Buhoma Region(North)

Mubare Group

This group is exactly what you dream of when you think of gorilla safaris. It comprises of 12 members inclusive of 6 Adult Females, 1 juvenile and 3 Infants. It comprises of very friendly members, this explains why it was the first Ugandan group to be opened for tourism, in 1993. Then, the group was still led by Ruhondeza, a fierce fighter who had zero tolerance for anyone who was a threat to his Kingship.This character prompted him to kill over three blackbacks that were aspiring to takeover the group’s leadership.

 In the long term, Ruhondeza’s dictatorial nature didn’t work in his favour. Afraid for the worst, several of his members began deserting the group as he aged towards 50 years. This background facilitated the rise of Kanyonyi (21)as the new group leader in 2011.

gorilla in bwindi

He is deeply cherished by many tourists for having restored the lost glory of Mubare group. Well knowing there is strength in unity, he successfully persuaded over 5 members from the Katendegyere gorilla family to leave Congo and join Mubare in 1998. He couldn’t have done it without the help of his brother and sister, .

Alas! Kanyonyi’s reign was brought to an end in December 2017.

Barely a week after he had sustained fatal injuries on one of his forelegs having fallen off a tree, he was attacked by a rival silverback, Malaya. This solitary alpha male took advantaged of Kanyonyi’s injured state to fight him to death. It was impossible for his victim to win the fight as gorillas are more dependent on their forelegs than hind when it comes to fighting. During the same fight, one of Mubare’s infants was also ripped apart, dying instantly.

Habinyanja Group

This 17 member group is led by Makara, a very protective silverback that never hesitates to fight off anyone who threatens to physically harm his family. Though this has often left him with injuries and broken bones, it hasn’t weakened his spirit as nothing makes him happier than seeing his loved ones safe and happy. In an effort to save Makara from infections that could arise from the injuries, veterinary doctors of Uganda Wildlife Authority monitor and treat him throughout the year. Habinyanja comprises of 1 black-back, 5 adult females, 6 infants, 1 sub-adult and 3 juveniles. If you plan to see gorillas in Uganda as opposed to Rwanda, this is one of the groups to look out for.

Rushegura Group

Led by Kabukojo silverback, this group has 16 members inclusive of 4 blackbacks, 4 babies, 4 adult females and 3 juveniles.

No matter the time of the year you chose to visit this family, you have a 95% chance of meeting them. This follows their permanent settlement in Buhoma, unlike several gorilla groups in Virunga National Park–that keep migrating. Their preference for Buhoma is thanks to its diversity of vegetation with relatively high protein content and low fiber content.

That aside, Buhoma is surrounded by farms with lots of edible plants such as corn/maize, bananas, sweet potatoes. These act as a substitute meal for Rushegura family whenever they are bored by the park’s routine offerings. This is one of the groups that has made gorilla tracking in Bwindi popular worldwide.

Katwe Group

Katwe is one of the new groups that were opened for tourism last year. It s made of a dominant silverback, 2 babies and 4 adult females who live in the Northern part of Bwindi, Buhoma. Like all the other families in Uganda, the permits to see them cost $600 to foreign tourists-$450 for foreign residents and 250000 UGX. The group is named after one of the oldest salt mines in Queen Elizabeth National Park. If you wish to visit it during your Uganda mountain gorilla tours, we are delighted to add it to your list as the park is on the way to Bwindi.

Ruhija region

Bitukura Group

It is very unusual for a gorilla group to have more than two silverbacks. If it has, they spend much of the time fighting each other in an effort to have unlimited mating rights with females in their group. Ironically, not only does this family have 4 silverbacks, they live in harmony.

According to scientific findings by Uganda Wildlife Authority, this tolerance for one another is caused by the ability of their team leader to negotiate peace talks. The group has 13 members inclusive of 4 adult females, 2 juveniles and 3 infants and 4 silverbacks.

This group spends much of its day in the lower section of the forest as it doesn’t have much undergrowth. This enables them to see rival groups from a far, allowing them to make sufficient preparations for a good fight. If their setting was bushy like Nkuringo, they would have been taken by surprise thereby making them easy to defeat. Gorilla viewing in Uganda is unforgettable because of groups like this one.

Kyaguriro Group

So many infants in this group love attention. They are very playful and often climb high in the trees to show off new climbing skills they have learn’t. They are extra inquisitive and often sneak up to visitors to figure out why they look so much like with them yet so different. For instance, why humans the hands of humans is shorter than their legs.

It was habituated in 1995 and once had 20 individuals. This made it one of the most populated group until 2016 when they split for two groups, Kyaguliro A as led by Rukara and Kyaguliro B as led by Mukiza, the official heir to Rukina’s throne.

Despite having gone separate ways, the two groups still have a deep appreciation and respect for one another. Why? They had so many special moments together. Uganda gorilla watching starts here.

Oruzogo Group

In Uganda, Children are mostly named after the season in which they were born, or a particular locality where they stay. This group is of 17 members is named after Orugoto, a plant species which is prominent in their locality. It is made of two silverbacks, 2 black backs, 5 adult females, 2 sub-adults, 5 infants and 1 juvenile, all of whom are under the competent leadership of Bakwate, a dominant silverback.

