Hirwa Gorilla Group Migrates to Uganda From Rwanda
Hirwa Gorilla Group was a gorilla family that lived in Rwanda’s Volcanoes National Park but recently migrated to Uganda’s Mgahinga Gorilla National Park. In October 2019, the Hirwa gorilla group migrated from Volcanoes National Park in Rwanda to Uganda’s Mgahinga Gorilla National Park. UWA’s website executive and photographer, Paddy Musiime, confirmed that 20 gorillas from the Hirwa gorilla family crossed over to Mt. Mgahinga Gorilla National Park and have been living in the park for over two weeks now.
A Brief History of the Hirwa Gorilla Group
The Hirwa gorilla family is a habituated gorilla group originally from Volcanoes National Park in Rwanda. The group derives its name from a Kinyarwanda word ‘Hirwa,’ which means ‘the lucky one.’ This group was formed in 2006, by some members from the Agashya and Sabyinyo families. It originally had 16 members at the start, but its numbers have increased to 20 members.
The gorilla group is led by a silverback named ‘Munyiga,’ as the dominant silverback in the group. The group was one of the few in Volcanoes national park to birth twins. The twins named Isango Gakuru and Isango Gato were born in 2011 to a female gorilla called Kabatwa. This gorilla family previously inhabited the slopes of Mount Sabyinyo, although it was known for its movements across the Virunga Conservation Area.
The paradox regarding this Hirwa gorilla family is that; it is said to have migrated from Mgahinga national park into Volcanoes national park in Rwanda over a decade ago and has now moved back in Uganda.
Trekking the Hirwa Gorilla Family in Mgahinga Gorilla National Park.
Tourists can now go gorilla trekking from the Hirwa Gorilla group following their recent settlement in Mgahinga national park, located in south-western Uganda. It is not known as to why this gorilla group migrated into Uganda and how long it will stay in the national park.
Mgahinga Gorilla National Park is the smallest national park in Uganda, covering a total surface area of 34 km². The national park is located in Kisoro district, in the south-western region of the country. The park originally had one habituated gorilla family called Nyakagezi and later in October 2019, the Hirwa family moved from volcanoes national park and settled in the park.
The Hirwa gorilla family is currently being monitored by the Uganda Wildlife Authority, alongside the Nyakagezi gorilla family, which permanently settled in the national park. Tourists visiting Mgahinga national park can track the Hirwa group at a cost of USD 600 dollars per person. The gorilla trekking fee is equally divided between Uganda and Rwanda, given that the group is originally from Rwanda and may possibly migrate back to its original habitat in Rwanda.
Only a maximum of 8 persons are allowed to trek a gorilla group in Uganda, with no exception of the Hirwa group. The group can be found on Mount Muhavura, an extinct volcano elevated at an altitude between 2,227 and 4,127 meters above sea level. All gorilla trekking activities in the national park begin from Ntebeko, which is the main entrance to the national park.
Tourist who wishes to track the Hirwa group in Mgahinga will have to travel about 510km from Kampala City to the national park situated in Kisoro district. This journey will take you about 8-10 hours of driving. Alternatively, tourists can drive to Kabale and take a detour following the shoreline of the scenic Lake Bunyonyi, and later rejoin the Kabale-Kisoro main road at Muko.
Tourists visiting Mgahinga national park can also access the park from Bwindi Impenetrable National Park, about 101.1km via the Kabale-Kisoro road. Those taking this route will have to drive for about 3 hours.
Mgahinga national park can also be accessed from Rwanda via the Cyanika border in Kisoro. Those using this route will have to drive for approximately 3½ hours to get to the national park.
Tourists visiting Mgahinga Gorilla National Park should use the opportunity to track the Hirwa gorilla family while it is still living in the national park.
Do get in touch with us in case you might have any inquiries in regards to the habituated gorilla families in Mgahinga Gorilla National Park.