often comes to cause chaos in the family then moves back to solitary life.
The Oruzogo Family
17 members including 2 silverbacks.
The group was named after the local name of a common plant in the home range of this family
Bakwate has been the dominant silverback since habituation in 2008
Kagaanga – a young silverback is second in command
The Bitukara Family
14 members including 4 silverbacks
The family was named after the Bitukura River
Their habituation started in 2007 and tracking began in 2008
The family has four Silverbacks peacefully coexisting. The retired Karamuzi and two others (Rukumu and Mugisha) who are all submissive to Ndahura
The Rushegura Family
15 members with 1 silverback
Kabukojo is current leader following the death of predecess or Mwirima in March 2014
Their name is taken from a tree species that grows in their home area, Ebishegura
They are a calm group and often visit the Bwindi Lodge gardens
Kabukojo has a younger brother – Kalembezi – who helps him co-lead the family
The Nkuringo Family
12 members with 2 silverbacks
Named after the Nkuringo Hill where the group was first spotted
Originally habituated in 2004 after destroying the crops of local farmers. Now farmers benefit from the tourism they provide
Rafiki has been the dominant silverback for almost a decade.
The Nshongi Family
Named after the river close to where they were first sighted.
It was the largest group to be habituated now fractured to form several new families.
The Kyaguliro Family
Currently under contentious leadership of young Mukiza, whose authority is being contested by an immigrant silverback from Bitukura family.
The Bweza Family
Kakano is the silverback of the group
The group was formed after a dispute in the Nshongi family, at which point they split off and became a separate family
The Kahungye Family
18 members including 3 silverbacks
The group was named after the Kahungye Hills and are newly habituated
The family has three silverbacks but two, Rwigyi (the oldest) and Ruzika (the youngest) are loyal to the dominant one (Rumanzi)
Rumanzi has been dominant since habituation
The Nyakagezi Family
10 members, including 5 silverbacks – the highest number in a single group
The group is very nomadic, crossing the borders of Uganda, Rwanda and DRC
Mark is the dominant silverback. He took over form Bigingo, who is still alive but the oldest family member