GORILLA GROUPS IN UGANDA & RWANDA

Gorilla Families in Bwindi Forest, Mgahinga & Volcanoes National Park Rwanda

As of January 2024, there are 22 habituated gorilla groups in Uganda which are open for tourism purposes. Of these 22 groups, 21 are within different locations in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park and only 01 in Mgahinga Gorilla National Park. Gorilla groups in Uganda and Rwanda are habituated enough for permitted tourists to visit them on a daily basis.

A maximum of 8 persons can visit each of the 22 gorilla groups in Uganda and 12 Gorilla families in Rwanda per day, spending one hour on each visit. Uganda's Bwindi gorilla families are organized according to the location; Buhoma sector currently having 5 groups, Ruhija sector currently having 4 groups, Nkuringo sector having 4 Gorilla groups (One group for habituation experience only) and Rushaga sector having 8 groups (One group for habituation experience only)

A LIST OF GORILLA FAMILIES IN UGANDA 

Gorilla Families in Buhoma Sector

  • Mubare Gorilla Family
  • Rushegura gorilla family
  • Habinyanja Gorilla family
  • Muyambi Gorilla Family
  • Katwe Gorilla family

Rushaga Gorilla Families 

  • Bweza Gorilla Family
  • Nshongi Gorilla family
  • Busingye Gorilla Family
  • Rwigi Gorilla Family
  • Kutu Gorilla Family
  • Bikingi Gorilla Family
  • Mucunguzi Gorilla Family
  • Mishaya Gorilla Family

The Gorilla Families in Ruhija Sector

  • Bitukura Gorilla Family
  • Mukiza Gorilla Family
  • Oruzogo Gorilla Family
  • Kyaguriro Gorilla Family

Gorilla Families in Nkuringo Sector

  • Nkuringo Gorilla Family
  • Chrismas Gorilla Family
  • Bushaho Gorilla Family
  • Posho Gorilla Family

GORILLA FAMILY IN MGAHINGA GORILLA NATIONAL PARK UGANDA

  • Nyakagezi Gorilla Family

The two groups under Gorilla Habituation Experience have a special arrangement where one can visit these groups for habituation experience tour. Here you spend a maximum of four hours on each visit. There is only one gorilla group (Nyakagezi family) available for tourism in Mgahinga gorilla National Park.

Gorilla Families in Volcanoes National Park Rwanda

Volcanoes national park in Rwanda has 12 Gorilla families all of which are open for tourism purposes. Here we bring you the gorilla Family groups that are always assigned to visitors for trekking in Rwanda.

  1. Sabyinyo Group

Frequently inhabits the closest territory to the park’s edge, between Mount Sabyinyo, from which this Gorilla family takes its name and Mount Gahinga. They can usually be reached within a 2 hour walk. The Gorilla Family is led by Guhonda, the largest silverback measured to date, at 220kg.

  1. Amahoro Group

This means, Peaceful, is led by Ubumwe, who lives up to his name. There is a steep climb to reach the tranquil Amahoro group, however, the climb is well worth it, once in contact with this tranquil group.

  1. Umubano Gorilla Group

This is led by Charles the silverback who took part of the Amahoro group to create its own when he matured into the same rank as Ubumwe. The two silverbacks have met since, but Ubumwe seems to respect Charles and the two groups live peacefully alongside. Indeed, Umubano means “live together”.

  1. Susa Group

Susa is currently the largest group of gorillas in the world and the one originally studied by Dr. Dian Fossey. In this group you will also find the oldest known habituated gorilla, poppy, who was born in 1976. The Gorilla Family takes its name from the Susa River which has its source in the Virunga Mountains.

  1. Kwitonda Group

The Kwitonda group include the three silverbacks. This group came across to Rwanda from Uganda and the DRC to establish itself on the slopes of Mount Muhabura.

  1. Agashya Gorilla Family

The Agashya group was named after, it’s Commanding Silverback, whose name means “The News”. Agashya’s takeover was unprecedented: he won the group over by first studying the former leader, Nyakarima and then challenging him. Agashya group is known to spend most of its time on the forested saddle between Mount Sabyinyo and Mount Gahinga

  1. Hirwa Group

The Hirwa is an emerging group of members from the other groups. It is the newest group, residing mainly on the foothills of Mount Sabyinyo on the Gahinga side. Its name means “lucky one”.

  1. Titus Gorilla Family

  2. Isabukuru Group

  3. Pablo Gorilla Family

  4. Muhoza Gorilla Family

  5. Ugenda Gorilla Family

When is the best time to go gorilla trekking in Rwanda and Uganda?

When choosing to go gorilla trekking, your options lie between Bwindi Impenetrable Forest and Mgahinga Gorilla National Park in Uganda, and Volcanoes National Park in Rwanda. But for those hoping to trek mountain gorillas, deciding what time of year to visit these majestic creatures can have a big impact on both your experience and your wallet.

Located along the equator and home to the beautiful Lake Victoria, Uganda is fast becoming one of the most unique and sought after travel destinations in all of Africa. The country has two rainy seasons: the short season lasts from October to November and the long rainy season lasts from mid-March to the end of May. The rest of the year is considered Uganda’s ‘dry season’. This said, climate change in recent years has brought about changes in weather patterns, making it harder than ever to predict the seasons.

Is gorilla Trekking availabale all year - round?

In Uganda and Rwanda, temperatures average around 22C° and can drop at night to around 12C°. The level of rainfall in Uganda is between 1,000-2,000mm per annum. However, the region generally offers clear skies throughout the year, making gorilla trekking available year-round.

High season

Many visitors choose to travel to Uganda and Rwanda between June and September and between December and February as there is generally less rain and more sun during these months.

December is one of the busiest months of the year, so it’s advisable to book your accommodation early to avoid disappointment.

If you are looking for the best conditions for gorilla trekking and aren’t worried about pricing, the dry seasons are ideal. The countries also have a raised topography which means that the climate is fairly cool all year round so despite some serious leg-work you aren’t likely to ever overheat.

Low season

Often travelers prefer going on a gorilla safari in low season as the gorilla groups are less congested and easy to find gorilla trekking permit in Uganda as they are always on a competitive demand. The cost of the gorilla trekking permit remains the same both in low season and high season. In Uganda Gorilla permit cost $800. for Foreign non Residents of East Africa, Foreign Residents pay $700. and East African Citizen member states pay UGX. 300,000 to visit the mountain gorillas.

Visiting in this season also means that you can enjoy the jungle with relatively few people. It’s also said that February and September are good months for a holiday in Uganda as there are less tourists visiting so the lodges are not as full as they are in high season. It also means you can also often get discounted lodge and hotel prices.

While the rainy season can have an effect on travels in Rwanda and Uganda, a day is almost never lost to the rain.

Most days will have both rain and sunshine, meaning that despite some wetness, it is usually not long before you can continue with your activities as planned. Whether it rains or not, gorilla tracking is conducted every day and is almost never canceled because of bad weather.

All in all, during the low seasons the trip to visit any of habituated gorilla groups in Uganda and Rwanda becomes more pocket-friendly. One thing to note though, You might find some great specials on accommodation. In Rwanda gorilla permits are never discounted, even in the low season. The current price of a gorilla permit in Rwanda at US$1,500 per person for International visitors, $200 for Rwandans and East African communiy and $500 for Foreign residents in Rwanda.

No matter what time of year you decide to go gorilla trekking in the region, a visit to see wild gorillas in Africa will undoubtedly be one of the most memorable experiences of any traveler.