Gorilla tracking in Uganda is done in Bwindi impenetrable National park and also in Mgahinga Gorilla National Park, there are over 12 mountain gorilla families and these are enjoyed by many tourists who visit Uganda. Some of these include;
Mubare Gorilla Family
Mubare Gorilla family which has 9 members including 1 silverback, and its located 1 silverback. This family is the oldest habituated gorilla group in Uganda and was found in the Mubare hills in with in Bwindi forest and was habituated in 1998. The family started with 12 members, led by the dominant silverback called Ruhondeza. It has grown to 18 members in the recent years. Due to the continuous fights with the wild gorilla groups, it lost many members including the one Ruhoneza who used to care of everyone in the party. This group remained with only 5 members for many years until March 2013 when 4 of its members including the new dominant silverback joined and now it’s one of the interesting groups to visit. Because of its convenient location in Queen Elizabeth National Park and with its limited tracking hike, the family permits are a priority for the many tour operators as well as tourists.
Habinyanja Gorilla Family
The Habinyanja gorilla family has got 18 members including 2 silverback and it’s located in Buhoma. The group was first visited by the tourists in 1999. This name comes from a local word referred to Nyanja meaning a body of water. It also refers to the swamp in Bwindi where the group was first sighted. The Habinyanja is also a fascinating family which has a lot of commotion and drama. This was caused by the power struggles that happened between the dominant silverback and the fights for the family leadership. It’s also not strange for such a large family to split and form a new gorilla family and sometimes can be joined by members that are rejected by other families or the other solitary gorillas and also when they do, they retain the brotherhood and cannot fight against former family members in case they meet. The tourists tracking this family need from 3 to 8 hours and it can make sense if they stay at any lodge at Buhoma area of Bwindi. These are led by the shrewd alpha female called the Kisho.
Rushegura Gorilla Family
The Rushegura gorilla family has a family size of 19 members including 1 silverback and it’s located in Buhoma. This family was brought together in 2002 after of the silverbacks from the Habinyanja group decided to break away. The family started with 12 individuals including 5 females and the Habinyanja 2 group received a new name that was derived from Ebishegura, a tree species that was abundant with in the home area of the new family. This group is the calmest group and in the past, they used to cross the border and proceed to the neighbouring country of Congo and have always been in Bwindi impenetrable Forest. This group is not so far from Buhoma village and most times move through the gardens of Gorilla Forest Camp.
Bitakura Gorilla Family
Bitakura Gorilla family has got 14 members that include 4 silverbacks and it’s located in RuhijaArea.the group was named after a river where the family members were first sighted. Its habituation started in July 2007 and was relatively a easy process as the gorilla were already frequently used to the UWA rangers. The group is a peaceful family that includes 4 silverbacks and some juveniles, they also share a close bond and have a group meeting. In the recent years, the group had 24 members but due to the disputes in the family, some of the gorillas simply chose to leave and were recruited into other families. In order to visit this family, it’s advisable to stay in Ruhija area of Bwindi Park, however, you can also stay in Buhoma though you have to leave so early in the morning in order to catch the pre track orientation.
Oruzogo Gorilla Family
The Oruzogo Gorilla family has got 23 members including 1 silverback and its located Ruhija Sector. This group is one of the recent gorilla families that was opened for visitors in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park. The Family is situated between Ruhija area and it’s led by a dominant silverback by names of Tibirikwata. This is the latest habituated gorilla family and was opened for tourism purposes on 20th June 2011. This also increased the opportunity to the visitors for more visitors to track the mountain gorillas in Bwindi. It’s one of the most popular families with the tourists due to its playful and energetic juveniles and the toddlers in the group.
Nkuringo Gorilla Family
The Nkuringo Gorilla family has got 19 members including 2 silverbucks and it’s located in Nkuringo Area. Nkuringo is a local word meaning a round hill and it’s from the Rukiga language that refers to the hill where the group was first sighted and launched in 2004 after the 2 year habituation process. One of the main reasons for the habituation was their venture into the local communities’ gardens feeding on the bananas, sweet potatoes and many other crops. The community benefits from Tourism and it formed a protection for the gorillas as well as. This family was led by one silverback Nkuringo who died in April 2008 and left 2 silverback’s safari and Rafiki. Tracking this group takes a bit stamina and energy. It’s the toughest trek in Uganda.
Nshongi Gorilla Family
The Nshogi Gorilla family has a size of over 18 members and it’s located in Rushage area of Bwindi. Nshogi was the largest group that was habituated with 36 gorilla members and was introduced in September 2009. It was also named after River Nshongi where the gorilla family was first found.
The other gorilla groups that are found in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park include; Mishaya Gorilla family with 7 members including 1 silverback and its located in Rushaga area of Bwindi National park, Kahungwe Gorilla family is found in the Rushaga area of Bwindi National park and has a size of 13 members and 3 silverbacks, Bweza gorilla family with 1 silveback and 7 members located in Rushaga Area, the Busingye gorilla family has got 9 individuals with 1 silverback found in Rushaga area, the Nyakagezi Gorilla family with 0 members and 1 silverback and lastly is Kyaguriro Gorilla family with 15 members found in Rujija Area of Bwindi impenetrable national park. The last two are found in Mgahinga National Park.