Gorilla families in Uganda. When you think about a destination that offers exhilarating mountain gorilla adventures, then think not beyond Uganda- the Pearl of Africa. Set at the heart of East Africa, Uganda is home to half of the world’s remaining endangered mountain gorillas. Lesser than 1063 mountain gorillas still live on earth today and specifically in Rwanda, Uganda, and Congo. 459 of these large apes occur in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park in Southwestern Uganda.
Trekking with Africa’s mountain gorillas is an experience of a lifetime, and 4 parks are open for this- Volcanoes National Park in Rwanda, the Congo’s Virunga National Park and two protected areas in Uganda- Mgahinga Gorilla National Park & Bwindi. Like the rest of the mountain gorilla destinations, gorilla tours in Uganda are carried out on already habituated families.
Uganda alone is a host to 21 habituated gorilla families, and these can be visited in the country’s 5 regions- Ntebeko in Mgahinga Park; Rushaga, Buhoma, Ruhija, and Nkuringo sectors in Bwindi. Here is a complete list of gorilla families in Uganda;
Mubare gorilla family
The Mubare gorilla family in the Buhoma sector is one of the habituated gorilla groups in Bwindi Park with 9 gorillas including a dominant silverback. It is the first gorilla family to be opened for gorilla trekking in Uganda in 1993, and takes its name from Mubare hill where it was initially spotted by trackers.
Mubare is currently led by Kanyonyi silverback that took over from Ruhondeza silverback. It began with 12 gorillas under the leadership of Ruhondeza, and due to fights, migration, and death, the number reduced drastically to 5 members by 2012.
Habinyanja gorilla family
The Habinyanja gorilla family is an interesting gorilla group located in Buhoma region in Bwindi National Park. It is comprised of 17 mountain gorillas and these are led by a dominant silverback -Makara who took over from Habinyanja. This family was habituated in 1997 under the leadership of Mugurisi. Habinyanja is derived from the word “Nyanja” a Rukiga word which means place with water.
Katwe gorilla family has 7 mountain gorillas and it is a new group living in the Buhoma sector of Bwindi. It was officially opened for tracking in August 2018, and it makes Buhoma a region with 4 habituated gorilla families. Buhoma is near Queen Elizabeth National Park, meaning it is possible to connect after your wildlife encounters/game drives and you track mountain gorillas the next day.
The Rushegura gorilla family group in Buhoma is comprised of 19 mountain gorillas and 1 silverback gorilla. It was created when Rwansigazi and Mwirima broke off from the Habinyanja gorilla family in 2002. The word Rushegura is derived from Ebishegura, a tree species which is common where this gorilla family ranges from.
The Bitukura gorilla family of the Ruhija sector in Bwindi is comprised of 14 members, a number that reduced from the initial 24. It is under the leadership of Ndahura silverback. It also has 3 other silverback gorillas and what is interesting about this group is that, it underwent habituation within 15 months as opposed to the normal 2 years for gorilla families to be opened for gorilla tourism.
Oruzongo consists of 25 groups making it one of the gorilla families with many members. It is led by Tibirikwata and the group was opened for tourism in 2011. Since its habituation, Oruzongo has expanded and recorded new births in 2011 from Ntamurungi female gorilla, Kakoba in 2012 and Musi in 2011.
Kyaguriro gorilla family
Kyaguriro family has 10 mountain gorillas under the leadership of Rukara silverbacks who also shares the same home with 2 blackbacks. Kyaguriro is the best for guests who are interested in research and habituation exercise for this family started in 1995. This large kept splitting creating Mukiza family.
Mukiza gorilla family
Mukiza family is comprised of 10 gorillas, with one leader -Mukiza. Originally, this family group belonged to Kyaguriro before splitting.
Nkuringo is found in Nkuringo region the Southern sector of Bwindi, and it has 11 gorillas. It takes its name from Nkuringo hill where it was spotted. This is one of the best families for guests looking for the most challenging gorilla trekking adventures in Bwindi. Nkuringo is the first family to undergo habituation in the Southern region of Bwindi and it was under the leadership of Rafiki silverback who was killed by poachers, and it is now led by Rwamutwe.
Mishaya group broke off from Nshongi group in 2010 following fights. Mishaya left with some of Nshongi’s gorilla members to form his. Today, this gorilla family has 12 members under the leadership of Mishaya silverback.
Nshongi gorilla family of Rushaga opened for tourism in 2009. Originally, this group had 37 members which made it the biggest group ever, but due to slits, death, and migration, its membership was reduced to 26.
Kahungye has 13 members under the leadership of Rumansi silverback. This family opened for trekking in 2011 and during habituation, it has 27 mountain gorillas. It kept splitting creating Rwigi and Busingye gorilla families.
Bweza gorilla family is a habituated gorilla family in Rushaga and it was opened for tourism in 2012. Bweza silverback left with 6 members to create his own group and currently, it has 12 members.
Busingye gorilla family in Rushaga was opened for gorilla tourism in 2013 and it is comprised of 9 gorillas. It broke off from Kahungye in 2012, and the group takes its name from local word Busingye which means peace.
Kutu is a newly formed gorilla group in Rushaga the Southern region of Bwindi Impenetrable N/Park. It is under habituation and for visitors on gorilla habituation tour, it is the right group to explore in Bwindi.
Mucunguzi gorilla family in Rushaga is another newly created gorilla family in Bwindi Park. It derives its name from the local word Mucunguzi denoting to savior, and this group broke off from the Bweza gorilla group. It is a family with 8 members.
Rwigi has 10 mountain gorillas ranging within Rushaga region in Bwindi. This gorilla family split off from the Kahungye group and it is led by Rwigi silverback. Rwigi silverback developed a misunderstanding with the rest of Kahungye silverback gorillas and opted out of the group leaving with some adult females plus juveniles.
Bushaho family consists of 8 members, under the leadership of Bahati silverback. This group was originally set for a habituation experience but officially opened for gorilla trekking in Bwindi National Park together with Bikingi group in the Rushaga sector.
Nyakagezi is the sole habituated gorilla family in Mgahinga National Park. It is led by Mark silverback and tracking it, you begin your journey at Ntebeko after the briefing.
Bikingi gorilla family is comprised of 15 mountain gorillas and one silverback. This group roams around Rushaga sector and it split from Mishaya gorilla group.