Mucunguzi gorilla family is a newly habituated gorilla group in Rushaga region of Bwindi Impenetrable National Park. It is a recent addition to the habituated gorilla family groups in the southern gorilla trekking sectors of Bwindi National Park, Southwestern Uganda. Mucunguzi group takes its name from a silverback Mucunguzi and the word Mucunguzi is a local word which means ‘savoir.’
Mucunguzi gorilla family is located in the Rushaga sector and it consists of 8 members. It is dominantly female since it has many female gorillas in the family. It split from Bweza after a serious fight Mucunguzi is the head of the family.
Mucunguzi gorilla group was part of the Bweza but broke away under the leadership of Mucunguzi silverback. He was chased and left to be a lone male after a fight that broke out with dominant silverback in Bweza group. Mucunguzi was the 3rd youngest silverback in Bweza group at the time.
After a long time of living a solitary life, Mucunguzi invaded Bikingi gorilla group and took away females to begin his own group. Recently, the group welcomed a new baby gorilla from mother Ndinkahe gorilla which now makes Mucunguzi group, a group of 12 mountain gorillas.
Generally, mountain gorillas live in families of 5-30 or more members and every group is led by a dominant silverback. They are shy creatures, humble and massive. Trekking to see Mucunguzi gorilla group starts from Rushaga region of Bwindi and takes about 2-6 hours which is inclusive of 1 hour of magical encounter.
Other than Mucunguzi group, Rushaga region also consists of more habituated gorilla families. They include Mukiza, Kutu, Mishaya, Kahungye, Bweza, Bikingi, Nshongi and Busingye groups.
Eight (8) gorilla permits are available for purchase if you are interested in trekking Mucunguzi gorilla family in Rushaga region. Each of the permits is sold to tourists at US Dollars 700 or you can combine gorilla trekking and gorilla habituation experience still within Rushaga region. For gorilla habituation permits, you need US Dollars 1500.
Things to carry to trek gorillas
Anyone who has a plan to trek mountain gorillas in Uganda requires to pack well. Some of the things you must have include energy giving snacks, long-sleeved shirts, sunscreen, waterproof hiking boots, camera without flashlight, insect repellents, first aid kit, sun glasses, bottled water, gardening gloves, passport, visa, valid gorilla permit and many more.
Places to stay around Rushaga
The best way to explore Mucunguzi gorilla family on gorilla safari or any of the habituated gorilla groups in Rushaga is spending a night in the nearby lodge within Rushaga region. Some of the lodges to book in and around Rushaga sector include Ichumbi Gorilla Lodge, Rushaga Gorilla Camp, Nshongi Camp, Rushaga Gorilla Lodge and others.
Access to Rushaga region
To trek Mucunguzi gorilla family, you need to make a trip to Rushaga region in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park. Rushaga area is located in the Southern side of Bwindi and you can drive for 8-10 hours from Kampala through Masaka-Mbarara-Kabale/Kisoro then get to Rushaga region in Bwindi.
Or take 3-4 hours’ drive from Kigali Rwanda via Katuna to Kabale or Chanika to Kisoro and access Rushaga region to track Mucunguzi gorilla family. You can also be part of the flight services arranged starting from Entebbe Airport/Kajjansi airfield to Kisoro/Kihihi airstrip that serves Bwindi in the southwest.