Wild Mania Safaris-Uganda Safaris, Uganda Tour Packages , Uganda Safaris

Gorilla Trekking in Uganda & Rwanda

A Gorilla Trek or Gorilla Track or Gorilla Safari/Tour is a highlight of all safari activities done in Uganda and Rwanda and with some tourists’mountain gorillas are the major reason as to why visit these 2 destinations Uganda or Rwanda.

  • Alpha Uganda Safaris provides the best information about gorilla trekking holidays, gorilla safari packages, how to see gorillas in the wild, how to acquire a gorilla permit, as well as the best tailor made safari/tour packagesboth for Uganda and Rwanda.

Season/Time: When To Go To See The Mountain Gorillas In Uganda or Rwanda-Africa?

Gorilla trekking/tracking can be conducted all year round in Uganda or Rwanda although the majority of tourists prefer visiting from June to September as well as from December up to February because of the dry season.

How To Pay For Gorilla Trekking Permit?

There are many credible Safari/Tour companies that are trust worthy and one of them is us “Alpha Uganda Safaris”a registered and accredited tour company to sell gorilla permits in Uganda and Rwanda with a secure online Payment and Bank Transfer.

Accommodation Where ToStay?

Selecting where to stay will depend on your budget for the safari. Some lodges are high end / Mid Range/ Buget with charges ranging between $900 and $50 and this is about the facilities, location, food, services and more.

How much is a Gorilla Safari Package Cost?

Of course, various tour operators will give you quotes, roughly the cheapest gorilla safari should have a price of about $ 1000 of course depending on the number of people. The super luxury can cost you between $ 1500 to $ 2500 per person. According to our research from other tour operators in Uganda, most tourists prefer the mid-range, an affordable budget.  When you make your safari during the low season the costs are discounted! Apart from Uganda, we also arrange Rwanda Gorilla Trekking tours or Congo Gorilla safaris, we tailor make you a fantastic safari.

How To Get A Gorilla Trekking Permit in Uganda

Gorilla trekking in Uganda is conducted in Bwindi National Park or in Mgahinga National Park. Due to inconsistency of gorillas in Mgahinga, we always book gorilla permits forBwindi NP. In Uganda, every gorilla permit goes for US $ 600. Approximately 72 people travel into Bwindi to see gorillas and a group of 8 people are allowed to see a gorilla family. We strongly advise you to book your gorilla permit with an accredited safari agent, to avoid mistake of booking a gorilla permit family which is far away from your choice of accommodation! The routes to Bwindi often tricky and slippery sometimes, If you are planning to do the gorilla trek safari on your own so as to save costs, you might end up incurring more. Safari/tour guides have been trained to help you with this.

To be on safe side of getting a gorilla permit to trek gorillas the easiest way of reserving trekking permits is through a local Uganda safari/tour operator. These safari/tour operators normally add an extra fee of US$60 to US$100 for each permit. These gorilla safari/tour companies and won’t be charged you for purchasing a gorilla permit in case you are going to use their other safari/tour services from Alpha Uganda Safaris such as hotel reservationsbut if you only want a gorilla permit from Alpha Adventure Safaris then we add an extra charge of up to US$50 per gorilla permit we book because of the administrative costs. Safari/tour agencies normally speed up the reservation so you will be able to confirm your gorilla permit faster.

What We Need To Book a Uganda Gorilla Permit for Trek

  • Send the dates for your tour to Uganda and specify the date for trekking the gorillas

You will be informed if your preferred dates are available for trekking and also temporarily gorilla permit will be reserved.

You can either pay using our secured online payment or by Bank transfer which we have to send you.

  • Send us your passport details (full names, nationality and the passport number) that will be printed to your gorilla permit.

After confirmation of payment, weshall send you an acknowledgement email for the money transfer. Please remember to instruct your bank to deduct the bank charges for the transaction from your account which is 5%. Remember we don’t  charge extra fees for the gorilla permit booking if you are reserving the rest of your tour through Alpha Uganda Safaris. Any additional costs will be for services like telephony and transport that will be incurred when acquiring the permit.

