What Gorilla Families to Trek in Rwanda: Rwanda, as a country, is located in the eastern portion of East Africa and is recognized for having many mountains, which is why it is known as the “Country of a Thousand Hills.” Rwanda is also an internationally popular tourist destination with several tourist sites and national parks. The endangered mountain gorillas are one of Rwanda’s most popular tourist attractions. Mountain gorillas in Rwanda can only be found at Volcanoes National Park, which is the only area to find mountain gorillas in Rwanda and the fourth national park in Africa.
Volcanoes National Park is located in Kinigi Ruhengeri in the north-western part of Africa. The park spans an area of 160 square kilometers and includes districts such as Burera, Musanze, Rubavu, and Nyabihu. Volcanoes National Park is part of the larger Virunga conservation region, which includes the Democratic Republic of the Congo’s Virunga National Park, Uganda’s Mgahinga National Park, and Volcanoes National Park.
Volcanoes National Park is peppered with five volcanoes: Karisimbi, Bisoke, Muhabura, Gahinga, and Sabyinyo, all of which are part of the Virunga chain’s eight volcanoes. These volcanoes are wooded, making them an ideal home for mountain gorillas, which like to live in forested high altitudes, What Gorilla Families to Trek in Rwanda?.
Mountain gorillas in Volcanoes National Park have been habituated and grouped into groups that may be visited for mountain gorilla trekking. These families include;
Susa Gorilla Family
Susa gorilla family is currently the largest gorilla family in Volcanoes National Park, residing on the lower slopes of Mount Karisimbi. Comprised of 33 members, including two silverbacks, this family is reportedly the most exciting and difficult to trek gorilla family in the park, according to trekkers. The Susa gorilla family, also known as Susa A, was the first family to be habituated in Volcanoes National Park and the one studied by Dian Fossey. The Susa A gorilla family initially had 42 members when a power conflict separated part of them off to establish the Susa B group.
Sabyinyo Gorilla Family
Sabyinyo gorilla family is a group of 13 individuals situated on the slopes of Mount Sabyinyo, comprising two silverbacks, three females, and two youngsters. This group is one of the simplest mountain gorilla groups to hike in the woods of Volcanoes National Park. Sabyinyo gorilla family was founded after the death of group 13’s leader, after which a few females left the group to form their own group under the name Sabyinyo group, which comprised of four females and two silverbacks at the time of establishment. The most remarkable aspect of this group is that it is led by the largest mountain gorilla in the entire woods of Volcanoes National Park, silverback Guhonda, who weighs 220 kg.
Amahoro Gorilla Family
The Amahoro gorilla family consists of 17 individuals, including two silverbacks, two blackbacks, five adolescents, five adult females, and four young gorillas, all led by silverback Umbwe. The Amahoro gorilla family is a difficult family to hike because to the terrain going to Mount Bisoke, where it is situated. The term Amahoro is a native Kinyarwanda word that means peace, which is reflected in the group’s tranquil nature.
Agashya Gorilla Family
The Agashya gorilla family is a family of 27 individuals led by dominant silverback Agashya. This group is technically known as Group 13 and it began with 13 members led by dominant silverback Nyakarima, who was eventually toppled by the present leader of the group Agashya, from whom the group gets its name. The Agashya gorilla family is discovered and travelled on the slopes of Mount Sabyinyo. The group is called after its dominant silverback, and the term Agashya is a native Kinyarwanda word that means “News.”
Umbano Gorilla Family
The Umbano gorilla family consists of 13 members, including two silverbacks, one sub adult, six infants, and three adult females, and is led by dominant silverback Charles. The Umbano gorilla family was originally part of the Amahoro gorilla family until the death of the group’s leader and the numerous instabilities that ensued.
In the mountain gorilla group hierarchy, the second oldest silverback takes over leadership after the death of the ruling silverback; however, this was not the case in the Amahoro group because silverback Charles refused to accept and submit to the new leader of the group, so he left the group with two females to form his own group. The Umbano gorilla group is discovered and hiked on the slopes of Mount Bisoke, which also houses the Amahoro gorilla family.
