Uganda and Rwanda are the East African countries known for Mountain Gorilla tracking. They have Gorilla families habituated for tourism and research purposes. The process of Mountain Gorilla habituation process can take a period of two to three years to be completed. Habituation in Uganda is done by a group of researchers, who operate under the department of research and monitoring of Uganda Wildlife Authority,
The exercise involves visiting a selected wild Gorillas family every day until it gets used to these researchers/human presence. With time, all Gorilla members are identified in terms of their sex, age and later given names. Once researchers are really confident enough that these Gorillas can be visited by tourists, they conduct mock exercise/trips for six to eight months and once this is successful, then the habituated Gorilla family is opened for tourism.
Since 1993, about 15 Gorilla families have been habituated and open for tourism and research and of these is Mubare Gorilla family which was habituated and opened for tourism in the same year. Mubare became the first Gorilla group to be trekked by tourists which later paved way to other families for habituation. In Buhoma sector, two more families were added on to Mubare and these are Rushegura family which in most cases is closer to the Park offices and then Habinyanja Gorillas family. Currently there are other two Gorilla family on top of those and these are Katwe Gorilla family and Binyindo which is still under the habituation process.
In the nearby Eastern sector of Bwindi Impenetrable National Park, Ruhija sector had three Gorilla families habituated and they include Bitukura family, Oruzogo and then Kyaguriro families which was meant for research but after a conflict and disagreement between the adult males it split in two families to form the Mukiza family and now Ruhija sector has four Gorilla families open for tourism. In the southern part of Bwindi Impenetrable National Park, there has been lots of dynamics where the few habituated Gorilla families have split up to give to new families. In total, Rushaga sector has Bweza, Kahungye, Mishaya, Nshongi, Busingye, Bikingi and Rwigi families and Mukyunguzi which is still under the process of habituation while in Nkuringo sector we do have three habituated Gorilla families in the names of Nkuringo, Bushawo and Christmas Gorilla families.
In the Virunga Ranges that are shared between Uganda, Rwanda and Democratic Republic of Congo, over 14 Gorillas families have been habituated with one Gorilla family called Nyakagezi located in Uganda’s Mgahinga Gorilla National Park, about 10 or so Gorilla groups located in Volcanoes National Park in Rwanda where most of these Gorillas are spread in popular volcanic mountains which include Mgahinga, Muhavura, Sabimyo, Karisimbi and Bisoke among others. The other families habituated for tourism are in Democratic Republic of Congo in the extensive Virunga National Park. Gorilla trekking in Virunga National park is on and off because of the political instabilities that are a characteristic of the Eastern part of this vast country. Our team at Great Adventures Uganda will always provide you with relevant information about Gorilla tracking in Uganda, Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of Congo any time you contact us.