Gorilla trekking in Uganda is the an excellent alternative for those yearning for a spectacle of wildlife display. Bwindi Impenetrable National Park is the best place you can see gorillas in Uganda. This is an old rain forest so the trekking can be a little tougher than in Rwanda.
The fact that Uganda has 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. Similarly to Rwanda, the gorilla trekking experience here is done on steep and muddy paths, but it’s not as humid given its 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 rain forest is regarded as one of the world’s most biologically diverse tourist destination identified as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It has about 9 habituated mountain gorillas families. These gorillas live in a more thick tropical forest, making tracking more challenging compared to Mgahinga Gorilla National Park on the slopes of Mount Gahinga one of the 8 mountains on the Virunga mountains in Uganda and Volcanoes National Park in Rwanda
Gorilla trekking can take longer hours hiking through steep hillsides. Tourists are usually divided into groups, usually each group is allocated about 8 people depending on where the gorilla families are residing that day.
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 current group leader. Took over following the death of his father, Ruhondeza, in June 2012
The Habinyanja Family
- 17 members
- 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
- 7 members
- 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
- 20 members
- Currently under contentious leadership of young Mukiza, whose authority is being contested by an immigrant silverback from Bitukura family.
The Bweza Family
- 12 members
- 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