Having a gorilla permit doesn’t 100% guarantee you seeing the gorillas although chances of seeing them are about 98%

Important to note is that tour operators in Uganda through their Association(Association of Uganda Tour Operator’s)  normally buy as much as 80% of the permits for a time of up to two years to the intended date of trekking the gorillas. Each of the member agencies can buy as many as 20 permits in a single month. However individuals as well as those not under the AUTO umbrella can buy at most two gorilla permits every month three months before the intended month of the gorilla trekking when the reservations open on the very-first working days from Monday to Friday of that month. Permits that aren’t sold on opening of the booking days are resold the next day without any limit put on the number of permits sold by a single operator or even individual person.

What ToPut On?  Choosing the right Clothing

Gorilla Trekking wear, Good quality walking boots or even climbs, warm layers of cloth for the cold evenings and clothing for wet weather remember it becomes cold and wet at this high altitude.

About Mountain Gorilla in Uganda

–Behavior, History, Facts of Mountain Gorillas, Predators, Habitat plus Diet:

These endangered Mountain Gorillas in Uganda they cannot survive in detention and thus there aren’t any known mountain gorillas surviving within zoos. These can only be found and seen in Africa, and in only three countries including Uganda, the Democratic Republic of Congo and Rwanda.  There are approximately 1000 Mountain Gorillas remaining in the world with approximately half of them staying in Bwindi Impenetrable Forest plus the Mgahinga Gorilla Park within Uganda found in East Africa.

When you talk about Gorillas imaginative thoughts cross anyone’s mind; with thoughts of Tarzan movies and King Kong. Mountain Gorillas in Rwanda weren’t known about by the western world until 1902.  Rwanda then a German colony, Captain von Berenge was mountaineering Mount Sabinyo on the side of Rwanda together with his friends and at 9300 foot-level where they camped, they spotted a group of Mountain Gorillas and there he shot 2 of them although managed to retrieve just one.  The victim was a young-male approximately five years of age, not too big at 220 pounds, however larger than all apes the Germans had ever seen.  The Bones plus skin were later forwarded to Berlin and there it was acknowledged as a mountain gorilla.

Nobody had imagined that gorillas could stay in a high and colder environment than West -Africa.  The news of gorillas attracted hunters to the region, especially within Congo and there several Mountain Gorillas where shot and others captured.  Actually Prince Wilhelm from Sweden shot fourteen mountain gorillas in an expedition within this region done from 1920 to 1921.

The Belgians launched a Mountain Gorilla preservation’s program and later followed the English who did it in Uganda.  Within Uganda for several years no one was allowed to receive visitors to see these Mountain Gorillas.  Within Kisoro, Walter Baumgärtel was offered permission to establish visits for tourists to his beautiful Traveller’s Rest Inn, a facility where up to date you can stay within Uganda.  Baumgärtel wrote an interesting Book “Up among the Mountain Gorillas” which actually is about his personal encounters with the tranquil giant apes in southern Uganda.  It is a great book with reference to a man, the attractiveness of the Uganda’s countryside and an inn, and generally about the fascinating Mountain Gorillas and Uganda gorilla safari.  Actually Dian Fossey lived there on a frequent basis similar to George Schaller a many other renowned personalities.

The majority of Gorillas which you may have seen in a zoo are the lowlands gorillas of western Africa, and the mountain gorillas are actually a subspecies known as Gorilla beringeiberingei.    These can only be found  in the wilderness of the Virunga highlands of Rwanda within Volcano Park found in Rwanda, Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park as well as Mgahinga Gorilla National Park in Uganda, and the Virunga National Park found in the Democratic Republic of Congo. These parks are found only 48 km from each other.  Within Uganda as well as Rwanda these parks can be accessed easily, while in the Democratic Republic of Congo due to the rebel activities that happened, there was a probable threat to the lives of visitors. Click here for more information about Gorilla Trekking in Rwanda

There are more than seven hundred and eighty six mountain gorillas in the whole world.  Uganda hold close to half of their total population, and the majority of them live in Bwindi Impenetrable Forest, whereas the others are found in Mgahinga Gorilla Park, however these at times cross over to Rwanda.  Fortunately the Gorillas are growing in numbers because of the protection they are offered from the government of Uganda which also included efforts of the adjacent communities to the parks to whom part of the USD 600 fee of Gorilla tracking permits charged from foreign visitors to Mgahinga as well as Bwindi is offered.

