Virunga National Park Welcomes a Newborn Mountain Gorilla

Virunga National Park Welcomes a Newborn Mountain Gorilla

Virunga National Park in the Democratic Republic of Congo announced last month the birth of a mountain gorilla in this vast park threatened by periodic insecurities.

According the park’s communication officer Olivier Mukisya, the new baby gorilla came to this world in the morning of August 22.

The finding of this birth was made by a team of eco-guards during their routine supervisory visit to the habitat of the gorillas in the Kibumba region of North Kivu in the east of the country.

She revealed that the baby belongs to the Baraka gorilla family that has 18 individuals at present.

“The Baraka family records its first birth of the year and this last one brings the number to 13 newborns recorded ever 2021 began from all the gorilla families in the region,” said Mukisya.

Positioned on DR Congo’s borders with Rwanda and Uganda, Virunga National Park covers around 7,800 square kilometres in the North Kivu province who capital is Goma.

Officially launched in 1925, the park is the oldest nature reserve in Africa and a sanctuary for the rare mountain gorillas, which are also found in neighboring Uganda and Rwanda.

According to the last full count in 2018, mountain gorillas in the region in the three countries is estimated at 1,063 and almost half of that number is found in Uganda’s Bwindi Impenetrable National Park.

The gorillas Virunga haven is a hideout for local and foreign armed military groups that have operated in eastern DR Congo for around 25 years. And the eco-guards regularly clash with rebels and militias in the area. On that security background, it is always advisable to go gorilla trekking in Uganda and Rwanda which are safer and offer the best experience of the primates. In Uganda, gorilla trekking safaris take place in Bwindi Impenetrable forest and Mgahinga gorilla national park and whereas in Rwanda, trekking gorillas only happens in the Volcanoes National Park.

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Baby Gorilla Born in Bitukura Group in Bwindi

Baby Gorilla Born in Bitukura Group in Bwindi National Park

A baby gorilla is born in Bwindi adding to the population the endangered primates. Bitukura group in the east of Bwindi Impenetrable National Park has been blessed with a new baby gorilla, raising the population of Mountain gorillas in Uganda. Bitukura gorilla family which initially had 12 members has now increased by one individual totaling the group population to 13 individuals.

According to the information the Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA), the new born came a few days ago and was identified by a group of rangers and guides who do routine supervision and monitoring of the park.

Bitukura gorilla family is one of the five gorilla groups found in Ruhija Sector of Bwindi forest. Other families in this section of Bwindi include Oruzogo group and Kyaguliro group which is also for research. Bwindi forest is divided into 4 gorilla trekking regions for easy management of all tourism activities. These regions include Buhoma sector in the north of the park, Ruhija sector in the eastern side plus Nkuringo sector and Rushaga region in the south of the park.

Mountain gorillas in Uganda are only found in Bwindi Impenetrable forest and Mgahinga Gorilla National Park. of the two gorilla parks, Bwindi forest has the biggest number of gorilla families totaling to 19 and Mgahinga only 1. Gorilla trekking is the major tourism activity done in the two gorilla destinations in Uganda. In the recent years, Uganda has seen an increased production of new born baby mountain gorillas mainly in Bwindi forest, thanks to the conservation efforts by the government, private sector as well as global bodies on conservation. Gorilla tourism has given a big boost to the survival and protection of mountain gorillas in Bwindi and Mgahinga National Park. A reasonable portion of the income from gorilla  permits go conservation and as well as helping people who live near the park.


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Baby Mountain Gorilla Born in Bwindi Impenetrable Forest

Baby Mountain Gorilla Born in Bwindi Impenetrable Forest

A Baby mountain gorilla was born on 4th January 2021 by an adult female one Nderema, a member of the Nkuringo gorilla family in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park. Nkuringo group is one of the many gorilla trekking families found in Nkuringo sector in the south of of Bwindi National Park. Bwindi and Mgahinga Gorilla National Park are the only two gorilla parks in Uganda. Other gorilla parks in the region include Volcanoes national park in Rwanda and Virunga National park in the DR Congo.

This baby is an addition to many gorilla babies that have been born in Bwindi forest over a period of time. In the course of 2020, the gorilla fraternity went into a mountain gorilla baby boom that saw an increase in the number of the endangered primates in Uganda. Whenever a baby gorilla is born, it is good news to the tourism sector as it indicates that the future of gorilla tourism is bright. The reason gorillas are named as endangered is because of the threats they have that affects their existence. Efforts to conserve them are confirmed effective when such an infant joins the family to add on the number of members. In the recent years, Uganda has welcomed a good number of baby gorillas mainly in Bwindi forest. The baby gorilla boom is attributed to all efforts by government, park authorities, local and global conservation bodies as well as neighbors to the gorilla habitats whose discipline and conduct towards the primates mater a lot.

