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Gorilla Families in Rwanda

Mountain Gorilla Families in Rwanda

Are you looking forward to visiting the Gorilla Families in Rwanda? Trekking Mountain Gorillas is probably one of the most captivating activities in Africa. In Rwanda, the gorilla adventure tour can only be done in one place and that’s Volcanoes National park. There are currently 10 habituated Mountain Gorilla families in Rwanda and these are visited by 8 visitors to each gorilla family every day, meaning there are over 80 gorilla permits issued out on a daily basis in Rwanda. Each gorilla family among these 10 habituated gorilla groups has something unique to offer which may be in terms of character, size, dominance and more. Some groups are led by Silverbacks that are very peaceful and if you indeed portray the same then it would be recommended to bond with a peaceful family. Rwanda is very popular for gorilla trekking and conservation due to the works of Diana Fossey who spent many years studying the behaviors of Mountain gorillas and how to conserve these endangered great apes. Let’s now take a look at the gorilla families that are available for gorilla trekking in Rwanda. 

Susa Gorilla Family

Susa group also known as Susa A group is the biggest of all Gorilla families in Rwanda with over 33 members. The most exciting things about Susa A are the twins in this group and of course the size. It’s also the first group that Dian Fossey first studied during her years in Rwanda. The group is apparently the hardest to track but turns out to be the most preferred by most gorilla trekkers. Susa A inhabits the lower base of Mount Karisimbi. This gorilla family derives its name or was named after River Susa which runs through the area where the Susa gorilla group normally call home.

Susa is one of the hardest gorilla families to trek in Volcanoes National Park due to the fact that it is normally found in high altitudes. There days when it climbs so high that tourists are not allowed to trek it. Susa gorilla group had the highest number of individuals in Volcanoes National Park numbering up to 42 members but because of gorilla family dynamics, in fights and group separations, Susa now had twenty-eight members with three silverbacks, as well as two twins of Impano and Byishimo.

Sabyinyo Gorilla Family

Sabyinyo Mountain Gorilla Family derives its name from Mountain Sabyinyo which is shared between Uganda and Rwanda although these gorillas are on the Rwandan side of Sabinyo mountain. This family currently has 13 members and 2 Silverbacks. Sabyinyo gorilla family came into existence shortly after the death of a dominant silverback that led group thirteen. After his death, a few females left teaming up with other females from group eleven to form a total of 4 females and two Silverbacks and also have their name changed to Sabyinyo gorilla group. One of the Silverbacks that leads this group at the moment is the largest in Volcanoes National Park. This group usually roams on the slopes of Mountain Sabinyo and this makes it relatively easy to track.

This gorilla group has two wonders or advantages. It has the biggest silverback called Guhonda and is normally the easiest to trek among all gorilla families in Volcanoes National Park. This is because it is normally found in the gentle slopes of Sabinyo and Mgahinga making it easy to trek. For all those that are looking for an easier gorilla family to trek should consider Sabinyo gorilla family.

Amahoro Gorilla Family

Amahoro is a Rwandese word meaning peace is one of the gorilla families in Rwanda. Amahoro is thus a peacefull family and those that have managed to track this gorilla family will testify that indeed all members are very peaceful. This group is led by the dominant silverback called Ubumwe which means togetherness. If one is looking for gorilla families in Rwanda that is more concentrated about peace and togetherness, then it has to be Amahoro mountain, gorilla family. More often Amahoro gorilla group has been observed roaming on the slopes of Mountain Visoke and those trekking it should expect a medium to a harder but awesome experience.

Amahoro gorilla family currently has seventeen individuals including Ubumwe the dominant silverback, two black backs, five juvenile gorillas, five adult females, and four young gorillas. Mountain gorilla families keep on changing in terms of members so feel free to contact Gorila Adventure Tours for details about gorilla families in Rwanda.

