Mountain gorillas are an endangered species that is desired by filmmakers. They can be found and filmed in Uganda, Rwanda, and the Democratic Republic of Congo. In Uganda, they can be found in Mgahinga national park and Bwindi impenetrable forest national park of Uganda. Bwindi, in particular, has 4 sectors known as Rushanga, Buhoma, Ruhija, and Nkuringo with different families found in each. In Rwanda They can be found and filmed in Volcanoes national park. The Park has a total of 12 families. In the Democratic Republic of Congo They can be found and filmed in Virunga national park .
FEES FOR FILMING GORILLAS
In addition to the general media accreditation, and filming permits, you will need to pay for gorilla permits and a separate fee to the wildlife authorities. The fees vary for each country as explained below:
The current rate for the gorilla permit in Uganda is 700 USD for foreigners, then 600USD for foreign residents, and 70usd for East Africans. For those who are interested in Gorilla Habituation, the price for the permit is 1500 USD and this allows you more time with the Gorillas. In addition, you will have to pay 40% of the total activity rate and 50% if you are using a drone to Uganda wildlife authority for filming.
The current rate for the gorilla permit in Rwanda is 1500 USD per day and every member of the crew is supposed to have a gorilla permit. In addition, you will have to pay 5000usd that allows you to film in the park for 3 days.
The current rate for the gorilla permit in DRC is 400 USD per day and every member of the crew is supposed to have a gorilla permit. In addition, you will have to pay an extra fee that allows you to film in the park. Please note that each family is only allowed 8 permits.
Bikingi family is headed by a silverback named Bikingi in Rushaga sector of Bwindi. This silver back was solitary until it killed the former leader that also had the same name at the time and eventually took over. Most of the family members are known to have come from the mishaya family. The family is made up of 12 members composed of 2 silverbacks, 5 females, 1 juvenile and 4 infants.
Rwigi family is under the leadership of Rwigi who was formerly part of the Kahungye family but separated to start his own family due to constant misunderstandings with the other silverbacks. Rwigi family has 6 family members.The family is one of the 8 families that are found in the Rushaga sector of the Bwindi impenetrable forest in Uganda.
The Bushaho family yet another family of Nkuringo sector of Bwindi national park. It is led by a silverback known as Bahati. Bahati originally belonged to the Nkuringo group but had disappeared. It was later discovered that when he disappeared, he went with some members of the family and eventually became their leader. It is known to have 10 members with one silver back, one black back, 5 females and 3 infants.
Busingye family is led by the silverback Busingye. This family is found in the Rushaga sector of Bwindi national park.The members of this family were initially part of the kahungye group but later on separated due to rivalry of the silverbacks. It is one of the families in the park with relatively few family members that include 1 silverback, 2 black backs, 3 adults, 2 juveniles and 3 infants.
This family is part of the 8 families in the Rushaga sector of Bwindi Impenetrable national park.Bweza family is comprised of members that were originally part of the nshongi group in 2013. It is made up of 3 silver backs, 6 adults, 4 infants and 2 juveniles making it a total of 15 members. The leading silverback of this group is known as kakono.
Christmas family is the most recent family in Nkuringo sector of Bwindi impenetrable national park. Christmas is the lead silverback of the group and just like his name, he was born during the Christmas season. The group was formed when Christmas broke off from the original Nkuringo group to create his own. The family is known to have 9 members but only 6 are usually seen.
This family is found in the Buhoma sector of Bwindi National Park.Habinyanja family was habituated in the year of 1996 with about 25 members. But it later on split to form the Rushegura family. Habinyanja is currently led by the silver back Makara which means charcoal. it currently made up of 12 members that include 2 silverbacks. 2 black backs, 5 females and 2 juveniles.
Kahungye family is one of the big families to look out for in the Rushaga sector of Bwindi Impentrable National Park. It initially had 29 members but later split to form the Busingye group. As of 2022 the family has 25 members that include 5 silverbacks, 10 females, 2 black backs, 6 infants and 2 juveniles. This family is under the leadership of the dominant silverback Ruziika.
This family is found in the Buhoma sector of Bwindi impebetrable national park.Katwe family is a group that broke off from the bigger and original Mubarre group in 2017. The group is led by silverback Mahaane .The group has 2 silver backs, 2 black backs, 5 females and 2 juveniles making it a total of 11 members though most times 9 of them are seen by visitors.
The group is found in the Ruhija sector of Bwindi National Park. Kyaguriro family was once the largest group but split due to the death of one of the leading silverbacks of the group. It died after being struck by lightining. Over the years, the group has lost members and is of a small size now The group is now comprised of 4 members and is led by the silverback known as Rukara. It is made up of 1 silverback, 2 blackbacks and 1 infant.
