GORILLA FAMILIES IN MGAHINGA NATIONAL PARK.
Mgahinga national park is the smallest national park in Uganda covering an area of 33.9sq.km but well known for homing the remaining endangered mountain gorillas and also, the golden monkeys. The park is open to all visitors both local and foreigners.
It is located within the Virunga ranges neighbouring volcanoes national park in Rwanda and Virunga national park in the Democratic Republic of Congo. All in the Virunga conservation area, which is a good hub for the mountain gorillas.
Trekking primates in Mgahinga national park is worth a memorable experience. It starts with a briefing at the park headquarters and then be escorted by the armed park ranger to search for these beautiful creatures.
Mgahinga National Park has only one habituated gorilla family, Nyakagezi gorilla family. The group is headed by a silverback which is a male dominant gorilla. Previously the group was believed to migrate back and forth between Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of Congo, but it has settled permanently.
The silverback is the decision-maker and his word is final. It is also the only husband in the group. You can identify the silverback by the hair on the back that turns silver when it grows.
About Nyakagezi gorilla family.
This is the oldest and only group of gorillas to be habituated in Mgahinga national park. It got its name from the village that is called Nyakagezi located in the Mgahinga. It was first habituated in 1991 before Mgahinga was turned into a national park.
In 1994, this family was open for trekking and it was under the leadership of Bugingo the silverback. Bugingo was succeeded by Mark with assistance from his brother, Mafia, but stayed in the group hence acquiring the title of Mzee a Swahili word meaning the “elder”.
Bugingo is believed to be 55 years of age and unlike other silverbacks who leave the group after they are overthrown, Bugingo has stayed in the group until today. This makes this family so interesting to trek. The family is comprised of 10 members i.e. 5 silverbacks- Mark the head of the family, Bugingo, Rukundo, mafia and Ndugutse. 2 female adults- Nshuti and Nyirmwiza, 3 young stars- Fred, baby Nshuti and Mutagamba.
This gorilla family lives in the low land areas of Mgahinga national park and this has made it easy for tourists or trekkers to trek and come face to face with this amazing group.
Therefore, in case you want to trek gorillas from Rwanda, Mgahinga national park is the sure deal as it is just a few hours’ drive from Kigali. Nyakagezi group is the best choice you can make without regretting it.
Are you coming for gorilla trekking or golden monkey experience in Mgahinga, book with us a safari to prepare your gorilla trekking permits in advance to avoid inconveniences.