Trekking to find the Bitukura gorilla family in Bwindi

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.

gorilla, silverback

Rukumu the silverback, head of the Bitukura family ©Martin Ngabirano

The family

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.

gorilla silverback

Rukumu the silverback ©Martin Ngabirano

The Crew

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”.


Trekking through the thick vegetation ©Martin Ngabirano

The walk

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.


The ranger guide and his crew talking to trekkers ©Martin Ngabirano

After trekking

Trekkers are awarded with well-earned gorilla trekking certificates as souvenirs to show family and friends.

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Receiving a gorilla trekking certificate ©Martin Ngabirano

Be prepared

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.


Walking sticks come in handy during the trek ©Martin Ngabirano

To find out more about gorilla trekking tours in Uganda, take a look at our ChiGo Tours website.

ChiGo Tours Africa

ChiGo Tours Africa is a small native safari company in Uganda with knowledgeable passionate guides; born in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park – only park where chimps and mountain gorillas live. Our custom made, private and group tours are designed for people who want to experience primates in the wild, nature, birds and authentic cultural traditions in Africa’s most attractive ecotourism sites in Uganda and Rwanda.

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