Gorilla trekking in Rwanda is one of the country’s most popular tourist activities. Because it is so popular, we advise that you book your trip and permit early, preferably months before your safari.
We believe it is only fair that you have some information about the gorillas in Rwanda before you embark on your gorilla adventure, so here is some information about the gorilla groups in Rwanda.
Rwanda has 10 groups/ families of habituated gorillas. These are;
The Susa Group/ Family: this is the largest family in Rwanda with about 41 members and is usually found on the slopes of the Karisimbi volcano. The Susa family boasts of 3 silverbacks, and several juvenile gorillas, females, and youngsters. It has a pair of twin gorillas-Byishimo and Impano, who have attracted many visitors to the group.
This very large family is divided into two; Susa A often found on the lower side of the forest and Susa B or the Karisimbi family found on the upper part of the forest.
Susa A: You have a 100% chance of seeing mountain gorillas if you choose to track this group.
Because they are higher up the mountain than most of the other groups, they are the hardest gorillas to reach basing on distance and the hike, you need to prepare physically and have enough supplies, and also pay a porter to carry your backpack so you don’t get worn out too quickly from the heavy load. When you find the family you will know it was all worth the effort.
Susa B/ Karisimbi: this family is made up of 15 gorillas and stays in highest peak of the virungas in Rwanda. Tracking this family makes for a hard trek, and requires fit and serious hikers.
The Amahoro is a family of 17 led by Ubumwe. The name “Amahoro” means peace and is a perfect description of the leader of this family. This group is usually found Karisoke and the Visoke peaks.
The Umubano Family: Umubano was formerly part of the Amahoro family, but split from the group after Charles the present leader of the Umubano wrestled down the dominant silverback of the Amahoro family.
The Kwitonda Gorilla group: this family of 18 migrated from DRC a few years ago, and is led by a silverback called “Kwitonda”-the humble one. The family is found in the Virunga section of the park and is quite difficult to track.
The Agashya Gorilla Group: formerly known as group 13 during habituation, when it had only 13 members, this family now consists of 25 members.
The Sabyinyo family: this family of 8 gorillas is led by Guhonda, the biggest and most gigantic silverback in Volcanoes National Park. This group is usually found between Sabyinyo and Gahinga.
The Hirwa Gorilla Family was formed by members from Group 13 and Sabinyo.
There are usually 56 gorilla permits issued per day, in Rwanda, but the number might vary as the some groups cross over into the Congo. But you can always be sure to find gorillas when you go tracking in Volcanoes National Park.