Rwanda is one of the best country’s to visit for a gorilla trekking experience, its one of the county’s located in the famous Virunga massif besides Uganda and the Democratic republic of Congo. Rwanda boasts with 10 habituated gorilla groups, this group can be looked at below:
8 people are allowed to track each of the mountain gorilla groups therefore making it up to only 80 permits available per day. Volcanoes national park is the only precious gem in Rwanda where you can explore the famous mountain gorillas.
Two of the Rwandan mountain gorilla families are reserve for study purposes while others are for tourism purposes. The gorilla groups that can only be accessed by scientists and researchers are Pablo’s Shiva’s and Beetsme families and are the largest groups of all the other groups. Below are habituated gorilla groups:
The word Bwenge is derived from a local word to mean wisdom, this group comprises of 11 members and one silverback. This group is found on mount Bisoke, it’s said that it’s dominant Bwenge in whom the group is named after experienced dark times when six of it’s infants died during the early formation of the group.
This is the most fascinating group of the gorilla families and also the largest in volcanoes national park, the group contains two twins known as Impano and Byishimo born to Nyabintondore. This group had an internal conflict in 2008 and 15 split from 42 with 2silverbacks. This was also the first group where Dian Fossey the famous primatologist did her study on mountain gorillas. This group is the most preferred by tourists and also one of he hardest to track. They live at he base of mount Karisimbi. The name Susa was derived from River Susa which runs through the Susa family home, Susa group also boasts with the oldest gorilla born in 1976 known as poppy.
The Agashya group was the first group to be habituated and comprises of 27 members with 1 silverback, this group moves alongside the Sabinyo group, the name Agashya means “News”, the group was initially started by 13 individuals led by a silverback know as Nyakarima who was overthrown by a dominant gorilla known as Agashya whom the name of the group is got from. Agashya is said to be very commanding and protective he always commands his group to move uphill whenever he senses danger from the foothills.
This group mostly stays within the foothills of mount Sabinyo and Mount Gahinga,it also comprises of 2 twins born in 2011, the group comprises of 16 members and 1 silverback. The name Hirwa is derived from a local word to mean “Lucky one” . It was formed by members of group 13 and Sabinyo group. The Hirwa group was habituated in 2006.
This group was split from the Susa group and comprises of 16 members with 2 Silverbacks found in mount Karisimbi and the hardest to trek as the gorillas reside on the upper mountain slopes of the 4,507 meters mountain. The group is also sometimes known as Susa B. This group was formed in 2008.
The Ugenda group comprises of 11 members including 2 silver backs, the groups derives it’s name from the word meaning “Mobile”. This group inhabits mount Bisoke, this group never settles in one place always on the move
The name Kwitonda is derived from a local word to mean “Humble one” it contains 23 members including 4 silverbacks, the name was got after the dominant silverback of the group called Kwitonda. They inhabit the mountain slopes of mount Muhabura. The Kwitonda group formerly lived in Congo and later migrated to Rwanda. Kwitonda was renowned for his humble character.
This group contains of the largest silverback in volcanoes national park known as Guhonda, it comprises of 13 members and 2 silverbacks. This group roams about mount Sabinyo and Gahinga slopes, the group was led by a famous silverback that was from group 13. This group is also one of the easiest to trek.
The word Umubano means “ Live together” this was formed by members of the Amahoro family named after one if it’s silverbacks Charles who broke off to form his own group they contain of 13 members with 2 silverbacks. It’s said that that Charles broke off due to endless battles he had with Ubumwe.
The word Amahoro means “Peaceful” this group comprises of 18 members including 2 silverbacks, they are the most peaceful and live on the mountain slopes of mount Bisoke. The group is a bit hard to trek as the mountain slope of Bisoke are stenous.
The group derived it’s name from a gorilla known as Titus, This has got a dark history as his all family was murdered during the time of Dian Fossey’s research study living him as the only one who survived the poachers, the Titus group can be trekked in mount Bisoke and Karisimbi slopes.
The maximum time for watching and observing gorillas is strictly one hour, tourists can lodge in any of the hotels at Volcanoes national park such as; Gorillas next lodge, mountain view gorilla lodge, Hotel Muhabura and many more. Gorilla trekking can also be done in Uganda and Congo within the Virunga massif.
Some of the mountain groups are hard to trek and therefore located by rangers a day before tourists can trek.