Tourists always ask that which is “the easier gorilla group or family to trek?” and of course they deserve an answer. As gorilla permit prices increase in Rwanda from USD500 to USD750 and Uganda considering increasing the price sometime in June next year, tourists wants to enjoy the experience of gorilla trekking by paying now and trying to look for an easier gorilla group to trek.
Rushegura Gorilla Family commonly known as R-Group has been accepted as an easier group due to the fact that the starting point is in Buhoma and its territory is in the same region. In most cases, it is true that tourists have had to trek it easier than other gorilla groups but in some seasons, this group can travel very far and becomes as hard as any other so called hard groups. Therefore by booking permits for Rushegura does not guarantee that you will have an easier trek.
Some clients have been misled to think that in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park, there are some gorilla groups that are hard to trek while others are easier to trek. We have had instances where tourist go for a trek and within 15 minutes, they are with the gorillas while others will spend three quarters of the day in the forest looking for these creatures and by the time they find them, they are already exhausted. When they go back, they post different feedback messages on their face book pages or trip advisor telling people not to track this or that group of gorillas. The truth of the fact is that Gorillas are wild animals and you will never tell their movements all the time. Their movements depend on several factors which include search for food, fear more especially when they fight with another group and they have to travel for some long distances among others. A gorilla family that was nearer yesterday might be far away the next day so to say that so and so gorilla family is easier to trek is farfetched.
Other clients book gorilla permit in different region and book accommodation in another region. This then requires them to wake up very early to drive so that they reach at the starting point of trekking such gorilla families. In other words, Bwindi Impenetrable National Park has three regions, namely Buhoma, Rushaga, Nkuringo and Ruhija.
It is advised that when you book gorilla permits for gorilla families in Ruhija, please do book accommodation in that part of the park. This will in turn reduce on the drive time so that you don’t have to drive to reach the starting point. While it is possible to book accommodation in Buhoma and trek in Ruhija and the reverse is true, this should if possible be avoided and you will have a memorable trek and you won’t complain saying that the group was hard to trek because you hard to drive to reach the starting point.
Uganda currently has ten gorilla families and are located in different regions as below. Buhoma Region has three gorilla families that is Rushegura, Mubare and Habinyanja (sometimes might need to drive to reach the trail head of this group). Ruhija Region has Bitukura, Oruzogo and Kyaguriro (Which is for research), Rushaga region has Nshongi, Kahungye, Mishaya and the new group called Busingye that has just separated from Kahungye group. Nkuring o has one gorilla family called Nkuringo. Therefore you need to contact us to advise on which accommodation to book depending on the family of gorillas booked. It is our policy to advice clients about accommodation depending on which gorilla family we book for you.
The other question is why did my tour operator book me a hard gorilla family to trek? It all comes back to some of the factors mentioned above but kindly note that gorilla permits are sold at first come first serve basis and if by the time of booking your gorilla permit, there was no alternative but to book you a group which was told to you that it was hard, then know that they didn’t have choice. To avoid this make sure you acquire your gorilla permit way in advance-5 months in advance to enable you make a choice.
In conclusion, gorilla tracking can sometimes be strenuous and a certain level of fitness is required. If you have this level of fitness and your prime goal is to trek gorillas, then the above complaints should not arise.