Bwindi Gorilla Trekking

Gorilla Trekking is major tourism activity offered in Bwindi and Mgahinga National Park. To participate in gorilla tracking, you need to acquire a gorilla permit in advance so be sure that you will the adventure. Uganda has 20 gorilla families, 19 of which are in Bwindi and one in Mgahinga. Each familiy is allocated 8 permits by the Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA)

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Twin Baby Gorillas Born in Virunga National Park

Twin Baby Gorillas Born in Virunga National Park

Baby Gorillas Virunga National Park

Virunga National Park authorities have announced the birth of twin baby gorillas, a development that has increased the number of primates in the wildlife reserve.
“We’re excited to announce that Gato from the Nyakamwe family has just given birth to twins!,” read the Tweet message from the official Twitter Account of the Virunga National Park on 22nd September 2020.
Virunga National Park is Africa’s oldest national park and is also the continent’s most biologically diverse protected area.

The Virunga park has over the months recieved baby gorillas and thanks to the strong conservation efforts by different stakeholders locally and globally.

Despite long periods of civil unrest in the region where mountain gorillas live, conservation efforts have achieved success out of their campaign. Discoveries indicate that gorilla populations in the Virunga Massif have grown to 604 individuals up from 480 individuals in 2010 putting the total global population to over 1,000 individuals.

Virunga National Park is Africa’s oldest national park and is also the continent’s most biologically diverse protected area. The park provide a haven for threatened wildlife including mountain gorillas. Many other vulnerable and endangered species dwell within the park’s precincts such as elephants plus several threatened species including the hippos.

Gorilla trekking is the major tour activity in the gigantic park found in the eastern side of the country. Other activities in the park also include chimpanzee habituation, nature walks, Mount Nyiragongo hiking and landscape viewing among others. Gorilla tours in Congo usually begin from Kigali in Rwanda and include packages of 2, 3 and 4 days. Other places to find mountain gorillas in Africa include Bwindi Impenetrable National Park and Mgahinga Gorilla National Park in Uganda. These endangered primates are inhabit the Volcanoes National Park in Rwanda. Gorilla tourism at large is a major factor that has made mountain gorillas given attention by humanity.

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Uganda in a Baby Mountain Gorilla Boom

Uganda Baby Gorillas’ Boom

Since the year 2020 began, Uganda so far has recorded a baby boom among mountain gorillas in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park.

According to Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA), five babies have been born in a period of six weeks in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park, is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of East Africa’s most prized tourism assets. Bwindi National Park is located near Uganda’s south western border with Democratic Republic of Congo.

The latest, born in the last weekend of August, bringing the total born this year to seven compared to only three that were born last year. The baby gorillas were born in same Rushegura gorilla family which has greatly increased members of the group found in Buhoma sector in the north of Bwindi. Other gorilla sectors of  Bwindi include Ruhija, Rushaga and Nkuringo sector.

The baby gorillas have brought excitement to the conservationists whose efforts are mainly geared towards protecting the endangered primates that were declared two years ago from being critically endangered to endangered only.

“This is highly unusual, it’s an incredible blessing. As conservationists we are chest-thumping, we are excited,” said Bashir Hangi, the spokesman for UWA.

Tourism is one of Uganda’s major sources of revenue, with visitors flocking to its national parks across vast savannah expanses to see elephants, lions, giraffes, rhinos and other big game.

A 320 square kilometer patch of dense tropical forest, Bwindi is home to a range of animals including primates, elephants, antelopes and other wildlife.

The “impenetrable” in its name alludes to the dense tropical forest that covers much of the park. Tourists are mostly drawn to the park by its estimated 500 mountain gorillas, assumed to be half of the world’s gorilla population.

Whenever baby gorillas are born, it gives hope to gorilla tourism in the country. Gorilla trekking in Uganda done in Bwindi and Mgahinga Gorilla National Park contributes the biggest percentage to tourism earnings.

Hangi said that the baby boom was testimony that the country’s conservation efforts were yielding results despite some reported cases of poaching and other threats to wildlife.

In July this year, a court sentenced a man to 11 years in prison for killing a 25-year-old Silverback gorilla named Rafiki, who was a leader of Nkuringo group, one of the gorilla families of Nkuringo sector in the south of Bwindi forest.

