Gorilla Families In Uganda

Uganda has amazing mountain gorilla families in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park and Mgahinga Gorilla National Park. Bwindi Impenetrable National Park, a rainforest is the most visited park in Uganda for gorilla trekking, it has over 600 gorillas making up almost half of the world’s total population. Southwestern Uganda is one of the few places on the African continent where these exciting creatures can be met.

Some gorillas can be found in Mgahinga National Park also located in southwestern Uganda within the Virunga Mountain ranges. Gorilla trekking in Uganda is fun because there are about 22 gorilla families to visit, 21 families have been spread across the 4 sectors in Bwindi’s impenetrable national park – Nkuringo, Ruhija, Rushaga, and Buhoma, while Mgahinga National Park only has one gorilla family.


  1. Nshongi family

Created in 2009, this is the largest gorilla group within the Rushaga Sector, it initially had 36 members led by Nshongi but was later on reduced by 10 members who broke off with Mishaya to form their own family. Shortly after, Bweza a silverback also broke off.

The family currently has 26 members. Its name was derived from River Nshongi where the family was first seen, this name was derived from the saying “Omushongi Gwobwoki” meaning honey that resembles the brownish color of the river.

  1. Busingye family.

Busingye means “peace”, the family derived its name from its silverback Busingye, however, he doesn’t depict his name as he likes starting up fights with other gorilla families and snatches away females whom he includes to build his own family. He has so far grown the family to 9 members.

Being able to win fights is a sign of being powerful among gorillas. He initially broke away from the Kahungye family in 2012 with 7 members.

  1. Bweza gorilla family.

Bweza family comes second to Nshongi in terms of having the biggest number of family members, Bweza also broke off from his family (Nshongi) to form the group. Over time rangers thought the two families could reunite hence making them live within the same sector of Rushaga. This is one of the amazing gorilla families that you should trek on a Uganda gorilla safari. Book your safari now and create a signature of memories. 

  1. Kutu family

Headed by a dominant silverback, Kutu has eight family members. It is one of the groups still undergoing habituation and therefore available for visits under the gorilla habituation experience. Tourists interested in this activity have a chance to meet the Kutu gorilla family.

  1. Rwigi gorilla family

This is a new gorilla family that came following Rwigi, a silverback who had a misunderstanding with Kahungye which led him to leave the family and form his own. The family is currently composed of 10 members inclusive of 1 silverback, 5 adult females, 2 adolescents, and 2 infants.

  1. Bikingi gorilla group

This group underwent habituation for over 5 years. It started the habituation process in mid-2012 and ended in 2016. When members of the Mishaya family broke off, they were scattered and therefore as an initiative to bring them together, the Bikini group was formed, however, some members in the Mishaya group were not habituated therefore the need to habituate the whole group. It currently has 15 members led by dominant silverback Bikini.

  1. Mucunguzi group

This group recently completed its habituation process, it is now one of the newly added groups in Bwindi that can be trekked. Mucunguzi means “savior” in the local language, it has 8 members dominated by females.

Mucunguzi was the third youngest son in Bweza from which he was chased hence forming his own family after living in solitude for quite a while. The family currently has 12 members with a new addition of a newborn baby produced by Ndinkahe.

  1. Mishaya gorilla group

Composed of 12 members and currently led by Mwine, it was formed by Mishaya who broke away from his family Nshongi with 10 members. It was an aggressive gorilla that occasionally started fights in 2010 in which one of them nearly led to the death of one of its infants that was rescued by rangers but unfortunately died in 2014.


  1. Rushegura gorilla family

Made up of 19 members led by Mwirima who is closing in to 30 years and a brother to Rwansigazi the former leader of the Habinyanja family. Created in 2002 after one of the members of the Habinyanja group decided to depart and start his own family.

The group started with only 12 members and increased to 19 members by 2010, it usually crossed over to Congo and returned, visiting neighboring villages and even lodges around the Buhoma sector. The group is calm and friendly hence doesn’t cause much havoc whenever it wanders. Its calm nature is derived from the calm and peaceful silverback Mwirima.

  1. Habinyanja gorilla family

Established in 1997, the group met its first visitor in 1999. With around 17 members, it was once led by an old silverback “Munguri” who passed away due to old age. He was succeeded by his two brothers Mwirima and Rwansigazi who later on couldn’t’ work together as they had their differences which made them separate in 2002. Mwirima broke away leaving Rwansigazi in charge who was succeeded by Makara, its current leader.

  1. Katwe gorilla group

This group completed their habituation process after three years which is always the maximum period. It is a new family and currently has 7 members made up of a silverback, 4 females, and 2 infants.

  1. Mubare gorilla family

First visited in 1993, it has 18 members under the leadership of Ruhondeza, ever since its inception the group has faced various attacks from kidnappers. Their leader tried to protect them but couldn’t since he was very old. He is said to have died in his sleep.

The group has 8 members and is led by Kanyonyi. Ruhondeza ‘s grave can be visited while visiting this group.

  1. Muyambi family

Consisting of 7 members led by Muyambi, the family was added to the park in 2020 after being formed in 2019 after breaking away from the Mubare family.



  1. Kyaguriro family

Consisting of 15 members and was once led by Zeus and the Rukina who chased away Zeus, he later died in 2015. Rukina was 31 years old when he died and was succeeded by Rukara who is the current leader. This group has been part of various research.

  1. Mukiza gorilla group

It is another newly added group in the Ruhija sector, this group broke away from the Kyaguriro family after the death of Rukina when he was still alive. Mukina was a silverback within his family but always opposed him, when he currently died, Mukina thought he could take over but it wasn’t the case as he was attacked by a silverback from the outside called Rukara took over forcing him to break away and form his own family.

  1. Oruzogo gorilla group

Consisting of 25 members, it was created in 2011 and has since been led by Tibirikwata, an old gorilla in Bwindi’s impenetrable national park. The family has constantly grown ever since 2011 and in 2013 it welcomed twins which is a rare case among these primates.         

  1. Bitukura gorilla family

This family took the shortest time to complete the habituation process; it is a peaceful family that shares a special bond with the Kaguriro family.

It has 4 silverbacks and is surprisingly led by the second youngest one called Ndahura who succeeded Karumanzi an old silverback who could no longer lead the group.


  1. Nkuringo gorilla family

Nkuringo refers to round hills, it is the most challenging to find within the park. The family consists of 19 members. It derived its name from Nkuringo its former leader who died in 2004.

  1. Christmas gorilla group

It has 19 members led by a silverback named Christmas, it is one of the new additions made in the Nkuringo sector.

  1. Bushaho family

Comprising of 9 members, the group is led by Bahati Silverback. Some of the members who broke away from the Nkuringo sector were later found to have joined this group.

  1. Posho family

This group is still undergoing the habituation process, it has 14 members led by dominant silverback Magara.


  1. Nyakagezi Gorilla Family.

This is the only group located in Mgahinga Gorilla National Park. It has 10 members who used to cross over to neighboring countries like D.R. Congo and Rwanda. However, for several years now they seem to have settled in Uganda with less movement to these countries. Once led by Bugingo who died due to old age and succeeded by his elder son Mark. It is a playful and calm group to visit. The Uganda gorilla families are something you should look up to on your safari. A trip to see gorilla families in Uganda can start from either Kigali – Rwanda or Kampala – Uganda. 

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