Gorilla families In Uganda, Mountain Gorillas are only found in 3 countries Uganda, Rwanda and Democratic Republican of Uganda.
The 80 Mountain Gorillas in Uganda can also be found in Mgahinga National park with only One Gorilla Group inhabiting the area.
The Gorilla families have been habituated to presence of Human beings trained to live close to humans.
The process of Gorilla habituation takes 2 years training the mountain Gorillas to get used to Human beings, as they continue with their day to day activities with in their wild natural environment and a maximum of 8 people is an allowed to visit the each Gorilla family.
Bwindi impenetrable national park has four sectors including Rushaga,Buhoma,Ruhija and Nkuringo.
Before embarking to any Gorilla family we have details on every Gorilla family, however keep in mind that Mountain Gorillas are wild animals that keep moving from place to place anytime, an adult Gorilla‘silverback’ can decide to live the family and form his only Gorilla family.
Below is the list of Gorilla families in every sector.
Buhoma has three Gorilla Families.
Rushagura is one of the Gorillafamily with 19 members and led by one silverback Mwirima who is in his late 20s and a brother to a former silverback in Habinjanjafamily called Rwansigazi.
The family was named after a place were the two brothers separated to form their own independent family.
The family was formed in 2002 after oneof silverback from the Habinyanja group decided to break away andto start his own family with a total number of 12 members including 5 females.
In 2010 the number increased from 12 to 19 members ,the family is known to be calm and friendly most trekkers find it comfortable to trek this Gorilla family.
This family was famously known for travelling, and could always cross to Congo but always returned, the family keeps wandering in near by villages and lodges at times local people have no worries fro this family.
Habinyanja Gorilla Group started in 1997 but I was first visited by Tourists in 1999.
The word Habinyanja is a local word Nyanja which means‘water’, the water is found in one of the swamps where this family was found.
The family has a total number of 17 members with 2 silver backs. The family was habituated by that time and it was lead by one dominant silver back called Munguris a local word meaning ‘old man’,Munguris was old and he passed on due to his old age.
After his death Munguris was inherited by his two Brothers Mwirima and Rwansigazi although later on they did not agree on ruling the family members.
Each family member has different characters, for example Mwirima loved to stay close with his family but later on they separated in 2002, while Rwansigazi loved to travel a lot.
The family that stayed with Rwansigazi was named Habinyanja family, but later on Rwansigazi gave up his leadership skills to Makara the Dominate silverback who is now the leader of the family.
Mubara Gorilla Family was found in the forest hills a local word which means ‘stone’the family has 8 members.
The group was opened in 1993 for Tourism at the time of its Habituation it started with 18 members and Ruhondenza was the leader of the group.
During the habituation process, the group faced a misfortune with in the family when the members faced a misfortune the individuals were kidnapped which led some members to loose their lives in 2012.
Ruhondenze was over powered due to his unbearable sadness in his heart, when he failed to fight the attackers due to his old age.
History has it that he dead in his sleep because of his unbearable sadness and his grave can be visited by tourists, the 5 members who were left by Ruhondenza have increased to 8 members which are lead by alpha the silverback called Kanyonyi.
Ruhija sector has also mainly three gorilla families.
Bitukura Gorilla family has 14 members and it was first seen in 2007.before the family had a total number of 24 members.
This family was found near a river and this were its name originates from Bitukura which means clean waters a local word of Bakiga. The habitation was shorter than any other habituation which takes a period of 2 years.
The family has a close bond with the Kyaguriro family.
The family is peacefully, playful and this makes it easier, it’s very close with its members and this has helped to build its family bound. The family has 4 silverbacks and it’s led by the second youngest silverback ‘Ndahura’ who inherited Karumazi who is now aged and can no longer fight to protect the family.
The Bitukura family has faced trails before although it’s happier since 2013 when the family received new members.
The family consists of 25 members including 2 silverbacks, it was established in 2011 by the Uganda Wildlife Authority, and the family is the second habituated group in Ruhija region.
The family is led by a silverback ‘Tebirikwata’.In 2011 the family enlarged with new family member’s when Ntumurungi and Musi both gave birth in the same year and in the family welcomed new twins in 2013 when Kankoba gave birth.Oruzonga family is known for its playful and energetic characters.
