Visitors on Uganda Rwanda Safaris, or on gorilla safari tours to Uganda always have a high chance of visiting the famous mountain gorillas in Uganda. Some of these gorilla families in Uganda have been Habituated to match human interactions. The gorillas are known for being social and living in small groups presented as a family respectively. Before these habituated gorilla families in bwindi were allowed to be visited, they used to fear humans. But under the first habituation process which lasted for over two years, they started getting used to the human presence. Gorillas in Uganda are the hugest primate and sometimes they can be aggressive beings to all kinds of threats.Gorillas can fight in order to defend their family members. They are shy compared to other primates in that they keep hiding away when they see a human being. This is the reason why these primates go through the habituation process to make sure that they are nearby to face these trekkers.
In 1991, Uganda habituated the first gorilla group hence it being the first country to habituate a gorilla group in Bwindi Impenetrable. Today Uganda has habituated 19 gorilla families ready for trekking from these two famously known parks for gorillas “Bwindi Impenetrable National Park” and “Mgahinga Gorilla National Park”.
Habituated gorilla families in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park
Mubare Gorilla Family Group
Mubare group was habituated in 1991 and was the first group to be habituated in the whole world. The group was officially opened for trekkers in 1993 in the Buhoma Sector the most common sector when it comes to the choices of trekkers. Buhoma sector is the easiest sector for trekkers who don’t want to west a lot of time trekking. Sometimes the gorillas are found in the compound of some lodges in the Buhoma sector. Mubare gorilla group has faced some difficulties as individuals when some members of the group die and also split into other groups.
Habunyanja Gorilla family group
Habunyanja group was habituated in 1997 and was opened for trekking in 1999. The group is led by a dominant silverback Makara who over throw Rwansigazi who no longer exists in the family. The family name Habunyanja was got from a Rukiga language locally used by the community members who live around the park. The “Habunyanja” means “a place with water”. This group has lost members through death and it has also got newborn gorillas to make a big family.
Rushengura Gorilla Family Group
Rushengura family came from the Habinyanja group that split when their silverback Mugurusi died a natural death. Rwansigazi and Mwirima were the brothers who tried to share power after the death of their silverback and still failed to lead together. They split up as brothers and formed their own groups to lead, Mwirima started the Rushengura group while Rwansigazi stayed in the Habinyanja group as a silverback. Rushengura was fully habituated in 2002 and started receiving trekkers immediately and it’s based in Buhoma Sector. Rushengura is among the oldest gorilla families in Bwindi Impenetrable Forest and in the whole of Buhoma Sector as well.
Oruzogo Gorilla Family Group.
Oruzogo family was habituated and received its first trekkers in 2011 in Ruhijja Sector in Bwindi Impenetrable Forest. One year later after its habituation, this family received a pair of twin gorillas in the family from a female member of the family called Kabobe. This family is considered to be with the biggest number of members in Bwindi Impenetrable Forest which include; Busungu meaning “short-tempered”, Kaganga meaning “the giant one” and Bwoba meaning “the coward”.
Katwe Gorilla Family Group
Katwe family was habituated in 2018 and started receiving trekkers in that same year of habituation. This is one of the most recent habituated families in Uganda and it’s counted among the 4 families that are currently found in Buhoma Sector in Bwindi Impenetrable Forest. This gorilla family is led by a silverback Katwe until now.
Bitukura Gorilla Family Group
Bitukura family was habituated for 15 months and was ready for trekking earlier in 2007. This family retrieved their family name after River Butikura which was the first gorilla group to be seen around this River. Bitukura family is led by 4 silverbacks who are very peaceful and live in harmony with each other with no internal fights. They are found in the Ruhijja Sector in Bwindi Impenetrable Forest.
Kyaguriro Gorilla Family Group
Kyaguriro family was first habituated in 1999 and later received its trekkers after putting their research aside. This group is found in Ruhijja Sector and is led by a dominant silverback called Rukara.
