Rwanda is one of the best destinations for anyone interested in gorilla trekking. In its Volcanoes National Park, there are 10 gorilla families which are grouped into those for research – Shida family and Beetsme family and these can only be accessed by scientists and researchers while others are available for gorilla trekking tours daily. Only 8 people are allowed to visit each gorilla family every day where everyone is supposed to have a gorilla trekking permit.
It’s also known as the Susa B having been split from the Susa Family (Susa A) in 2008. The family is found on the slopes of Mount Karisimbi with 16 members. This family is one of the hardest to trek with treks at times cancelled, it’s always a long trek so it needs someone in really good shape to endure
Before its split, the family has 42 members but then reduced to 28. The family also known as Susa A was split to form the Karisimbi family which is also known as Susa B. It is one of the preferred families to visit however visitors have to endure the hard-trekking circumstances involved as the family habitats high up in the mountains making it difficult to track.
Susa gorilla family has one of the oldest habituated gorillas Poppy and the two playful twins Impano and Byishimo who attract many tourists. For anyone interested in adventure and fun, this family would be good to track.
The name “Bwenge” means wisdom. This family was formed in 2007 when the dominant silverback Bwenge opted to start his own family. The family now has 11 members and may be found on the slopes of Mount Karisoke. This is one of the easiest gorilla families to trek. Some members of this family even featured in the drama “Gorillas in the Mist”.
THE AGASHYA FAMILY
This family has 25 members is headed by the dominant silverback Agashya. Agashya took over from Nyakarima after challenging him to a deadly fight and then taking on the entire family. Before that, the family was known as “Group 13”. The family is difficult to track since Agashya has the family flee to the top of the volcano every time he senses any trouble. The family is usually tracked on the slopes of Mount Sabinyo.
This family is habituated around the Karisimbi area with 11 members who include 2 silverbacks. Tracking this family is always hard as it keeps changing its location. This is why it was named “Ugenda” which is a Kinyarwanda word meaning “being on the move” as the family is known never to settle in a single place.
The family has 13 members with 2 silverbacks and led by the most dominant silverback known as Guhonda. Guhonda is the largest silverbacks in the park with 220kgs. The family is named after Mount Sabyinyo and one of the easiest families to trek as it’s habituated near the park headquarters.
This family is headed by Ubumwe who is the dominant silverback. It’s the most peaceful family hence naming it “Amahoro” which means peaceful. The family has 17 members and lives on the slopes of Mount Visoke. Tracking this family involves climbing steep slopes which makes it more adventurous and loved by visitors.
The family has 18 members and 2 silverbacks. The family is led by Kwitonda who is the dominant silverback and live around the Mount Muhabura slopes. The family originated from Congo and at times tends to move within a geographical area that is wide which makes tracking it difficult. “Kwitonda” is a Kinyarwanda which means “humble one”.
This family was created recently when some members from the Sabyinyo family and Group 13 came together. The family is led by a dominant silverback that is very protective and found on the slopes of Mount Sabyinyo. The members in this group joined voluntarily which is very rare hence naming it “Hirwa” which means “the lucky one”. The family has 16 members of which include twins, however the family is difficult to track sometimes.
The word “Umubano” means “living together”. The family has 11 members with 6 infants and live near the Amahoro family on the slopes of Mount Visoke. Charles who is the dominant silverback heads this family and formed it after breaking away from the Amahoro family once he started undermining the leadership of the peaceful Ubumwe. The family is easy to track hence being visited by many tourists.