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Gorilla tracking safari

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Tracking Gorilla in Southwestern Uganda or Rwanda, will give you an opportunity access to an others different family of the mountain Gorillas with different…

  • Reviews 1 Review
    5/5
  • Vacation Style Holiday Type
    Camping, Discovery, Family, Guided Tours, Jungle
  • Activity Level Strenuous
All about the Gorilla tracking safari.

Tracking Gorilla in Southwestern Uganda or Rwanda, will give you an opportunity access to an others different family of the mountain Gorillas with different behavioral life in their ecosystem and giving you other gorilla tracking experiences in jungle. Make a trek in search of the gorillas to meet and have a moment of good memories with mountain gorillas in their natural environment, the stunning and quite afro-montane forest of Bwindi Impenetrable National Park a home of famous primates known and loved to see cross all continents.

Gorilla Families in Bwindi National Park

The 8 habituated Gorilla Families / Groups tracked by visitors on a daily basis
The southern Bwindi boasts of at least 3 big guerilla groups as below: -

  1. Nshongi Group Family
    This is the largest gorilla family comprising of 25 members under the leadership of 2 silverbacks.
    Location: Nshongi/Rushaga
  2. Nkuringo Gorilla Familycomprises of 18 members with 2 Silverbacks.
    Location: Nkuringo
  3. Mishaya Gorilla Family
    Family size: 12 members with 1 Silverback.
    Location: Nshongi/Rushaga

Note: Visitors normally set off from the park headquarters at Rushaga. For those who choose to walk it takes approximately 30min to the trailhead. The Silverback Mishaya left the Nshongi Group with 9 others in July 2010 to form the Mishaya Group.

 

In the northern Bwindi national park, below are the habituated guerilla groups: -
1. Bitukura Group is the most recent habituated gorilla family in Ruhija part of Bwindi Impenetrable Forest in Ruhija park. It is one of the most attractive groups in the region since it is composed of four silverbacks with Ndahura the second youngest silverback as the leader. Notwithstanding the dominant male, the silverbacks move together alongside 2 blackbacks of this same group. The silverbacks, Rukara and Rukumu associating the 2 blackbacks, Obia and Mugisha are a big spectacle when there is a fight among them.

Bitukura family includes 13 members: - Ndahura the dominant silverback, Karamuzi the 2nd silverback, Rukumu the 3rd silverback, Rukara the 4th silverback, Betina the adult female, Ruhara the adult female, Kamuga the adult female, Obia the blackback, Mugisha the blackback, Twakire a juvenile, Kabandize ajuvenile (came from Kyaguliro), Kadogo an infant and Bwindi an infant.

  1. Oruzogo Gorilla Family
    The Oruzogo gorilla family comprises of 16 members headed by 1 silverback. The group is located in Ruhija – Buhoma. The Oruzogo group is among the most recent groups habituated for gorilla trekking. The family is accessed between Buhoma and Ruhija under the leadership of the dominant silverback Tibirikwata.
    Other individuals in the group include Otaka, Bwoba (the coward), Busungu (short tampered), Kashundwe, Nyakiina, Kaganga (the giant one), Karimi (tongue)Kiromba, Katooto (the small one), Kanywani (friendly), Kakobe (looks like a monkey) and Buchura (the last born).
  2. Mubare Group Family
    Mubare is the smallest gorilla family in Bwindi with 6 members under the leadership of 1 Silverback. The group is strategically located near the park headquarters at Buhoma.
  3. Habinyanja Group Family
    Habinyanja gorilla family comprises of 20 members with 2 Silverbacks. It is also located at Buhoma.
  4. Rushegura Group Family
    – Comprises of 20 members with 1 Silverback. It is located at Buhoma.

Nyakagezi Group in Mgahinga national park is another habituated gorilla family in Uganda. It comprises of 9 members (including 3 Silverbacks). The only problem with this group is that it keeps on migrating between the borders of Uganda and Rwanda.

GORILLA HABITUATION ADVENTURE

Gorilla Habituation experience in Bwindi national park has been introduced by the Uganda Wildlife authority for visitors to get involved in the gorilla habituation precess. The gorilla habituation adventure gives tourists more time up to 4 hours giving a greater chance to get to know more about their closest wild relatives the mountain gorillas. Uganda has over 450 mountain gorillas in Bwindi impenetrable forest that live in the three major sectors (areas) that the park has (Buhoma sector, Ruhija sector and Rushaga sector)

The mountain gorilla habituation process that has just been introduced in the Rushaga sector involves tourists and rangers following a mountain gorilla group and training it to get accustomed to human beings presence in their natural environment.

