Nshongi is the pioneer gorilla group in Rushaga sector in the south east of Bwindi impenetrable national park. For long, gorilla trekking in Bwindi national park was only conducted in Buhoma sector, but the introduction of Rushaga sector has refashioned gorilla expeditions in Uganda. The region has the most number of gorilla families, including Nshongi, Mishaya, Bweza, Busingye and Kahungye.
Of all, Nshongi family is the most popular given the fact that it was the first to be habituated in this region. Its habituated began in 2007 and it was formally opened for tourism in 2009 September by Uganda Wildlife Authority. The name Nshongi was derived from River Nshongi – a pre-dominant river where this family was first spotted.
Nshongi / “Omushongi Gw’obwoki” translates to “honey” in local Kiga language referring to the deep brown color of the river. Since the launch of Nshongi family, it became famous and so unique due to its huge numbers, it was at the time the largest gorilla family in Uganda with up to 36 members. It also had up to 3 silverbacks all living in harmony, something that had never happened before. It became more famous given that even the dominant silverback, Nshongi was not the oldest.
Nshongi maintained its numbers for more 1 year, and in July 2010, one of the silverbacks Mishaya left to form his own family. Mishaya went with 10 members to form Mishaya gorilla family leaving Nshongi with only 26 individuals including 4 silverbacks.
In 2012, Nshongi further split up and Bweza family was formed under the leadership of silverback Bweza. The group was confirmed in 2013.
Nshongi is composed of several members including Nshongi (dominant silverback), silverback Katono, Tinfayo, Bwire, Munywa, Matama, Kutu and Busasa. Adult females include Bukojo, Munini, Shida and Nyampundu. Ruhereruka, Mureba, Mucunguzi, Tindatiine, Mahoro are juveniles, while Ninsiima, Katoono, Kazni, Mukiza, Bwiruka and Rotary are some of the infants in the family.
Trekking Nshongi Gorilla Family
Trekking Nshongi family, begins close to the Rushaga sector trail head, and is one of the easiest to track; though sometimes it can be really hard depending on weather, forest conditions and more.
The trekking time ranges between 2-8 hours and a gorilla permit to track Nshongi family costs 600$ per person (Non – foreign residents), 500$ (foreign residents) and 250,000 UGX for east African nationals.
Travelers are reminded that though every time is best for gorilla trekking in Uganda, but the most recommended period is during dry season; months of June – September and Mid December – February.