Mountain Gorilla Trekking, How do Gorillas look like?

Males are two times the size of the females, they may grow to 6 ft tall and even weigh 350 -500 pounds.  These are strong, with long arms and muscular.  The males are referred to as the silverback because as they mature the hair on their back turns somewhat silver, hence the name Silverbacks.  The strength of the males is ten times stronger compared to the strongest boxer, even taking steroids.  The arms of silverbacks can stretch to 7 feet

Mountain Gorillas possess longer plus darker hair compared to their lowland counterparts because they stay in colder climates and higher altitudes.  Their life span is between 40 and 50 years.

The mountain gorillas mainly stay on the ground although they will climb a tree occasionally given that it can support them, however just like children, their young play in the trees.

A fascinating fact is that Gorillas plus Humans are share 98% of their genetic composition.

What Mountain Gorillas Feed on?

Uganda has two places where these Mountain Gorillas may be seen, one is Mgahinga Gorilla Park; a stunning park and a component of the Virunga chain of towering volcanoes that extend into the DRC and Rwanda, and then in Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park.

Bwindi Impenetrable Forest supports the hugest Population of Mountain Gorilla.  It is a ancient forest also called the “Place of Darkness.”  The tree cover makes it very dark within this forest.  The forest’s altitudes are between 1,160m and 2,607m above sea level. The Bwindi plus Mgahinga each possess varying characteristics as well as similarities. The Bwindi isn’t an extinct volcanic region while the Mgahinga is.

Mgahinga Gorilla Park sits on higher altitudes and the Mountain Gorillas move up and feed on some of the afro-montane vegetation.  Typically Mountain Gorillas eat large quantities of flowers, leaves, fruit, roots, bamboo and shoots in season.  The Adults can consume up to 75 pounds each day.

The day of a Mountain Gorilla starts at 6 am up to 6pm with a snooze around lunch time.  Uganda receives Light just past 6 am and darkness falls around 7pm.

These move every day to different locations where they make nests using twigs plus leaves and spend their night.  Some people have found these reasonably comfortable, just enough to actually slumber in.

Are Mountain Gorillas Dangerous Species? Will they hurt me during the trek ?

Visitors into Bwindi Impenetrable Forest frequently inquire if mountain gorillas are dangerous?  Although dominant and very strong, these are gentle as well as shy, and in addition the mountain gorillas which visitors see within Uganda have been habituated.  In other words they are habituated to people, which process that takes close to 2 years.  Dian Fossey actually was against the idea of visiting mountain gorillas which is done today, however it’s the money collected that survival of this endangered species, and seen their number increase over the recent years.

While mountain gorillas are threatened they do attack so as to protect their very own.  When different Mountain Gorilla groups meet, there is a fight between the leader Silverbacks to death.

Mountain gorillas exist in groups which differ in size from 2 – 30 or 40, however commonly in groups of 10.  There is no specific mating season while babies are born through the year.  The Males begin breeding at around 15 years while the females start giving birth between 10 and 12 years.  Females can give birth after every 2 to 3 years giving birth to 4 – 6 offspring through their lifetime.

Males leave their group at about 11 years of age, while a little over half of the females will leave their group.

Mountain gorillas communicate through sounds like roars, grunts and shouts, and 25 sounds currently have been documented by researchers

What Are Mountain Gorilla Predators?

The most threat to the Mountain Gorillas is human encroachment for settlement around them.  previously there was a slash as well as burn mentality however, through an educational progrm by the Uganda Wildlife Authority plus cash motivation to the community through the tourism industry that the gorillas within Uganda are today no longer as threatened by various poachers as it was in the DRC. Additionally they are threatened by various diseases transmitted by human visitors into the park, and for that reason the Uganda Wildlife Authority has set up strict rules to prevent spreading of such diseases.

 Where Can I See Mountain Gorillas in Africa?

You can see gorillas in Uganda, Rwanda and Congo. However, note that gorillas are mainly divided into the mountain and the lowland with a couple of other sub-species in that. We suggest Rwanda, Uganda for views of the mountain gorillas and the Republic of Congo for the lowland gorillas. It is also possible to find mountain gorillas within the DR of Congo however due to the instabilities within the country, it has been challenging in some areas. Some tourists think that you can find gorillas even where you opt for safaris in Tanzania ! This is wrong. However Tanzania, Uganda and Kenya can be a great addition to your safari tour.

