Rushaga region – Southern Bwindi Forest
This group is composed of 7 dare devils led by Silverback Mishaya. They aren’t afraid of pushing themselves to the limit even when it seems like the odds are not in their favour. They are always swinging from one canopy to the next in search for wild fruits that know how to set the taste buds on fire.
While its males weigh as much as 136 to 195 kg (300 to 430 lb), adult females weigh about half 68–113 kg. Despite that, they hardly fall off because they are always at the top of their game and make very well calculated moves. This offers you a more spiced up adventure as opposed to being bored out watching gorillas on the floor all the time. The group of 7 members is named after its highest ranking alpha male, Mishaya. If you are wondering about where to see gorillas in Uganda, this might just be it.
So many tourists used to avoid tracking this group which is headed by Silverback Bweza. It’s 7 members were very adventurers and used to move a lot. Trying to catch up with them was a cat and mouse game. However, all this now in the past. Their life started to take a new twist in mid-2017 after they started registering new births of infants.
This forced them to settle down in their homeland along Nshongi River where they were discovered around 1999. This change of lifestyle has played a key role in lessening the exposure of their babies to fights led by gorilla groups in other parts of the forest. As such, you now have a good chance of encountering them whenever you are ready.
The group now comprises of one Silverback, three adult females, one infant, one sub-adult and one juvenile.
Busingye and Kahungye Groups
Many rival gorilla groups shy away from confronting these two families as they are always prepared for the worst. Their silverbacks have established a system in which all muscular males form a ring around the groups’ babies and females. Throughout the day, one or two of their members spend much of the day in trees, in an effort to see any gorillas intruding their territory. This makes it hard to take them by surprise. Thanks to this extra conscious character, they have never lost any of their members in a fight.
If you plan on visiting Busingye in particular, brace yourself for an unforgettable mingle with its 9 individuals inclusive of 3 jovial infants.
On the other hand, Kahungye has 17 individuals including 3 silverbacks, 3 blackbacks, 3 adult females, 2 infants, 3 juveniles and 3 sub-adults. All of these are submissive to the group’s commander, Silverback Rumanzi.
Bweza Gorilla family is led by Kakono, an ambitious Silverback who is on a mission to become the most authoritative gorilla king in Rushaga region. Well knowing this can best be achieved if he has the support of the two silverbacks in his group, he has granted them unlimited mating rights with the groups 3 adult females. This is very unusual considering Alpha males are never liberal to that extent regardless of how desperate they are.
Lucky for Kakono, the trick is doing wonders. Not only have the silverbacks withdrawn their intentions to challenge his leadership, they are fond of sneaking into other groups in an effort to woo their females to join Bweza group.
The group also has 4 blackbacks, 2 infants, and 1 sub-adult. There are also ambitious juveniles aspiring to settle down and start family. This mix will give you the pleasure of getting a deeper understanding of how gorillas behave as they go through different stages in life.
If hiking mountains is your cup of coffee, the pursuit to see this family of 12 members will make you happy. They stay in a high altitude setting that is accessible through steep trails that are well maintained. The scenery along it is diverse and spectacular.
Their preference for it is partly influenced by its rich concentration of their favourite delicacy, bamboo. Here, you will find silverback Rafiki, the leader Nkuringo family. He has a bulkier chest compared to that of other members in his group. 2 of whom are adult females, 1 a blackback, 2 silverbacks, infants, 3 juveniles and 2 sub-adults.
If you wish to travel lighter, we are glad to help you hire a porter who is passionate about nature. Having hiked the mountain over and over, he knows alternative routes that offer a hiking experience that is a delight to the knees.
Like all the other families in Uganda, the permits to see them cost $600 for foreign tourists-$450 for foreign residents and 250000 UGX for Ugandans and East African Nationals.
This family of 9 members love spending much of its day in the lower section of Nkuringo’s forest considering it doesn’t have much undergrowth. This explains why most nature lovers who come to Nkuringo are always eager to see them.
It is one of the two groups that last two groups that were habituated last year. Gorillas aside, the setting at this group lives is endowed with lots of rare trees like Prunus Africans. Best of all, the guide in charge of this hike has a genuine talent for quickly understanding what you’re passionate about and what you value from a tour.
If your heart is beating for an adventure that is more rewarding than gorilla tracking then gorilla habituation will rejuvenate your sense of wonder. This is one the gorilla families to ready yourself for in this regard. It comprises of 15 wild individuals that are currently being psychologically prepared to accommodate all visitors regardless of their physical outlook or race. These include 1 silverback, 5 adult females, 2 sub adults, 5 infants and 2 juveniles. During this half day adventure, you will witness what happens behind the scenes before gorillas are opened for tourism. The hike has been well researched and put together to wow you with lots of encounters people miss out on during gorilla tracking. For instance, you will walk on paths that no tourist has used before.
Don’t forget to wear comfortable hiking shoes when coming to see Bushaho group. The landscape is their surrounding is made of overlapping ranges. Getting from one to the other entails walking along trails with lots of volcanic ash, some of which are sharp pointed. Their locality is called Bushaho and yes, it is from it that the group got its name. The group was established by 8 individuals after their break off from Nkuringo Group. This move was led by Bahati, a determined silverback who is never afraid to fight for what he believes in. Bushaho has 3 adult females, 1 silverback, and 1 blackback, 1 sub-adult-1 juvenile and 1 infant.
