Lying in the southwestern part of Uganda on the periphery of the Albertine Rift Valley, Bwindi is the famed home of the world’s most endangered primates –the mighty Mountain Gorilla; loved and visited by a majority of visitors in Uganda and other countries that host these magnificent species. This is Bwindi Impenetrable National Park.
Bwindi’s history runs back in 1932 when it was gazetted as Crown Forest reserve that covered a land area of about 298km2. In 1964, it was turned into a sanctuary to protect the critically threatened mountain gorillas. Later on in 1991, areas covering Rwenzori Mountain Reserve, The impenetrable Central Reserve and the Mgahinga Gorilla Reserve were all incorporated into Bwindi Impenetrable National Park.
The locals around call it “Mubwindi Bwa Nyinamuraki”. It was later declared a UNESCO world Heritage Site in 1994 in recognition of its diverse ecosystem that supports a profusion of unique flora and fauna.
Bwindi impenetrable National Park is divided into four sectors namely; Buhoma located in the northern part of Bwindi, Ruhija located in the east, Rushaga located on the south and Nkuringo in the further southern part of Bwindi national park. All the above sectors possess great treasure as evidenced below.
This sector is situated in the northern Part of Bwindi national park, it was the first sector to receive tourists when Gorilla Tracking was launched in 1993. It also happens to be that this sector stands out as the most visited all year round because it is easily accessible via Kanungu / Rukungiri route and Kihihi airstrip, is home to a profusion of luxurious lodges, is the oldest of all the sectors and its nearness to Ishasha sector of Queen Elizabeth National Park which hosts the elusive tree climbing lions.
Buhoma sector is home to four impressive gorilla families which include: Mubare Gorilla Family which was the first to the Habituated in Uganda in 1991 with a current group size of 5 members. The other family is Habinyanja also known as the H group. It is also one of the early habituated groups launched for trekking in 1997 .This family is Composed of 18 family members with two Silverbacks.
The Rushegura Gorilla Family is the most loved gorilla family and one of the biggest in the park. It is comprised of 21 family members including the eldest gorillas. Trekking this group usually takes few Hours as its members tend to stay near the parks headquarters, lodges and campsites. However it is not always a guarantee that you will meet these gorillas at the very time you get into the park, it will be advisable that you camp around so that your safari becomes more memorable.
Katwe group is the most recently launched gorilla family, together with Christmas in Nkuringo sector. Habituation was finished in the summer of 2018 and the group was immediately opened for trekking all year long.
Some other activities in Buhoma sector include Birding, Batwa cultural encounters, cycling and nature walk / hiking treks. Some of the accommodation Facilities in this sector include Buhoma Lodge for Luxury, Buhoma community Haven midrange and Bwindi Guest House for Budget.
This sector is situated in the southern Part of Bwindi national park between Kisoro and Rubanda Districts. It is the sector with the most number of families in the Park. Some of these families can be seen below.
Nshongi gorilla group. It derives its name from a river close to where the family was first sighted. It currently has 25 members but it continues expanding.
Mishaya gorilla group. This broke off from Nshongi in 2010 following disputes with the silverback Mishaya to form its own group.
Kahungye gorilla group has up to 13 members with Rumansi – the dominant silver back plus other two male mountain gorillas.
Busingye is another group in this sector that split from Kahungye gorilla group. It has 9 members, including 3 infants, 5 black backs and 1 sliver backs.
Bweza gorilla group has roughly 12 members. This group also split up from Nshongi because of the rivalry.
While in this sector, you can stay in Rushaga Gorilla Safari Lodge which is a luxury option, Gorilla Valley Lodge for Midrange and Nshongi camp for Budget accommodation and camping option.
This is located in the eastern part of Bwindi impenetrable National Park and easily accessible from either Kabale or Buhoma. This sector has three Gorilla families as seen below.
Bitukura Gorilla Family. This is one of the most peaceful gorilla groups in Bwindi. Bitukura Family has a group size of 12 members including four silverbacks.
Oruzogo family Group is open for tourists in the Ruhija sector, it has a family size of 16 members with one silverback. It is among the most recent groups opened for trekking.
Kyaguriro Gorilla Group. This is a group of 20 members. Fully habituated and launched in the year 2011, the group has since been put aside for only research and study purposes.
Some of the most amazing activities in this sector include birding, gorilla Trekking, Nature walks among others. Lodges here include Ruhija Gorilla Safari lodge for luxury, Bakiga Lodge for Midrange and Broadbill Forest Camp for budget.
Nkuringo is located on the extreme southern part of the Park with two gorilla families, namely Nkuringo and Christmas families. Nkuringo Group is home to 19 members. In fact, this is the most exciting group to visit in Bwindi, but usually located deep in the forest and may prove to be a bit strenuous to trek Nkuringo family. However, the joy of meeting the members of this group face to face is worth all the effort.
The second gorilla family in Nkuringo is the newly formed Christmas family. Under the leadership of silverback Christmas, this group broke up from the original Nkuringo group. The group is comprised of 9 members, including one silverback, three female gorillas, one black back and one baby gorilla.
When the sun sets while you are still enjoying the adventure, fear not because a wide array of accommodations get you covered. Nkuringo Bwindi Gorilla lodge for Luxury, crested Crane Bwindi Hotel and Virunga campsite for budget. On the view of all the above gorilla sectors, be rest assured that all your journey interests are catered for as you come to witness the beautiful insights of Bwindi impenetrable forest.