Rwanda Gorilla Groups
Rwanda boasts of 10 Mountain Gorilla families available for 8 tourists allowed per group per day:
1. Susa Group/Susa A
This is the biggest group with 41 gorillas. This family is the hardest to trek as it tends to range high into the mountains but RDB Tourism & Conservation trackers will know well in advance where the group is located. The group is also famous for having rare 5 year old twins named Byishimo and Impano.
2. Karisimbi Group/Susa B
This is the family broke away from the Original Susa (Susa-A) family and now it’s called Karisimbi Group or Susa-B. It has 15 gorilla individuals and lives on the slopes of Karisimbi Volcano (4507M), the topmost peak of Rwanda. The Karisimbi Group is well-matched for more serious trekkers who want to see gorillas high up on the slopes of the Karisimbi caldera. Consequently, a visit to this group may well end up as a full-days hike. The group sometimes transfers to a higher height above sea level and therefore makes tracking complex. Though, RDB tourism and conservation guides are on familiar terms with where to find the group a day before. Tracking this gorilla family unit may not be common due to the distance.
3. Sabyinyo Group
Sabyinyo is an effortlessly reachable group led by the authoritative silverback Guhonda. There are fewer members within this family than in the other groups however they are evenly inspiring as a family.
4. Amahoro Group
Led by the calm and easy going Ubumwe, Amahoro is made up of 17 members and means “peaceful”. To get in touch with Amahoro, one must endure a comparatively steep climb however the hike is well worth it once one gets in contact with this peaceful group.
5. Group 13
When first habituated this group had only 13 members hence its name. Now the group has approximately 25 members, a very positive sign for conservation and the efforts put forward by RDB Tourism & Conservation to protect the gorillas’ habitat.
6. Kwitonda Group
This 18-member group is led by Kwitonda which means “humble one” and has two silverbacks and one blackbuck. Having migrated from DRC, this group tends to range far making it a moderately difficult trek.
7. Umubano Group
A family of 11, Umubano were originally Amahoro members but broke off after the dominant silverback was challenged by Charles, now the leader of Umubano. When a young silverback challenges the dominant silverback he must steal some females from the existing group in order to form his own family; thus Umubano was formed.
8. Hirwa Group
This group emerged recently and was formed from different existing families, namely from Group 13 and Sabyinyo. Eventually more gorillas joined. Come witness this family continue to grow
9. Bwenge Group
This is a family of 11 individuals with Silverback. It is habitually found on the Slopes of the Karisoke Volcano. This family is led by a silverback named Bwenge and was formed in 2007 when he left his biological group and was slowly but surely joined by females from other groups. This group has had some tough times due to some deaths of 6 infants. But it’s now re-growing with some 2 successful births in the recent years. The trek to see the group is tough and one has to hike up the hill for about 3 hours at an altitude 600m. The trails are sometimes mud-spattered and very sharp. In fact it was also the group that was featured in the “Gorillas in the Mist” popular movie.
10. Ugenda Group
This Group is found in Karisimbi area of Rwanda. The Family Size consists of 11 gorillas with 2 silverbacks. Ugenda means “being on the move” and was named because it was constantly moving from one area to another. Because it’s not in single place, trekking it may be some how complicated and involves also moving from one place to another to locate the gorilla members.