Kwitonda Gorilla Family
The Kwitonda gorilla family is a large gorilla family of 23 members led by the dominant silverback Akarevuro. This gorilla family was discovered in the Democratic Republic of the Congo’s Virunga National Park but later migrated to Volcanoes National Park, where it now lives between the slopes of Mount Sabyinyo and Gahinga.
The Kwitonda gorilla family is named after the former head of the family, silverback Kwitonda. Silverback Kwitonda died at the age of 40 and was succeeded by a juvenile silverback Akarevuro, despite the group having elder silverbacks Kigoma and Maguma. Silverback Kwitonda died naturally, and his body was discovered after 10 days because he had fled and vanished. Prior to his absence, Kwitonda had permitted males to mate with females in the group.
Hirwa Gorilla Family.
Hirwa gorilla family is one of the recently habituated gorilla groups in Volcanoes National Park. This group comprises of 16 members who include former Sabyinyo gorilla family and group 13 members. Hirwa gorilla family is led by dominant silverback Munyinga, who is also responsible for the group’s establishment. This group was founded after silverback Munyinga got into a fight with the Susa family about mating with many females, and with two females he left the group. Munyinga gathered additional females along the road, and the Hirwa gorilla family, which lives on the slopes of Mount Sabyinyo where it is hiked, is one of the luckiest gorilla families in Volcanoes National Park to have twins.
Karisimbi Gorilla Family.
The Karisimbi gorilla family, also known as Susa B, is a family of 11 individuals led by dominating silverback Nyagakangaga. This gorilla family can be located on the slopes of Mount Karisimbi and is one of the most difficult gorilla families to walk in Volcanoes National Park. Karisimbi gorilla family is a breakaway family from Susa gorilla group (Susa A) that emerged in 2009. Susa gorilla family initially comprised of 42 individuals, including around 26 silverbacks. With 13 members, silverback Nyagakangaga departed the group, and the group was first known as Susa B until being renamed Karisimbi in 2010. The Karisimbi gorilla family includes of four silverbacks, one blackback, two newborns, and one adult female, What Gorilla Families to Trek in Rwanda?.
Ugenda Gorilla Family.
The Ugenda gorilla family, which consists of 11 individuals and two silverbacks, was discovered and trekked on the slopes of Mount Bisoke. The Ugenda family is one of the easier families to trek in Volcanoes National Park and is better ideal for lazy hikers. Ugenda gorilla is called from a Kinyarwanda term Ugenda, which meaning movable, which describes the group’s status as a nomadic gorilla family. This group is discovered traveling from place to place on the slopes of Mount Bisoke, also known as Mount Visoke.
Bwenge Gorilla Family
The Bwenge gorilla family consists of 11 family members and one silverback. This family was formed in 2007 after the dominant silverback and group leader left his mother gorilla family with several females to start his own group. The Bwenge gorilla family is called after a Kinyarwanda term that meaning wisdom; this family may be found and walked on the slopes of Mount Bisoke and Mount Karisimbi. Bwenge gorilla family is a prominent gorilla family in Volcanoes National Park, and its members were included in Dian Fossey’s 1988 film Gorillas in the Mist. However, the Bwenge gorilla family has had its share of difficulties, including the loss of six of its new-borns in a horrible tragedy, What Gorilla Families to Trek in Rwanda?.
Titus Gorilla Family
Titus gorilla family was created by dominating silverback Titus, the group’s leader; this family is one of the oldest and first gorilla groups that have been habituated in Volcanoes National Park. Silverback Titus was born during Dian Fossey’s mountain gorilla studies at Karisoke Research Centre. Silverback Titus took over leadership from Silverback Beetme and commanded the group from 1991 to 2007, when he died naturally. Titus was discovered dead in his nest, and his offspring, silverback Kuryama, is the current leader of the group. The Titus gorilla family was discovered and walked on the slopes of Karisimbi Mountain.