As of 2016 its estimated that there are over 1000 mountain gorilla living within deep forested jungles in central and East Africa. Half of this gorilla population can be located in Bwindi impenetrable forest, and the other half can be located in the Virunga national park of Rwanda, Virunga national park of Congo and Mhahinga national park of Uganda and this gorilla region is called the Virunga massif.
With about 580 mountain gorilla species in Uganda, Bwindi national park comprises of a total number of 13 mountain gorilla families with the creation of two new habituated gorilla groups of Bukingi & Bushabo in 2015 moving the number from 11 gorilla groups to 13. Mhahinga national park comprises of one gorilla family making 14 total gorilla groups in Uganda, and 112 gorilla permits available each day for tourists to go see gorillas in Uganda.
Detailed Info on Gorilla Groups in Uganda
Bwindi Impenetrable Forest
The Buhoma Region
Buhoma region of Bwndi forest is the most popular section of Bwindi national park, with the most hotel options. The regions is a home to three important mountain gorilla family groups that is the Mubare gorilla family group at times goes by the name of the M-Group, the Habinyanja gorilla Group and the Rushegura gorilla family group and they are all very interesting groups to trek with the later the best as it even goes to the Gorilla Forest Camp premises.
Mubare Group: Mubare gorilla family group is the earliest group to be habituated in Uganda and was named from the Mubare Hills (where it’s said to have been first sighted at the time of its discovery). Currently the group is made of 9 family group members after losing many of its members to other groups even its earlier head/ leader the Ruhondeza silverback. It is one of the commonly trekked gorilla groups in Uganda due to its location as it’s within the nearing premises of Queen Elizabeth National Park.
Habinyanja Group: The group derived its name from a local word Nyanja- for the swamp within Bwindi Impenetrable Tropical Natural Forest. After its habituation in 1997, Habinyanja gorilla family group was first visited in 1999. It is a large group with about 18 family members and can best be trekked from the Buhoma park entrance. Like any other gorilla group, it too had some differences with the Rushegura, who later spit from the main group and formed his own gorilla family group. And both these groups can be viewed from the Buhoma area of Bwindi Impenetrable area and even on meeting, they remain as brothers and never stage any wars and therefore coexist with each other peacefully.
Rushegura Group: This a group that split from the Habinyanja gorilla family. It is also a big family within the Buhoma consisting of about 16 family members. The Rushegura group is an easily trekked family as at times it even moves to the park headquarters and even the Gorilla Forest Camp Lodge premises. It started its habituation process in 2000 and was later on habituated in 2002 after a successful training on how to live with human beings.
The Ruhija Region
This is a home to the Oruzogo gorilla family group and the Bitukura gorilla family group. Ruhija region of the park is a less developed area with limited lodge and accommodation facilities as well as the other activities, which are not, yet well developed to tourist satisfaction levels.
Bitukura Group: This is a fast learning gorilla group of the Bwindi Impenetrable National park. It is a group that was habituated within the shortest time period of 15 months. Just like gorilla family groups, the group too receives and loses family members due to death, fights and births. If planning to trek this group, some visitors worry about accommodation, yet you can get first class lodges around the national park though the best option would be staying within the Ruhija region to avoid very early morning wake ups and movements.
Oruzogo gorilla family: This is another interesting family group that can be trekked while in the Ruhija region of Bwindi Impenetrable National Park. It is a group of 22 family members and the most interesting gorilla group to trek since it has so many playful juveniles that can keep the guests entertained throughout their visit.
The Rushaga Region
This region is basically habituated by two groups which include Nshongi and Mishaya gorilla family group. It too is a less developed region of Bwindi Impenetrable National park but on the advancing line.
Nshongi Group: It is a gorilla family group that was habituated in2009. It formerly was among the biggest gorilla family groups of the park consisting of about 36 gorilla family members that were recently reduced to 25 members following a split up with the Mishaya group- a fighting fellow who stage a war and formed his own group.
Mishaya Group: This is a group that fought and spit from The Nshongi gorilla family group. It is led by Mishaya who is quite a fighter; he can stage a war with an aim of incorporating new family members to his group. However, ever since his spit with Nshongi, he has never staged another fight against him.
Kahungye Family: It is an interesting group to visit though recently habituated. It received its first visitors in 2011.This group was discovered from the Kahungye hill within the Rushaga region of Bwindi Impenetrable National Forest.
Businge group: It is one of the newly formed family groups in Bwindi Impenetrable Tropical Rainforest. It is a split group from the Kahungye gorilla family group and apparently they two don’t connect and as a matter of fact, there is no possibility of the groups ever reuniting.
Bweza group: It too is a new family group from the Nshongi gorilla family group. It was habituated around 2013 and consists of 7 gorilla family members. It can be visited any time of the year as well.
Bukingi Group and Bushabo Family located in the Rushaga sector of Bwindi were opened to visitors early in 2015 after 2 years of habituation making sure they get used to human visotors.
The Nkurigo region of Bwindi Impenetrable National Park is so far the hardest area to be tracked since it requires a lot of energy and strength. It is the southern area of the forest and a home to the only one mountain gorilla family group – Nkurigo.
Nkurigo Group: It is a very big gorilla family group that attracts so many tourists. It has 19 family group members and in a developed region. This is the case as it has well developed accommodation facilities and if planning on a visit to this group, no need to worry about where to eat and rest as this place is well equipped with these.
Mhahinga national park
Mgahinga national park has only one gorilla group, with only a number of 8 people who can go trekking with this group. Previously this group used to periodically migrate with in the Virunga region but settled in Mgahinga national park.