The Bitukura gorilla family, located at the Ruhija section of Bwindi Impenetrable National Park, is one of the calmest gorilla families there is, making a visit to this family in Uganda a highly rewarding experience.
Bitukura is one of the pioneer families made up of three silverbacks who work together to lead the group. Dominant silverbacks sire at least 85% of the babies. For other, low-ranking silverbacks, mating with the females has to be done in secret or they risk the wrath of the dominant males.
Rukumu is now the dominant silverback leading this family, he has taken over from Ndahura, who passed away in December 2016, having met an untimely death after falling from a tree.
A ranger-guide and two scouts – a ranger in military uniform and tourism police, who carry AK-47 guns, walk in front and behind the group. Trekking with visitors begins at 8:00AM and an advance team of trackers head off earlier at 7:00AM to follow the trail of the gorilla family, starting from where the troupe were seen the night before.
When trekking for gorillas you need to look for clues. According to John who has been a ranger guide for seven years: “We look out for fresh food trails and gorilla droppings as they are key evidence that the gorillas were in the area”.
The walk involves passing through orchids, tree ferns, epiphytic ferns, colorful butterflies, and dense forest vegetation. Walking sticks are really helpful and available for free before the start of the trek.
Trekkers are awarded with well-earned gorilla trekking certificates as souvenirs to show family and friends.
Always wear long pants as it can rain at any time and you are then also protected from the biting mosquitoes and low vegetation. In addition, gardening or hiking gloves can be worn to protect your hands from irritating leaves and spiky branches.
To find out more about gorilla trekking tours in Uganda, take a look at our ChiGo Tours website.
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