Difference between Lowland Gorillas and Mountain Gorillas

The lowland gorillas are smaller and have brownish-gray far coats and a distinct brow ridge, whereas the mountain gorillas are larger with darker black coats. The Mountain gorillas are the most uncommon primates in the entire world with less than 800 surviving in the African wilderness. on the contrary there are more than 100,000 lowland gorillas just in the Republic of Congo.

Best Country for Seeing The Mountain Gorillas ?

All mountain gorillas are living in the forestswith same environment. Comparing Uganda to Rwanda is not a good idea since Uganda has more wildlife than Rwanda. Besides the mountain gorillas, you can visit different National parks for wildlife, white water rafting, primates in Kibale Forest National Park ,bird watching etc. If it is about the cost, please note that, Gorilla permits within Rwanda were recently increased up to $1500 per individual and then in Uganda they go each for USD 600. The permit offers you one hour with the mountain gorillas in a group of 8 people. In case you are threatened by the price look at it in this point of view that you are contributing to the conservation of mountain gorillas and as a form of thank you, you will be rewarded with an hour in the midst observing and enjoying their company. Keep in mind that just 80 people are allowed to see the gorillas in their natural habitat each day. Because their habitat is very fragile, every time you walk in this forest you leave a footprint.

Gorilla tracking is a very captivating activity; it involves walking in the wilderness in search of these great apes. It can be a changeling activity, therefore ensure physical fitness. Eight people are permitted per group per day and a total of 96 people is taken in Bwindi, while eight (8) people are allowed for Mgahinga. We have 12 groups for viewing. There are 12 habituated gorilla group families in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park, Rushegura, Nkuringo, and one (Nyakagezi) in Mgahinga Gorilla National Park.

Gorilla Permits Booking Guidelines/Procedure as Provided by the UWA


  1. Booking Office

Booking for all gorilla permits in Bwindi and Mgahinga is done at UWA Headquarters in Kampala. All gorilla tracking (trekking) permits bought else where have to be confirmed by the UWA For permit fee information please check on the tariffs section.

  1. Long Term (Two Years in Advance) Booking Allocations

Advance booking shall be allowed up to two years as long as a deposit of 30% is made and the balance shall be paid 91 days to the tracking date. Late top up of 70% is not permitted but may be considered 7 days, and will attract a Surcharge of 20% beyond which deposit is forfeited without refund.

80% of all the gorilla permits in each month can be booked for two years in advance by the Association of Uganda Tour Operations (AUTO) members only. Foreign tour operators will book through local tour operators.

Each tour operator (AUTO) shall book up to only 20 permits for that particular month on the day the booking opens, which is the first working day (Monday to Friday) of the month.

  1. Short time booking (three months in advance)

Individual trackers can buy from Uganda Wildlife Authority not more than 2 permits for the month. There is no guarantee, which dates or how many per day will be available. Booking can be done on the day the booking opens, which is the first working day of the month.

  1. Permit Limits

Permits not sold on the day the booking opens will be open for sale the following day with no limits on the number each tour operator would buy.

  1. Refunds/Cancellation Guidelines

UWA shall refund 50% tracking fee, if the visitor fails to track due to illness, this will be at recommendation of the Warden in Charge and this clause only applies to visitors who have already tracked BINP or MGNP.

Visitors who fail to track the gorillas (MGNP) as a result of their movement to the neighboring country shall receive a full refund on their permits. However, those who would have tracked the whole day and failed to view the gorillas for one reason or another will be refunded 75% of the tracking fee. All refunds shall be effected through the Reservation Office at UWA Headquarters in Kampala.

  • UWA will retain the following percentages upon cancellations;

0 – 8 days to tracking date – no refund

9 – 45 days to tracking date – 75% (25% refund to client)

46-90 days to tracking date – 50%

91 days and above to tracking date – 25% (75% refund to client)

  1. Any refund to be made on the 30% deposit shall be at the value of the permit.
  1. Permits must be sold at face value, whoever sells at higher value will be penalized.
  1. Primary sale of permits by individuals or tour companies anywhere is illegal. All permits MUST be sold by Uganda Wildlife Authority only.
  1. Payment for gorilla permits must be made directly to Uganda Wildlife


  1. Reschedules of Permit Reservations

Reschedules of Permit reservations are not permitted, except if it is more than 91 days to tracking date and is within seven (7) days of rescheduled date.

