Mountain gorillas are a truly unique and highly protected primate species that can be found in a select few locations around the world, specifically in the Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park and Mgahinga Gorilla National Park in Uganda, Volcanoes National Park in Rwanda and Virunga National Park in Democratic Republic of Congo. The national parks in these countries are located in close proximity to each other, making it relatively easy for conservation partners to collaborate and work together to protect and conserve these gorillas.
When it comes to the mountain gorilla population in Uganda, it is important to note that these gorillas can be found in two national parks specifically, the Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park and Mgahinga Gorilla National Park. Based on the latest census on mountain gorillas, the total population of gorillas across Uganda, Rwanda, and Congo is 1,063 individuals. The population of mountain gorillas in Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park and the nearby Sarambwe Reserve in DR Congo has increased from 400 individuals to 459 individuals, indicating the success of conservation efforts in these areas and providing a hopeful sign for the future of mountain gorillas as a species.
In Uganda, mountain gorillas are distributed into various groups found in different sectors of the Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park, which include Rushaga and Nkuringo in the south and Ruhija and Buhoma in the north. As of June 30th, 2018, these four sectors of Bwindi have a total of 18 habituated gorilla families. Additionally, the Mgahinga Gorilla National Park is home to one habituated gorilla family known as Nyakegezi.
These habituated gorilla families have been accustomed to human presence, allowing for tourists to visit and observe their daily movements. However, it is important to note that there are likely more wild mountain gorillas that have not been habituated living in these parks.
The recent “baby boom” of 2020, which occurred during the COVID-19 lockdown, brought hope for conservationists. In Bwindi, five baby gorillas were born in just six weeks, indicating that conservation efforts to protect and preserve these magnificent creatures have been successful. This event further supports the positive trend of an increasing mountain gorilla population, giving conservationists renewed optimism for the future of these endangered species.
The Rushaga sector is located in the southern region of the Bwindi Impenetrable National Park and is home to the highest number of habituated gorilla families of any sector in Bwindi. Specifically, there are 8 habituated families in this sector, including Busingye, Bweza, Nshongi, Mishaya, Muchunguzi, and Kahungye, all of which are available for tracking and open to tourists. The terrain in this sector is also relatively easy for trekking compared to the higher elevations of Nkuringo and Ruhija sectors.
One of the unique features of the Rushaga sector is that it is the only region in Bwindi that offers a gorilla habituation experience, allowing tourists to have the opportunity to participate in both traditional gorilla trekking and habituation experience. The sector can be accessed from Kisoro and Rwanda, making it a convenient location for those traveling from neighboring countries.
The Buhoma sector is situated in the northern region of the Bwindi Impenetrable National Park and is home to four habituated gorilla families that are open for trekking. These families include Rushengura, Katwe, Habinyanja, and Mubale. As one of the earliest places where gorilla trekking was made available in Bwindi, Buhoma has a rich history in conservation and tourism. In 1993, after the park was declared a UNESCO World Heritage site, Buhoma became the first location for gorilla trekking to take place in Bwindi. This sector can be easily accessed from Queen Elizabeth National Park and the picturesque Lake Bunyonyi, making it a popular destination for tourists and conservationists alike.
The Ruhija sector, located in the eastern region of the Bwindi Impenetrable National Park, is home to several habituated gorilla families, including Bitukura, Kyanguriro, Mukiza, and Oruzogo. This sector is particularly popular among gorilla trekkers due to its close proximity to the gorillas and the higher chances of sighting them. The sector is situated at an elevation of 2350 meters above sea level, making it the coldest area in Bwindi.
Ruhija is also a great spot for bird-watching, particularly at the Mubwindi swamp and for sighting other primates, including monkeys, as well as mammals like antelopes and elephants. It is also the closest sector to the beautiful Lake Bunyonyi, allowing visitors the option to stay at the lake and trek gorillas in Ruhija in one day, providing a great opportunity to explore the area fully.
The Nkuringo sector, located in the southern part of Bwindi Impenetrable National Park, is home to two habituated gorilla families, Kuirngo and Christmas, which are available for trekking. The sector is situated on higher elevations, making it a challenging and strenuous location for gorilla trekking. It is recommended for those who are looking for an adventure and are interested in a more challenging trekking experience.
Nkuringo is the closest sector to Rwanda and it is possible to trek here in 2 days with a one-night stay through Rwanda. Similarly, Mgahinga Gorilla National Park has only one habituated gorilla group, Nyakagezi, open for trekking. To trek here, it is necessary to book in advance, ideally 3-4 months, as there are only 8 permits available for trekking every day.
When booking with Trek Africa Expeditions, you can expect a comprehensive and personalized experience for your gorilla trekking adventure in Uganda, Rwanda, and the Democratic Republic of Congo. Our team of expert tour consultants will guide you through the booking process and provide tailored advice to ensure your trip runs smoothly. We offer a range of gorilla trekking safari packages, including budget-friendly, mid-range, and luxury options, and will handle the booking of your gorilla permits for you.
We pride ourselves on providing excellent service and customer satisfaction. To get an idea of the level of service you can expect from us, you can check out our TripAdvisor reviews, which are written by a community of happy and satisfied clients. We are dedicated to making your safari holiday in Uganda a memorable one and will do everything we can to ensure you have a great experience. Our team of tour consultants is always available to answer any questions you may have about your trip. With Trek Africa Expeditions, you can be confident in having a great gorilla tour in Uganda, Rwanda, and Democratic Republic of Congo.