Gorilla Families in Uganda


It’s undoubted that the pearl of Africa has more than half of the total number of mountain gorillas living on planet earth. This has turned Uganda into one of the Top tour destinations in Africa. Shoebill Safaris has been organizing Gorilla trips for many years now. The critically endangered mountain gorillas in the Virunga Volcanoes are about 604 individuals. Over half of the total number of these creatures live in Bwindi National Park and this pushes the total number of wild mountain gorillas in the world to over 1000. The number of Gorilla families available for tracking in Uganda has increased from fifteen to seventeen. Following the introduction of two new gorilla Families-Christmas and Katwe. Below are the habituated gorilla families with their respective locations in the Jungle.

Gorilla Families and Location

Katwe Gorilla family
This is a new gorilla family in the northern sector of the great Bwindi impenetrable National Park. It took over three years to habituate the Katwe gorilla family. The actual number of members of this gorilla family 9is not clear yet but it has one dominant silverback, two babies and four female adults.

Christmas Gorilla family

This family joins the two families (Bushaho and Nkuringo) that are found Nkuringo area south of Bwindi national park. The name Christmas originates from the head of this family(Christmas) who is believed to have been born on Christmas. The family has a total number of 9 members including 3 adult females, 3 black backs, and two babies. This make the number of gorilla families to three in the southern part to three.
In conclusion, Uganda is the number one gorilla Trekking destination for travelers because of the large number of Habituated Gorilla Families in the different parts of Bwindi Impenetrable national park. Be there personally for a close contact with these human-like animals for great memories of a life time.

Mubare family found in Buhoma Bwindi
This Mubare group (also called the M-Group) is the very first group to be habituated for tracking by tourists. the habituation started in 1991 and this group received its very first tracking visitors in 1993. This Uganda’s the oldest habituated mountain gorilla group living in the Mubare hills, within the depths of Bwindi forest. Today this is the most loved family to track due to its convenient location.

Habinyanja Gorilla family
This family has over 18 members including 2 silverbacks. Found in Buhoma Bwindi the Habinyanja Gorilla Family is among the very first families to receive visitors in Uganda. Its location near the lake explains how the family was named from a local word “Nyanja” meaning ‘water body’. And this is so because the group was first seen in a swamp within Bwindi Impenetrable Forest. The Habinyanja family is recognized for its too much drama as well as commotion caused by power struggles between the two dominant silverbacks fighting for leadership.

Nkuringo Gorilla family
The family of 19 members including two silverbacks is found in Nkuringo. This group was opened up in 2004 for tourism. It was first seen on a hill and it was named Nkuringo a word in the local rukiga language that means “round hill”. Then the family was led by Nkuringo as the dominant silverback who later died in April 2008. It left behind two Silverbacks Rafiki plus Safari; the later took over leadership.

Rushegura Gorilla Family
The Rushegura Gorilla Family has 19 members including a silverback and is also found in Buhoma Bwindi.
The family came into existence in 2002, after a silverback broke off from the Habinyanja group. Initially there were 12 individuals including five females. It was called Rushegura a name derived from “Ebishegura” which is a tree species that is plentiful within the area where this family lives. It’s close to Buhoma village and many a times seen in the vicinity of Gorilla Forest Camp.

Mishaya Gorilla Family
This family has seven members including one Silverback and is Located in Rushaga Bwindi
This was forced in 2010 when Silverback Mishaya left the Nshongi Gorilla Group with a couple of females and today the group has a total of 12 gorillas, and among these are 3 infants. Mishaya is a great fighter and he fights to protect his family.

Bweza Gorilla family
This family has seven members including a Silverback and live in Rushaga area of Bwindi National Park.
Silverback Bweza left the Mishaya Gorilla family in the last months of 2012, leaving with 6 other members and they formed this family. Since 2014, the family can be tracked

Kahungye Gorilla family
The family has thirteen members with three silverbacks and is found in Rushaga Bwindi. Originally Kahungye had 27 individuals among which were three silverbacks. Rumansi is the dominant male leading the family, Rwigi and Ruhamuka are the old males. In 2011 this group was opened for tourism; however, it split shortly to form Busingye Gorilla Family.