This will attract a reschedule fee of 20%. Any other charges of the date will be considered as a cancellation and a re-booking. A cancellation policy will therefore apply and re-booking a new date at the full cost of a permit.

  1. Payment Terms:

The acceptable payment methods are:

Cash (Uganda Shillings, US dollars, GB Pounds, Euros

Bank Transfers (net of the bank charges)

Traveler’s Cheques (Present receipt of purchase at point of sale & 1% charge)

  1. Time Limit

The tracking time is limited from 8:30 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. All visitors are expected back at the campground by 7:00 p.m.

No more discounted gorilla permits in Uganda, Low season permits

Please note that Uganda Used to offer discounted gorilla permits in Low seasons of April, May and November but due to Increase in Rwanda gorilla permits from USD750,00 to USD1500.00, Uganda then scrapped off the offer it used to give during Low season. All permits in Uganda are at USD600.00 per person per trek. (THIS ARTICLE IS THUS DOES NOT APPLY TO 2018 ONWARDS)

Mountain Gorilla Tracking safaris (Trekking) Experience, Guidelines and Tips



Gorilla Families in Uganda

Habituated gorilla families in Uganda

With approximately 1000 mountain gorillas living in the impenetrable forests, Uganda is home to more than half of the world’s total population of mountain gorillas. The majority is found in different areas of Bwindi Impenetrable National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of the most popular tourism destinations in Africa. A small number lives on the lower slopes of the volcanoes in Mgahinga National Park.

Uganda currently hosts eleven habituated gorilla families and one group that is only available for research. These include Mubare, Habinyanja, Rushegura, Bitukura, Oruzogo, Nkuringo, Nshongi, Mishaya, Kahungye, Bweza, Busingye, Nyakagezi and the research group Kyaguriro.

  • Mubare Gorilla Family

Location: Buhoma

Group size: 8 individuals including 1 silverback

Silverback Ruhondeza

The Mubare gorilla group is the oldest habituated gorilla family in Uganda and was opened for tourism in 1993. The name derives from the Mubare Hill, deep in Bwindi Impenetrable Forest, where the gorillas were first sighted by trackers. Initially, the group consisted of 18 individuals, led by the dominant Silverback Ruhondeza. Unfortunately, over the years the family lost many members until there were only 5 left in 2012. This was due to moving to other groups, life losses during fights and the death of a baby gorilla.

In March 2012, the family was attacked by a wild gorilla group who broke Ruhondeza’s leadership and took away some of the females. Old Ruhondeza took refuge in a nearby community forest but continued to be monitored by researchers, until he died in his sleep on 27 June 2012. He was believed to have been well over 50 years of age. When visiting Buhoma feel free to ask your guide for the location of this great silverback’s grave!

In the meantime, Ruhondeza successor Kanyonyi managed to expand the family again and increased it to eight members including a baby named Kashundwe.

  • Habinyanja Gorilla Family

Location: Buhoma (ranging from Kahororo to Rubona)

Group size: 17 individuals including 2 silverbacks

Silverback Mizano

TheHabinyanja gorilla family was habituated in 1997 and first visited by tourists in 1999. The name “Habinyanja” comes from the Rukiga word “Nyanja” meaning “a place with water”. The reason for this name is because the group was first seen near a swamp in Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park.

At the time of habituation the group was lead by the dominant Silverback Mugurisi, which means “Old man”. After passing away because of old age, the two brothers Rwansigazi and Mwirima shared power but they were so different that it couldn’t continue. Rwansigazi was an adventurous gorilla and liked travelling, while Mwirima preferred to stay at a small range. It was therefore inevitable that in 2002 the two silverbacks decided to separate, without any fights. The group that followed Rwansigazi maintained the name Habinyanja and the members who stayed with Mwirima came to be known as the Rushegura family. Later, Rwansigazi had to give up leadership to Makara who is now the dominant silverback of the Habinyanja family. Sometimes, both groups still come across each other but co-exist rather peacefully.

