Mountain Gorillas live in three countries in the whole World and these are Uganda, Rwanda & Democratic Republic of Congo. Rwanda turns out to be a home of 1/3 of the Worldwide population mountain Gorillas, it has 10 Habituated Gorilla Families (for Gorilla trekking)-mainly done in one place called Volcanoes National park in Musanze town (former Ruhengeri) while 2 are still for research purposes. There are strictly 8 permits allocated per group making availability of 80 permits per day. Each and every family has something unique to offer maybe in terms of Dominance, Size, Character and more. Some groups are led by very peaceful silverbacks Diana Fossey is said to have spent many years studying about the behaviours of these endangered great Apes and mountain Gorillas, and this has made Rwanda Popular for Gorilla trekking and Conservation thanks to her research. Monumental Expeditions Safaris is glad and honored to give you details and information on different Habituated Gorilla families found in Rwanda. Below are excerpts of the habituated Gorilla groups in Volcanoes National Park (Rwanda).
- Susa Gorilla Family
- Sabyinyo Gorilla Family
- Amahoro Gorilla Family
- Agashya Gorilla Family
- Umubano Gorilla Family
- Kwitonda Gorilla Family
- Hirwa Gorilla Family
- Karisimbi Gorilla Family
- Ugenda Gorilla Family
- Bwenge Gorilla Family
Susa Gorilla Family (Susa A)
This is the biggest mountain Gorilla family in Volcanoes National Park, it consists of 33 members & 2 silverbacks but had a total of 42 members before the split. Its name is derived from River Susa which runs through the area where Susa Gorilla group normally calls home. This family has exciting things like the twins (Impano & Byihimo) therein and being the first family Diana Fossey studied about in her earlier years in Rwanda (1985). Not only that this group turns out to be the hardest to track yet the most preferred by most Gorilla trekkers. Susa A inhabits the lower base of Mount Karisimbi.
Sabyinyo Gorilla Family
It consists of 13 members & 2 silverbacks and its name is derived from Mountain Sabyinyo which is shared by Uganda & Rwanda, though these mountain Gorillas are mainly on the Rwandan side of mountain Sabyinyo. This family came into existence after the death of the dominant silverback that led the family for over 13 years. It has the biggest silverback “Guhonda” who is their leader and” Ryango” silverback who is the second in command. It has 3 adult females & 3 Juvenile Gorillas This is the easiest family to trek among all the Gorilla families in Volcanoes National Park and this is because it normally roams on the gentle slopes of mountain Sabyinyo and this makes it relatively easy to track. So in case you are out there looking for the easier Gorilla family to trek it’s no other than the Sabyinyo Gorilla family.
Amahoro Gorilla family
Another word to mean” Peace” in Kinyarwanda is “Amohoro” therefore this family is very peaceful. Due to its peaceful character it has caused it to loose members to other aggressive silverbacks that seek to have their families expanded. This family is led by “Ubumwe” silverback which means Togetherness. Amahoro Gorilla family is hard to track since it resides on the slopes of mountain Visoke whose terrain is strenuous, also consists of 18members including 2 silverbacks (5 Juveniles gorillas,5 adult females,4 young gorillas). If you have got a peaceful character in nature and love peace as well then you might have to book your permits for trekking this gorilla group.
Agashya Gorilla family
This family is formerly called group 13 but due to the better conservation methods implemented by the Government of Rwanda, it got its initial number of 13 members that started the family. It was initially headed by “Nyakarima” silverback who was later overthrown by Dominant leader “Agashya” leading till today. Agashya is derived from the word “News” and the family was named after him. This family consists of a tally of 25 compared to before (1 dominant silverback,3 Juveniles, 7 young Gorillas. They also roam and occupy the foothills of mountain Mgahinga & Sabyinyo. It is also on record that Agashya is so protective and every time it senses danger he directs the whole Gorilla group to move from downhill to uphill. Contact Adventure in the Wild Safaris for more information on this group as well as availability of gorilla permits.
Umubano Gorilla Family
With 7 members including 1 Silverback, Umubano gorilla group was formed by members of the Amahoro family after one of its Silverbacks called” Charles”, one of the other males broke off to form his own family. Despite the peace in Amahoro group, Charles and Ubumwe have endless fights until Charles could not take it any more leading to the formation of the birth of Umubano Gorilla Group. Apparently, this group lives in the same territory with the Amahoro Group.
Kwitonda Gorilla Family
Kwitonda gorilla group has a huge size of 18 members including 2 Silverbacks. It resides on the Mountain slopes of Muhabura and got its name derived from the late dominant silverback called “Kwitonda”, which means “humble one “a leader who was popularly known for his humble character. This group previously stayed in the Democratic Republic of Congo but migrated to Volcanoes National Park(Rwanda) For this same reason, it resides on the slopes of Mountain Muhabura.
Hirwa Gorilla Family
Hirwa family is a new Gorilla group and consists of 8 members including 1 Silverback.” Hirwa means lucky one It was formed by members from the Sabinyo family and group 13 but later on more members kept on joining to increase the number of members to 16. This family resides between the mountains of Mount Gahinga and mountain Sabyinyo. It is the luckiest 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 definitely want to gorilla trek to see this group.
Karisimbi Gorilla Family
This family stays on the slopes of mountain Karisimbi, consisting of 16 members with 1 silverback inclusive. Karisimbi family is a break away fraction of the Susa family. Karisimbi gorilla family is currently the hardest to trek because it stays on the upper slopes of Mount Karisimbi which is on an altitude of 4507 m. In order for this group to keep calm and stay out of trouble, its silverback took it to a very far place which is hard to reach.
Ugenda Gorilla family
This family consists of 11 members including 2 Silverbacks.’ Ugenda’ means ‘mobile’ which partly relates to the mobility of this group. This gorilla group is always on the move and hardly settles in one specific place. Ugenda family apparently resides on Mount Bisoke and hiking 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 Gorilla family
Bwenge “wisdom”. This family consists of 11 members with 1 silverback inclusive. It usually resides on the slopes of Mount Visoke and the hiking is relatively easy. Anyway for lazy trekkers, this group is workable for your trekking. Bwenge family came into existence in the year 2007 by Bwenge who had the group named after him. This family initially left his native group and was joined by a few female individuals from other Gorilla families. Bwenge witnessed a very dark time when 6 of its infants died.