Mountain Gorillas are only found in Congo, Uganda and Rwanda. Uganda has the biggest number of mountain Gorillas with a minimum of 400 gorillas in Bwindi forest and 80 in Mgahinga national park making it 480 gorillas and a world total of 880 which are divided in 3 countries Uganda, Rwanda and Congo.
These three countries are the only ones that protect the mountain Gorillas and they can only survive in the forest the rest of Gorillas in the other countries like Cameroon are known as the low land gorillas they can only survive on land.
Of all the total of 36 gorilla families, only 11 can be habituated and accessed by visitors in Bwindi forest and one in Mgahinga National park
Bwindi impenetrable national park situated along Congo boarder next to Virunga national park at the edge of Albertine rift. it was designated as a crown forest reserve in 1932 and in 1962, was designed as an animal sanctuary which started operating in 1994 to provide extra protection to the endangered mountain Gorillas.
The park is located in the southwest of Uganda, it’s one of the oldest national parks in Uganda which dates over 25,000 years ago the park is composed of 331 square of both montane and lowland it can only be accessed on foot.
The word Bwindi is derived from a Runyatara language meaning Impenetrable. This forest is mist covered and most biologically diverse rain forest covered in thick bamboo forest.
It hosts to over 250 bird species, 350 plant species,200 species of butterflies,100 species of ferns,27 frogs, chameleons including 23 Albertine rift endemics.
There is an opportunity to discover the local Bakiga and the Batwa culture, belived to be hunters and food gatherers. The atwa are believed to be the first people to live in the forest.
Habituation is a process that takes place 2-3years training the Gorillas to get used to human beings while they continue with their activities within their wild natural environment.
A total of 8 members is allowed to trek the habituation groups every day.
Gorillas are animals which move from one place to another in the 3 countries of Africa, Uganda, Congo and Rwanda. You may see more about their way of life.
Bwindi has four tracking sectors of Mountain Gorillas and these sectors all have Gorilla families/groups which are habituated and they can be trekked early morning 2-3hours. You can only spend one hour with the Gorillas in their habitat.
Buhoma section was the first sector to be developed for Gorilla tourism. The sector has 3 Gorilla families that are habituated, the first group to be habituated in the Buhoma sector was the Habinyanja gorilla group, it started in the 1990’s.
This group has 12 members with 2 silver backs, the family has a lot of commotion, power struggle within the silver backs which fight for the family leadership, the adult fameless are led by alpha called Kisho.
Mubara is the second group in Buhoma sector, this group was the first group to be found in the Mubara hills. The name Mubara means stones in the local languages, the hills where this Group is, is seen occupied by the forest.
Rushegura group is the new group which was brought together in 2002 after one silver back from the Habinyanja group decided to break away to start his own group of 12memebrs 1 sliverback.
This family is calm although it used to cross to Congo but always made its way back and now it finally settled in Buhoma, this family at times wonders in villages and lodges without causing any commotion.
Rushaga sector is located in the southern part of Bwindi forest, it has the highest point in terms of altitude which dominate in the high hills where the habituated Gorilla groups kept separating, sub divided to different hills. The groups are non-territorial and try much not to interfere with other Gorilla groups.
There are 5 groups and because of these groups trackers tend to enjoy the beautiful sceneries of Virunga volcano mountain ,the Mgahinga, sabinyo ,muhavura as well as the Karasimbi and lake Mutanda where they enjoy a canoe ride .
Nshongi is the largest group which was launched in 2009 it was named after river Nshongi were the group was first seen it’s a rare family.
Bweza is the largest ever group of habituation with 11 members and I sliver back and in 2010 the silver back left the group to form his own group of Members.
Mishaya group has 6 members and 1 sliver back its known for being great fighters who always fight to protect his members his the silver back who broke away from the Bweza group.
Busingye gorilla group was the first group in the Rushaga sector with 8members and 1 silverback who broke away from the Kahungye which opened in 2011 with two silver backs and a big group of family members.
Kahugye gorilla group before the separation they were 27 members with silver backs who were oldest Rumansi, Rwigi and Ruhamuka but right now there are 19 members
Nkuringo sector is located close to Buhoma and Rushaga about 10km from Buhoma although the distance is covered with the impenetrable forest and the walk takes about 4 hours, by car from the two points it takes 7hours.
Nkuringo is the only family in the sector the word Nkuringo was named after a Rukiga word meaning hills it was launched in 2004 it was led by a silver back named Nkuringo who died in2008 it has 2 sliver backs it’s the most friendliest Gorilla group at times its young ones tend to reach and touch the clients.
Ruhija sector is located close to the Route of Buhoma and it has 3 gorillas groups
Bitukura it was the first family to be sighted in 2007 the name Bitukura was named after the river were the family was first sighted this family is peaceful they share, bond and often have a great time together the family gas 12 members with 3 silverbacks.
Oruzongo Gorilla group was found in 2011 with one sliver back and other members the group is energetic and play fully the family is composed of 15 members and 2 sliver backs.
Kyaguriiro gorilla group this is the only group which was reserved for research and studies with 19 members and 2 silverbacks