Sadly, a tragedy happened in June 2011 when the friendly blackbackMizano was found dead with evidence of spear wounds about the shoulders and neck. It is believed that a group of poacher with their dogs ran into the group. Mizano, who naturally defended his family, was speared and died instantly. It was the first poaching incident whereby a gorilla has been killed by poachers since 1995.

  • Rushegura Gorilla Family

Location: Buhoma

Group size: 19 individuals including 1 silverback

Rushegura Gorilla FamilyRushegura is the name of a place where the separation of this group from the larger family of Habinyanja took place in February 2002. The breakaway was led by Mwirima who took with him seven members/started with 12 individuals including 5 femails. His devotatoin to create a stable family wierpvruchtenaf as the number of individuals increased to 19 by April 2010.

At an estimated 25 years of age, Mwirima is without question the most dominant silverback in his group and does not back away from showing his strength during fights with wild gorilla groups. They used to cross to neighboring Democratic Republic of Congo but came back and now enjoy the peacefully environments of Bwindi National Park. The group is known to be one of the calmest families and usually stay in the vicinity of Buhoma Village. Do not be surprised to even see them wandering around the lodge gardens or visit the souvenir shop of Gorilla Forest Camp as they are very curious as well. Especially the youngsters do not shy away from visitors and often like to ‘get a better look’.

  • Bitukura Gorilla Family

Location: Ruhija

Group size: 14 individuals including 4 silverbacks

Mother and baby gorillaTheBitukura family is located in the Ruhija side of Bwindi Forest National Park. This mountain gorilla family was named after a river that bears the same name, where it was first sighted. Habituation started in July 2007 and the group was opened for tourism in October 2008. Taking only 15 months is remarkable, since the habituation process normally lasts at least 2 years. But thanks to the close bond that they share with the Kyaguriro family, with whom they have regularly have ‘get-togethers’, they had frequent encounters with the UWA rangers and thus made the habituation easier.

The Bitukura group with originally 24 members has been reduced to only 14 individuals during the last years. It is a peaceable family with four silverbacks, where the second youngest silverback Ndahura is the leader. He took the role from former Silverback Karamuzi who stayed over 40 years and is now retired.

Despite of the loss of several members, who defected to other gorilla families, Bitukura now looks happily and closer to one another. Especially since a new member joined the family in April 2013. Adult female Ruhara gave birth to a baby gorilla, who is closely guarded by the proud father Ndahura.

  • Oruzogo Gorilla Family

Location: Ruhija

Group size: 25 individuals including 2 silverbacks

TheOruzogo group is the second habituated gorilla family living in the Ruhija area. The group consists of 23 individuals and is led by Silverback Tibirikwata. The family opened for tourism mid 2011 and since then has experienced a growth thanks to a number of births. Female adult Ntamurungi gave birth to a baby gorilla in June 2011 and Musi gave birth in October 2011. More joy came when a set of twins was born in March 2012. The twin mother is Kakoba. Other individuals in the group include Busungu (meaning “short tempered”), Kaganga (“the giant one”) and Bwoba (“the coward”).

  • Nkuringo Gorilla Family

Location: Nkuringo

Group size: 19 individuals including 2 silverbacks

The habituation process of the Nkuringo gorilla group was completed in 2004. Nkuringo means “round hill” in Rukiga, referring to the hill where the group was first spotted. They were often found in the vicinity of the villages outside park, which eventually became the main reason for the habituation. Because of their behavior to feed on bananas, sweet potatoes and other crops, they created a problem for the local communities. It was then decided to open the group for tourists, so the villagers would directly benefit from tourism and the gorillas would be protected at the same time.

Initially, the group was led by the elderly Silverback Nkuringo. He died in April 2008, leaving behind two silverbacks, Safari and Rafiki. It was his son Safari who took over the leadership. Seven months later, the Nkuringo family welcomed a set of twin gorillas from mother Kwitonda, named Katungi and Muhozi. Unfortunately, Katungi died at the age of 1.5 years due to illness.

