Nyakagezi gorilla family of Mgahinga
Nyakagezi gorilla family of Mgahinga: Nyakagezi is the name that comes to people’s mouths when they talk about mountain gorilla tracking in Mgahinga. Nyakagezi is the only mountain gorilla family found in Mgahinga national park home to mountain gorillas. Mgahinga national park is located in the western part of Uganda and it’s the smallest gorilla park in the world with a population of about 90 mountain gorillas.
Nyakagezi gorilla family was the first to be habituated in Mgahinga national park and no other gorilla family has been habituated there again. Nyakagezi gorilla family was the first to be habituated in 1991 when the park had just been gazetted. The members of Nyakagezi gorilla family went through habituation for a period of 3 years and when they passed the mocking stage they were open for trekking.
Nyakagezi gorilla family is the only gorilla family living in Mgahinga national park. The gorilla family is visited by a maximum of 8 people a day and is open for trekking at all days of the year. Nyakagezi has one of the oldest mountain gorillas alive called Bugingo with over 54 years. The mountain gorilla still stays in the group even after his son took over the leadership.
The name Nyakagezi was got from the area in the park where these mountain gorillas used to spend most of their time. Nyakagezi area in Mgahinga national park has a lot of food for mountain gorillas, and this is why the gorilla family used to concentrate there. During the search for Nyakagezi gorilla family, armed ranger guides used to pass that area to see if the mountain gorillas were around there.
How many members does Nyakagezi gorilla family have?
Nyakagezi gorilla family in Mgahinga national park has 10 members as of today. The 10 members of Nyakagezi gorilla family include 5 silverbacks, 1 juvenile, 2 infants, and 2 adults. The dominant silverback of Nyakagezi gorilla family is Mark who took over the leadership of the group from his own father called Bugingo.
Nyakagezi gorilla family of Mgahinga national park has the highest number of silverbacks compared to all gorilla families in the world. Nyakagezi has 5 silverbacks in the group and these are Bugingo, Mark, Mafia, Ndugutse, and Rukundo. Bugingo is the eldest silverback in Nyakagezi gorilla family with over 55 years. It was the silverback ruling Nyakagezi until mark his son took over the ownership of the group.
How much are gorilla trekking permits for Nyakagezi gorilla family?
To visit Nyakagezi gorilla family you need a gorilla trekking permit and this is issued by Uganda Wildlife Authority. A gorilla trekking permit costs $700 for foreign non-residents, $600 for foreign residents, and UGX250,000 East African citizens. To get the gorilla trekking permit of Mgahinga national park, you must be aged 15 years and above or must be 15 years by the time of trekking.
The gorilla trekking permits for Mgahinga national park are got from Uganda Wildlife Authority or a trusted local tour operator at the same fee. To get the permits you need the correct dates of the month and year you want to travel and they will be used to check for the availability of the gorilla permits. If permits are available, you do pay money and your permits get booked.
Gorilla permit booking for Nyakagezi gorilla family needs to be done 3-4 months or more. This is because only 8 gorilla trekking permits are available in Mgahinga national park only a daily basis. The gorilla trekking permits of Mgahinga do sell out quickly especially in the dry season when a lot of travelers are visiting the park.
When to visit Nyakagezi gorilla family of Mgahinga?
Tourists that want to visit Mgahinga national park should know that the park has two seasons – the dry season and the wet season. The dry season from June to September and December to February is when tourists should visit Nyakagezi gorilla family of Mgahinga national park. This is because the park has little or no rainfall, the trekking trails are dry and easier to navigate, the vegetation is short with good views of gorillas, and the roads leading to the park are in a good state.
Nyakagezi gorilla family is open for trekking even in the rainy season of March to May and October to November. The rainy season is not the best time to visit Nyakagezi gorilla family but budget travelers who want discounted lodges and tour packages can use that period. The rainy season is never good for trekking Nyakagezi family because it has a lot of rainfall that makes trails muddy and slippery, vegetation is tall with unclear views of wildlife and the roads leading to the park are passable.
Tourists that want to visit Nyakagezi gorilla family of Mgahinga national park can get there using road transport or air transport. The national park is located in the southwestern part of Uganda can be accessed within 9-10 hours using road transport. From Kampala, tourists will go through Masaka, Mbarara, Ntungamo, Kabale, and Kisoro where you branch off the main road to the park.
By air transport, there are flights to Kisoro airstrip by Bar Aviation Uganda and Aerolink Uganda. To fly with any of the airline companies you will have to book in advance for your seat to be reserved. Flights to Mgahinga national park start from Kajjansi airstrip or Entebbe international airport and land at Kisoro airstrip in 1 hour and 25 minutes. From Kisoro to Mgahinga national park is 1-2 hours depending on the nature of the roads.
Where to stay
Tourists that are visiting Nyakagezi gorilla family have a lot of accommodation facilities where they can stay. These accommodations range from budget to mid-range to luxury options with where to stay depending on the traveler’s budget. The lodges to use while in Mgahinga national park include Mount Gahinga Lodge, Mgahinga Safari Lodge, Mount Gahinga Rest Camp, Mt Muhabura Climbers Rest Camp, Mgahinga Gorilla Triangle Lodge, Amajambere Iwacu Community Camp, and Mutanda Lake Resort among others.