Uganda Travel News

New silverback takes over leadership of Nyakagezi gorilla group

Nyakagezi gorilla family is the only habituated gorilla group in Mgahinga National Park located in south western Uganda. This small national park is part of the huge virunga ranges and shares boarders with Rwanda’s Volcanoes National park as well as virunga National park of the democractic republic of Congo.

Nyakagezi gorilla family has ten members which include five silverbacks, three females, one juvenile and one babie. Upon habituation, individuals in a given gorilla family are given names to identify them easily. These include Mathew, Nshuti, Baby Rukundo, Mutagamba, Nvuyekure, mark and bugingo.

News coming in from Mgahinga National park say that Mark has taken over the leadership of Nyakagezi gorilla family from Bugingo who is believed to be 53 years old. Bugingo still stays with the family which is a rare case in mountain gorillas and other animals where displaced silverbacks tend to spate from such families and leave in isolation or seek refuge on other gorilla families. Sometimes they will attach either a habituated or wild gorilla family and form a new family. We have seen these scenarios where Mwirima silver back went into isolation after it was dethroned from the leadership of Mubare gorilla group.

From seven members to ten members is good new to Uganda’s tourism as tourists prefer to trek mountain gorilla families that have many members including silverbacks, and babies. All this is as a result of better conservation methods applies by Uganda Wildlife Authority and other stakeholders in this struggle.

Nyakagezi gorilla family used to spend most of its time moving from one country to another until last year when it settled down in Mgahinga National Park. Because of this, it hard become increasingly difficult for Uganda Wildlife Authority to sell its gorilla permits in advance to an extent that all those that would be interested in trekking the Nyakagezi gorilla family would book their gorilla permits on ground. This was a hindrance to the development of gorilla tourism in Mgahinga National Park since no tourist would spend money to come to Uganda hoping to trek Nyakagezi gorilla family when gorilla permits were available for Bwindi Impenetrable National park in Uganda as well as Volcanoes National Park in Rwanda. With the gorilla family permanently settling in, the Park is now getting quite a reasonable number of tourists who visit Mgahinga not only for gorillas but other activities such as golden monkey experience and tracking, hiking of Mgahinga Volcanoes among other volcanoes that include Sabinyo and Muhavura. There is also Batwa trail which exposes tourists to the life and culture of the once forest population that were chased out of Mgahinga and other forested areas in south western Uganda once they were gazetted as National Park.

Mgahinga National Park is located in south western Uganda in Kisoro district and can be accessed by road and air transport. It is approximately 9-10 hours drive from Kampala and about 3 hours drive from Kigali city in Rwanda. For those interested in flying to the Park, the nearest and only airstrip is Kisoro airstrip where both charter and scheduled flights can be booked. You may choose to stay in Kisoro town or drive up to two hours to Mgahinga National Park where several accommodation properties such as Gahinga Volcanoes Lodge is taking the lead. In Kisoro, you can stay at the famous Kisoro Travellers rest Inn where Dianne Fossel used to stay while in Uganda.

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