  • Nshongi Gorilla Family

Location: Rushaga

Group size: 26 individuals including 4 silverbacks

Silverback Nshongi

TheNshongi gorilla group was named after the river close where the family was first seen. The word Nshongi derives from “OmushongiGwoboki, meaning ‘honey’ and referred to the deep color of the river. Being opened for tourism in September 2009, the family was unique due to its large size. With 36 individuals it was the largest gorilla group ever habituated. Even more remarkable was that the three silverbacks and seven blackbacks lived in harmony with each other and did not make an attempt for leadership. Especially since the dominant silverback Nshongi was not even the oldest silverback in the family. However, in July 2010, the group split into two: the Nshongi group with 26 individuals, including 4 silverbacks and a newly formed family led by the silverback Mishaya with 10 members.

  • Mishaya Gorilla Family

Location: Rushaga

Group size: 12 individuals including 1 silverback

MishayasilverbackSilverbackMishaya was part of the Nshongi group but decided in July 2010 to establish its own family. Being known as a fighter who often starts interactions with other gorilla families, he was able to gather females from other groups in the area and could expand his group. In April 2011 he clashed again with a non-habituated gorilla family, resulting in serious injuries for himself and a 2-year old infant. The wounds were treated by veterinarians from the Mountain Gorilla Veterinary Project.

  • Kahungye Gorilla Family

Location: Rushaga

Group size: 13 individuals including 3 silverbacks

Mountain Gorilla UgandaTheKahungye group is one of the most recent habituated gorilla families in Bwindi National Park. The family was opened for tourism in October 2011 but in less than a year the group split, creating a new family that is called Busingye. Before the separation, the family consisted of 27 individuals including 3 silverbacks. The group is active and led by the dominant silverback Gwigi, which means “door” in the local language.

  • Bweza Gorilla Family

Location: Rushaga

Group size: 9 individuals including 1 silverback

Gorilla in UgandaOriginally, the Nshongi family was the largest gorilla group ever habituated. However, in July 2010 Silverback Mishaya decided to start his own family. Two years later also Bweza, another silverback preferred to separate himself from the rest of the group. Initially, the UWA rangers suspected that they would get back together again, but when it appeared that the split was infinitive, this ‘new’ group opened for tourism in December 2012.

  • Busingye Gorilla Family

Location: Rushaga

Group size: 9 individuals including 1 silverback

Silverback gorilla In the same period, in the same sector, but another gorilla family experienced a breakaway as well. It was Silverback Busingye who decided to split from the Kahungye group in June 2012 and create his own family. Busingye means ‘peace’ which is quite surprising since this ambitious silverback is known for his legendary fights with other gorilla groups. He likes showing his power and whenever encountering a wild family he mercilessly grabs a female to add to his own family.

  • Nyakagezi Gorilla Family

Location: Mgahinga National Park

Group size: 10 individuals including 3 silverbacks

Nyakagezi Gorilla Family

Mgahinga National Park only hosts one gorilla family known as the Nyakagezi Group. The group is led by Mark, the dominant silverback, who likes travelling and keeps on crossing borders between Uganda, Rwanda and Democratic Republic of Congo. Lately it seems they are trying to regain their Ugandan citizenship again as they have been back in Mgahinga National Park since November 2012 and may are likely to stay for a while. Even more good news came in May 2013 when a new baby was born, increasing the group to 10 members.

Due to quite unpredictable behavior, permits for this group can only be booked at the park headquarters of Uganda Wildlife Authority.

  • Kyaguriro Gorilla Family

Location: Ruhija

Group size: 15 individuals including 2 silverbacks

Gorilla Family in Bwindi National Park Although the Kyaguriro family is habituated, it has not been visited by tourists until now but is put aside for research only. By closely keeping contact with this group, conservationists have been able to learn a lot about the mountain gorillas of Bwindi, including some remarkable differences with the mountain gorillas that live in the Virunga Volcanoes. Initially the family was led by an aging silverback Zeus. Unfortunately he died in exile after being usurped and banished into the forest by his rival Rukina.

Here’s everything you need to know about Gorilla trekking with mountain gorillas in Uganda and Rwanda

UPDATE ON GORILLA TREKKING SAFARIS/TOURS IN RWANDA: Maximum 96 gorilla tracking permits are available each day. As of May 2017, the Rwandan Development Board increased the costs of the gorilla permits from US$ 750 to US$ 1,500 per person, for a one-hour visit. The new prices aim to strengthen conservation efforts and support the development of local communities. More info here.

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