Mountain gorilla groups in Rwanda

Mountain gorilla groups in Rwanda

Rwanda the land of a thousand hills is an excellent habitant for the endangered mountain gorillas, Rwanda formerly known as Ruanda is relatively a small country situated in central Africa bordering Uganda, Tanzania, and Burundi and democratic republic of Congo. Mountain gorillas in Rwanda are habiting the forested volcanoes found in volcanoes national park a great protected area and a great tourist destination, volcanoes national park stretches on the slopes of Virunga volcanoes that is karisimbi, bisoke, muhabura, gahinga and sabyinyo covering an area 0f 160 square kilometers.

Volcanoes national park is a home to 11 fascinating gorilla families which are trekked by tourists while on your gorilla trekking safari in Rwanda, these families include

Susa family (Susa A)

Susa family is currently the biggest gorilla family in Rwanda present in volcanoes national park and one of the most trekked families in forested slopes of mount karisimbi, Susa family also referred to as Susa A as it is the remain family as a result of some members splitting to their own group also referred to as Susa B. This gorilla family originally consisted of 42 members, due family conflicts the family is now made of 28 family members consisting 3 silverbacks and a set of twins Impano and Byishimo.

For a Susa gorilla is the hardest gorilla family to trek though it is undeniably the most interesting family to trek in volcanoes national park and perfect for adventurous trekkers, trekking this family consist of hiking through the thick forests on mount karisimbi.

Susa family is named after Susa River where members of this family are seen loitering and feeding, Susa gorilla family is very significant to research history and conservation of gorilla families in the world. During the research done by an American researcher Dian fossey at Karisoke research center in volcanoes national park, it is members of Susa families which were used for the study and research purposes.

Sabyinyo family

Sabyinyo gorilla family is another amazing family in Rwanda found on the gentle slopes of mount sabyinyo, it is among the closet groups easy to find while trekking as it is normally located at the edges of the park. Sabyinyo family was previous known as “Amavubi” a Kinyarwanda slag meaning wasp, Sabyinyo the current name for this family was got from mount sabinyo a volcano where this family lives, sabyinyo in a local Kinyarwanda slag means “an Old man’s teeth”.

Sabyinyo gorilla family is trekked on the slopes of mount sabyinyo and mountain Mgahinga, this group currently consists of 9 gorilla individuals that is 2 youthful gorillas, 1 young gorilla, 3 females and 3 silverbacks which make this impressive family. Initially during the time of formation sabyinyo gorilla group started with 13 members that is 11 females and 2 silverbacks who had just split from another group, today the group is led by a dominant silverback Guhonda who is considered the oldest, biggest and strongest silverback in Virunga national park.

Amahoro family

Amahoro gorilla family is one of the most peaceful gorilla family in Rwanda and Virunga national park which explains the group’s name Amahoro in a local Kinyarwanda slag which means peace, this family is noted as one of the hardest gorilla families to trek in Virunga national park as it inhabits and is trekked on the forested slopes of mount bisoke.

Amahoro gorilla family is a family of 17 family members consisting of 1 dominant silverback, 2 blackback, 5 juveniles and 5 adult females, this family is under the leadership of a dominant silverback Ubumwe the most humble silverback in Virunga national park, because of his humbleness Ubumwe has been able to keep his family members in peace and together but it is this togetherness which has led the family to lose most of its members.

Trekking Amahoro gorilla family is relatively difficult to trek as it involves hiking through steep and slippery slopes of mount bisoke but it is very rewarding and one of the safest family to trek in Rwanda.

Agashya family

Agashya gorilla family is relatively a big gorilla family also referred to as “Group 13”, this group inhabits in the same proximity as sabyinyo gorilla group as they both live on the forested slopes of mount Sabinyo. The Agashya gorilla family’s initial name group 13 was a reference to the 13 members making up the group at the time of the habituation process, Group 13 was initially under the leadership of Nyakarima silver back. Nyakarima was overthrown by Agashya which also resulted into changing of the group’s name to Agashya, the name Agashya is a local Kinyarwanda name meaning news.