This gorilla family is found in the Rushaga sector of Bwindi National Park.Mishaya family was originally part of the nshongi group and apart of the members that left formed this family. At the time it was headed by Mishaya who later died and then Tinfayo a former member of the Nshongi group took over. The group has 8 members in total with 1 silverback, 1 black back, 5 females, 1 juvenile and 1 infant
Mubare family is the first ever habituated group in Buhoma and Bwindi at large. This family was opened for visitation in the year of 1993. At that time, this group was led by a powerful silverback known as Ruhondeza. He was a very friendly silverback who allowed visitors to be around his family. Unfortunately he died a solitary life. The group is now led by Kanyoyi, the son and heir of Ruhondeza. The group comprises of 11 members.
Rushegura family is the biggest family in the buhoma sector of Bwindi National Park with 19 members recorded as of 2022. The family a broke off from Habinyanja family and became independent with the leadership of Mwirima. It is made up of2 Silverback, 3 Black backs , 6 Adult females, 1 Sub-adult, 3 Juveniles and 4 Infants.
Nyakezi family is the only family available for filming in Mgahinga National Park. The family’s leader is known as mark. Mark got the leadership after the former leader Bugingo. The members of this family are Mathew, Mafia, Rukundo, Mutagamba, Nshuti, Nyiramwiza and Nkanda. Bringing them to 9 family members.
The Bitukura family is known to have about 11 members comprising of 4 silverbacks, 4 adult females, and the rest juveniiles and infants. This group was habituated in 2007 majorly for research purposes in Ruhija. If you are a researcher, the group is available for filming .Certain conditions have to be met to be allowed to film the group. The silverback leader of the group is known as Mugisha who took over after the death of Ndahura.
Mucunguzi family broke off from bweza family after a serious fight with solitary silverback Mucunguzi to have 8 to 12 members that can be seen. The family is under the leadership of silverback mucunguzi whose name means savior. Mucunguzi is part of the 8 families found in Rushaga sector of Bwindi National Park.
The Mukiza Group is found in the Ruhija sector of Bwindi Impenetrable Park. The group is also known as Kyaguliro B is the family that split from the original kyaguliro family. The family was led by the silverback known as mukiza thus its name. The family is known to have at least 15 members with 1 silverback, 8 females, 1 juvenile and 5 infants
Muyambi family is the smallest gorilla group found in the buhoma sector of Bwindi National Park. The family was officially opened for visitors on 2019 with 6 members. The leaders of this family is Muyambi who was initially apart of the Mubare family but separated to start his own.
Nshongi family was known to be one of the largest families with about 36 members but later spilt to form mishaya. Then later on split again to form bweza group. The separation led to a loss of many gorillas from the group and eventually left only 11 remaining members. Led by silverback Bweza with 5 adults, one blackback 2 juvineles and 2 infants. The group is found in the Rushaga sector of Bwindi.
Nkuringo family over the years has been one of the most popular gorilla families in Bwindi. Its first known leader is Nkuringo who died and left Rafiki in charge. The family is popular because of its former leader the late Rafiki who was very friendly. It is also the only group that is led by a black back. When Rafiki died, he left several contenders to the throne but Rwamutwe(black back) beat all of them to the position. As of 2022 the group has 14 members.
Oruzogo family in particular is has very playful and entertaining individuals that draws the attention of visitors. The family was comprised of 19 members but they were lost to other groups and as of 2022 the group had 10 members. These included 1 silverback, 3 females, 4 black backs, 1 juvenile and infant with the leadership of Bakwate. It is found in the Ruhija sector of Bwindi.
Agashya family. This is one of the first families. In the beginning it was headed by Murthi who was followed by Munana who was a black back. After some time Agashya took over leadership from Munane. Agashya is said to have belonged to an unknown group at the time. The family was then named after him in 2010. It is made up of 22 members with 4 silverbacks, 4 females, 1 blackback, 7infants and 2 juveniles.
Amahoro family is part of the early families that were habituated in the late 1990s. the family was initially headed by silverback Amahoro which explains its name. Amahoro died and this led to the separation of the group. The group that split away is called Umubano and the remaining group had to stay with the leadership of Umbwe and followed by Gahinga. The family is made up of 21 members which include 3 silverbacks, 1 blackback, 9 females 7 infants and 2 juveniles.
Igisha family. The family is composed of 34 members as of 2022. This family is led by the silverback Igisha who is known to have broken off from the susa group. When splitting, Igisha left with 23 members of the susa group to create his own and they were also joined by other members from other groups. The group is composed of 6 silverbacks, 11 females, 11 infants, 1 blackback and 3 juveniles.
Isimbi family, is an offspring of the karisimbi family. It is known to have split off in 2012. at first, they were led by Getty but he died and untimely death and left the leadership to Muturengere. The group has 16 members that are made up of 1 silverback, 4 females, 4 infants and 7 juveniles.
