Lake Mburo National Park is conveniently located close to the western high way that connects…
Bwindi Impenetrable National Park was established in 1991 as a result of conservation programs and was recognized as UNESCO world heritage site in 1994. The park is located in the south western Uganda and covers surface area of 327 km2 of montane and lowland forest lying on the edge of the Albertine rift valley.
The park can be accessed by both road and air transport;
By air. Domestic flights are available to Kihihi, Kayonza and Nyakabande and you may choose to fly to Rwanda and connect through Kisoro by road which takes less than 3 hours
By road. From Entebbe to Bwindi takes 9-10 hours’ drive
Bwindi national park is the most famous place for gorilla trekking and an ideal habitat for mountain gorillas with the half of the remaining mountain gorilla population in the world. It is one of the two national parks in Uganda where you can trek gorillas. It is on record that Bwindi has got more gorilla families than other gorilla hosting parks.
Gorilla trekking is allocated only one hour and gorilla habituation experience takes a minimum of 4 hours in the company of gorillas.
Gorilla permits are issued by Uganda wildlife authority [UWA] at any of their offices across the country.
Rules and regulations for trekking gorillas are always given to the visitors right at the briefing center in 30 minutes before setting out to gorillas.
Security of rangers and guides are also allocated to the visitors while leaving the briefing center for gorilla trekking.
There are more than 10 habituated gorilla families in Bwindi that are available for gorilla trekking.
GORILLA FAMILIES IN BWINDI:
1. Mubare Family.
This is the oldest group in Uganda which was opened back in 1993 under the leadership of Ruhondeza. Kanyonyi later took over from Ruhondeza and the latter left depressed and lived a solitary life until he passed on and his grave can be located by the guides. The group has decreased over the years from 18 members to 8 members now due to death and member migration to other groups which makes it the smallest gorilla family in Buhoma –Bwindi. It is the easiest to track because of its location.
2. Rushegura Family.
This is one of the biggest groups with 20 members and 1 silver back [Mwirima] living in Buhoma. Mwirima and his other colleagues separated from the larger Habinyanja in 2002 and formed the now Rushegura family.
3. Habinyanja Family.
The group was habituated in 1997, formerly stayed with Rushegura under the leadership of mugurisi who later passed on and his two brothers’ mwirima and Rwansigazi took over but separated with one retaining Habinyanja and mwirima formed Rushegura. The group now consists of 20 members with 2 silver backs living in Buhoma.
4. Oruzogo Family.
This group comprises of 16 members under the leadership of Tibirikwita located in Ruhija-Buhoma. The group was first opened to visitors in 2011.
5. Nkuringo Family.
These are 18 members including 2 silver backs staying in nkuringo, the hike of this area is a bit challenging but worth your time. Nkuringo the great silver back initially led this group at the time of its initiation but passed on in 2008, safari his son took over the leadership.
6. Bitukura Family.
It is the most recent group with 13 members including 4 silver backs in Ruhija. The group was named after the river near their territory. It is under the leadership of Ndahura who took over from the now retired karamuzi.
They were allowed the first visitors in 2008. Lodging facilities are a bit expensive in this area.
7. Mishaya Family.
This consists of 12 members under the leadership of 1 silver back Mishaya living in Rushaga. Following a dispute they split from Nshongi family in 2010. Mishaya has been spotted in fights with other gorilla families trying to win female gorillas to his side.
8. Nshongi Family.
It is the largest group with 25 members including 2 silver backs under the leadership of Nshongi living in Rushaga. The group was first opened to tourism in 2009 at that time it had big numbers of about 37 members but reduced later in 2010 when they split with mishaya.
9. Busingye Family.
The group stays in Rushaga and comprises of 9 members with 1 silver back. They split away from kahungye group in 2012 and it was opened to visitors in 2013.
10. Bweza Family.
This was formerly part of the greater nshongi, the group comprises of 12 members with 2 silver backs and stays in Rushaga. It was opened to visitors in 2012.
11. Bushaho Family.
They split from Nkuringo group and consist of 8 members with 1 silver back Bahati’’ living in nkuringo.
12. Bikingi Family.
This is exclusive for gorilla habituation experience, its habituation commenced in 2012 in Rushaga. The group has 15 members with 1 silver back.
13. Kahungye Family.
This is found in Rushaga with 17 members including 3 silver backs under the leadership of Rumansi. They formerly stayed with some members of Busingye family before they split and formed another group “Busingye”. It was opened for visitors in 2011
14. Kyaguliro A & B.
This group is dedicated for gorilla research purposes found in Ruhija sector. A is under Rukara leadership with 10 members and B is under Mukiza leadership with 10 members.
Some of the findings show some differences in behavioral tendencies of Uganda gorillas, Congo gorillas and Rwanda gorillas.