Nshongi Family Gorilla Group
Nshongi family was fully habituated in 2009 and later received its trekkers in the same year of habituation. This name was named after River Nsongi which came from “Omushongi Gwoboki” meaning “honey” which usually refers to the deep color of the water/river. Nshongi gorilla family is found in the Rushagga sector in Bwindi Impenetrable Forest and it’s the jolliest group to trek within this sector. This family was habituated with 36 individuals but currently, they have reduced to 25 individuals because of a few conflicts they had as a group and natural deaths for some gorillas.
Mishaya Family Gorilla Group
Mishaya family split from the Nshongi family after its habituation in 2010 in the Rushaga sector. This family is so calm and enjoyable to trek yet it has a few family members in the whole sector because it was newly formed and it welcomes new members who want to join. This group is led by a silverback Mishaya famously known as a fighter of this group who recently had a battle with the groups that are not habituated and he won the fight.
Kahungye Family Gorilla Group
Kahungye family was habituated with a small number of gorillas in 2011 and received its trekkers later that year. This group added more gorillas in the group after the habituation but later split to start up a family called the Busingye gorilla family. Kahungye family is led by an active dominant silverback Gwingi whose name means “door” in some local Ugandan languages near Bwindi Impenetrable Forest.
Busingye Family Gorilla Group
Busingye family came from the Kahungye family after a few conflicts they had among themselves. This group was formed in 2015 and emphasized peace among themselves as a group. Their family name was got from a local language that meant “peace” this group always welcomes members from other groups though sometimes it’s forcefully done. The group started with over 7 gorilla members and currently, they are over 10 members in the family.
Bweza Family Gorilla Group
Bweza family was habituated in 2013 and later that year it started receiving its trekkers. This family is one of those families that split from the Nshongi family in 2010 to form its own family which is led by a silverback Kakono.
Biking Family Gorilla Group
Biking family had some isolated individuals in the Rushaga Sector that delayed the habituation process to take place in this family. Later on, it was habituated and started receiving trekkers. This group came from Mishaya in 2012 with a few members to start the group with and they were over 15 members with one dominant silverback Bikingi.
Rwigi Family Gorilla Group
Rwigi family is among the new gorilla families and habituated in Rushaga Sector in Bwindi Impenetrable Forest. This group received its first trekkers in 2019 with a family of 5 members with one dominant silverback Rwigi. This gorilla family can either be trekked from Rushaga Sector or Nkuringo Sector in Bwindi Impenetrable Forest.
Nkuringo Family Gorilla Group
Nkuringo family is among the habituated gorilla families and received its first trekkers in 2004 in Nkuringo Sector in Bwindi Impenetrable Forest. Before the habituation process took place in this group, they destroyed crops of the community that was surrounding the park which forced the forest controllers to habituate their group. The family name came from a hill that they were primarily sited and it’s led by a dominant silverback Rafiki. According to the background on how this group was habituated, it’s counted as a challenging and strong family compared to other gorilla families.
Bushaho Family Gorilla Group
Bushaho family is among the habituated families in Buhoma Sector in Bwindi Impenetrable Forest which came from the Nkuringo family. This family is led by a silverback Bahati which was monitored for some time and to find out it was a silverback in the Bushoho gorilla family which caused the habituation process done to the family.
Mukiza Gorilla Group
Mukiza family came from the Kyaguriro gorilla family that was also habituated and started receiving trekkers a few months later. This group is found in Ruhija Sector in Bwindi Impenetrable and it’s famously known as Kyaguriro B. The splitting is said to have happened in 2016, the group is led by a silverback Mukiza.
Kutu Gorilla Group
Kutu family is among the habituated families that are found in the Rushaga sector in Bwindi Impenetrable Forest. This group was allowed by trekkers later on after it was habituated and it’s led by a 1 silverback.
Mucunguzi Gorilla Group
Mucunguzi family was habituated with 8 members in the family and it was found in Rushaga Sector in Bwindi Impenetrable forest. This group has more of female members and it’s led by a female dominant silverback. The Mucunguzi family came from Bweza that had a very serious fight that caused splitting among themselves.