The mountain gorilla habituation process involves repetitively visiting the mountain gorillas by well-experienced rangers and researchers plus some tourists as they observe a particular mountain gorilla family until a time when the mountain gorillas learn to tolerate the presence of humans in their natural environments.

Tourists going for mountain gorilla habituation are expected to report the national park headquarters by 7:30 am in the morning for a briefing about the whole process. While here, they are also told about the major safety procedures to follow while in the forest to ensure a successful jungle expedition and to get the best of the mountain gorilla habituation experience.

After the briefing, tourists are directed to the forest as they follow the mountain gorilla group undergoing habituation. This time in case of only one hour, tourists have four hours to spend with the mountain gorillas in the forested mountains. The four hours with the gorillas does not include the time taken to hike up the forested mountains to get to the mountain gorillas which makes the mountain gorilla habituation experience a very enjoyable activity way more than just mountain gorilla tracking where tourists only spend an hour with the mountain gorillas.

The mountain gorilla habituation rules and regulations are similar to mountain gorilla tracking rules and they include the following;

  • Always following the guides and ranger’s instructions
  • Keeping in the group to avoid getting lost
  • Not making a lot of noise in the forest and when in the presence of the mountain gorillas.
  • Keeping at least a distance of 7 meters away from the mountain gorillas
  • Not imitating the mountain gorilla habits
  • Not using flash photography while taking the mountain gorilla pictures
  • Not going for the habituation experience while sick as you can easily pass on the disease to the mountain gorillas

It’s also very wise for one to be in good physical shape because the gorilla habituation is a whole day experience of following a mountain gorilla group through the forested mountains requiring the rangers and the tourists to keep up with the pace of the mountain gorillas. There are however porters for hire who can carry luggage or the tourist on a stretcher in case hired. They are hired for about $10 to $15.

Persons who are 15 years and above are the only ones allowed going for the mountain gorilla habituation experience.

Tourists going for this activity are recommended to book accommodation around the Rushaga sector to avoid any inconveniences when going to the national park headquarters.

RWANDA GORILLA GROUPS

Gorilla trekking is the most captivating wildlife experience carried out in the Virunga massif that comprises of Rwanda’s Volcanoes, DR Congo’s Virunga and Uganda’s Bwindi national parks. Rwanda has 10 habituated gorilla groups tracked on a daily basis. Thus on each day 80 visitors are expected to go gorilla trekking. Below are the habituated gorilla groups in the Volcanoes national park.

  1. Susa Group
    With 33 members, including 2 Silverbacks, Susa group is the biggest in Volcanoes national park. The most exciting about this group are the twin siblings: Byishimo and Impano. This was Dian Fossey’s first group of study. It is an hour’s drive from Kinigi, the park headquarters. Despite the strenuous hike, it is the most preferred group by the hikers. In 2008 the group had internal conflict and thus split into another group of 15 members including 3 silverbacks. called Karisimbi
  2. Sabyinyo Group
    Family size: Sabinyo group comprises of 13 members including 2 Silverbacks, one of whom is the largest of all the silverbacks in the volcanoes national park. The group is easily accessible as it roams the gentle slopes between Mount Sabyinyo and Gahinga. Gorillas trekking might take anything from ten minutes to an hour to access, but ordinarily, the slopes are not too daunting (though can be slippery after rain).
  3. Amahoro Group
    The Amahoro group (peaceful)which lives on the slopes of Mt Visoke, comprises of 18 members including 2 Silverback. Accessing this group is very strenuous since trackers have to hike over a steep slope. Members of this group are the most peaceful and gentle.
  4. Agashya Group
    This was the Group 13 but recently changed the name to Agashya (meaning special). It is comprised of 27 members including 1 Silverback. It is the first group to be habituated. At the time of its habituation, it comprised of only 13 members. Presently it has grown to a size of 27 members. It lives alongside the Sabinyo group and sometimes moves deeper into the mountain.
  5. Umubano (‘Live Together’) Group
    with 13 members, including 2 Silverbacks, this group was formed by members of the Amahoro family after one of its silverbacks, Charles, broke off to form his own group. They live in the same territory the Amahoro Group.
  6. Kwitonda Group
    Inhabits the lower slopes of Mt Muhabura and comprises of 23 members, including 4 Silverbacks. It is named after the dominant Silverback of the group called Kwitonda (humble one). This group, too, poses a big challenge to trackers.
  7. Hirwa Group
    This is relatively a new group and comprises of 16 members, including 1 Silverback
    It was formed from two different families – Group 13 and Sabyinyo. The group marauds the foothills of Mt Sabyinyo on the Gahinga side. Its two twins were born at the beginning of 2011.
  8. Karisimbi Group
    As the name suggests, Karisimbi family lives on Mt Karisimbi and comprises of 16 members including 2 Silverbacks. This group is a result of the split into 2 groups by Susa. The hike to this group is also very challenging.
    9. Ugenda Group is made up of 11 members including 2 Silverbacks. Ugenda means mobile. This group inhabits Mt Bisoke and the hike is relatively not very difficult.
  9. Bwenge Group
    Comprises of 11 members including 1 Silverback. Bwenge means wisdom. This group roams around Mt Bisoke and the hike is also relatively easy.