Karisimbi family. This family was an offspring of the susa group. Its leader split off and left with 13 members to form this group. But later on, the group split again and led to the formation of the Isimbi Group.This group is not always spotted because it usually crosses over to DRC. but the last time it was seen, it had members totaling upto 10 including 5silverbacks, 2females, 1 juvenile and 2 blackbacks.
Kwisanga family is one of the new family groups that was made in 2021. The family is led by Kigoma. Kigoma formerly belonged to Kwitonda group when Kigoma left, he left with other 16 members of the group to create their own. The family is made up of 2 silverbacks, 2 blackbacks, 5 females, 5 infants and 3 juveniles.
This family originated from DRC in the Virunga national park. The group was pioneered by Kwitonda a solitary Gorilla that joined the Rugabo group and later on left with some of the members to create his own group. The group crossed over to Rwanda in 2003 and is under the leadership of Akarevuro. It is made up of 20 individuals with 2silverbacks, 8 females, 3 juveniles, 2 black backs and 5 infants
Muhoza family is a part of the new families. The group was formed in 2016 with the leadership of silverback Marambo. The group was started with 2 females from Hilwa group and grew to the number of 17. The family is composed of 1 silverback, 8females, 1 juvenile and 7 infants.
This family is the most recent family of Rwanda. It was officiated in November 2021. The members of this family formerly belonged to the susa and isimbi groups. They are under the leadership of Dominant silverback Noheli who was joined by 3 females adults to form the famiy. The family has 3 adults and 3 infants making it a total of 7 family members.
Sabinyo group. it was named Sabinyo because it was first spotted in sabinyo mountain. the group has been under leadership of several silverbacks from Murthi, Guhonda and now Gihishamwotsi. The group is made up of 18 individuals including 3 Silverbacks, 6 Adult females, 1 Sub adult, 4 Juveniles, and 4 Infants.
It was known as the biggest gorilla group before it had separations that led to the creation of other groups that include karisimbi which also gave birth to isimbi. This family is known to be the first one to have a set of twins in the history of Gorillas, The family lost several members due to the split and is now counted with 21 individuals that include 3 silverbacks, 6 females, 3 blackbacks, 4 juveniles, and 5 infants.
The family was originally apart of Amahoro but split away with the leadership of Charles, the separation is known to have been a peaceful one compared to thers which occur due to misunderstandings and fights. The group is made up of 14 members with 6 silverbacks, 2 females, 3 black backs, 2 juveniles and 1 infant.
DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF CONGO
The family is commonly found in the areas of Gatovu and Bukima. The group originally belonged to Kabirizi family but split off with the leadership of silverback Bageni. When the split happened, 20 members left to start their own family. The group is made up of 46 members that include 10 infants, 21 females, 3 silverbacks, 1 blackback and 7 juveniles.
This family was named in memory of Racheal Baraka a ranger in the park. The silverback leader is also called Baraka and leads a family of 19 members who have mostly been identifies as females. This family is known to be found in the area of Gikereri in Virunga national park
Under the leadership of dominant silver back Humba. Humba is one of the sons of the silverback Rugenda and split form the Rugendo group to start his own family. The humba group faced a split as several members left with silverback Nyakamwe to start another group. The humba group has 15 members that include 5 infants, 2 silverbacks, 4 juveniles, and 4 females.
The family was started by lone silverback Kabirizi who had several interactions with gorilla family groups and eventually grabbed some of their members to make a family of his own. In 2013 the group split up with part of the group members leaving with Bageni the son of Kabirizi. As of 2022 the Kabirizi family is made up of 24 members including 6 silverbacks, 6 infants, 9 females, 1 blackback and 2juveniles.
This group is named after its dominant silverback male, Lulengo. The group has around 11 members and is known for its calm and relaxed demeanor. The group is composed of 1 silverback, 1black back, 5females, 2 juveniles and 2 infants
This family was started by Silverback Mapuwa with 2 females who were grabbed from the Lulengo group. Due to old age, the groups leadership was overtaken by Mvuyekure. The family is made up of 3 Silverbacks, 11 females, 1blackback, 3 juveniles, 1 blackback and infants.
Mugaruka group: This group is located in the Mikeno sector of Virunga National Park and is named after its dominant silverback male, Mugaruka. The group has around 10 members and is known for its playful young gorillas.
The group is known for its unique behavior of climbing trees to feed on leaves and fruits. This family is currently under the leadership of Mawazo who took over leadership after Silverback Munyanga disappeared. The group is made up of 3 silverbacks, 4females, 3 infants and 2 juveniles.
This family split off from Humba group. Led by the dominant silverback Nyamakwe who left his brother Humba to start his own group. Nyakamwe left with 5 members at the time and is now made up of 15 members including 3 silverbacks, 6 females, 3juveniles and 3infants
Wilungula group. This is one of the newest gorilla groups under habituation in Virunga. The group is known to always be in the Gikereri area. it is one of the largest families in the Virunga with 42 individuals including 4 silberbacks.