Gorilla families in Uganda-Gorilla trekking in Uganda

Gorilla families in Uganda-Gorilla trekking in Uganda


Do you remember the time when you first learnt about the concept of a family in school? Interestingly, at that stage of learning, many of us assumed that families were only found among human beings. Well, families can also be found among other living creatures such as gorillas. A family is defined as a group of people or in this case, a group of gorillas that are living together and are related by blood. A gorilla family is also known as a troop.

Gorilla families in Uganda-Gorilla trekking in Uganda
Mubare Gorilla family member-Gorilla safari

Uganda Gorilla Safari

There are numerous gorilla families in the world, with particularly 20 of them living in Uganda. It is important to note that half of the world’s gorilla population is found in the country – making it a very unique and special tourist destination. There are only 1,063 gorillas in the world, with some inhabiting Uganda, Democratic Republic of Congo and Rwanda respectively. Out of the 20 families in Uganda, 19 of them are in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park and the other one is in Mgahinga National Park. Both these national parks are the main tourist attractions in the South Western part of Uganda.

Gorilla habituation in Uganda

In line with the foregoing, the gorilla families in Uganda have been habituated. This is so that they have through a process of getting them to human presence and are thus available for tourism. The habituation process takes about 3 to 5 years before the gorillas go for trekking within their natural habitat. Gorilla trekking in Uganda refers to the hike made to the Bwindi and Mgahinga highlands to see the mountain gorillas in their natural habitats.

Gorilla families in Uganda-Gorilla trekking in Uganda
Newly born in Mubare family-Gorilla safari in Uganda

The gorilla families on your gorilla trekking safari in Uganda

There are several examples of gorilla families or groups in Uganda, as we shall later find out, such as the Christmas group, the Busingye group and many others. These groups are open to tourism in five trekking sectors that are distributed around the national park boundaries. One sector is located in Mgahinga National Park and the other four: Rushaga; Buhoma; Ruhija; and Nkuringo are in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park.






1. Mgahinga National Park Nyakagezi Has 10 big sized members
2. Nkuringo Nkuringo Has 12 members led by Rwamutwe Blackback.

They were habituated in 2004 and their leader Rafiki was killed in 2020.

Bushao Has 12 members.

Their leader is Bahati Silverback.

Christmas family Has 6 members led by Christmas Silverback, Rafiki’s brother. This group split from the Nkuringo family


3. Rushaga Mushunguzi Has 8 members
Kahungye Has 18 members and was habituated in 2011.
Bikyingi Has 12 members and is still being habituated
Bweza Has 9 members and was habituated in 2011
Mishaya Has 10 members and is led by Mishaya Silverback.
Busingye Has 10 members and is led by Busingye Silverback. They split from the Nshongi family.
Nshongi It was originally the largest group to be habituated. Has 25 members with 2 Silverbacks.
Not officially named Has 8 members
4. Ruhija Mukiza Has 15 members led by Mukiza Silverback
Oruzogo Has 22 members and 2 Silverbacks with the dominant one being Tibirikwata
Kyaguriro Has 9 members led by Rukina. This group is mainly for research purposes
Bitukura Has 13 members led by Ndahura. It was habituated in 2008.
5. Buhoma Katwe Has 9 members led by Katwe Silverback.
Rushegura Has 20 members led by Mwirima Silverback. They split from Habinyanja group
Mubare (named after Mubare hills) Has 18 members led by Ruhondeza Silverback. They were the first to be habituated in 1991
Habinyanja Has 18 members led by Makara Silverback. Once more than 30 but split over time.



Many of these gorilla groups/ families derived their names from places or nature such as trees and water bodies. For instance, the Rushegura group derived its name from a local word “Ebishegura” which means a certain tree species where these gorillas usually stayed. Another example is the Mubare group whose name was by Uganda Wildlife rangers from Mubare hills where they were at first sight.

Gorilla families in Uganda-Gorilla trekking in Uganda
Rushegura Gorilla family posing for a picture

With regard to leadership of these groups, only the dominant male known as the Silverback has the authority to lead the group and is responsible for organizing group activities such as eating and nesting as well as protecting it from any threats or invaders. The Silverbacks mentioned above were named according to different situations or reasons.

Gorilla families in Uganda-Gorilla trekking in Uganda-Meaning of gorilla family names

An example of this is Ruhondeza, who was the leader of the Mubare group. His name means “one who never sleeps”. In some cases, the groups were named after their leaders. It was also noted that there is hereditary among the gorillas. In the event that a Silverback dies, one of the blackbacks takes over the leadership of the family, just like how human beings have heirs to take over when they pass on.

Gorilla families in Uganda-Gorilla trekking in Uganda
Gorilla trekking safari in Uganda-Gorilla family

The gorilla family that has twins-Oruzogo

Did you know that it is possible for gorillas to give birth to twins? It is surprising but true as seen in the Oruzogo group which contains a set of twins which was born to a gorilla known as Kakoba in March 2012.

Furthermore, it is in the nature of gorillas to split from their birth groups and join or create new groups or families. This prevents inbreeding among family members. When the males and female offspring grow older, they leave their original groups for the above-mentioned reason. This situation is similar to that of human beings in a way that when children grow older, they leave their birth homes to start their independent lives and families. It is all a natural process.

Gorilla families in Uganda-Gorilla trekking in Uganda


In a nutshell, getting to know the dynamics surrounding gorilla families is an adventure to die for. That said, gorilla trekking is an activity that you cannot afford to leave out as you make your Africa Safari bucket list. Imagine having access to these amazing creatures and getting first-hand information about all that we have talked about. This comes with a bonus of experiencing other wonders of nature and having a close interaction with the gorillas in their natural habitat.

If you have any inquiries or if you are interested in making a booking, please contact Pamoja Tours and Travel, you will definitely get more than what you are looking for. Warm regards. Thank you for your time.

Some of our gorilla safaris:

5 Days Uganda Gorillas & Queen Elizabeth

7 Days Uganda primates & wildlife safari

8 Days Uganda Gorillas, Chimps and wildlife safari

10 Days Best Of Uganda Wildlife Safari

14 Days Uganda Big 5 safari – Primates and Tree Climbing Lions

Also read about:

Luxury Accommodation in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park

Mid-Range Accommodation For Bwindi Impenetrable National Park

Budget accommodation in Bwindi-Gorilla trekking safari in Uganda


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