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Bwindi Mountain Gorillas Increase in Numbers

Bwindi Mountain Gorillas Increase in Numbers – There is a General Rise in World Gorilla Populations

mountain gorillas

The endangered Bwindi Mountain gorillas have increased in numbers, thanks to the conservation efforts by the various wildlife stakeholders. According to the latest data, Bwindi Impenetrable National Park has seen its gorilla numbers rise from 400 in 2011 to 459 gorillas todate.

The good news of the surge in numbers of the endangered primate species was revealed by the outgoing Uganda Minister of Tourism Wildlife and Antiquities, Prof. Ephrahim Kamuntu, this week. This was at a function to unveil the mountain gorilla populations in the Greater Virunga Conservation Area. At the event, the long-awaited global numbers of the endangered gorillas in Uganda, Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of Congo were realesed showing a steady growth in the gorilla demographics.

In the whole world, mountain gorillas only live in Bwindi forest and Mgahinga Gorilla National Park in Uganda. You can also trek gorillas in the Volcanoes National Park in Rwanda and Virunga National Park in Congo.

The data release was presented in collaboration with the Greater Virunga Trans boundary and Bwindi-Sarambwe Ecosystem manifested that the number of gorillas (gorilla beringei)  in the 340 square kilometer boundary of protected forest to have gone up to 459 in 50 groups and 13 from about 400 in 2011.

Putting together the published outcome of the Virunga Mastiff 2015/16 Survey of 604, the worldwide mountain gorilla numbers are 1,063 at the present. Uganda’s gorillas that dwell in Bwindi Impenetrable forest and Mgahinga Gorilla National Park now stand at about 51% of the total numbers of the worldwide endangered species with an estimated 49% shared between Rwanda and Congo.

Joseph Arinitwe, the Warden of the Ecological Monitoring and Research Bwindi-Mgahinga Conservation Area (BMCA) said that the process began from the eastern edge of the forest to Sarambwe Nature Reserve in the western side.

It entailed over 75 trained survey members in 6 teams in 250 to 500-meter stretches with the support of local governments and communities near the protected zones. They moved at standard intervals at agreed times in shifts of 2 weeks each gathering elephants, duikers plus gorillas fecal matter from fresh nests where the samples were put together and kept for genetic analysis.  Indicators of human activity were also studied. The team persevered through challenging rugged terrain, floods, twigs, and insect bites.

Arinitwe asserted that the surveys were vital in monitoring trends and confirm that indeed conservation strategies are effective.

Dr. Pantaleon Kasoma who spoke on behalf of the Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA) Board of Trustee emphasized the value of gorilla revenues which he said was higher compared to other segments of the tourism sector.

The State Minister for Tourism Godfrey Kiwanda applauded Prof. Kamuntu for his attempts to turn around Human Wildlife Conflict into Human Wildlife Relationship by moving around Uganda to educate communities surrounding the National Parks and Wildlife corridors plus revenue sharing.

Kamuntu welcomed the new Tourism Minister Tom Butime. The Japanese Ambassador to Uganda Kazuaki Kameda, Permanent Secretary MTWA Doreen Katusime; Director of Tourism James Lutalo, Dr. Andrew Seguya, Executive Secretary at Greater Virunga Trans boundary Collaboration, Dr. Gladys Kalema, Conservation Through Public Health (CTPH), Executive Director UWA, Sam Mwanda, Director of Business Services UWA, Stephen Masaba, Professor Robert Bitariho of Mbarara University plus members from the Institute of Tropical Forest Conservation (ITFC) and researchers were in attendance.

Kamuntu lauded international organizations for putting gorillas to the attention of humanity. He said if it wasn’t their efforts, the gorillas would have been wiped out. The credited bodies include International Gorilla Conservation Program (IGCP), Institut Congolais pour la Conservation de la Nature (ICCN), Rwanda Development Board (RDB) and the Institute of Tropical Forest Conservation (ITFC). Others included the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS), Conservation Through Public Health (CTPH), Diane Fossey Gorilla Fund, World Wildlife Fund (WWF), Bwindi Mgahinga Conservation Trust (BMCT) and the gorilla Doctors among others.

Kamuntu said the increase in the gorilla numbers and wildlife in general was an indicator of a positive path to development surpassing pre-independence numbers.

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Make a Gorilla Trekking Surprise for your 15 Year Old Child

Make a Gorilla Trekking Surprise for your 15 Year Old Child

Gorilla Trekking SupriseAs a parent or guardian, you can make a gorilla trekking surprise for a 15 year old son or daughter. Gorilla trekking is a lifetime adventure for most people but with a minimum age limit. Trekking to see gorillas in Uganda, Rwanda or Congo, you must be 15 years and above. Visiting gorillas in the jungle has got no upper age limit as long as one is physically fit and strong to make any moderate hiking. But even weaker ones due to age or physical disability can be lifted on stretchers to go and see gorillas in the wild.

