Gorilla Families –Rwanda Volcanoes National Park
Gorilla Families : Rwanda Volcanoes national park, a popular home for endangered mountain gorillas of a number of about 450 individuals that splint in more than 10 habituated gorilla families available for gorilla tracking. The park is part of the wider Virunga mountain ranges that spreads all the way to the Democratic Republic of Congo. The Virunga ranges inhabits with over 500 great mountain gorillas, of which half number of mountain gorillas live in Uganda’s Bwindi Impenetrable forest national park and Mgahinga Gorilla national park. In Africa mountain gorillas live in three countries only that is Rwanda, Uganda and Congo.
However, mountain gorilla lives in family groups led by a dominant silverback. During gorilla tracking tours, is based on allocation of a gorilla families and their preferences, choice of accommodation and level of physical fitness. Although, some gorilla groups can be found deep in the forest and require longer trekking hours. Therefore, Gorilla families are divided into two; For research purposes and some open to tourists. The remaining research groups are Shide and Beetsme group that have the highest number of individuals.
Just like it is conducted in Uganda’s Bwindi gorilla families , with only eight people who are allowed to reach each gorilla group in a day .Which implies that only 80 Gorilla permits are available for booking in a particular day .One to be able to locate some of these gorilla groups must be in good health condition since it involves in difficult in hiking and sometimes steep terrain .Moreover , Rwanda’s Volcanoes national park –gorilla families tend to move to a different location each day as they build new nests for the night. Trekking/tracking is quite a memorable and unforgettable experience one shouldn’t miss in life time, although it consists of challenges and opportunities. You need to be energetic enough in the body and if you tend to track with heavy luggage’s, you will need to pay a porter to help you all the way up to access the assigned gorilla group on that particular day.
This group has a size of 33 members including 2 silverbacks and is the most visited group among other gorilla families. Susa families likes to migrates to higher altitudes thus making tracking harder in this group. The group is popular for having twins that is Byishimo and Impano. In general, it was studied by Dian Fossey and one can access it through driving from the main point right from Kiningi approximately one hour and travelers should be prepared for a severe hike. This group once split in 2008 and the name of the group that split from it is called Karisimbi which now consists 15 members including 3 silverbacks.
This group consists a size of 13 members including female, offspring’s ,2 silverbacks of whom one is the biggest of all the silverbacks in the volcanoes. The group resides in the gentle slopes between Mount Sabyinyo and Gahinga and easily accessible. Gorillas in this group can take ten minutes to an hour to access, but generally the slopes are easy to hike, though can be slippery after rain.
A mahoro group, has 18 members including 2 Silverback, trackers in this group face with a steep climb to access this group, however the group is gentle and calm. Generally, they can be found on the slopes of Mt Visoke thus making hike difficult.
Agashya consists a group of 27 members, including 1 silverback. This group was the first habituated gorilla family/group and has grown from an initial 13 members. They can split in the same area as the Sabyinyo group, although sometime move deeper into the mountains.
Has a family size of 13 members, including 2 silverbacks. Generally, the group was formed by members of Amahoro family after one of the males called Charles broke off the group in order to lead his own group. Their territory splits with that of the Amohoro group.
Kwitonda Family /Group
The Kwitonda gorilla family, make up a size of 23 members, including 4 silverbacks, off springs and females. It was named after the dominant Silverback of the group, that means ‘’humble one’’. This group can be found in the lower slopes of Mt Muhabura marking it one of the most difficult families to track.
Hirwa Family /Group
The Hirwa family is a size 16 members, including 1 Silverback. This gorilla group is a relatively a new group which was formed from the two different families, Group 13 and Sabyiyo. They usually found in the foothills of Mt Sabyinyo on the Gahinga side. It has two twins which was born at the beginning of 2011.
The Karisimbi families, is made up of 16 members, including 2 silverbacks. This gorilla group was formed when Susa the largest gorilla family split into two groups. The hike /tracking carried out here is quite difficult and as its name denotes the group that can be found on lower levels of Mt Karisimbi.
This gorilla group as a size of 11 members, including 2 Silver backs. Ugenda which means mobile, it can be found around Mt Bisike and a hike and generally the hike isn’t too difficult to access.
The Bwenge group, comprises a size of 11 members including 1 silverback, the word Bwenge means wisdom. Generally, the group is found around Mt Bisoke and the hike is easy to access.
All the above listed gorilla group make up Rwanda tourism booming all over the world thus impacting on Rwanda’s economy and its tourism hub.