Mountain Gorilla Groups in Volcanoes National Park Rwanda

Rwanda’s Volcanoes national park is currently the best gorilla trekking destination in the world. Presently there are ten well habituated gorilla groups for trekking and an extra one group for research. Young mountain gorillas to be named during the Kwita Izina ceremony are always selected from the research group. Therefore, the other 10 groups are enough for tracking and roughly, 81 gorilla permits are issued everyday in Rwanda to tourists to go and watch gorillas. For primate lovers, seeing the rear mountain gorillas in their natural habitats is a lifetime experience and this is best done in Volcanoes national park

Sabyinyo Gorilla group
This one is a nearby gorilla family which is said to be easy to access while on a Rwanda tracking safari. The group is dwelling on the gentle slopes of Mount. Sabyinyo and Mount. Gahinga. Guhonda is the commanding silverback of this group and the hugest silverback of the group whose enormous bodily look helped him to keep his challenger Ryango out of the group. This family has only 13 members meaning that they are a few individuals within the group who are equally impressive as the other groups with many individuals in one family. This group was named after Sabyinyo Volcano another way to mean “Old man’s teeth”.

The Susa gorilla family (Susa A)
This one is probably the most challenging Gorilla family to trek since it dwells on a moderately higher altitude high into the mountains than any other group. Notably, the group was studied by the famous zoologist Dian Fossey during her time in Rwanda and previously the group had 42 members which later were split to make the Susa B group. This group earned its name from the Susa River which directly flows through their habitat. The Susa family is popular for their young and playful twins called Byishimo and Impano. The oldest Gorilla called Poppy is also a member of this group which is believed to be from the original Dian Fossey’s Gorilla groups.

Karisimbi group (Susa B)
This family is presently called the Susa B or Karisimbi Group which previously split off the (Susa A) family due to the large number of gorillas that was continuously growing in the Susa A group. The Karisimbi gorilla group of Rwanda is a family to 16 members including 2 silverbacks. This group is good to be hiked by superb hikers because the gorillas dwell in the slopes of the Karisimbi Volcano which is the uppermost peak of Rwanda. The whole activity may take the hikers a full day since this group inhabit at an altitude of 4507m on the Karisimbi caldera.

Bwenge mountain gorilla group
Firstly, this group is called Bwenge a Kinyarwanda word to mean “wisdom” and they got their name after their dominant silverback, Bwenge who left his Natal group and tied with females from other groups to form this Bwenge family. This group experienced trying moments when they lost 6 young ones which reduced the group to 11 members. Trekking for this group is also tough since the group inhabit within the slopes of the Karisoke volcano in between Mt.Karisimbi and Mt.Bisoke. This is also the same family that is famously said to have featured in the movie “Gorillas in the Mist”.

The Titus Gorilla family
This gorilla group family was formed as a result of the famous Titus gorilla that was in existence during the times of the zoologist Dian Fossey’s research in Rwanda. This was the time this researcher became so serious against the character of poaching of the gorilla, in the state of anarchy, Titus the juvenile lost his family and later he was challenged to grow up with other male gorillas. These gorillas groomed Titus from the weak under developed gorilla to a strong one and that’s how they got their family name.

Hirwa Gorilla group
The name Hirwa means “the lucky one” and this gorilla group came into existence around June 2006, meaning its one of the newest groups. It was around this time that some members from the Sabyinyo group and some members from the 13 group (Agashya) teamed up and formed this Hirwa family. This family is commonly found in the foothills of the Sabyinyo Mountains on the side of the Gahinga. The members in this family are 16 together with 1 dominant silverback. The fact that they formed their family by luck, since it was a small family and it grew slowly by slowly; the group then earned the name “the lucky one”.

Amahoro gorilla family
This family is acknowledged as the most peaceful gorilla group, this is true since the Group’s dominate male Ubumwe was calm enough to let some few members to break off his family to form another family of Umubano. The group has 18 members together with 2 silverbacks and this group is exhausting to track because they established their home up on the slopes of Mt. Bisoke.

Umubano Gorilla family
The Umubano family group came into existence after the endless battles that used to happen between two silverbacks Ubumwe and Charles as they were still in one family of Amahoro. Ubumwe the dominant silverback wouldn’t allow Charles to take over so Charles luckily managed to break off the family with some members following him hence forming the Umubano family which means “Live together”. This family has 13 members plus 2 silverbacks Charles being the dominant male.

Agashya family (Group 13)
This one got its name from the time it was first habituated the group had 13 members, the name later changed to Agashya which means “news” or “something special”. Agashya was a strong silverback who over threw Nyakarima and became the new dominant male of the group.the size of the family is now 27 members including 1 dominant silverback who leads the family to roam around the areas of the Sabyinyo group territories and other times, Agashya wonders with his family deep in the mountains.

Kwitonda family group
This group is well known for having migrated from the DR Congo and it was named after its dominant male called Kwitonda and this word further means “the humble one”. This is one of the most difficult families to track since it normally wonders around Mt. Muhabura territories and the upper slopes too. The group has a family size of 23 members with 4 silverbacks and like hanging around with the Karisimbi gorilla group.

Uganda gorilla group
This one is a famous gorilla group simply because it’s mobile and keeps wondering around the territories of Karisimbi and Mt. Bisoke, this family has no permanent area of residence. The word Ugenda is in Kinyarwanda and it means “being on a move” which convincingly shows you that the group is difficult to track since it keeps moving around with its 11 members including 2 silverbacks.