Now you love your children and wish that they could go trek gorillas in Africa. That’s a good wish which has got restrictions as per gorilla trekking rules and regulations in Uganda or Rwanda. But you can make arrangements when you child is around 13 or 14 years of age. Book a gorilla permit in advance in preparations for a surprise when he/she comes of age. It’s not hard, many people book permits 1 or 2 years in advance and they trek gorillas when the dates come.

As a gorilla trekking company, we have received many inquiries from parents or sponsors of underage children wishing them to see gorillas. We understand the disappointment when you are told that your teenager is ineligible to track the endangered primates. Being thirteen or fourteen is just closer to eligibility age, go ahead and book a permit whose trekking date will be when the teenager is 15 years old.

Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA) for instance used to allow underage gorilla trekking after the consenting of their parents or guardian but was also stopped on technical grounds. So at the moment, one has to be of age. When you go for the trekking adventure of the gorillas, it is when you will know how hard it would have been for the young ones going through the process.

Gorillas in Uganda live in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park and Mgahinga Gorilla National Park in south western Uganda.

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Trek Gorillas in Uganda before the Permit Price Increase

Trek Gorillas in Uganda before the Permit Price Increase in July 2020

Trek GorillasGo trek gorillas in Uganda before the increase of gorilla permit prices. Starting July 2020, a Uganda gorilla permit will be sold at USD 700 up from the current USD 600. But the good news is, you can book a permit to trek mountain gorillas in Bwindi Impenetrable Forest and Mgahinga Gorilla National Park before the price increase next year. Booking a gorilla permit before July 2020 means you are set to save USD 100 on the permit.

Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA) recently announced that it would increase the gorilla permit price from USD 600 to 700 in a move to strengthen conservation efforts around the gorilla parks.

When you make a gorilla tour booking with Gorilla Trekking Services, we only require you to deposit USD 600 for a permit and pay the balance a week to the commencement of the safari. It means any planned trip booking for now and July 2020, you will only pay six hundred United Sates dollars only.

In 2017, Rwanda increased its gorilla permit from USD 750 then to USD 1500, a price it has maintained up to now. This increase scared away many gorilla tourists from the Volcanoes National Park to Uganda, as the cheapest gorilla trekking destination in the region.

Uganda has 20 gorilla families available for tracking daily, 19 of whom are found in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park and 1 in Mgahinga Gorilla National Park in south western Uganda.  Each gorilla group is allowed 8 permits per day and these are 8 visitors for every family. Bwindi, the biggest gorilla park in Uganda has 4 gorilla trekking sectors under which the endangered primates are visited. These comprise of Buhoma, Ruhija, Rushaga and Nkuringo sectors of Bwindi. Under every region, there are gorilla families with Rushaga sector in the south having the biggest number of gorillas and families.

Early Gorilla Permit Booking

At Gorilla Trekking Services, we always advise our prospective clients to make early gorilla permit bookings to avoid disappointments from no available permit for their preferred dates. It is recommended that you buy a gorilla permit 6 months or minimum 4 months to the trekking dates. Uganda gorilla permits are very competitive and sold on first come first serve basis. Months from June to October and December to February are very competitive month that anyone planning a safari should consider booking their permits many months in advance.

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Baby Gorilla Born in Mubare Group in Buhoma

Baby Gorilla Born in Mubare Group in Buhoma Sector of Bwindi

Mubare Gorilla Family in Buhoma Sector of Bwindi forest has welcomed a new born baby mountain gorillas in Uganda. Mubare group is one the gorilla trekking families found in Buhoma sector of Bwindi Impenetrable National Park. Bwindi and Mgahinga gorilla national park are the two wildlife reserves where gorillas in Uganda live.Gorilla Born in Mubare

The birth of a new baby gorilla is great news to gorilla tourism which is the biggest income earner for Uganda in the tourism industry. Gorilla conservation efforts are all geared towards the protection, survival and continuity of the endangered Mountain gorillas in the wild.

The baby was born to Businza one of the female adults in Mubare family on 16th October 2019. The wardens of Bwindi Impenetrable forest spread the news of the new born. They found Bussinza with her little one during one of their daily checks on the gorilla families in Bwindi jungle. Peter Mbebwe, the warden in Bwindi confirmed the news and asserted that both mother and baby were fine.

“We celebrate a newborn in Mubare gorilla family, one of the groups in Buhoma region. Mother Businza and baby are in good health,” Mbebwe said.

