Katwe family is one of the newly opened gorilla groups in Buhoma region in Bwindi impenetrable national park. Buhoma region is one of the most famous and oldest gorilla regions in Uganda, opened in 1993 after the successful habituation of its first ever gorilla family, Mubare.
Bwindi Impenetrable National Park is the world’s largest and most famous mountain gorilla destination which accounts for over 600 mountain gorillas (50% of world’s total) and with up to 36 gorilla families altogether, but only 16 groups are currently fully habituated for tracking.
Katwe gorilla family is the most recently habituated in Buhoma sector, with a total of 9 members – comprised of 1 silverback, 2 adult females, 2 blackbucks, and 2 infants. The name Katwe was derived from a dominant hill in Bwindi impenetrable forest from where the initial habituation of this particular family took place.
Habituation of Katwe group was completed in January 2018 and the Uganda wildlife Authority launched it officially for trekking in the same month. The introduction of this group came at a time when the demand for gorilla trekking permits in Buhoma region was high and there was need to increase from the previous 24 permits to 32 permits each day.
Katwe gorilla group brought the total number of families in Buhoma region to 4 plus Binyindo which is still under habituation. The group can now be trekked all year through and trekking permits cost 600$ just like any other gorilla group in Bwindi national park.
The other three fully habituated gorilla families in Bwindi’s Buhoma region include Mubare group – the first gorilla family to be habituated and launched for gorilla trekking in 1993, Rushegura – the most beloved of all groups in Buhoma as well as Habinyanja gorilla group.
Habituation of Katwe group took over 3 years until it was completed and opened for trekking in 2018 when it became fully acquainted with human presence and its permanent territory was marked.
The process of habituating mountain gorillas is done by a team of expert researchers in collaboration with Uganda wildlife authority and park rangers who follow a specific gorilla family, learning about it on a daily basis until it finally gets used to the presence of human beings.