Agasha Gorilla Family

The Agashya family formerly known as group 13 was initially led by a dominant silverback called Nyakarima who was later on overthrown by another dominant leader – Agashya who leads till today. The name Agashya means ‘News’ and surprisingly the family was named after him. It apparently has way more members than it did previously! The tally is about 27 members with just one Silverback. They also roam on the slopes of Mountain Sabyinyo just like the Sabyinyo family. Please feel free to Contact Gorilla Adventure  Tours for more information on this group as well as the availability of gorilla permits.

Umubano Gorilla Family

The Umubano group was formed by members of the Amahoro family after Charles, one of the other males, broke off and is now the leader of his own group. With 13 members including 2 Silverbacks, Umubano gorilla group was formed by members of the Amahoro family after one of its Silverbacks called Charles, broke off to form his own group. Despite the peace in the Amahoro group, Charles and Ubumwe have endless battles till Charles could not take it anymore hence, the birth of Umubano Group. Apparently, this group lives in the same territory the Amahoro Group.

Kwitonda Gorilla Family

The Kwitonda family is named after the dominant silverback of this group and means “humble one”. The Kwitonda gorilla group tallies a huge number of 23 including 4 Silverbacks. It inhabits on the slopes of Mountain Muhabura and it got its name from the late dominant silverback called Kwitonda, a leader who was popularly known for his humble character. This group originally lived in the Democratic Republic of Congo but migrated to Volcanoes National Park. For this same reason, it inhabits on the slopes of Mountain Muhabura.

Hirwa Gorilla Family

Hirwa family is a new group and has 16 members with one Silverback. It was formed by members from the Sabyinyo family and group 13 but later on more members joined to increase the tally to 16. It roams between the mountains of Mount Gahinga and Sabyinyo. This is one of the luckiest groups in the park and slots among the few that managed to get twins. Their twins were born in the year 2011. The word ‘Hirwa’ means ‘Lucky One’. Need some luck or rather are you lucky? You might need to trek to see this family. Whilst every effort is made to ensure that the provided information is accurate and up-to-date, the statistics may change any time.

Karisimbi family

Just like the name, this group resides on the slopes of Mountain Karisimbi. It has 16 members with one silverback. It’s a breakaway faction of Susa family reason why they also call it Susa B. Karisimbi gorilla family is currently the hardest to trek because it resides on the upper slopes of Mount Karisimbi that sits on an altitude of 4507m. The Silverback of this group took his group to a very far place that is hard to reach so as to stay away from trouble. If you need a real physical challenge or rather some serious hiking then you ought to reserve your permits for this group.

Titus Family

Titus Family was named after the Silverback – Titus, a primate that was born during the time Dian Fossey was still carrying out her research at Karisoke Research Center. Titus’ family got murdered by poachers leaving him as the only survivor. He went through a lot of hardships growing up but managed to overcome all those obstacles and emerge as one of the most successful Silverbacks to ever inhabit Volcanoes National Park in Rwanda. This group apparently inhabits the slopes of Karisimbi and Visoke volcanoes.

Ugenda family

It is made up of 11 members including 2 Silverbacks. Ugenda means mobile which partly relates to this group’s mobility. Ugenda gorilla group is always on the move and hardly settles in one place. This group apparently inhabits Mount Bisoke and the hike is relatively not very difficult. If you feel like you might find a hard time trek because of your physical status then you ought to reserve your permits for this group.

Bwenge Family

Bwenge means “wisdom”. This group comprises of 11 members with one silverback. It usually roams on the slopes of Mount Visoke and the hike is relatively easy. For lazy trekkers, this group is advisable for you. Bwenge family was in the year 2007 by Bwenge who had the group named after him. Bwenge initially left his native group and was joined by a few female members from other families. Bwenge witnessed a very dark time 6 of its infants died.

There are many more Mountain Gorillas in Rwanda and this number keeps on increasing based on the great conservation success in Rwanda. However, above are the only habituated gorilla families in Rwanda that inhabit Volcanoes National Park.

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