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Top 10 Gorilla Families in Rwanda, Volcanoes National Park

There are 10 gorilla families in Rwanda found in Volcanoes National Park, the only park of Rwanda where you encounter with these  endangered mountain Gorillas. In 2016, the park was documented to have about  380 mountain gorillas. The park is part of volcanic ranges spanning Rwanda, Uganda and Democratic Republic of Congo.

Mountain gorillas just like humans live in family groups led by a dominant silverback therefore you will find each family with one silverback or even more with the dominant leading them.

gorilla groups in Volcanoes national park

During gorilla trekking adventurous activities, each family is assigned a group of 8 individuals usually depending on the individual preferences and physical fitness. Only one group of 8people visits a gorilla family in a day meaning that 80 gorilla trekking permits are issued out to 80 individual trackers in a day.

Most gorilla families in Rwanda prefer living at high altitudes  very deep into the the thick forests demanding physical fitness of an individual track to reach them. They keep on changing habitat locations with in the forests depending on their demands as they build a nest for a night on a daily basis.

Each family group comes wit it’s different challenges when it comes to tracking it. From the thick forests, to different rugged terrains but porters are always on board to assist tourists where necessary.

Habituated gorilla families in Rwanda, Volcanoes National park include ;

  1. Susa Gorilla Group (Susa A Family)
  2. Amahoro Gorilla Group
  3. Umubano Gorilla Group
  4. Agashya Gorilla Group
  5. Kwitonda Gorilla Group
  6. Hirwa Gorilla Group
  7. Karisimbi Gorilla Group (Susa-B)
  8. Sabyinyo Gorilla Group
  9. Bwenge Family Group
  10. Ugenda Gorilla Family


Best gorilla families in Rwanda | Gorilla Groups to Track in Volcanoes National Park

Susa Gorilla Family (Susa A)

The group adds up to 28 individual gorillas with 3 silverbacks but led by one dominant was made famous by the works of Dian Fossey and It is one of the most preferred by visitors to the park.

The group consisted of 42 members before the split up caused because of misunderstandings between the silverback.

Susa Gorilla Family in volcanoes national park

Though much preferred, it is very hard to track compared to other gorilla families in Rwanda as it is mostly found on the high altitudes on the steep mountains taking tourists a couple of hours trying to encounter it.

Though park rangers always always tend to know their exact locations, sometimes they wander off very far from their habitats and tourists may not be allowed to track them. the playful twins of the group, Impano and Byishimo, make it very active and fun to watch.

It is a perfect choice for gorilla trackers who are physically fit and driven by the love for adventure.

Karisimbi Gorilla Family (Susa A):

This is the gorilla families in Rwanda that broke from Susa A. it consists of 15members and mostly found on the steep slops of Karisimbi Volcano. It is another difficult group to be tracked such that sometimes it wanders of to very distant locations leading to cancellation of the gorilla tracking activities for that particular day.

The tracking team of the park always goes to track these gorilla families in Rwanda first to confirm their location and then communicate with the park guides in charge of trackers to that specific group to make finding them fast as possible.

Trekking this gorilla family is very demanding in terms of physical fitness hence it will will require a tracker who got that stamina to maneuver through all the challenging terrains.

Sabinyo Gorilla Family:

This is the smallest gorilla families in Rwanda comprising of 8 individual gorillas led by a dominant silverback called Guhonda, the largest of them all in the park weighing about 220 kilograms.

He strongly protect and defends his group from rivals like Ryango, another fight full silverback. The group is featured with juveniles that are very playful making it very exciting to watch and it can easily be located as it stays near the park’s edge.

Amahoro Gorilla Family:

This gorilla family is  comprising of 17 members which are led by a dominant silverback called Ubumbwe, meaning peaceful all witnessed by its way of conduct when leading.

Amahoro Gorilla Family in Rwanda

A dominant silverback called Charles from another group takes advantage of Ubumbwe’s calmness  and he steals females to add to his group called Umubano.

Amahoro gorilla family can easily be accessed at the steep slopes mount Bisoke but you will still need enough stamina to get over the steep slopes to its habitat.

Umubano Gorilla family:

Umubano family group consists of 11 members , led by a dominant silverback called Charles who was once part of Amahoro family group all his youthful stage.

As he got older, he started taking advantage of the leader’s peaceful and calm characters, undermining and confronting him and hence split from him taking away some females to start his own family.

It is very easy to trek as it is found near the park head quarters making it very suitable for elderly and disabled trackers.

Agashya Gorilla Family:

This group also commonly known as group 13 was first led by a dominant silverback called Nyakarima before losing it to  Agashya who was a member.

The two silverback challenged each other in a very deadly fight and Agashya won it, taking off with the entire family of 13 up the volcanoes, moving away far as he could from Nyakarima.

Agashya Gorilla Family in Rwanda

He continued adding to his group by confiscating females from other groups and it is right now is adding up to 25 members leaving near Sabyinyo family group at the steep slopes of the volcanoes.

Agashya is over protective about his group to an extent that whenever he senses danger, he moves to safety on the top of the volcano with his entire family, this way, it is very hard to track it.

Kwitonda Gorilla Family:

it is led by a dominant silverback called Kwitonda, comprising of 18 members with two silverback. The group came from the Virunga gorilla groups in Democratic Republic of Congo and is found at the steep slopes of Mount Muhavura.

It tends to move very deep into the forests making it hard to be tracked.

Hirwa Gorilla Family: this is as a result of individual gorillas from Agashya and Sabyinyo coming together to form one group consisting of 13memebers. It is found on the slops of Mount Sabyinyo, led by a very protective silverback.

Hirwa means the lucky one witnessed by the members who joined the group voluntarily in 2016 and now the group is comprising of 16 members  inclusive of A pair of twins.

Bwenge Gorilla family:

some of the gorilla members of this group featured in the Movie “Gorillas in the Mist” making them very famous.

Bwenge means wisdom, the dominant silverback leading the group he formed in 2007 after his birth group, joined by other females from different members and adding up to 11members, leaving on the slopes Karisoke volcano.

Ugenda Gorilla family:  

it comprises of 11members, inclusive of 2 silverback living around Karisimbi.  Ugenda means being on the move witnessed by their wandering behavior to different habitats.










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