The family has some members with different names from the locals the names include Bwoba (coward) Kakanga (the giant one) Busungu (short tempered).
Kyaguriro family group
The family was established and habituated in 1999.Although the family was reserved for research and study purpose, it consists of 15 members including 2 silverbacks and it was led by Zeus the silverback who was banished in the forest by his follow member Rukina,he learnt on passed away in 2015.
Rukina grew up to the age of 31years but later on he was misplaced by a silverback called Rukara who now leads the family of 15 remembers to date.
This family was reserved to research the differences with the Virunga Volcanoes National park and the Mountain Gorillas in Bwindi forest.
Nkuringo is a local word which means hills, the Nkuringo hills are located in the areas of Kisoro and Bwindi.
Thesector was launched in 2004, it has one Gorilla family that’s Nkuringo its self. This family is the most challenging trail heads of Gorilla trekking although it’s most satisfying with a memorable experience with the Human like.
After the habituation process the family was led by a silverback Alpha called ‘Nkuringi’who later on passed away in 2004 after a successful habituation.
Nkuringo left two elder sons,Rafiki a Kiswahili word which means friend, and his elder brother safari who took over power through the hard times and happiness .During the reign of safari the family welcomed two baby twins Muhoza and Katungi although Katuni passed on before he turned 2 years.
Nkuringo family consists of 19 member’sincluding 2 silverbacks.
The sector has a big number of Gorilla families,there 5 Gorilla families in Rushaga.
Mishaya Gorilla family
The family has a total number of 12 members and the group can be visited by 8 people.
The group is a fighter because of its former leader Mishaya the silverback who was known to be a fighter and interacting with other Gorilla members, although he learnt on broke away with 10 members to start his own family Nshogi.
Mishaya was a fighter and in 2010 he fought a fight which led him to loose his infants and also caused him more injuries thanks to the tertiary doctor who rescued him, although he later on passed away in 2014.the family is led by a silverback Mwine.
Nshongi Gorilla family
The family is the largest in Rushaga sector to be visited by Tourists, it was launched in 2009 and it was the biggest habituated group which was named after River Nhongi.
The word Nshongi is derived fro a local word ‘Omushongi Gwobuki’ which means honey, this refers to the color of water in the river.
The family was formally led by a silverback ‘Nshongi’, leading a group of 36 members but later on division occurred in 2010 when Bweza the silverback broke away with 26 members to form his own family.
Kuhugye Family group.
The family consist of 13 members with 3 silverbacks, the members are found in the hills of the mountain and its one of the newest Gorilla family in Rushaga sector.
The family was launched in 2011 after a successful habituation of 27 members including 3 silverbacks however, the Busingye family broke off with some members which caused the members to split and reduced the number to 13 members.
The family of Kuhungye is lead by a silverback called ‘Gwigi’ a local word meaning door.
The family of Bweza is the largest habituated family after the Nshongi family which was the largest family. However in 2010 Mishaya the silverback broke off and he formed his own family in 2012, although the rangers always thought the family could get back together later on.
The Busingye family is found in the Rushaga sector, it has the biggest number of Gorilla family. The family was named after the adult silverback Busingye who is peaceful and his the leader the word Busingye means peace in a local word.
Mgahinga National park,
The second national park in Uganda protecting the mountain Gorillas is Mgahinga National park .and it has one Gorilla family although the family usually travelers to Congo and Rwanda since the national park is part of the Virunga forest.
The family has 10 members,UWA has taken steps in observing the family and currently the family has stabilized. The family is led by a silverback called Bugingobut later on he passed away due to his old age.
The silver back was later on replaced by his eldest son Mark and the other two silver backs Matthew and Mafia. The family has infants Nkanda and Furaha, two females Nshuti and Nyiramwezi and other two silver backs.
The group is playful although its movement is unpredictable. The permits to visit this family can be bought in Kisoro and it’s the only place where mountain Gorilla permits can be purchased.
A visit to Uganda gives you an opportunity to encounter with the Mountain Gorillas left in the wild.