 

Expected of this trip

  • Transfers from and to the airport on arriving and getting out of the country after your trip
  • Trek to see the mountain gorillas
  • Great accommodation in Travelers Rest in Kisoro, home to Dian Fossey, or Gorilla Valley Lodge
  • All accommodation booked for this tour is on BB basis.
  • Transportation in 4WD Land cruisers or Omni bus with a pop-up roof and everyone on a comfortable window seat for easy view of all sceneries along the course of your tour.

A full time English speaking safari guides throughout the entire trip

The tour package inclusions and exclusions at a glance
What is included in this tour?Items that are included in the cost of tour price.
  • Guides
  • Vehicle
  • Fuel
  • English speaking driver
  • Park entrance
  • Accommodation
  • Breakfast
  • Bottled water
  • Rangers in the parks
Whats not included in this tour.Items that are not included in the cost of tour price.

Not included in the price for this trip

Drinks

Tips

Porters

Laundry services

Gorilla permit (we organize it for you)

All other extra activities in Kisoro

Meals (around US$ 30 per person per day)

Visa (Uganda)

Any other personal interests

The first and last night in Uganda

Permits

In Mgahinga:    US$ 600

In Buhoma Bwindi:    US$ 600

In South Bwindi:    US$ 600

In Congo:    Currently not possible

  1. Day1 1

    After breakfast in the early morning hour, you will be picked at 06:45 – 07:00am from the guesthouse or hotel of your choice and leave to the South Western part of Uganda. On the first day of your trip you will enjoy passing through central Uganda and after some hours of drive make stopover in Mbarara for lunch, after your lunch break continue on the last section through a beautiful landscape also defined as the “Switzerland of Africa”: mountains, lakes, hills with cultivated terraces, tropical rainforest and bamboo forest. On the last hill the landscape unfolds beneath you, taking in the vast planes between Uganda, Rwanda and Congo, with the Virunga volcanoes dominating the view of the area. At the bottom of the valley is Kisoro, you will have a walk in stay at the famous camp for the night before the gorilla encounter. Driving time: ± 9 hours Day 1, 2 and 3 Accommodation: Travellers Rest Hotel

  2. Day2 2

    In the morning after breakfast at the hotel, the driver then picks you and travel by car from Travellers Rest Hotel in Kisoro to Nkuringo, in the southern part of Bwindi Impenetrable Forest NP (1hr). Once at the starting point you will have a briefing at about (7.45am) and at 8.30am you will start the tracking. Once you have found the gorillas, you will be able to spend up to one hour with them doing the watching, take pictures and greet them because they are now used to humans. You will be expected back to the starting point by 7.00pm at the latest hour since it involves real trekking in the Afromontane forest that day.

  3. Day3 3

    The 3rd day will be spent in and around Kisoro town, at Travellers Rest Hotel as the home base for your visit in this area. Visitors on the Luxury Tour will travel from Bwindi Impenetrable national park to Kisoro district on the third day (± 5 hours’ drive through beautiful landscapes with great vegetation’s and farm lands of the local people

  4. Day4 4

    Early in the morning after breakfast you will travel back to Kampala. On the way back to the Kampala you will have lunch break in Mbarara town, after lunch you will continue with your journey and after passing Masaka there will be an opportunity to stop at the Equator line crossing for photo shoots and buying souvenirs if interested and have tea or coffee before you again continue. We will then lead you to a guesthouse, campsite or hotel of your choice in Kampala or Entebbe – or, if you continue your holiday somewhere else or back home, we will bring you directly to Entebbe airport for an onwards flight. Driving time: ± 9 hours Return flight or an extra night in Guesthouse for just $ 85 a double / $ 75 a single (including BB and airport transfer)

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Overall Rating
5/5
Sanjeev Jha
Reviewed On 02/05/2016
5/5

Nature, wilderness and adventures go hand in hand. To make the most of this tour, you should consider going on this trip with your friends or loved ones.

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