Short Rwanda Gorilla Safaris

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Bwindi Impenetrable National Park


When you are travelling to Rushaga you have an opportunity to view the volcanoes mountains at a far distance but with the best views including the Virunga,Gahinga and Muhavura it’s such a beautiful scenery to view, one has a chance to view ‘Lake Bunyonyi’ the deepest crater lake in Africa.

While driving to this region you will be thrilled with an amazing experience of the topography made, the hills, valleys will amaze you, besides you will get to enjoy the beauty of Kisoro district best known as the Switzerland of Uganda.

With the variety of habituated Gorilla families in this sector it’s very easy to book your permit in advance since a number of 40 permits is sold every day and 8 people are allowed to trek each Gorilla family although four people are grouped to carry out habituation in this region and it’s the only sector with two habituation Gorilla families.

You are advised to ask for the Gorilla family of your interest before a permit is issued out to you and depending on your physical fitness since the families are located in different areas of the region ‘the rangers have knowledge of where each family is located and for those who want to trek more you can be able to trek more than one family. In this region

Rushaga region has different lodges and all the lodges are owned by the local community members in this region unlike other regions the lodges are owned by foreign investors. When you trek in Rushaga and spend a night in one of the lodges including Rushaga Gorilla camp, Gorilla safari lodge, Rushaga gorilla havens lodge, Nshongi Gorilla camp among others.

This will give you a chance to be part of the developing sector and community in this region. This sector boosts a number of activities compared to other sector including the Gorilla habituation where the Tourists are able to spend 4 hours in the wild training the Gorillas to live close to humans. Book with gorilla trekk and have unforgettable experience with the mountain Gorillas in this region.

Nshongi Gorilla Family

Location: Rushaga

Group size: 26 individuals including 4 silverbacks

The Nshongi gorilla group was named after the river close where the family was first seen. The word Nshongi derives from “Omushongi Gwoboki, meaning ‘honey’ and referred to the deep color of the river. Being opened for tourism in September 2009, the family was unique due to its large size. With 36 individuals it was the largest gorilla group ever habituated. Even more remarkable was that the three silverbacks and seven black backs lived in harmony with each other and did not make an attempt for leadership. Especially since the dominant silverback Nshongi was not even the oldest silverback in the family. However, in July 2010, the group split into two: the Nshongi group with 26 individuals, including 4 silverbacks and a newly formed family led by the silverback Mishaya with 10 members.

Mishaya Gorilla Family

Location: Rushaga
Group size: 12 individuals including 1 silverback

Silverback Mishaya was part of the Nshongi group but decided in July 2010 to establish its own family. Being known as a fighter who often starts interactions with other gorilla families, he was able to gather females from other groups in the area and could expand his group. In April 2011 he clashed again with a non-habituated gorilla family, resulting in serious injuries for himself and a 2-year old infant. The wounds were treated by veterinarians from the Mountain Gorilla Veterinary Project.

Kahungye Gorilla Family

Location: Rushaga
Group size: 13 individuals including 3 silverbacks

The Kahungye group is one of the most recent habituated gorilla families in Bwindi National Park. The family was opened for tourism in October 2011 but in less than a year the group split, creating a new family that is called Busingye. Before the separation, the family consisted of 27 individuals including 3 silverbacks. The group is active and led by the dominant silverback Gwigi, which means “door” in the local language.

Bweza Gorilla Family

Location: Rushaga
Group size: 9 individuals including 1 silverback

Originally, the Nshongi family was the largest gorilla group ever habituated. However, in July 2010 Silverback Mishaya decided to start his own family. Two years later also Bweza, another silverback preferred to separate himself from the rest of the group. Initially, the UWA rangers suspected that they would get back together again, but when it appeared that the split was infinitive, this ‘new’ group opened for tourism in December 2012.

Busingye Gorilla Family

Location: Rushaga
Group size: 9 individuals including 1 silverback

In the same period, in the same sector, but another gorilla family experienced a breakaway as well. It was Silverback Busingye who decided to split from the Kahungye group in June 2012 and create his own family. Busingye means ‘peace’ which is quite surprising since this ambitious silverback is known for his legendary fights with other gorilla groups. He likes showing his power and whenever encountering a wild family he mercilessly grabs a female to add to his own family.

Mountain Gorilla Trekking, How do Gorillas look like?

Usually The Males are two times the size of the females, they may grow to 6 ft tall and even weigh 350 -500 pounds.  These are strong, with long arms and muscular.  The males are referred to as the silverback because as they mature the hair on their back turns somewhat silver, hence the name Silverbacks.  The strength of the males is ten times stronger compared to the strongest boxer, even taking steroids.  The arms of silverbacks can stretch to 7 feet

Mountain Gorillas possess longer plus darker hair compared to their lowland counterparts because they stay in colder climates and higher altitudes.  Their life span is between 40 and 50 years.

The mountain gorillas mainly stay on the ground although they will climb a tree occasionally given that it can support them, however just like children, their young play in the trees.

A fascinating fact is that Gorillas plus Humans are share 98% of their genetic composition

Should I hire a porter for my gorilla trek?

Hiring a porter means you can pack all your camera equipment, rain gear, snacks and plenty of water without worrying about how you will manage to drag it up a muddy slope through bushy undergrowth!

In areas where the majority of people are subsistence farmers, pottering jobs are invaluable. The day fees for a porter bring in cash – a rare commodity in this remote corner of Africa. By employing someone on a gorilla trekking tour, even for a day, you are reminding people of the personal value to be gained from protecting the mountain gorillas and their habitat. These employment opportunities help reduce encroachment into the protected areas – to set snares or collect timber – where the mountain gorillas live. Employ a porter and you’re not just helping yourself, you are supporting the local community and thus the gorillas themselves.

The cost to hire a porter is $30-50 (plus discretionary $10 tip). Tips should be in small US dollar bills (dated post-2009) or local currency (Uganda shillings or Rwandese francs, depending on which country you are trekking in).

Note that although the rangers will accompany you all the way back to the park headquarters, occasionally the porters leave your group before you reach there, so make sure you have the right money for tips with you, just in case they depart early.