They are one of the easiest groups to find as their movement is are not quite spontaneous. They like to follow routine, grazing at particular spots in the forest where they had defining moments and created special memories. For instance, spots in which their babies were born. 

Rushaga region -Southern Bwindi Forest.

Mishaya Group

Gorillas are very heavy, weighing as much as 136 to 195 kg (300 to 430 lb) for males, adult females weigh about half 68–113 kg. As such, they prefer to spend much of their day at the floor of the forest rather than canopy. However, Mishaya is different. It is full of dare-devils that love to swing from one branch to another, just like Spider-man. This offers you a more spiced up adventure as opposed to being bored out watching gorillas on the floor all the time. The group of 7 members is named after its highest ranking alpha male, Mishaya. If you are wondering about where to see gorillas in Uganda, this might just be it.

Nshongi Group

Nshongi used to be one of the most adventurers groups in Bwindi. There is no corner in the park they haven’t visited. However, things have started to take a different turn in their lives following the birth of over three infants. They now prefer to spend much of the year in the home territory to avoid exposing their babies to risks of possible bacterial infections from other groups. The good news here is that you now have excellent chances of meeting them whenever you are ready.

The group is named after the Nshongi River where they were first discovered over two decades ago. It is headed by Silverback Bweza and made of one Silverback,  3 adult females, i infant, 1 sub-adult and 1 juvenile.

Kahungye and Busingye family

You will be amazed at how organized these two groups are. Having suffered so many attacks that left them with fatal injuries, the males of the group have beefed up their defense skills and are always prepared to overcome anything that comes their way.

They do this by forming a ring around their most vulnerable loved ones; the mothers and infants. This makes it hard for intruders to break in and injure them, thereby allowing the successful transition from one generation to the next. As the group grazes on the ground, one of its members is always up in the trees to get clear views of their surrounding, with the intent of spotting any forthcoming danger.

While Kahungye is headed by silverback Rumanzi and has 17 members including 3 silverbacks, 3 adult females, 3 blackbacks, 2 infants, 3 sub-adult and 3 juveniles. Busingye has 9 individuals inclusive of 3 infants and a sub-adult gorilla teen.

Bweza Group

Like most of the gorilla groups in Bwindi, Bweza is composed of members of all age brackets, ranging from babies that are few weeks old, to silverbacks that have fathered over two generations of gorillas. There are also ambitious juveniles aspiring to settle down and start family.

 This mix will give you the pleasure of getting a deeper understanding of how gorillas behave as they go through different stages in life.

Bweza Gorilla family is led by the Silverback Kakono and has 12 members; 2 silverbacks, 4 blackbacks, 2 infants, 3 adult females and 1 sub-adult.

Nkuringo Region

Nkuringo Group

umoja africa journeys 4

Don’t forget to wear shoes with good treads when coming to see this family. They love to stay in higher altitudes as it always has abundance of their favourite delicacies, soft bamboo shoots. To access them, you will pass via a trail that is relatively steep and slippery. Porters are available for hire if you need an extra push whenever faced with exhaustive climbs. Using their local knowledge of the park, they will guide you into smoother paths. They will also carry your luggage thereby enabling you to travel lighter.

Nkuringo is under the leadership of a Silverback called Rafiki. It has 12 members; 2 of whom are silverbacks, 1 a blackback, 2 adult females,  infants, 2 sub-adults and 3 juveniles.

Christmas Group

This is one of the two groups that were recently opened to visitors. It is made of 9 members. Having undergone a two month habituation process which was purposed to make them more accommodative to tourists, they don’t mind you dwelling in their presence.

It is possible for persons with disabilities to see this group. This can be achieved using a special stretcher bed upon which they can be carried to a random location where Christmas is foraging.  

Bikingi Group

If you want an adventure more exciting than gorilla tracking, gorilla habituation is a great idea, and this is one of the groups that are worth a top spot in your itinerary. It is made of 15 individuals; 1 silverback-2 sub adults-5 adult females-5 infants and 2 juveniles. During this half day adventure, you will witness what happens behind the scenes before gorillas are opened for tourism. The hike has been well researched and put together to wow you with lots of encounters people miss out on during gorilla tracking. For instance, you will walk on paths that no tourist has used before.

Bushaho Group

This group was formed by 8 members who broke off from Nkuringo Group. They were led by Bahati, a quiet silverback with an inspirational mode of leadership. One of the things that make him a favorite of his team is that he is democratic and liberal and thus easily approachable. Th group is made of 3 adult females,1 blackback,1 sub-adult-1 juvenile and 1 infant. It is named after Bushaho, alocality where they have been living for over 5 years now. The ranger guides who will take you to see this group love what they do, and it reflects in the professional yet personable experience they offer.

Mgahinga National Park

Mgahinga is home to Nyakagezi, a habituated gorilla family comprising of 11 members ranging from infants to aging silverbacks that are over 30 years. Encountering them is an absolutely fascinating experience, u wont bother to visit a zoo to see primates after the one hour you will spend with them as you take photos and observe their human-like behavior. Although they are 100% wild, they are quite used to human presence and couldn’t care less about you being few meters away from them. They will go about their own business of eating, grooming one another, mating and napping.

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