Buhoma area (North of Bwindi)
Since this group was opened for tourism in 1993, it has been visited by over 50,000 nature lovers from different corners of the earth. This is partly because it’s 12 members are very friendly and always happy to welcome strangers into their inner circle. This follows the successful habituation they underwent for two years starting 1991.
Its 12 members include 6 Adult Females, 1 juvenile and 3 Infants. You will be pleased with the state and attitude of all Mubare’s gorillas. They are incredibly fit and sure-footed beasts. You could spend hours with them without getting bored!
The group experienced a turning point in December 2017 after it was invaded by a rival silverback called Malaya. A spirited fight broke out and cost two lives from Mubare family. One of these was an infant who died instantly upon being ripped apart. The other victim was the group’s leader Kanyonyi. He died subsequently after suffering open wound infections.
Due to Bwindi’s hilly landscape, gorilla tracking is quite as exhaustive as mountain climbing because it entails ascending over steep slopes. If you are not in shape to go tracking but deeply desire to encounter gorillas in the wild, this is one of the groups we shall book for you whenever you are ready. It is made of 16 members inclusive of 4 babies, 4 adult females, 4 blackbacks, and 3 juveniles. All of these love to dwell in the lower part of the forest that is easily accessible by gentle trails. This is partly because of its diversity of vegetation with relatively high protein content and low fiber content. The group is led by a silverback called Kabukojo.
You will love every minute of your visit to this family of 17 individuals, comprising of 5 adult females, 1 black-back, 6 infants, and 1 sub-adult and 3 juveniles. It is led by Makara, a fierce fighter who goes above and beyond to protect his family from attacks by rival gorilla groups. This has left him with severe injuries on different occasions, exposing him to open-wound infections. Luckily, the timely treatment by gorilla doctors from Uganda Wildlife Authority has always restored his good health.
Thanks to his inspirational character, the other silverbacks in his group haven’t yet found it necessary to overthrow him.
One of the adult females in this group is expectant. According to the ranger guides, there is a great chance she might give birth to a baby boy (judging by signs). If luck is on your side, she might give birth on the day of your visit.
The group is named after one of the oldest salt mines in Queen Elizabeth National Park. It is possible for persons with disabilities to see this Group. It has two babies, 4 adult females and an alpha male. This can be achieved using a special stretcher bed upon which they can be carried to a random location where Christmas is foraging.
In Bwindi, most gorillas are named after the setting in which they spend much of the year. Led by a silverback called Bakwate, this group is named after Orugoto, a plant species that is prominent in their locality. It boasts of 17 individuals inclusive of 2 silverbacks, 5 adult females, 2 black backs, 2 sub-adults, 5 infants and 1 juvenile. You will have a lovely hike, through a primary and secondary forest, to try and find these rare primates at a random setting in the forest where they are dwelling. There is a great chance you will find them in the bamboo zone as it is distant from busy tourist zones in the forest zone.
Oruzogo is easy to find as they follow a predictable routine as different seasons come and go. They love dwelling in particular arenas in the forest where they experienced life changing moments. Such includes zones in which their infants were born.
Just like identical twins, the four silverbacks in this family have a striking resemblance. You could spend hours trying to identify each of them but without much luck. Their body features look very alike. God surely took his time perfecting them to look like clones of one another. Surprisingly, Bwindi’s ranger guides can tell them apart by just listening to the rate of their heartbeat. This follows a special connection they have developed during the many years they have been interacting with them. Using this prior exposure, they will spot out each individual and share with you their captivating life stories, highlighting their best and worst moments.
The group has 13 members inclusive of 4 silverbacks, 4 adult females, 2 juveniles and 3 infants.
Led by a Silverback called Rukara, this group is a club of 7 friends who are very vibrant and full of life.
The hike to see this group is pretty brutal but doable and absolutely soul rewarding. The pain you will endure is absolutely worth it when you reach the final stretch of the climb. From here, the view of the surrounding villages. The sight of mountains in Congo is mesmerizing, you just can’t stop enjoying it.
At the time of its habituation in 1995, the group had 20 members. Along the way, it experienced a split that led to the formation of Kyaguliro B group, as led by Mukiza, the official heir to Rukina’s throne (Rukina is the former group leader).
Mgahinga National Park
Compared to Bwindi, Mgahinga has so many open areas. This makes it easy to take pictures of its only gorilla family, Nyakagezi. It is probably the most peaceful gorilla family in Uganda. This character has been influenced by the lack of other gorilla groups in Mgahinga. As such, they are never worried about being attacked by any other group or competition for territory. The group is made of 11 members, the most popular being Rukundo, a 15 year old gigantic silverback with a warm personality. Like the rest of his relatives, most of whom spend much of their day eating, mating and grooming one another, Rukundo is as calm as a monk. Despite knowing he has all it takes to overthrow his father from the throne, he is not in a rush to take over the group’s leadership. The ranger guides here suspect this has something to do with the fact that leadership comes with so many responsibilities.