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Mountain Gorilla Families In Bwindi Impenetrable National Park And Their Facts

9 Day Uganda Primate Tour

Mountain Gorilla Families

Facts about Gorillas families in Bwindi

Mountain Gorilla Families In Bwindi Impenetrable National Park And Their Facts are separate species but no explanation has been given yet. In the way of life, they both live in families. As of 2022, there are more than 1000 members in different families. The world conservation union (IUCN) categorize them as the endangered species.

Mountain Gorilla Families In Bwindi Impenetrable National Park And Their Facts

Gorilla families in Bwindi impenetrable forest national park

Gorilla tracking in Uganda, note that Habituated gorillas in Bwindi Uganda are in 5 sectors and live in 12 families for tourists and 2 families for habituation experience. Each family is headed by a Silverback as undisputable leader.

Bitukura Gorilla family;

with 14 members available for gorilla tracking, it was previously a family of 24. Ndahura who took over from Karamuzi, the family was habituated and opened in 2008. It’s found in Ruhija sector.

Bweza Gorilla Family;

Found in Rushaga area, this family separated from Nshongi family led by Mishaya. The family grew from 6 to currently 9 members.

Busingye Gorilla Family;

Headed by Silverback Busingye with 13 members, it is found in Rushaga and was found in 2013, departed from Nshongi family. Known for his fighting behaviors, Busingye is known for stealing females from other Kanyonyo. This is why he parted away from Kahungye and grew from 9 to 13 members presently.

Habinyanja Gorilla family;

Found in Buhoma area, there are 17 members. It is the first family to be opened for tourists in 1997. This family name is due to the location near water (Habinyanja means at the waterside).

Kahungye Gorilla family;

Found in Rushaga sector has 13 members with 3 silverbacks and is headed by Rumansi. This family was opened for visitors I 2011. Busingye separated from this group led by Bwiji.

Kyaguriro Gorilla family;

Found in Ruhija with 15 members is led by Rukina who took over power from Zeus due to his old age. This family is set apart for research. Many interesting findings are coming from different researchers especially about the difference between gorillas in Bwindi and those in Virunga Mountains.

Mishaya Gorilla family;

Found in Rushaga, has 12 members. The family is named after Mishaya who is the family head (silverback). Departed from Nshongi in 2010, Mishaya is known for fighting with other families and has been wounded in different fights. He is known to be a successful fighter especially in protecting his family members.

Mabare Gorilla family;

Found in Buhoma sector with 8 members, it’s led by Bunyonyi. This is the easiest family to track due to its location. There is no much efforts needed to reach this family.

Nkuringo Gorilla family;

Located in Nkuringo sector with 19 family members, it was habituated in 2008. It is named after Nkuringo who died in 2008 and his son took over. The family is named after Nkuringo hill where it was first sighted just near the park. They later had encounter with humans and we’re habituated in 2008 when they were opened for tourists.

Nshongi Gorilla Family;

Located in Rushaga, it has 26 members. It is the largest family ever to be habituated. It was opened for tourists in 2009 with 37 members and splint in 2010. The family is named after River Nshongi where this family was first spotted. Mishaya separated from this group in 2010 and now the family has 4 Silverbacks.

Aruzogo Gorilla Family;

In Ruhija sector, it has 25 members with 2 Silverbacks is the second largest group. It is headed by Tibirikwata and is known as the most playful family.

Rushegura Gorilla family;

Located in Buhoma sector with 19 members. The family is named after Ebishegura tree species which is common in the family territory. Mwirima is the family head and he is known to have separated from his brother Rwansigazi in 2002.

Note that, gorilla trekking experience, gorilla family allows 8 visitors a day.


Mountain Gorillas and their behaviours


For gorilla tracking experience, the mountain gorilla also known as gorilla Beringei Beringei are in the family of Hominidae and species of gorilla Beringei. They are known to be descendants of ancestral Monkeys and Apes in Africa and Arabia. They were mainly discovered in 1902.


Mountain gorillas are found in Virunga Mountains shared by Uganda, Rwanda and Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and in Bwindi impenetrable forest national park in Uganda.

