Gorilla Groups in Buhoma Sector of Bwindi: Buhoma region is found in one of Uganda’s famous gorilla parks known as Bwindi Impenetrable National Park. Bwindi Impenetrable is famous for inhabiting Mountain Gorillas (Great apes) which were listed as critically endangered species by the IUCN.
This time round we take a deep look into the Buhoma region of Bwindi Impenetrable National Park located in the South western parts of Uganda in the present day Rukungiri district. In 1933, a first group of tourists were seen doing a Gorilla trekking activity in the Buhoma region. During that time, only one gorilla family had been habituated and as time went by, more other gorilla families were habituated in the region and the park at large. Buhoma region lies in the Northern parts of Bwindi Impenetrable National Park with habituated gorilla families such as Mubare gorilla group, Habinyanja gorilla group and the Rushegura gorilla group.
These three are sometimes spotted around Buhoma park headquarters and this gives you a good reason to book for a lodge and pay for your gorilla trekking permits within the Buhoma region. Below are some of the habituated gorilla families in Buhoma region in the Northern part of Bwindi Impenetrable National Park;
Rushegura Gorilla Group:
Rushegura (known as the R Group) was habituated in 2000 and later opened up for tourists in 2002 within Buhoma gorilla tracking region. Rushegura seceded away from Habinyanja group and it is extremely active (Mobile) within Buhoma and covers a large area. Rushugura sometimes goes to areas of Batwa villages, Buhoma camp, Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA) park office Bwindi waterfall hence an additional sightseeing experience while tracking the great apes of Rushegura family.
The family was led by Silverback Mwirima who died in 2015 leaving the headship of blackback Kabukojo. Mwirima the dominant silverback and Kabukojo the adult blackback, Kyirinvi, Kibande, Buzinza, Nyamunwa, and Karungyi the adult females, Kalembezi sub adult male and Ruterana sub adult female, Nyampazi, Kafuruka, Kibande, karungyi, Kanywanyi, Bunziza, Kyirinvi, Nyamunwa, Kibande and Katabazi are juveniles. Currently the group comprises of 16 family members led by Silverback Kabukojo.
Habinyanja Gorilla Group (Group H):
This is one of the oldest groups to be habituated in 1997 and in 1999 the group was opened for tourists to enjoy their gorilla tracking experience in the Buhoma region. Habinyanja gets name from a local word ‘Nyanja’ which means a “pool of water.”
Habinyanja has an amazing story as it was led by Mugurusi (means Old man) at the time of their habituation. Mugurusi died leaving power in the hands of his two sons that are “Rwansigazi and Mwirima.” ‘
In 2002, Mwirima had to break away from his brother Rwansigazi to form Rushegura because Rwansigazi liked adventuring distant places and Mwirima wanted to rotate in the same area. Rwansigazi had to pass on his power to his son Makara. Makara is the leading Silverback, Maraya the blackback, Mizayo (Was brutally killed by poacher’s traps and spears), Binyonko, Nyabuche, Nyamuhango, Rukundo, Kisho, and Rugyendo the adult females, Kavuyo the sub adult male and Ruyombo the sub adult female, Malaika, Hamusini, Elisa are juveniles. The group is composed of 18 family members.
Mubare Gorilla Group (Group M):
The Mubare gorilla group was first habituated in 1998; it was first seen by trekkers along the Mubare hills that are deep in the Bwindi forests.
The group was led by Silverback Ruhondezo who unfortunately passed away in 2013 after a vigorous fight with a blackback Kanyonyi in the family who doubted his leadership. Ruhondezo’s successor expanded the family from five to nine family members and currently to eleven members. Silverback Kanyonyi is the current leader of the group with 6 adult females, 1 sub adult (Teenagers) and 3 infants.
This group is occasionally found the Buhoma park headquarters. Ruhondezo was a jealousy Silverback who could fight off his rivals and habits of infanticide, fighting off young males in his group in order to maintain his position.
Note: Gorilla group figures keep on changing from time to time due welcoming new born babies, death of old members or even moving to other Gorilla groups and many more other factors which may attribute to their changes.
Many tourists prefer trekking gorilla families with in the Buhoma regions because of extensive advertisements and proximity to the roads leading to Queen Elizabeth National Park, Kibale National Park, and Kampala compared to other regions. Buhoma has popular lodges such as Forest camp, Mahogany springs and Buhoma Lodge.