With about 1004 mountain gorillas that still thrive on earth today, Volcanoes National Park is that one special destination you need to pay a visit to catch a glimpse at these unique creatures while you are on safari in Africa. While on gorilla safari in Rwanda, below the ten habituated families set for your magical encounters with these rare primates while in their natural habitat.
Susa (Susa A)
If you are interested in exploring that one most demanding gorilla family then the Susa ‘A’ group should be a must for you to visit. At first, this group comprised of 42 individuals and it is where Dian Fossey conducted her study. It derived its name from the Susa River that flows across the Giants habitat. Hiking through this family can be strenuous but so rewarding with incredible moments with some of its 28 members and 3 silverbacks that make up it. The Susa ‘A’ group is also popular for its playful juvenile twins “Byishimo” and “Impano” and “Poppy”. There is a lot to learn from this gorilla group.
Karisimbi family (Susa B)
This is a splitter group from Susa group ‘A’ leading to formation of “Susa B” which is also known as Karisimbi group. Karisimbi features 15 individuals and they are easily tracked on Karisimbi volcano slopes (4507 meters). Susa families may require you the entire day to trek due to high elevation.
Amahoro gorilla family
Amahoro means “peaceful family”, this gorilla family is the calmest family in the Volcanoes National Park with 17 members, 1 silverback, 2 black backs, 5 female adults, 2 sub adult males, 2 young ones and 5 babies. You need to pay a visit here to share the total harmony with these humble creatures! Ubumwe-the silverback in this family is so harmonious, easy going and relaxed, though he lost his family to Charles in the Umubano family. However, to access the Amahoro gorilla family a client has to bear with fair terrain hike on mount Visoke slopes for this restful gorilla family.
At first, this group had 13 members and hence its name “13 group”. Later, the number increased up to 25 with 1 silverback, 12 adult females, 2 sub adult females, 3 juveniles and 7 babies. It is in this group that Nyakarima was a leader but defeated by Agashya. Agashya denotes the news and as its name suggests this silverback made great news. This is one of the most interesting groups to explore while you are on safari in Rwanda.
Kwitonda is comprised of 18 individuals and the word Kwitonda means the humble one. It has 2 other silverbacks besides the dominant silverback. This family originated from Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and they tend to live far away and it is one of the hardest groups to explore.
If you are interested in a group that is more accessible then look no further than the Sabinyo group. Guhonda is the most muscular silverback in Volcanoes National Park and known for his ability to keep Ryango silverback in total isolation. This group comprises of 8 members and the word Sabyinyo denotes the old man’s teeth.
Umubano gorilla family
The word Umubano means neighborliness. About 11 members make up this group with 1 silverback, 1 sub adult male, 3 adult females and 6 babies. It originated from Amahoro and broke off when the dominant Ubumwe silverback was challenged by Charles, the current leader of Umubano family. Time changed when Charles matured and could not withstand the orders Ubumwe used to pass on him and hence staged a war and challenged Ubumwe for several weeks and months. Charles then annexed some females and started new family called “Umubano gorilla family” but they ensured mutual interaction between them.
Hirwa is a newly identified family and it originated from Agashya and the Sabinyo gorilla family. It is made of 9 members with 1 silverback, 3 female adults, 2 sub female adults and 3 babies and tourists come for gorilla tracking around the base of mount Sabyinyo on the side of mount Gahinga. Trekking through this group equally rewards travel endeavors with unique experiences while you are on gorilla safari in Rwanda.
This group is made of 11 members and 1 silverback called Bwenge. It can easily be tracked on the Karisoke Volcano slopes. Bwenge was sighted in 2007 when the silverback left his original family and joined by many others females from other groups. It has had tough moments especially after 6 infants who died.
The word Ugenda denotes being on a move and indeed this group is normally on move and trekking through it means you have to hike but it rewards travel endeavors with amazing experiences. It is composed of 11 members and 2 silverbacks.