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Gorilla Families in Rwanda

There are various Rwanda gorilla families or gorilla groupings. Undoubtedly one of the most captivating activities in Africa is mountain gorilla trekking. It’s unfortunate that, globally, it can only be done in Uganda, Rwanda, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. There is only one location in Rwanda where mountain gorilla trekking is possible, and that is in Musanze’s Volcanoes National Park (former Ruhengeri). There are currently 10 habituated Mountain Gorilla groups in the park, and only 8 permits are given to each group, giving a total of 80 permits available each day. Each group of mountain gorillas has its own distinctive traits, including personality, size, dominance, and more. Some mountain gorilla groups are headed by highly powerful Silverbacks.

Some mountain gorilla groups are led by Silverbacks which are very peaceful and if you portray the same character then it would be recommended to bond with a peaceful family.


Rwanda Gorilla trekking

Take a look at the list of the Rwanda Gorilla families

Rwanda Gorilla tours

Susa family (Susa A)

Susa group is the biggest Mountain Gorilla family in Rwanda in Volcanoes National Park. The group originally had a total of 42 members before it split and reduced to a current total of 33 members and 2 silverbacks. This  gorilla family has very interesting and amazing twins with a huge size that attracts tourists attention.  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.

Susa gorilla family was named after River Susa which runs through the area where the gorilla group normally calls home. Susa gorilla family is indeed historical and one of the popular groups in as far as conservation studies of mountain gorillas is concerned.

Susa gorilla family that Dian Fossey studied while she was at Karisoke Research Center in Volcanoes National Park Rwanda before her sudden death in 1985.


Rwanda Gorilla Trekking tours

Sabinyo Family

If you wish to encounter gorillas in the wild without going through so much trouble, this group is for you. They like to graze in the easily reachable forest zone of the mountain after which they are named, Mountain Sabinyo. In seasons when food is scarce here, they don’t go very far. Rather, they hang around the lower slopes of the bamboo zone. This preference for less bushy settings makes it easy to take their pictures as they go about their normal-wild-lives. The group is headed by Guhonda silverback and has 12 members..
Sabyinyo gorilla family stays in Volcanoes National Park and comprises of 9 members that are frequently found in the gentle foothills of Mt. Sabyinyo and Mt Mgahinga. Sabyinyo group is one of the closest groups normally found at the edges of the park therefore easily accessed and allocated by the trackers for visitors to trek. On a good day, it could even take you less than 2 hours to access this group.

Gorilla trekking in Rwanda

Amahoro Family

Kwita Izina, a yearly celebration of gorilla conservation in which characters are assigned to gorillas, is organized by Rwanda. This group competed in the second edition in 2005 under the name Amahoro. It is a Kinyarwanda word that refers to a person or item whose profound tranquility is motivating. Indeed, this group’s 18 members are genuine peace ambassadors. They are very tolerant of visitors and only get aggressive when they feel threatened.Don’t stare directly into its commander Ubumwe’s eyes to avoid any conflict. Like most silverbacks, he gives you the urge to question his authority. Last time this was done, a gorilla received a pounding of a lifetime. His name is Umubano.

The Amahoro group is made up of of 2 black backs, 5 infant gorillas, 4 juveniles, 2 silverbacks and four adult mothers.

Agashya Family

Group 13 was the previous name of the Agashya family, which changed its name recently. The initial number of the 13 people who founded this group is how it earned its name. Initially, a dominating silverback named Nyakarima was in charge of this family; however, he was later deposed in favor of Agashya, who continues to be in charge today. Unexpectedly, the family was named after him. The name Agashya means “News”. It appears to have a lot more members than it had before! There is only one Silverback. Like the Sabyinyo family, they can be seen roaming the mountainside of Sabyinyo.
The Agashya gorilla family is also known as Group 13 (thirteen), which is a convenient identification number. The group is currently led by a silverback called Agashya who had to overthrow Nyakarima before taking over the throne. The family’s population has grown from 13 to 27 members in a space of 8 years.


Agashya group

Umubano (‘Live Together’) Family

There are 13 members in this group: a blackback, a silverback, six infants, and three adult females. Charles, a powerful silverback who was sick of the constant fighting in the Amahoro clan, founded it. This came after numerous incursions by competing gorillas. As a result, Charles recruited twelve other gorillas who shared his beliefs to join him in creating a family that rejects violence as a solution to issues. As a result, the Family was given the name Umubano, which in Kinyarwanda means “living together in harmony.”

Hirwa Gorilla Family

There are two reasons for which this group is named after a Kinyarwanda word which means lucky. For starters, it is one of the only 7 groups in Virunga region that has twins. This is a big deal considering gorillas depend on big numbers for protection.

The other reason, is that no matter the time of the year you visit it, you have a great probability of finding all its 16 members. They have a strong solidarity and always stick together even in the heat of anger. Their preferred location is mountain Sabinyo where they have been roaming freely since their break off from Sabyinyo group and Agashya group some years back.


Bwenge Family

Bwenge Rwanda Gorilla family  was founded by Titus in 2007 after being ousted from his position as leader of the Titus group. He reigned with an iron grip for more than five years and fathered over 20 children, both from his own group and others. Bwenge, an ambitious son who was one of these infants and who turned 19 years old and started the revolt that gave rise to this Group.

Two Females from his previous group and Females from Pablo’s group came after him. Together, they assisted him in building a small kingdom with 11 members that had a solid foundation. They occupy the Karisoke Mountain slopes. Six infants have so far been lost by the group, the majority of them were a result of clashes with other Rwanda Gorilla families.


Ugenda Group

Ugenda The 27 gorillas in this group resemble one another like identical twins. You will spend the next hour trying to distinguish them based on their primary physical characteristics from head to toe. The perfection with which God created them will astound you. Surprisingly, the ranger guides can distinguish between them without actually seeing them by listening to the tone of their vocalizations and heartbeat frequency. This comes after a relationship they’ve had with them ever since they were accustomed to them a few years ago. They will recognize the various people for you based on your prior exposure and present their fascinating life tales with you, showcasing both their best and worst traits. This Rwanda Gorilla families are made of 11 members including 2 silver backs


Ugenda Gorilla Family
Rwanda Gorilla families

Kwitonda group

The group comprises of 23 individuals led by Akarevuro, one of the three dominant silverbacks, the other two are Magumu and Kigoma.

Before migrating and settling in the lower slopes of Mt. Sabyinyo and Mt. Gahinga in 2003, the group used to live in Africa’s oldest National Park, Virunga National Park. Then, it was still led by Kwitonda, an adorable silverback that passed on shortly after clocking 40 years in 2012.

The group is named after Kwitonda as he led his family away from the war torn zones of Congo. As you walk past community land into the park to see this group, kids will cheerfully wave at you while exclaiming “Abba Mzungo”. It means welcome home white friend.0

 Susa B-also known as Karisimbi group

Since their split from the Susa A group in 2008, this Rwanda Gorilla family population has grown from 9 to 15. This is thanks to multiple births they have registered. They live in the higher ranges of Mountain Karisimbi-Rwanda’s highest mountain (4,507M). This is one of the things that makes visiting them more rewarding than most gorilla groups. It entails rising towards the highest point in Rwanda from where you can take in views of thousands of majestic hills.

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