Agashya gorilla family consists of 25 family members with 1 silverback, 12 females, 7 babies and 3 juveniles, this group is still under the leadership of a dominant silverback Agashya. Silverback Agashya is a very security conscious leader, because of his character he usually leads his group to the raised landscape of mount sabinyo whenever he feels threatened.

Umubano family

Umubano gorilla family is a group of 13 with 2 silverback, 1 sub adult, 6 infants and 3 adult females, this group was part of the Amahoro group until it broke away forming their own group. At the time of the peaceful break away of this group, Amahoro gorilla family had more than 1 silverback and after the death of the reigning silverback Charles the leader of Umubano never agreed to submit to the next leader thus forming his own group. He left the group with no fight with only two female gorillas.

Umubano gorilla family is still led by a dominant silverback Charles who is known for being ambitious though still young, Umubano the name of this group is a local Kinyarwanda name meaning neighborliness.

Kwitonda family

Kwitonda gorilla family is the second largest gorilla family in volcanoes national park and in Rwanda inhabiting and trekked on forested slopes of both mount sabinyo and mount gahinga. This family is made up of 28 members and adopted its name from a dominant silverback of the group Kwitonda, unfortunately silverback Kwitonda died a natural age at the age of 40 in September 2012 and he was found 10 after his death as he had isolated himself from the family and gone to a place no gorilla in the family knew.

After the demise Kwitonda he was succeeded by a silverback Akarevuro whose leadership was also supported by other silverbacks in the group that is Kigoma and Magumu.

Hirwa family

Hirwa gorilla family is the most liked and most trekked gorilla group in volcanoes national park inhabiting and trekked on the forested slopes of mountain sabyinyo, Hirwa family’s name is a Kinyarwanda name meaning Lucky one and indeed it is a lucky group with birth of twins born in 2011.

Hirwa family was formed by a dominant silverback Munyinga after getting in trouble with Susa family due to his tendency of mating the females in the family, he exited the group thus forming his own group. Hirwa group is a family of 16 members under the leadership of silverback Munyinga.

Karisimbi family

Karisimbi gorilla family is a break away family from the Susa gorilla group that is why it is also referred to as Susa B, this family inhabits and it is trekked around the forested slopes of mount karisimbi  the highest peaks of Virunga volcanoes which makes hiking this group a little bit challenging.  Karisimbi gorilla family consists of 11 members under the leadership of a dominant silverback Nyagakangaga, silverback Nyagakangaga led the break of the group from Susa group and from then the group was called Susa B until 2010 when it’s named was changed to karisimbi.

The group’s family members include 1 adult female, 4 silverbacks, 1 black back and 2 infants, karisimbi gorilla group is trekked near mountain karisimbi caldera which makes it the hardest gorilla family to trek in Virunga national park and Rwanda as a whole.

Ugenda family

Ugenda gorilla family is an entertaining gorilla group with 11 members and 2 silverbacks inhabiting and trekked on the forested slopes of mountain Bisoke, Ugenda gorilla is a very mobile gorilla family which reasons with its name Ugenda which means mobile. Hiking Ugenda family is relatively easy as it is found near on the slopes of mount bisoke.

Bwenge family

Bwenge gorilla family is a group of 11 members with one silverback, the name Bwenge is a Kinyarwanda word meaning wisdom. This family is in habited and trekked on the forested slopes of both mountain bisoke and mountain karisimbi, trekking Bwenge gorilla family is relatively hard but very rewarding that is why it is the most popular gorilla family in volcanoes national park. The members of this family featured in the Gorillas in the Mist movie filmed by Dian Fossey, in past Bwenge family faced a horrific disaster which resulted into death of 6 infants and currently the group consists of 11 members with one silverback.

Titus family

Titus gorilla family is also one of the interesting groups to trek in volcanoes national park habiting and trekked on the slopes of mount bisoke and mount karisimbi, this family is under the leadership of a dominant silverback from who it derives its name.

If you are planning to visit Rwanda for a mountain gorilla trekking safari, using Focus East Africa tours to plan a safari for you guarantees you a great  experience.

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