The mishaya gorilla family in bwindi national park

Mishaya Gorilla Family is one amazing gorilla group that every visitor should rush to track during your gorilla trekking tour in Uganda. Gorilla trekking in Uganda is among the top foreign exchange earners of the tourism industry in the country. Tourists visiting Uganda with the intention of trekking mountain gorillas can do so in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park and Mgahinga Gorilla National Park.

Bwindi Impenetrable National Park is located in the Southwestern part of Uganda in the district of Kanungu district. The national park covers a total surface area of 321 square kilometers. It is one of the smallest national parks in the country, and was first gazetted as a national park in 1991. The national park was also listed among the World Heritage Sites by UNESCO in 1994.

Bwindi national park is home to over 348 species of birds, 220 butterfly species, and over 120 mammal species including 400 habituated mountain gorillas. According to the 2018 population census that was conducted on mountain gorillas in the Virunga Conservation Area, it was documented that almost half of the population of mountain gorillas in the world live in Bwindi Impenetrable national park alone. The census shows that out of 1004 mountain gorillas living in the world, 400 mountain gorillas live Bwindi national park alone.

The mishaya gorilla family in bwindi national park
Gorilla Trekking Uganda

The Mishaya gorilla group in Bwindi national park, is just one of the 18 habituated gorilla groups that live within Bwindi national park. Among the habituated gorilla groups in Bwindi national park, 15 are available for tourists to track while the rest are strictly meant for research purposes.

The process of gorilla habituation is a long one which can even take 2 to 3 years to completely get the gorillas used to the presence of humans. The process of habituation of gorillas requires that the gorillas lose their natural fear of humans and instead develop a trustful relationship with people, even when these individuals are simply observing from a distance. This process of habituation can be hectic and tiring for the parties involved since it involves tracking and monitoring the gorillas on a daily basis.

During the gorilla habituation process, park staff and a team of researchers monitor the gorilla group in order to learn more about the composition of the group, and identify individual gorillas. Gorillas in a group can be easily identified by their behavior, size, body scars, and other unique features on a particular gorilla.

The Mishaya gorilla group was formed in 2011 following a split from the Nshongi gorilla family. The Silverback Mishaya formed this group after he challenged the dominate silverback of the Nshongi group. Mishaya broke away from the Nshongi group with 12 members, however the number of members in his group kept fluctuating due to a number of reasons such as; new births, deaths of some members, and break aways among other reasons.

The silverback of this group, Mishaya, was known for his aggressiveness especially when it came to defending his family from external threats by other gorilla groups and other unhabituated gorillas. Unfortunately, on 3rd Feb 2014, Mishaya was found dead by park rangers and a group of trekkers in Bwindi. The cause of his death is still unknown till date, as he had no reported illness nor injuries. Mishaya died at the age of 28 years and was buried within the national park.

At present the Mishaya gorilla family in Bwindi is being led by a dominate silverback named ‘Mwine.’ Other members of this group include; Bukunzi, Mwiza, Rutaro and Mize. The groups also has 4 infants.

The Mishaya gorilla family is one of the five habituated gorilla groups that visitors can trek in the Rushaga sector of Bwindi Impenetrable national park. Visitors who wish to track this group can do so at a fee of USD 600 or USD 700 dollars per person.

Visitors trekking the Mishaya group can do so in a group of 8 members only. Gorilla trekking activities in Bwindi Impenetrable national park commence at 7am with registration at the visitor center in Buhoma, which is followed by a briefing from the head ranger in the national park. After you have been briefed, you will then be placed in your trekking groups depending on which specific gorilla family you will be tracking.

Trekking gorilla groups in Bwindi national park, such as the Mishaya group, can take between 4 to 8 hours inclusive of one hour that is allocated to trekkers to spend with the gorillas once they have been located. Trekkers are advised to pack lunch and enough mineral water on the day that you are going to trek gorillas.

The best time for visitors to trek the Mishaya gorilla family in Bwindi, is between the months of June to August and December to mid-February. These are the dry months in the park which makes it easy for trekkers to hike through the forest, and the head trails are not steep, muddy nor slippery at this time of the year.

Visitors trekking the Mishaya gorilla group can find accommodation in the following facilities like; Clouds Mountain Lodge, Rushaga Gorilla Camp, Gorilla Safari Lodge, Chameleon Hill Lodge, Mutanda Lake Resort, Bwindi Jungle Lodge, and Bwindi Gorilla Lodge among others.

Bwindi Impenetrable National Park in Uganda can be accessed by both road and air. Visitors travelling by road to the national park can drive from Kampala to Buhoma via the Kabale-Masaka Highway, covering a distance of about 472 kilometers, which is about 8-9 hour’s drive. The park can also be accessed by tourists travelling from Queen Elizabeth National Park, which takes about 2-3 hours covering a distance of about 133 kilometers. Alternatively, visitors can opt to fly to Kihihi airfield from Entebbe International Airport and the drive for about an hour to the park’s headquarters in Buhoma.

In Conclusion; gorilla trekking in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park is such a memorable experience and tourists visiting the park can combine gorilla trekking with other activities such as; the Batwa Trail Experience, Community Tour, Birding, Nature Walk, or even a Game drive and Boat cruise in Queen Elizabeth National Park.

Book now a gorilla trekking tour in Bwindi national park and get a chance to track the Mishaya gorilla family.

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