Busingye Gorilla group
This family is Located in Rushaga Bwindi and is made of nine individuals including a silverback. Busingye Gorilla family broke off the Kahungye Family mid-2012. It was introduced for tourism in 2013 With nine members including two adult females, three infants and other youths, Busingye is the Silverback.

Nyakagezi Gorilla family
It is the only family within Mgahinga Gorilla Park consisting of ten individuals including one silverback and is this particular family lives in Mgahinga Gorilla Park. Since end of 2012, the family settled in Uganda and in May 2013 they received a newborn baby gorilla.

Nshongi Gorilla family
This family is located in Rushaga part of Bwindi Impenetrable National Park. You will therefore need to move to Kisoro and look for accommodation because it is closer. The name Nshongi is got from a river close to where this gorilla family was first sighted. The river has a deep color similar to honey which in the local language there is called Omushongi Gwoboki the river was named Nshongi.
Most gorilla families usually comprise about twenty individuals but this family is unique with 36 individuals (at the last count) and growing, with the silverbacks and black backs living in harmony. The oldest male silverback leading the group.

Oruzogo Gorilla Family
Oruzogo gorilla group is located in Ruhija together with Bitukura, and Kyaguriro which is the gorilla family dedicated purely for research. This gorilla family can be trekked from Buhoma or Ruhija. This family was availed for trekking is 2012 and is led by Tibirikwata the dominant Silverback.

Bushaho Gorilla Family
Bushaho family is composed of 8 individuals; 1 silverback, 1 black back, 3 adult females, 1 sub-adult, 1 juvenile, and 1 infant. It was discovered that one of the former Silverbacks of Nkuringo family, ‘Bahati’ who had dispersed earlier was leading a parallel family. Some of the members in this family were former members of the Nkuringo family among other non-habituated members. What started as a follow-up exercise later led to close monitoring of the behavior of the parallel family. The group was later habituated and named ‘Bushaho’ after the topo-name of the locality where the group hunts most. Bushaho family is still headed by Bahati and is found in Nkuringo sector of Bwindi Impenetrable national park.

Bikingi Gorilla Family
Bikingi family is found in Rushaga tourism sector with 15 individuals including; 1 silverback, 5 adult females, 2 sub-adults, 2 juveniles and 5 infants. The habituation of this group came as a follow-up exercise of the dispersing members of the disintegrated Mishaya family. Indeed, several members of the former Mishaya family were located in the group alongside other non-habituated members and later-on declared for habituation to keep close monitoring of the formerly habituated members. r of Bwindi Impenetrable national park. Unfortunately, this family’s leadership is not yet confirmed because it’s still undergoing habituation.

Bitukura Gorilla Family
Bitukura family is found in Ruhija tourism sector of Bwindi Impenetrable national park. The family is well known for multi-male tolerance in the group, sometimes with up to five adult males living in the same family at once. It is headed by Ndahura and is currently composed of 13 individuals; 4 silverbacks, 4 adult females, 2 juveniles and 3 infants. Bitukura family likes foraging around Ruhija tourism station of the park and sometimes along the forest edges in the sector.

Kyaguliro A&B Gorilla group
Kyaguliro A&B groups are solely dedicated for gorilla research purposes. They are found in Ruhija tourism sector of Bwindi Impenetrable national park. The groups’ habituation began in 1995 following the sudden death of the principal family head Rukina succumbed to an electric shock due to lightning on 7th April 2015. After Rukina’s demise, the family was left under the leadership of an inexperienced young Silverback (Mukiza) who was later ambushed by an immigrating adult silverback(Rukara) from the Bitukura family, this fueled a split of the family into two – (Kyaguliro A -Rukara and Kyaguliro B -Mukiza) in May 2016. However, this split is not yet assured since the two sub-families continue to forage within close vicinity pausing high potential for re-union or crossing back and forth by some family members. Generally, the entire family is known for spending almost all its time in the inner forest and very rarely gets close to the forest’s peripherals.
What to pack for Gorilla trekking
• Hiking shoes
• Hat
• Sun goggles
• Sun screen
• Light weight clothes
• Long sleeved blose/t-shirt
• Long trousers
• Woolen stockings
• Snacks and Water