Tourism stakeholders especially tour operators and conservationists welcomed the news with maximum joy and happiness. There is no doubt that the newborn has increased the number of mountain gorillas in the world by one member.

Kiganda Ssonko, the a director at Gorilla Trekking Services had this to say with utmost joy and enthusiasm.

Any birth by a mountain gorilla counts so much. The primate species are listed as endangered because they are prone to extinction. Any new addition to their population has to be celebrated with joy. The continuity of any living organism is the coming of infants who now guarantee that the future generation is assured. The creation of gorilla families for tourism purposes in based on numbers at time and when such figures increase, we know that gorilla tourism in Uganda in safe and sustainable,” Kiganda observed.

The increase in the number of gorillas in Uganda is attributed to the joint efforts by the Uganda Wildlife Authority, Uganda Tourism Board, the government of Uganda, international bodies, Ugandans especially the neighbors to the gorilla parks and environmentalists at large. In the recent months, the mountain gorilla status changed from being critically endangered to merely Endangered, a conversion that gives hope to the giant species that their plight is improving. According to the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) list as well as the 2018 gorilla census which showed that the Virunga conservation area had an increase in the gorilla numbers from 880 to 1004.

About Mubare Gorilla Family

Mubare group is found in Buhoma sector in the north of Bwindi impenetrable forest national park. This is the oldest gorilla family in Uganda and was habituated in 1991, then availed for trekking in 1993, roughly after 24 months of habituation by the Uganda Wildlife Authority. Mubare was named after the many stones locally known as “Amabare” in Rukiga language. This was first seen at a place with several stones and then after named after it. Mubare family lives a short distance from Buhoma Park offices and this makes it the most tracked gorilla group in Buhoma region. On some occasions, the group is spotted at the banks of Mubare River, a water body that flows via Buhoma region of Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park.

Accessing Buhoma Sector

Buhoma sector is found in the north of Bwindi forest and is effortlessly accessible from Kabale town via Kihihi. Alternatively, you can fly from Kajjansi airstrip or Entebbe Airport to Kihihi airstrip in Kanungu district and then after connect to Buhoma area. From Queen Elizabeth National Park, Buhoma is the nearest gorilla trekking region than any other. This means that if you are doing wildlife safaris in the park and plan to add on gorilla trekking in Bwindi forest, the best area in Buhoma. Buhoma and Ruhija sectors in the eastern side of the park are the most accessible areas than Nkuringo and Rushaga in the south of Bwindi which far and only ideal for gorilla trekking in Uganda from Rwanda. And when you are driving from Kampala, Buhoma region and Ruhija are nearer than the regions in the south.

Other Gorilla Families in Buhoma Sector

Besides Mubare group where a new gorilla was born, Buhoma region has other gorilla trekking families which include Habinyanja Gorilla Family, Rushegura Gorilla Group and Katwe Gorilla Group at the moment.

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Fly Entebbe to Bwindi to See Gorillas in the Wild

Visit Uganda and fly entebbe to bwindi to see gorillas in the wild. Uganda is a home to the endangered mountain gorillas which live in Bwindi and Mgahinga forest. To visit these endangered primate species, you have to fly into Uganda first. There are several flight options from all parts of the world from which you can choose. Once you are in Uganda, you can take a flight from Entebbe to the gorilla parks in Uganda.

There are two flight landing airtsrips for all the gorilla visitors using scheduled flights. You will fly and land at Kihihi Airstrip in Buhoma sector of Bwindi. Another landing option is Kisoro Aistrip in Kisoro town from where you can trek gorilla families in east and south of Bwindi forest. The gorilla tracking regions of Bwindi include Buhoma, Ruhija, Rushaga and Nkuringo sector.

From Entebbe, the airstrip you land on decides which sector to visit. Before you book a gorilla permit to confirm a tour, ensure that you where you will trek gorillas. You can book a permit directly from Uganda Wildlife Authority or through your tour operator. Once you land to any of the airstrips, the distance to the park is shorter. Fliying guests are picked up on landing and transfered to the lodges for dinner and overnights.

Flight Programmes and Durations

There are daily flights from Entebbe to Kihihi and Kisoro airstrips. Most of these take gorilla tourists and businessmen as well. Aerolink Uganda is a leader in offering domestic flights in Uganda by flying to all major tourist attractions. The flights from Entebbe to Bwindi start in the morning and take about 1 hour, same time with return to the airport. Flights from Bwindi to Entebbe are usually in the afternoon.

Chartered Flights to Bwindi

Take a chartered plane to Bwindi.



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