12 GORILLA FAMILIES IN VOLCANOES NATIONAL PARK – RWANDA
12 Gorilla Families in Volcanoes national park – Rwanda : There are 12 Gorilla Families in Rwanda that have been habituated for trekking by different travelers all year round. These 12 Gorilla Families in Rwanda thrill within Volcanoes national park which is the only destination in Rwanda that harbor endangered mountain gorillas in their natural habitats. Gorilla trekking is the major tourist activity enjoyed while on a Rwanda safari to Volcanoes national park.
With over 1063 mountain gorillas that still survive in the wild, Volcanoes national park is blessed to be one of those destinations where these gentle giants are encountered while on a gorilla trekking adventure with other destinations being Bwindi impenetrable national park in southwestern part of Uganda that harbors the largest population of these gorillas, Mgahinga gorilla national park also thrilling in south western part of Uganda harboring only 1 gorilla family and the other destination is Virunga national park in Eastern part of Democratic Republic of Congo.
Well with the 12 habituated Gorilla Families in volcanoes national park Rwanda, Rwanda Development Board issues out 96 gorilla trekking permits per day available for 96 trekkers since each gorilla family is trekked by maximum 8 persons for 1 hour per day. Each permit costs $1500 which is the most expensive permit as compared to the permit to trek similar gorillas in Uganda at $700 and in Democratic Republic of Congo at $400.
Below are the 12 Gorilla Families in Volcanoes national park Rwanda
- Susa Gorilla Family (Susa – A)
Susa A is one of those Gorilla families you need to encounter while on your gorilla trekking safari in Volcanoes national park Rwanda. At the time of its habituation, Susa – A gorilla family had over 42 family members but currently has 33 including a pair of twins (Impano and Byishimo). This gorilla family prefers to thrill in ranges of mountains thus trekkers to this Gorilla family have to endeavor the toil during the hike to trek Susa – A gorilla family. Another fascinating fact about trekking Susa – A gorilla family is that it was one of the Gorilla family that the late Dian Fossey used during her research.
- Susa – B (Karisimbi gorilla family)
Susa B (Karisimbi Gorilla family) was once part of the Susa – A Gorilla family but later on in 2008, the magnificent gorilla family split into 2 to make own family with 2 silverbacks. Susa B gorilla family consists of 16 members and as the name states, it’s trekked in higher altitude of Mount Karisimbi which as well requires real hikes during the trek to spend an hour with Susa – B gorilla family.
- Hirwa Gorilla Family
The word Hirwa in Kinyarwanda refers to the Lucky one and indeed Hirwa Gorilla family is one of the luckiest gorilla families that thrill in Volcanoes national park Rwanda that came into existence as a result of the Silverback Munyinya leaving the Susa – A gorilla family with 2 females and then snatching other members from other different families like Group 13 and Sabyinyo gorilla families to come up with a total number of 16 members at the time of habituation in 2006. Later on after 5 years, Hirwa gorilla family received a pair of twin making more lovable by trekkers. The challenge with Hirwa gorilla family is that it is found of roaming the entire Virunga Massif from Rwanda to Uganda and Congo though we believe that it has finally managed to settle in Volcanoes national park Rwanda.
- Sabyinyo Gorilla family
Sabyinyo Gorilla family roams along the slopes of Mount Sabyinyo and mount Gahinga thus was named after this stunning volcano mount Sabyinyo which resembles the old man’s worn out teeth. Sabyinyo gorilla family is amongst the 12 habituated gorilla families in Volcanoes national park and it is one of those best families to trek as it harbors the largest silverback in the park. This family has 13 members and it is very easy to trek by those who do not enjoy long hikes and treks Sabyinyo family is the way to go as it stays near the park headquarters of Volcanoes national park Rwanda.
- Agashya Gorilla Family (Group -13)
The word Agashya means the new one. Agashya Gorilla Family also known as Group – 13 is amongst the 13 gorilla families that have been habituated and available for trekking all year round in Volcanoes national park Rwanda. At the time of habituation, Agashya gorilla family had just 13 member but now it thrills with over 27 members living in the territory of Sabyinyo gorilla family along the slopes of Mount Sabyinyo.
- Bwenge Gorilla family
The word Bwenge is referred to as wisdom. Bwenge gorilla family is led by Bwenge silverback the wisest silverback in Volcanoes national park Rwanda. Bwenge family as habituated in 2007 ad is one of the gorilla family that was featured in the Movie “Gorillas in the Mist”. Bwenge gorilla family comprises of 11 member and is trekked along the slopes of Mount Bisoke and is one of the easiest families to trek out of the 12 gorilla families that are habituated in Rwanda.
- Amahoro Gorilla Family
The word Amahoro means “Peaceful” thus Amahoro gorilla family is known to be the most peaceful of all the 12 habituated gorilla families in Volcanoes national park Rwanda. This family prefers spending day hour’s uphill in the rugged slopes of Mount Karisimbi and it comprises of 18 members under the leadership of silverback Ubumwe “meaning togetherness”. Only adventurous trekkers can therefore participate in trekking Amahoro gorilla family in Rwanda since it requires physical fitness to get to where this family thrill.
- Umubano gorilla Family
Umubano refers to as togetherness. Umubano gorilla family thrills in the same territory with Amahoro gorilla family. This came up as a result of conflicts between 2 silverbacks Charles and Ubumwe that led to splitting of Amahoro gorilla family into 2 thus the rise of Umubano family led by Silverback Charles and the major Amahoro family remained under the leadership of Ubumwe silverback.
- Kwitonda Gorilla Family
The word Kwitonda is referred to as the “Humble one”. This gorilla family is currently trekked in Volcanoes national park in Rwanda though it migrated from Virunga national park in Democratic Republic of Congo where it shifted and settled in Rwanda and is now one of the 12 habituated gorilla families available for trekking in Rwanda. The family settled along the slopes of Mount Muhabura in Rwanda under the leadership of Kwitonda silverback.
- Muhoza Gorilla Family
Muhoza gorilla family is one of the newest habituated gorilla families in Volcanoes national park. It comprises of 12 members led by Muhoza (Referring to the Tax Collector). This family prefers to thrill in the lower mountain slopes thus easy to trek on your Gorilla trekking safari in Volcanoes national park Rwanda.
- Titus Gorilla Family
Titus Gorilla family is one of the gorilla families that emerged during the time of Dian Fossey and sadly Titus lost his relatives due to poaching but late on managed to regain and gather more members to make a complete family that was later on habituated and made ready for trekking under his leadership and named Titus.
- Ugenda Gorilla family
The name Ugenda means a “wonderer”. Therefore, Ugenda Gorilla Family is found of roaming across volcanoes national park and can never settle in one place. This makes trekking it very difficult since it is difficult to predict its next move. Sometime this Ugenda family is trekked along the slopes of Mount Karisimbi and either days along mount Bisoke.
Whichever family one chooses to trek in Volcanoes national park Rwanda, upon encountering with it, the experience is always similar and it lasts for only 1 hour in presence of gorillas in volcanoes national park Rwanda.