The Nyakagezi Gorilla Family of Mgahinga Gorilla National Park
The Nyakagezi Gorilla Family is a group of mountain gorillas found in Mgahinga Gorilla National Park in Kisoro district. Unlike Bwindi Impenetrable forest which has about 19 habituated gorilla groups, Nyakagezi is the only gorilla family available for tracking in Mgahinga. Nyakagezi family has 9 members including 4 silver backs, 2 infants, 2 adult females plus 1 juvenile. The group’s dominant male (silverback) is called Mark who got leadership Bugingo, his father. Other family members are Mathew and Mafia who are bother silverbacks, Nshuti and Nyiramwiza, bother female adults. Nkanda, a juvenile plus Mutagamba and Rukundo who are infants are part of the group. Bugingo is the oldest silverback and assumed to be over 54 years old. What is amazing about Nyakagezi group is that Bugingo, the dormant male is still part of the family. It surprises in that, once a male is overthrown from leadership, he is forced out of the family but Bugingo still lives in the family. He has not been chased away, killed or forced to seek refuge with other gorilla families. For instance in Mubare group in Buhoma sector, when Ruhondeza lost leadership to Kanyonyi, the former left the group and lived a lonely kind of life until he finally died.
All About Nyakagezi Gorilla Group
This gorilla family is found on the slopes of the three Virunga Volcanoes which comprise of Gahinga, Muhabura and Sabyinyo. The group is named from the Nyakagezi, a place in Mgahinga National Park that has lots of food much liked by the mountain gorillas. This group is among the easiest ones to trek because it keeps itself in a smaller habitat range for feeding, nesting, relaxing and playing.
Trekking Nyakagezi Gorilla Family
The Nyakagezi gorilla group was well known for its migratory behaviors to Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and Rwanda. But at the moment, the group settled in Mgahinga Gorilla National Park where visitors are assured of finding the gorilla. The migration was possible because Mgahinga is part of the Virunga Conservation Area, which includes Uganda’s Mgahinga, Volcanoes National Park in Rwanda and the Virunga Park in Congo. Since this area is one, the gorillas never knew boarders in their movements but they have settled.
This group is taken to be the easiest to track in Uganda since its gorillas like to live lower altitude zones and desire a small habitat for nesting, relaxation as well as feeding. The Nyakagezi group is interesting in that it has a reigning and a dormant silverback co-existing in one family unit with now conflicts.
The ease of trekking this group is because of it permanent settlement as opposed in the past when its gorillas used to wander a lot. It’s on this background that gorilla trekking in Mgahinga is a common adventure unlike in the past. Like all other gorilla families, UWA also permits 8 visitors per day to check on this group.
Mgahinga National Park is among Uganda’s most scenic tourist attractions. When you visit this Nyakagezi gorilla family, expect to have an incredible experience as a result of sighting of the three Virunga volcano summits, the gorge and then the magnificent flora. The geographical beauty of the park would propel you to like to return for another safari.
Other Activities in Mgahinga
Golden Monkey trekking is another primate activity besides gorilla adventures in the park. Mgahinga is the only park in Uganda where Golden Monkeys live. Batwa trail which leads you the Batwa/Pygmies who live a primitive life near the forests. While in Mgahinga, you may also enjoy bird watching, climbing of Mount Sabyinyo, Mount Muhavura as well as Mount Gahinga.
Reaching Mgahinga National Park to Trek Mountain Gorillas of the Nyakagezi Gorilla group
You have many gorilla trekking options here. You may choose to start your gorilla tour from Kigali in Rwanda by transferring by road to the park. It would necessitate you to go through Cyanika boarder point and preferably stay a night in Kisoro town. From here you transfer to the park the next day and track gorillas with utmost convenience.
Another option would be by flying from Entebbe to Kisoro town airstrip, transfer to the park, enjoy the gorillas and return on the third day. Scheduled and chartered flights from Kajjansi and Entebbe Airport are the best flying options. The third alternative of accessing the park would be to take a 3 days Mgahinga gorilla trekking safari from Kampala. By road, you use Kampala-Mbarara-Kabale-Kisoro route and finally connect to the gorilla park.
The Lodges to stay
When tracking the gorillas of Nyakagezi family, you may stay at any of the hotels and lodges in Kisoro town. Or you can sleep at Mount Gahinga Lodge and Mutanda Lake Resort.
In conclusion, get the best gorilla trekking experience in Uganda by visiting the Nyakagezi family. You will stay at some of the best lodges, have wonderful meals, track gorillas believed to be bigger in size than in other park and enjoy nature and the finest geographical sceneries.