Gorilla families in Bwindi
Bwindi is one of Uganda’s national parks located in the southern side of the country. Bwindi was gazetted in 1991 to protect endangered mountain gorillas from extinction as well as the vegetation. The national park has a total area of 331 sq. km and has been divided into 4 gorilla trekking regions which are Ruhija, Rushaga, Nkuringo, and Buhoma.
Bwindi impenetrable forest national park harbors the highest population of mountain gorillas in the world which exceed 700. Some of these mountain gorillas have been habituated and as of today, 21 mountain gorilla families are in the park. 19 of the mountain gorilla families are open for trekking activities and 2 of these are open for habituation purposes.
Gorilla families in Buhoma sector
Buhoma sector is located in the northern side of Bwindi gorilla park and it’s home to five mountain gorilla families which include the oldest in the national park. Gorilla families in Buhoma sector of Bwindi gorilla park include Mubare gorilla family headed by Silverback Ruhondeza, Habinyanja gorilla family headed by silverback Makara, Rushengura gorilla family headed by silverback Mwirima, Katwe gorilla family headed by silverback Katwe, and Muyambi gorilla family headed by silverback Muyambi.
Gorilla families in Ruhija sector
Ruhija sector of one of the gorilla trekking regions in Bwindi located in the eastern side of the park. The gorilla trekking region hosts 4 mountain gorilla families these are Kyaguliro gorilla family headed by silverback Rukara, Mukiza gorilla family headed by a silverback Mukiza, Bitukura gorilla family headed by Ndahura, and Ruhija gorilla family headed by Tebirikwata
Gorilla families in Nkuringo sector
Nkuringo sector is located in the southern side of Bwindi impenetrable forest national park and it has the least number of mountain gorilla families in the park. Nkuringo sector is home to 3 gorilla families which are Nkuringo led by a silverback Rwamutwe, Christmas gorilla family led by a silverback Christmas and Bushaho the mountain gorilla family open for habituation led by silverback Bahati.
Gorilla families in Rushaga sector
Rushaga sector is located in the southern sector of Bwindi impenetrable forest national park and it’s home to the highest number of mountain gorilla families in the park. The gorilla trekking region is home to over 8 mountain gorilla families and these are Bweza gorilla family led by a silverback Bweza, Nshongi gorilla family led by a silverback Kakono, Kahungye gorilla family led by a silverback Rumanzi, Busingye gorilla family led by a silverback Rwigi, Bikingi gorilla family led by Bikingi, Rwigi gorilla family led by Rwigi, Mucunguguzi gorilla family led by Mucunguzi, and kuru gorilla family led by Kutu.
Gorilla trekking in Bwindi
Gorilla trekking is the major activity in all the trekking sectors of Bwindi where different gorilla families have been habituated and open for trekking activities. There are over 19 mountain gorilla families open for trekking activities to enable travelers to be around mountain gorillas for 1 hour and which gorilla trekking region to visit is determined by the gorilla permit purchased.
To encounter mountain gorillas of Bwindi, a gorilla trekking permit is a must, and minus that ticket, wardens won’t allow you to be part of the fascinating activity. The gorilla trekking permits are secured from the Uganda Wildlife Authority early in advance at a fee of $700 for foreign non-residents, $600 for foreign residents, and UGX250,000 East African citizens.
The gorilla trekking exercise in all Bwindi sectors starts early in the morning at different headquarters where trekkers gather for a briefing from the park wardens. The wardens check gorilla trekking permits, teach the rules and regulations of gorilla trekking, group trekkers not exceeding 8 people, and get armed ranger guides to lead the trekkers in the jungle.
The armed ranger guides led the trekkers through the quickest routes to the gorilla family after communicating with the trackers about where the gorilla family is. The search normally takes 2-7 hours and the time taken to locate it depends on the location of the gorilla family as well as the speed of trekkers. When the mountain gorilla family is spotted, armed ranger guides give 1 hour to be around the members and this gives you a chance to learn about their habits, take photos and watch them do daily activities.
This is a unique activity only done in Bwindi impenetrable forest national park in the whole world. The gorilla habituation activity is done in the southern side of Bwindi in Rushaga and Nkuringo sectors. Only 2 gorilla families are open for habituation exercises in Bwindi gorilla park and these are Bikingi and Bushaho gorilla families.
Gorilla habituation is done by 4 trekkers and these are led by armed ranger guides that are accompanied by researchers and conservationists. When the mountain gorilla family is spotted, 4 hours start counting and trekkers are around the family watching the mmeber5s do daily activities, take photos and learn about their habits. With gorilla habituation, trekkers are allowed to be part of activities that make mountain gorillas get used to human presence around them.
To habituate Bwindi gorillas, you need a gorilla habituation permit and this must be issued by the Uganda Wildlife Authority. There are only 8 gorilla habituation permits in Bwindi and each costs $1500 for foreign non-residents, $1000 for foreign residents, and UGX750,000 East African citizens. Travelers that are intending to habituate Bwindi gorillas should book the permits very early because they are few and they sell out.
When to visit Bwindi gorilla families for trekking?
Bwindi impenetrable forest national park can be visited at any time of the year however there are certain months that are better than the rest. The dry months are the best to visit Bwindi for a gorilla safari because they are characterized by little or no rainfall making the trekking trails dry, the vegetation is short and thin with good views of the mountain gorillas and the roads leading to the park are passable.
Travelers especially the budget ones can visit Bwindi for gorilla activities in the rainy seasons in order to enjoy huge discounts on accommodation facilities. The rainy season is characterized by little or no rainfall that makes the trekking trails muddy and slippery, the vegetation is tall and thick with unclear views of the mountain gorillas and the roads to the park are in poor conditions.