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Gorilla Families in Nkuringo Sector

How many Gorilla Families are in Nkuringo Sector?

Nkuringo sector has 3 habituated gorilla families available for Trekking. One other gorilla family is going through the Habituation process. And soon UWA will avail it for this Ultimate Habituation Experience.

Nkuringo sector is one of the 4 Gorilla Trekking sectors of Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park. It’s located in the south of the park. Known for sheltering one of the most popular dominant silverbacks in Bwindi. “Rafiki” who died in the hands of poachers during the June 2020 pandemic lockdown.

The second to be established for Gorilla Trekking in 2004. A decade after opening the Buhoma sector which is found north of the park. It is also the most popular among tourists after Buhoma. With some of the most challenging to reach and most entertaining gorilla groups in Uganda.

Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park protects almost half of the World’s remaining population of mountain gorillas. That live in complex social families spread around the protected site. Although many gorilla groups live far from human contact, 21 gorilla groups are habituated and available for trekking in this pristine ancient jungle. This therefore means that the gorillas available for tourism have gone through a process. To make them get used to human presence but within their natural habitat.

During the briefing at the sector’s UWA trailhead office, you are assigned any one of these gorilla groups based on your physical ability. Only 8 tourists can track one gorilla family per day in Uganda and on finding this gorilla family. They are allowed to spend up to one hour with the gorillas at a safe distance of 10 meters and wearing a facemask.


Nkuringo Gorilla Family

The Nkuringo gorilla family was availed for tourism in April 2004 by UWA after a 4 year Habituation process. Making it the first habituated gorilla group in the Bwindi’s southern sector. The family had 20 members, including 3 silverbacks under the dominant leadership of Silverback Nkuringo who gets his name from a local word meaning “round Hill.”

Silverback “Nkuringo” led the group till his death in 2008 at the age of 45 hence leaving the family in Silverback “Safari’s” capable leadership. Safari had a successful tenure until he disappeared. After a deadly encounter with the Bushaho gorilla group that lived in the nearby area. Up to this day, rangers have failed to locate the whereabouts of Silverback Safari. Silverback Rafiki, next in line immediately took up the dominant position after the disappearance of Safari.

“Rafiki,” whose name means friend in Swahili language led the Nkuringo group. With a family-friendly manner allowing occasional visits from brothers that lead other groups. During his reign, Silverbacks Christmas and Posho left to start their own families around the Nkuringo Sector.


Bushaho Gorilla Family

Bushaho is the second gorilla family UWA availed for gorilla trekking in the Nkuringo Sector of Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park. The group is led by the dominant Silverback, Bahati.

Following unexplained individual dispersals from the Nkuringo family after Silverback Nkuringo’s death, researchers searched for their whereabouts in early 2012. They found out that one of the former Nkuringo family’s silverbacks, “Bahati’ who had disappeared earlier led a parallel group. Some of the members in this family were former members of the Nkuringo group among other non-habituated members.

This follow-up exercise later led to close monitoring of the parallel group’s social behavior and later the group was habituated and named “Bushaho,” meaning “there’s nothing” Inspired by the name of the place the gorilla family forages. Bushaho gorilla family is one of the 3 gorilla families available for trekking in the Nkuringo Sector in the southern part of Bwindi.


Christmass Gorilla Family

Christmas Gorilla Family is the 3rd gorilla group available for trekking in the Nkuringo Sector of Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park. The group was capably named after the dominant silverback, “Christmas” was born on Christmas day in the Nkuringo Group.

The formation of the Christmas gorilla family is fission from the Nkuringo group that did not require going through the habituation process since all its members were from a fully Habituated family.