Would you like to go gorilla trekking in Rwanda? There are 12 habituated gorilla families that can be visited by tourists taking safaris in Rwanda. These groups have undergone a habituation process to make them get used to human prescence. Visitors will be allocated the gorilla family to be visited on the day of the gorilla trek at the Kinigi headquarters. Please note that it is important to inform the staff about the level of your physical fitiness so that you can be assigned a gorilla family that you can manage to have a successful gorilla trek.
The 10 groups (or families) of gorillas habituated to visitors that are currently living in the Volcanoes National Park are listed below. Together, they count around 150 individuals gorillas in total. The groups are :
- Agasha Group (former Group 13)
This is the oldest of the groups habituated for tourism which has seen visitors since the end of the 1970”s. This is a rather large group, with over twenty animals (September 2010) which has its range in the saddle between Mt. Visoke and Mt. Sabyinyo or on the flanks of Mt. Sabyinyo.
The Agashya group was named after its commanding silver back, whose name means ‘the News”. Agasha’s take over was unprecedented; he won the group over by first studying the former leader, Nyakarima and hence challenging him.
- Amahoro group
Another medium-size group,with over twenty gorillas ( September 2010 ). It is usually found on the lower slopes of Mt. Visoke and in the area of lake Ngezi.
- Hirwa group
Hirwa group is yet another medium-size group, with around twenty individuals (September 2010 ) It is usually encountered in the saddle area between Mt. Sabyinyo andMt.M” Gahinga , in an area of the park with a comparatively lower gorilla density.
- Kwitonda group
Kwitonda group is the second group of gorillas habituated for tourism living in the Mt. M”Gahinga area . It is a medium-size group counting about twenty individuals ( September 2010 ).
- Sabyinyo group
This medium-size group has its home range in the saddle area between the three Eastern and two Western volcanoes included in volcanoes national park. The family is still led by Guhondo , currently the largest silverback male in the national park, with a weight of about 220kg.
- Susa group
A gorilla groupwith several mature silverback males . It was the very first group to be studied by Dian Fossey . Group Susa has its home range in the Mt. Karisimbi area. It is also the furthest group to reach and it is not exceptional for visitors to come back from the forest only at the end of the day.
- Karisimbi group
Group Susa , which was the largest group ever of mountain gorillas at that time, split in 2009 to form two subgroups ( Susa A and Susa B ). Both subgroups continued to join and split again, but they have now established different home ranges and have become two totally distinct gorilla groups . Susa B war renamed the “ Karisimbi “ group . Karisimbi group also established its home range on the slopes of Mt. Karisimbi.
- Umubano group
Another medium-size group accessible to visitors , Umubano group has its usual home range on the slopes of Mt. Visoke.
As many infants are regularly born female can leave a group to join another , the sizes of all gorilla groups never remain stable for long