Bwindi national park is a true rain forest found in the western side of Uganda. Tourism in this forest is based on gorilla tracking; slightly half of the mountain gorillas reside here. An estimation of 280-320 individuals living in 15 troops. Given the focus on gorillas, it came as a surprise that Bwindi harbors at least 92 mammal species.
The list consists of small mammals such as rodents, bats. But it does include eleven types of primates including a healthy chimpanzee population and five varieties of monkeys most visible is the blue monkey, black and white colobus. Of so called big five, only elephants are present a herd of 30 animals in the south eastern part of the park which is of no more than academic interest to tourists.
The park is also blessed with 345 confirmed and five unconfirmed species of birds, a high figure when compared to other national parks. Of the particular interest to birders are the 23 species endemics to the Albertine Rift and at least 14 species recorded now where elsewhere, among them the African green broadbill, white tailed blue fly catcher, brown-necked parrot and others. Among the most interesting and colorful birds that are likely to be seen by casual visitors are the harrier hawk, mountain buzzard, olive pigeon, white-headed wood hoopoe and any number of confusingly similar and greenbuls.
The famous and known Bwindi impenetrable national park can be accessed by either a flight or by road. When one uses chartered flight, you board an Aero link chartered plane from Entebbe in Kajjansi and then locate to an air strip in either Kasese or Kihihi from where a vehicle picks you and drives you to your hotel .Yet by road, it is a distance of 414 km from Kampala to Kabale on bitumen surface and takes 6-7 hours. An additional 120km from Kabale to Buhoma Park Headquarters via Kanungu and Kanyantoroogo on murram surface takes 3-4 hours and many require a 4WD vehicle. Kabale-Ruhija-Buhoma is 95 kilometers and takes 3-4 hours. This road is not frequently used by the public. A 4WD is recommended.
Bwindi national park has over 11 gorilla families and one of these called Kyaguriro family in Ruhija is gazetted for study purposes and research and then the remaining 10 are habituated for trekking. Mountain gorilla habituations takes between 2-3 years and below are the gorilla families habituated in Bwindi impenetrable forest national park;
This family derives its name from the hill where this group was first spotted, Nkuringo hill. Nkuringo actually means “round hill” in the local language. Nkuringo is different from other hills in the neighborhood by having a rounded crest and no peak. The Family has 19 members including 2 silverbacks.
This family boasts of 15 members including two silverbacks and was first seen near a swamp (“Nyanja” in the local language) in Bwindi impenetrable forest. This group has two mature males that are always seen fighting for supremacy within the family and the leading female “Kisho”heads the females.
This group was first sighted near river Nshonji and is the largest in Bwindi Impenetrable Park with 36 members including five silverbacks. It was named after river Nshonji which is close to where this group was first spotted. Although most gorilla families consist of 25 members with one or two silver backs, with this family it is another story since it surpasses that number. Another remarkable feature with this family is that it is led by Nshongi who is not even the oldest silverback in the group.
This is presently the smallest family with only 7 members including 1 silver back. It’s is also the oldest family, spotted in the park in early 1990s, and was first seen in the middle of the park on Mubare hills. It was led by the late Ruhondeza who died in 2013 after a serious battle with a black back who has raided and expanded the family to 9 members currently.
This group was named after River Bitukula where the family members were first spotted, Bitukula family boasts of 12 members including 4 sliver backs. Habituation of this group began in 2007 and the group was opened in for tourism in 2008.This was relatively easy group to habituate compared to other groups that take a long time to be habituated.
This group located in the Buhoma part of Bwindi impenetrable park and has 19 members including one silverback. The trekking of this group starts at Buhoma Park head offices. Accommodations are also convenient in Buhoma that provides both Luxury and Budget accommodation. The trekking point is Buhoma in the North-West of the Park.
This family has 10 members including 1 silverback. It originally broke off from Nshongi group and is one of the newest in the park. In 2010, silver back Mishaya decided to leave the Nshongi gorilla group with some females and started his own group. He is a typical fighter and was able to gather more females from other non-habituated groups in the area reaching a total size of 10 members.
This is one of the recently opened groups for visitor access in Bwindi impenetrable national park This family is situated between Ruhija area and is led by a dominant Silverback “Tibirikwata”. It’s the latest habituated gorilla family and was opened for tourism on in 2011. This increased the great opportunity for more visitors to track the gorillas in Bwindi national park. It’s one of the most popular families with tourists not just because of the size but the playful and energetic juveniles and toddlers in the group.
The size of this group is 13 members with 3 silverbacks which are the only ones named. The dominant Silverback is called Rumansi followed by the other two old male gorillas named Rwigi and Ruhamuka. The group was opened for visitors and gorilla tracking in 2011 but in less than a year the group split, creating the new Busingye Gorilla Family. Before the separation, the family consisted of 27 individuals including 3 silverbacks. Busingye is one of the newest groups in the park found in the Rushaga sector close to the Nshongi and Mishaya gorilla groups.
This is another habituated Gorilla Group that is not visited by tourists and has been reserved for research and other studies. Keeping contact with this group, helps conservationists to learn more about the mountain gorillas of Bwindi, including some remarkable differences with the mountain gorillas that live in the Virunga Volcanoes. This group is found near Bitukura and Oruzogo in Ruhija sector on the North-East side of the park.
With all the above things noted about Bwindi national park, make gorilla trekking in Uganda to be the best destination for the activity of gorilla trekking. So if a willing or intrested in making a gorilla trekking tour in Uganda, just visit our website www.gorillasafarisadventure.com.