They live in High altitude areas of 8,000 to 13,000 feet above sea level. With long and thick fur that enable them survive in cold temperatures. They are believed to survive in freezing temperatures.

Physical appearance:

Gorillas are physically stronger than humans but very gentle, shy and not violet as many people think. Their arms are longer than legs like other apes unlike humans. A male gorilla can weigh 120 to 190kg with average height of 1.5 to 1.7 meters while female can weigh 70 to 100 kg.


Gorillas undergo habituation which takes about two years.  This is a process where they are trained to get used to the presence of humans in their natural habitats. In other words, they won’t change their behaviors due to the presence of human beings.Mountain Gorilla Families

Family life and Silverback:

Gorillas live in families with long-term bonds and most males leave their natal homes and around 10 years and start their own. Most females stay in their natal families and others leave earlier than males. Each family has a dominant silverback. Silverback is the male head of the family and undisputable leader and the name is due to the saddle of grey hair that develops on their back with age (silver-coloured hair).

He determine plays a key role in keeping the family together. More so, he can mediate conflicts, determines movements and defends the family even to the cost of his own life. Young ones stay to him and is always a center of attraction. Silverback is the only one to mate with all females although there other males can sneak and mate with females. In case of disagreements, old males (silverbacks) can leave to start their own families and it takes a silverback even up to 5 years to attract females to join him in his new family.

Social life and bonding:

For gorillas, social life is very essential especially during resting time at around mid-day. They like social bonding where they play together, groom each other and time to clean up their hair (removing dirt and parasites). Young ones are helped by mothers. Silverback also play with young ones and they stay close to him. During this resting time, silverback is the center of attraction for the entire family. It is in this period that silverback can pay attention to the abandoned young ones especially if their mother has left the family or has died. Female’s relationships are normally weak in families. This is manifested in the misunderstandings that are noticed between them and sometimes can lead to separation.

Feeding; Gorillas

are herbivores and spend most of the day eating or searching for vegetation. Averagely, a male gorilla can eat up to 33kg and a female 18 kg of vegetation a day. Dominant silverback determines the movements and better feeding sites. A home for the family is mainly determined by the availability of food (several vegetation zones). Gorillas can also feed on fruits, honey and insects. They can also climb trees in search of food.

Family inheritance:

Silverback is averagely leads averagely 4 to 5 years and the role is taken by a son or young brother. This can be due to old age or death. In some cases when a silverback is killed, the family is disrupted and disintegrated unless there has been a clear descendant that takes over power. A new silverback may even kill the young ones of the old Silverback especially if he is unrelated to the former.


Mountain gorillas sleep in nests and each gorilla makes its own. Young ones sleep with their mothers. In case of death or departure of the mother, silverback can allow young ones to sleep in his nest. Gorillas make new nest every day and they keep them clean.


Kit for Gorilla tracking in Uganda

Both Bwindi impenetrable forest national park and Mgahinga Gorilla national park are located on the elevations. Therefore you expect it to be rainy, humid, cold and windy. You need to be ready with what can help you through your tracking experience. You therefore take precautions of thorn pricks, coldness, insect bites and others.

Long sleeved shirt and trousers especially water proof if possible or any other material. Cotton under wear garments are also important.

Hiking books, water proof boots is advisable. This will help you to keep your stability and balance in unfamiliar terrain.

Rain jacket, be ready as it can rain anytime and it can also help you to keep worm while in the deep cold forest. Depending on the material of your jacket, you can also have a warm sweater inside your jacket.

Gloves, Garden gloves are recommended. They help you to support yourself on branches and vines in the forest. This is just to facilitate your easy movement.

A Hat, to protect your head from the sun or rain. African Safari hat is also one of the best you can have before your trekking experience.

Insect repellent, is very essential to protect you from insect but. You can also have sunblock cream to protect your uncovered body parts.

Mountain Gorilla Families In Bwindi Impenetrable National Park And Their Facts

There is so much information that can be shared about gorillas. You can contact us for a great safari experience on info@umerallavoyagesafaris.com 



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