Mountain Gorillas in Rwanda are found in Volcanoes national park, the park is located in the Virunga ranges bordering Democratic Republic of Congo.
The mountain gorillas are under the protection of Rwanda Development board, the board is in charge of all Gorilla permits and only 80 permits are available daily for tourist who are ready to trek each family.
Each gorilla family has different unique characteristics which are different from another family.
Below are the Gorilla families in Volcanoes national park.
This family was named after the silverback “Titus” the silverback was born during the time of Dian Fossey at Karisoke, the family was one “Dian Fossey” used to carry out her research.
Silverback faced a tragic moment, when it lost its family including his uncles, father, brothers and mother to poachers. But later on he joined another family, according to history “Titus” had difficulty with breathing but later he overcame these difficulties.
Susa family (A)
This family started with 42 members before it splintered. the family is the most popular family in Rwanda. It’s well known during the days of Dian Fossey from 1967-1985 until 2008 when the group split between its 42 individuals.
The family later on broke away to form another family, the new family was known as the Susan B or Karisimbi family. Susa A is known for its playful twins ‘Byishimo’ and ‘Impano’,it was named “Susa” after “susu River” which drains through their home on the slopes of mount Karisimbi.Susa A is composed of 33 individuals currently including two silverbacks.
The family of Bwenge lives between “Karisimbi” and “Bisoke” on the slopes of “Karisoke” volcano.
Bwenge is a Kinyarwanda name meaning ‘wisdom ‘This family featured in the movie ‘Gorillas in the mist’. The family was formed in 2007 after a silverback named ‘Bwenge” who left the group and created his own group with other females. The family is composed of 11 members with one silver back.
The family has faced some hard times when it lost 6 infants. However the family strong and large due to some new infants and great leaders in power. Trailing the family is a hard due to the steep slopes and muddy, it can take approximately 3 hours on trek. Visiting this family gives one a recreation.
Susa B (Karisimbi family)
This family was established in high upper slopes of mountain Karisimbi at an altitude of 4607m.the trail is a serious one and suitable for trekkers who are physical fit. The family split from Susa A in 2008, with 16 individuals including 2 silverbacks.
This family was named after the Sabinyo volcano which means ‘old mans teeth’, it’s the nearest family to trek and easiest.it inhabits the gentle slopes of Mountain Sabinyo in between Mountain Gahinga .The family includes 13 members including a giant silverback called “Guhondo” who kept his challenger Ryango out of power.
Guhondo is the largest silverback weighing 220kg.
Amahoro means ‘peace’, and it’s the most peaceful group. Composing of 18 individuals including 2 silverbacks.
The gorilla family is found on top of mountain “Bisoke” slopes, one has to endure the hike.
The group is known for its “serenity” which caused its silverback “Ubumwe” to lose its members into another family called Umubano.
The gorilla family was lead by a silverback called ‘Charles’ who formally was part of Amahoro group. At the time of Amahoro “Charles” couldn’t stand ruling him and this led to a battle between Charles and Ubumwe who was the leader of Umubano family.
However Charles decided to break away with some family members forming Umubano group.
The gorilla family includes 13 individuals including 2 silverbacks.
The name Hirwa means ‘the Lucky one’ the family has luck, it got twins in 2011.this group inhabits the foothills of mountain sabinyo that established in 2006, it forming 13 members, although more members started joining to form 16 members including a silverback.
The group is composed of 23 members with 4 silverbacks.
The gorilla family migrated from the Democratic Republican of Congo and it was later on named “Kwitonda” which means humble one. The group lives in the lower slopes of Mountain “Muhabura”. Together with Karasimbi it’s the very difficult to trek thou worthy the trek.
They move everyday, playing, feeding building nests and displaying them for night use.
This gorilla family includes 13 members, the family was referred to as the 13 group. The family has now grown to 25 individuals. The family is found in the areas of Sabinyo though at times it moves higher and deeper in the forest. It’s known to tourists as the easiest family to trek thou if it moves further and requires much effort.
The name “Ugenda” means on the move or mobile .The family was named after its behavior of moving around from Uganda to Democratic Republican of Congo and then Rwanda, it is composed of 11 members and who keep wondering around the Karasimbi slopes.