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Nyakagezi Gorilla Family




The Nyakagezi gorilla family is the only habituated gorilla group in Mgahinga National Park which is the smallest National Park in Uganda located far in the south west bordering Volcanoes National Park in Rwanda and Virunga National Park in Democratic Republic of Congo. This gorilla family is said to have been moving around the Virunga massif crossing borders of Uganda to Rwanda and Democratic Republic of Congo not until it settled in Uganda and currently living in the only sector of Mgahinga known as the Ntebeko sector. Nyakagezi gorilla family derives its name from the area in the park where this gorilla family lives and spends much of its time known as the Nyakagezi area that is dominantly occupied by plant species such as galiam, thistles, celery, nettles and many more that these gentle giants feed on and thus frequenting this area.

This gorilla family was first habituated in 1991 and later opened for trekking in 1994 being led by a dominant silverback gorilla known as Bugingo who is now an elderly leader in retirement over 50years of age or currently playing a grandfather’s role in the family. This group is currently led by a silverback gorilla known as Mark, a son to Bugingo and deputized by another silverback gorilla known as Mafia who is a brother to the current leader. Nyakagezi gorilla group is made up of 10 family members with five silverback gorillas namely Bugingo, Mark, Mafia, Rukundo and Ndugutse all living in harmony which makes this family so unique and wondrous. Within this family, there are two adult females namely Nyiramwiza and Nshuti as well as three youngsters namely Fred, Nkanda as juveniles and Mutagambwa as the only infant.

Nyakagezi gorilla family trekking

Gorilla trekking of this family starts with a briefing about the gorilla trekking etiquettes and tourist expectations at the park headquarters at around 7am led by ranger guides. Trekking of these gentle giants in their natural habitat starts at 8am lasting for about 2 hours to 4 hours or more depending on their movement in search for food after which tourist are allowed to spend an hour with the gorillas as they closely spot them go by their usual duties. Tourists are allowed to take flash less photos and videos as they follow precautions as given by the ranger guides. It is easy to trek gorillas in this family compared to those in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park that is densely forested with rainforests and bush because these do thrive and forage in open lowlands of the Virunga Mountains making it even easier for photography and video coverage.

Best time to trek the Nyakagezi Gorilla family

The best time to trek or visit the Nyakagezi gorilla family in Mgahinga National Park is during the dry season of the year when there are less or no rains in the months of June to September and December to February though the park is open for gorilla trekking all year round.

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