Uganda Gorilla Trekking: Do I get to choose the Gorilla Family?

Posted by on June 17, 2019

Do I get to Choose which Gorilla Family I want to Track? And When do I choose?

A Question we are often asked:  Do I get to choose the Gorilla Family I want to Trek?

Choosing the Gorilla Group or Family that I am going to Trek in Uganda- My Options


Uganda Gorilla Trekking: Do I get to choose the Gorilla Family? There was a time when Gorilla Permits were on a Gorilla Family.  You and the Gorilla Tour Operatorwre able to buy permits for a particular Gorilla Family Group in Bwindi Impenetrable Forest.  That system was problematic, especially during peak season months.  Today, there is only one Gorilla Family in Uganda that you can individually purchase permits for, the Nykagezi Family in Mgahinga Gorilla Park, the only family groups that are open to being visited in Mgahinga Gorilla Park.

Do I get to choose the Gorilla Family that I want to Trek? The Answer is that most often you will trek the Gorilla Family that you would like.  Many other factors have to be taken into account.   The determination of which Group you will trek is made by the Uganda Wildlife Authority Staff who have to consider more than your wish.  Permits are issued and allocated based on availability in one of Bwindi Impenetrable Forest’s four regions or sectors. The sectors are Buhoma, Ruhija, Nkuringo, and Rushaga. Rushaga is where most habituated Gorilla Families are found at present.

When will I find out which Gorilla Family I will Trek?  That is determined by the friendly and accommodating Uganda Wildlife Authority Staff on the day of Trekking at the Trekking Orientation/Briefing at the regional park office which is located at the Trailhead in Buhoma, Ruhija, Rushaga, and Nkuringo.  The UWA Rangers want you to have that once-in-a Lifetime experience on your Encounter with the Gentle Giants of the Forest and your input at the orientation is taken to heart and seriously considered.  Everything is done to accommodate your wishes. However, there are other factors that the rangers must be regarded as to which Group you will track on your day.

 What are the Factors that determine which Gorilla Family I will Trek?  If you have a choice of which Gorilla Family you want, make it known.  Make sure that the Gorilla Family is located in the area of Bwindi Impenetrable Forest where you are tracking today. Our Clients are often assisted by their Driver/Guide who makes sure that you have the right Gorilla Gear, a porter, and a walking stick and gives you the assistance that helps you to visit the Group that you would like.

The Ranger who assigns you to a Gorilla Family on the day of trekking considers other factors besides your wishes such as your level fitness, the makeup of the participants on that day, such as families, friends who want to track and share the experience.  The maximum number of trekking participants (8) and the pre-tracker location of group report. Pre-Trackers head into the Forest prior at the crack of dawn and locate the various groups. That information is passed on the regional offices and is used as a determinating factor.

Do I get to choose the Gorilla Family? The Determinating Factors in Detail:

 Your Request to Trek a Particular Gorilla Family:  At times Trekkers will request to trek a particular Family that is not even in the area where they are trekking.  They might also ask a family of gorillas that is in another country.  One reason, we suggest that you come with the expectations to track the Mountain Gorillas.  This way, you will not be disappointed if your request cannot be met.  There is nothing worst but a grumpy Gorilla Trekker. It is the Experience that matters, not the group.

Your Level of Physical Fitness: A moderate level of fitness is adequate for most Treks.  The length of a Trek is between three and six hours.  Gorilla Trekking is not a Sunday Afternoon stroll in a park, but it can mean valleys and ridges. A bit of fitness training might help.  Your health is part of your fitness, and you might want to see your doctor before your safari and inform him or her of your plans.  Accommodations are made in the selection process in part according to your fitness, your age, and your input. There are more comfortable, and stricter Gorilla Treks are all part of the determination.

The Behind the Scenes Gorilla Trekking Logistics: Just as a Restaurant Maitre d” in a restaurant can only accommodate your request for a specific Table if one is available?  Logistical realities limit the Ranger at your Gorilla Trek Orientation.  That ranger wants to grant your wishes but is limited by the realities of that day.

 Do I get to choose the Gorilla Family I want to Trek? Here is our Take:

Most often, your request will be met, and you will track your preferred Gorilla Family. In our experience with Gorilla Safaris for over a decade, we have never had a client that complained about the Gorilla Family that they were trekking.  It is our opinion that it is the experience, the encounter with the Gentle Giants of the Forest that matters and not the particular group that you have chosen based on internet information, that often is questionable and erroneous.

You are in Uganda for the experience of a lifetime, enjoy your one hour with a Gorilla Family.  We as a Tour Operator, Uganda Wildlife Authority, the porter that assists you all to want the same outcome – a once in a lifetime experience for you.  We suggest that you might do the same.  Enjoy the Pearl of Africa and the Mountain Gorillas in Bwindi Impenetrable Forest.