Gorilla families in Mgahinga National Park; Mgahinga National Park sounds as smallest part in Uganda, located in southwestern Uganda region in Kisoro district bordering Virunga National Park in Democratic Republic of Congo and Volcanoes National Park Rwanda. There are two habituated gorilla families of mountain gorillas that live in Mgahinga Gorilla National Park. Fact, Mgahinga National Park is home to over 100 mountain gorillas divided into two habituated gorilla families namely; Nyakagezi and Hirwa.
Nyakagezi gorilla family
This gorilla family is one of two habituated gorilla family that is available for gorilla trekking on a daily basis. However, Nyakagezi is a place where the first group was sighted by the trackers. This gorilla group used to migrate in the neighboring destinations that is Rwanda and Democratic Republic of Congo but they are no longer migrating to other destination.
Visiting on gorilla trekking safari to Mgahinga National Park usually prefer trekking Nyakagezi gorilla family.
Nyakagezi was habituated in 1991 and opened for tourism in 1994. This gorilla family is under the leadership of Bugingo silverback and was succeeded by Mark and after taking on leadership Bugingo stayed in the family and was ranked as Mzee which implies elder.
Unlike other silverback which become loner after being overthrown by Bugingo silverback stayed in the group and today is about 56 years of age. Well, Nyakagezi is a unique and popular gorilla family which is worth visiting. Currently, Mark now leads the group with his brother mafia who act as his assistant.
Nyakagezi Gorilla Family
This gorilla family is composed of 10 members including 5 silverbacks namely; Mark, Mafia, Rukundo, Ndugutse and Bugingo ,2 adult females namely Nshuti and Nyiramwiza and 3 youngsters – Fred, baby Nshuti and Muragamba.
Nyakagezi gorilla group is one of the gorilla families to trek while on Gorilla Safari in Mgahinga National Park and it is the easiest to trek because it lives in the low land areas of the park unlike other gorilla groups in Bwindi National Park which live in steep slopes.
Hirwa Gorilla Family
Hirwa is a Kinyarwanda word that means ‘’Lucky one’’ and it is known due to migrating to neighboring gorilla inhabitant to Volcanoes National Park Rwanda to Mgahinga Gorilla National Park. It was open for tourism in October 2019.
This gorilla group spit from Susa gorilla group due to misunderstanding between Munyanga silverback – the first leader of Hirwa family but was a dominant leader of Susa group before. Munyinga left with 2 adult females to form his own group.
Hirwa Gorilla Family comprises with 17 individuals including 3 adult females and had 1 infant silverback which was struck by lightning and the group is composed of 13 members.
Due to few habituated gorilla families in Mgahinga Gorilla National Park. We recommend to book your gorilla permit in advance because there are about 16 gorilla trekking permits available daily for visitors who want spend time with the mountain gorillas in their natural habitat.
What is the cost of gorilla trekking permits in Mgahinga National Park – Uganda Gorilla Safaris;
Mgahinga Gorilla Permits costs USD700 per person for foreign nonresidents, USD600 per person for foreign residents and UGX250,000 per person for East African Citizens.
Where to obtain Uganda gorilla permits?
A gorilla trekking permits in Mgahinga can either be booked directly through ‘’UWA’’ Uganda Wildlife Authority or through help of the trustworthy tour operator, if you don’t hesitate you contact with us Achieve Global Safaris one among the top ten tour company to offer reliable safaris in Uganda. And we advise our client to always book your gorilla permit in advance like 3 to 6 months before your trekking date in order to avoid disappointments. More especially during the peak season which usually happens from June to September and December to February.
Gorilla trekking experience in Mgahinga Gorilla National Park starts in the morning with a briefing about the rules, regulations at the visiting Centre-Ntebeko Park headquarters. After the briefing, meet up with your guide who will group you into 8 people to trek each habituated gorilla family.
The trekking experience can take about 30 to 6 hours depending on the location of the gorilla family. Once is allocated, you will be allowed one hour to spend with them in their natural habitat learning about their habits, behaviors, feeding, play, lifestyle, as well as taking photography and capturing videos for future remembrance.
Mgahinga National Park is one of the best destinations to visit mountain gorillas in their nature inhabitants.
Besides doing gorilla trekking in Mgahinga Gorilla National Park, you can engage in other safari activities such as Golden monkey tracking, Birding, Batwa trail experience, Guided nature walk among others.