The Katwe gorilla family is one of the four families in the Buhoma sector of Bwindi Impenetrable National park. Buhoma sector lies in the Northern part of the park and is usually the sector with the most visitors. The other three families include: Habinyanja family, the Mubare family (the first one to be habituated and opened for trekking in 1993) and the Rushegura family (the most adored family by tourists).
Uniquely defined from the other families, this family in particular is the newest addition to the sector and has brought more life to the tourism industry in the region. The members of the Katwe gorilla family were habituated for about three years and then opened in January 2018 for tourism by the Government of Uganda. In simple terms, habituation refers to the process of getting wild mountain gorillas familiar with the presence and interaction of human beings. This process is carried out by a team of researchers in collaboration with the Uganda Wildlife Authority and park rangers.
The Katwe family consists of 9 members, with one dominant silverback, two infants, four adult females and two black backs. It is important to note that, just like the case with human families, the composition of gorilla families changes from time to time due to births, deaths and migration.
The name Katwe is a product of a dominant hill in Bwindi Impenetrable forest where the initial habituation of the family took place.
In addition, we offer spectacular gorilla trekking safaris and some of them include;
- 7 days Uganda Safari gorilla and chimpanzee trekking (https://africasafaritravellers.com/7-days-uganda-safari-gorilla-and-chimpanzee-trekking/)
- 18 days best of Uganda Gorilla and chimp trekking, birding and wildlife safari (https://africasafaritravellers.com/18-day-best-of-uganda-gorilla-chimp-trekking-birding-and-wildlife-safari/)
- 10 days Uganda Gorilla chimps and wildlife safari (https://africasafaritravellers.com/10-days-uganda-gorilla-chimps-wildlife/)
- 3 day Bwindi Gorilla Trekking fly-in safari (https://africasafaritravellers.com/3-day-bwindi-gorilla-trekking-flying-in-safari/
Impact of the Katwe gorilla family on issuing of gorilla permits
Before the introduction of the Katwe gorilla family into the Buhoma sector, the number of permits that were available to tourists on a daily basis was 24. This number increased to 32 (accommodating 8 extra people for one hour) after the Katwe family was opened for trekking. The increase in the number of permits further increased opportunities for tourists to take part in gorilla trekking in this sector and in turn boosted the surrounding businesses such as lodges, restaurants and others. Not forgetting, the contribution of this activity to the conservation of the endangered gorillas.
Access to the Buhoma sector
If you would like to track the Katwe gorilla family, you can access the Buhoma by road or air. If one decides to travel by road, they can make a 10 hour trip from Entebbe/Kampala to the Northern part of Bwindi Impenetrable national park (https://africasafaritravellers.com/bwindi-impenetrable-forest-national-park/ and by air, they can fly in from Entebbe International Airport to Kihihi airstrip and then drive to Buhoma sector.
One of the first things that a tourist considers while preparing for their journey is where they are going to sleep and what they are going to eat. This shouldn’t worry you if you are planning to go to the Buhoma sector. This is due to its abundance of comfortable accommodation facilities according to your capacity and needs. Some of the facilities include Gorilla forest camp, Buhoma Lodge, Mahogany Springs, Volcanoes Bwindi Lodge, Engagi Lodge, Haven Lodge Bwindi as well as the Bwindi Community camp.
The best time to visit the Katwe family
You can visit the Katwe family at any time of the year. However, it is advisable to do so during the dry season (June, August, December and February). This is because the trails are drier and are thus easier to navigate. It is important to note, however, that Bwindi Impenetrable forest is a tropical forest. This implies that it can still rain even during the dry season.
Bonuses that come with visiting the Katwe gorilla family
Visiting the Katwe gorilla family comes with additional benefits especially for wildlife enthusiasts. One can do a 2-3 hours’ drive to Queen Elizabeth national park from the Buhoma sector. Get a chance to see the tree climbing lions found in Ishasha. In addition, one can also go for a boat cruise on the Kazinga channel (Northern sector of Mweya).
There are a few tips that you should put into consideration as you prepare for your gorilla trekking safari;
- Ensure to make a booking for your gorilla permit in advance (3 to 6 months)
- On the day for trekking, make sure you arrive at the briefing point by 7am in order to start early. This also increases the chances of finding the group of interest in a shorter time.
- Do some physical exercises in preparation for the trekking experience.
- Pack your gorilla trekking safari items early enough. Some of them should include; waterproof hiking boots, insect repellent, long sleeved shirts and trousers, energy giving drinks/snacks, first aid kit, camera, extra batteries, jacket, backpack and several others
Spending time with the mountain gorillas in their natural habitat is one of the most serene experiences that you could ever have. At times, it is even difficult to fully describe the thrill and feelings attached to this adventure. It is indeed worthwhile. If you would like to make a booking for your gorilla trekking safari, kindly contact Pamoja Tours and Travel.
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