Gorilla Groups in Volcanoes National Park

August 29, 2023 | Bujo Safaris

  • Sabyinyo gorilla family

The interesting feature of this family is Guhonda the Silverback who has fought every other Silverback to ensure that he remains in power alone. The other fascinating feature about this Silverback is that it’s the heaviest among all the silverbacks in the park with a weight of 220kg.

  • Susa gorilla family

This group derives its name from the river Susa that flows through their residence. There are a lot of wonders that reign on tourists who choose to trek this family like spotting mother Nyabitondore who choose to look after both her twins Byishimo and Impano despite most gorilla mothers neglecting one. Another fascinating feature in the group is gorilla Poppy, born of 1976 and believed to have been among the gorillas that Dian Fossey researched on. 

This family group was originally huge with 42 members hence its popularity and not missing out on the point that Dian Fossey used it for her research purposes. Currently the family is made up of 28 members that are taken care of by three silverbacks and the fascinating features of the family are the twins.

  • Karisimbi gorilla family

This family broke away from Susa in 2008 hence it was first named Susa B. Tourists much interested in hiking will love trekking this group because it loves the heights of Karisimbi, the tallest mountain of all the 8 volcanoes. Usually trackers locate this family a day before the hike however tourists still have a feel of a thorough trek to spot this family. The group is made up of 14 members led by one Silverback. 

  • Umubano gorilla family

While Silverback Umbwe was winning medals for being as peaceful as a dove, some silverbacks took advantage of him and one of them was Silverback Charles who fought him and broke away from Amahoro to establish his own family that was later called Umubano. Tourists enjoy fantastic family views of the 12 members that include 3 silverbacks, 3 black backs, 2 females, 3 juveniles and one baby.

  • Amahoro gorilla family

This gorilla family has been known for its peaceful nature and is considered the calmest family in volcanoes. The family obtained this praise from Umbwe, their one time silverback who was known for his serene nature.

This family, made of 12 members, consists of 3 silverbacks, 3 black backs, 2 females, 3 juveniles and a baby and usually roams from the prestigious slopes of mountain Bisoke.

  • Kwitonda gorilla family

This gorilla family migrated from DR. Congo and it’s not known when they will next move but it’s a highly migrating family. It was named Kwitonda after the family’s first silverback called Kwitonda who was named so because of his humble nature.

Tourists interested in trekking should be ready to trek to higher elevations of Mount Muhabura because that’s where they usually spend their day. The family is made up of 29 members which includes 2 black backs, 2 silverbacks, 10 adult females, one adult sub male, 7 juveniles and 7 babies.

  • Agashya gorilla family

The family was named Agashya after the Silverback called Agashya that created this group. Originally the family was group thirteen since there were just thirteen members in the family. The family came into existence after Agashya fought off Nakajima.

As soon as the family was created, the leader laid strategies of strengthening the family where he attracted lone gorillas to join the family

Tourists who get to trek this gorilla family are entertained by 20 amazing gorillas that include three silverbacks with the main Silverback being Agashya, 5 female gorillas, 5 black backs, one sub female adult, one sub male adult, 3 juveniles and three infants. Carefully residing on the slopes of Volcanoes Park ensuring that they don’t cause conflicts with their neighbors the Sabyinyo family.

  • Hirwa gorilla family

This group is fascinating to tourists because of its closeness as a family and visitors might be lucky to be able to spot it in about one hour as they are roaming around Mount Sabyinyo. 

Hirwa is one of the most visited families in the park and their name means “lucky one” since it’s among the few families that have twins. 

Silverback Munyinga felt like he was masculine enough and broke off from Susa. The family migrated from Virunga to settle in the Volcanoes and it’s made of 13 members that include a silverback, 2 black backs, 2 adult females that Munyinga migrated with, 2 sub female adults, 3 juveniles and 3 infants.

  • Bwenge gorilla family

This gorilla family occupies the slopes of Mount Bisoke and is led by Silverback Bwenge. It is made up of 11 family members and its family has gone through thick and thin like the tragedy they went through after the loss of 6 infants in the family not forgetting the glorious story of their leader who rose from the dust to triumph after he was left alone by his biological family. 

The growth of his family started when other females chose to join him and since then the family growth has never looked back.

  • Baraka gorilla family

This is a new gorilla family and it is in its last stages of habituation. The whereabouts of the home of this family are uncertain but sources have it that the family is mainly situated in Virunga however gorillas usually tend to also move in search for better pastures. The family is currently having 19 members however their right group is still unclear since it’s not yet fully open for gorilla trekking.

  • Noheli gorilla family

Females have always been known for their kind hearts and this is evidenced by two female gorillas who left their families just to give company to the lone male gorilla. 

One Good Samaritan was coming from Isimbi family and the other was coming from Susa. One female was a mother who moved with an infant. At a later stage, two more female adults also bore kids and the family was established to seven members that it is composed of today. 

Noheli is the silverback and the leader of the family, three female adults and three infants living and working together. The family is found in the Volcanoes but rangers are uncertain about its clear foraging spot.

  • Kwisanga gorilla family

This gorilla family is one of the freshly formed gorilla families as it was established in May 2021. The lead silverback for this fresh family is Lord Kwisanga who leads a family of 16 members. The family has two silverbacks, 3 female adults, 2 black backs, 2 sub male adults, 3 juveniles and 5 infants.

  • Ugenda gorilla family

Ugenda means on the move and this family was named so because of its mobility nature as they don’t seem to fall in love and make a home with any particular territory. Tracking this group is quite hard because their destination is unpredictable however they are sometimes found along Karisimbi. The park is made up of 11 members that include two silverbacks.

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