Volcanoes National Park, a home for Gorillas in Rwanda has got 10 Habituated Gorilla Groups that are available for trekking by tourists. The maximum number of people allowed to track each family of gorillas is 8 meaning that 80 gorilla permits are readily available every day for visitors to see gorillas in Rwanda. Astonishingly, every gorilla family has unique characteristics relatively different from the other. One group is set aside for research and study purpose is from this group from which Kwita Izina baby gorilla naming ceremony was nominated. Below are the habituated Rwanda Gorilla Families/Groups available:-
During the days of Dian Fossey, a silver back Titus was born and it is from this gorilla that Titus group was formed. The research according to Dian Fossey says that the young called Titus lost all its family members to poachers including his father, mother, sisters, brothers and uncles leaving Titus alone. Titus was raised by unrelated male gorilla. According to the research by Dian Fossey, Titus appeared immature and spindly because of the hard difficulties he was going through but he was able to overcome such difficulties and formed his own group by the names of Titus.
Susa Group (Susa A)
This is the supreme common family consisting of 42 members before the Divided. The group is well known for being studied by Diana Fossey during her Time in Rwanda from 1967 to 1985. In 2008 the group of 42 individual divided into 2 as the number had increased. One group came to be known as Susa B or Karisimbi group. Susa A group is well known for its Playful twins of Byishimo & Impano and these were named after the Susa River that drains through their home range. The group comprises of 33 members Including 2 silverbacks and inhabits the forests on the lower slopes of Mt. Karisimbi.
Karisimbi Group (Susa B)
This is group of gorillas in most cases is referred to as Susa B and is the group which split from the original Susa in 2008. It comprises of 16 members that includes 2 silverbacks. This is the toughest group to track as it dwells the upper slopes of Mt. Karisimbi at an altitude of 4507 m. The group constructed their home high in the upper slopes hence making it the suitable for trekkers that are interested in serious hiking. Tracking this group is sometimes challenging as they go further high though RDB rangers will first locate the group a day before.
Amahoro is a Kinyarwanda word that means peacefulness and the group is led by a silver back known as Ubumwe meaning peace. This group is identified for its peacefulness and friendliness which has brought the loss of its members to another group called Umubano. As the name Amahoro meaning peace, this group has live to the expectation of its name and it is considered as the most peaceful and friendly group among the entire Gorilla groups in the volcanoes national park. The group is made up of 18 members that comprises of two silver backs and tracking this group of gorillas is a bit tiresome as one has to hike up to Mt. Bisoke where their home was established.
This group consists of 13 members that include 2 silver backs and the name Umubano meant “living together”. This group of gorillas sprint off from Ubumwe group .the splint up was as result of continuous clashes between two head silver backs that is to say Ubumwe and Charles. Charles kept on challenging the sovereignty of the leader Ubumwe. He eventually succeeded in breaking away from his main group with some few members of the group hence creating Umubano group.
Sabyinyo group of gorilla found in volcano national park 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. Sabyinyo group is led by the dominant silver back which was oldest, biggest and obviously stronger compared to the other two silver backs and other gorillas in the group. The group is very common for its giant silver back called Guhonda which is the largest silver back in the park weighing about 220 kg and it has kept its main challenger, Ryango away from the family to remain as a dominant silver back. It has got 3 female mountain gorilla with 2 youthful mountain gorillas and a young mountain gorilla. Sabyinyo group of gorilla is such an impressive family that everybody would wish to visit. First of all it involves interesting activities like hiking in the dense vegetation and forested slopes of Mt Sabyinyo and Gahinga that gave us an incredible experience about gorilla that I personally will live to remember.
Agashya Group – Group 13
This group was named after the original family individual who were 13 during the habituation period. The group was originally headed by a silver back called Nyakarima but it was later over thrown by Agashya meaning the ‘ News’ which is now the front-runner and the family name was after him. Currently the family has expanded to 27 members including one silver back (Agashya). The group inhabits the same region with Sabyinyo group but sometimes Agashya leads the family deeper into the mountain when it senses danger.
The group is made up of 23 members together with its 4 silver backs. This group came from group from Democratic Republic of Congo which was named after its leading silver back called Kwitonda which means the ‘Humble One’. Because of its migration background, the group established their homes in the lower slopes of Mt. Muhabura and like Karisimbi group; it is also another strenuous group of gorilla to track since it keeps on moving to the upper slopes of the mountain.
This family was molded in 2006 by some members of Sambinyo group and others from 13 group (Agashya).more gorillas from other different groups joined this group hence making 16 members together with 1 silver back. The group got its name from the process of its formation which was out of luck. Hirwa means the “the lucky ones”. The group received twins in 2011 hence increasing on the members of the group. Hirwa group occupies the summits of Mt. Sabyinyo to the side of Mt. Gahinga.
The group is made up of 11 members together with its leading 2 silver backs and lives in Karisimbi region. Ugenda is the Kinyarwanda word that means “to move ‘or mobile”.it is also another group of gorillas that iv very difficult to trek since thy are mobile. The group name was derived from its unique conduct of wandering from one place to another.
This group was created as early as 2007 by Bwenge, and named after him the group’s leading silverback, after leaving his Natal group and another female from another group joined it. The group inhabits slopes of Karisoke Volcano between Karisimbi and Bisoke mountains and had gone through hard times when it lost 6 young ones. Later alone the group from that loss and it has 11 members together with 1 silver back. Bwenge is a Kinyarwanda word which means ‘Wisdom’ surprisingly it is this group that featured in the Movie ‘Gorillas in the Mist’.
In according to the above description about the habituated gorillas in the volcanoes, you should have a good image on the features and nature of each gorilla family. This gives a big chance on which gorilla family is suitable for you to track on your safari in the volcanoes national park in Rwanda.