Gorilla Groups in Rwanda

Gorillas in Rwanda are organised under different Habituated Groups/Families to make them easy for trekking by tourists. These adapted groups in the Volcanoes National Park are 10 and all accessible by visitors. 


Volcanoes National Park is comprised of 10 habituated group of gorilla’s .these are mainly for tourists who come to track them and another group is set aside for study and research work about the gorillas. This is where Kwita Izina naming ceremony came from. Maximum numbers of 8 people are allowed to track one group meaning 80 people are within the forest tracking gorillas. Each group has got its unique character that is different from the other. Here are the gorilla groups found in the volcanoes national park.

Titus Family.

This was named after the silver back Titus that was born during Diana fossey stay at Karisoke research Centre. Silverback Titus lost all her family members and joined another group although it went through a lot of hardships but it was able to survive. Later he formed its own group and came to be named as Titus as it was head of the group.

Susa Group (Susa A)

It was a large group comprising of 42 members. According to Dian fossey research, the group later split into two one called Susa and another one Susa B (Karisimbi group).Susa  was common because of its playful twin gorillas Byishimo and Impano. The group was left with 33 members and it was the largest group among all the gorilla groups.

Karisimbi Group (Susa B)

It is the group that split from Susa group .it is made up of 16 members that includes 2 silver backs .it is one of the most difficult group to track since it resides on top of mount Karisimbi that stands at an altitude of 4507 m high.

 Amahoro Group.

The group consists of 18 members that include 2 silverback. This family is well known for its peacefulness .because the group is very peaceful; it has caused loss of its members to another group called Umubano and it is also one of the hardest groups to track as it involves hiking upto the top of mount Bisoke.

Umubano Group.

The group is made up of 13 members that include its 2 silver backs. This group split off from Ubumwe group as the two silver backs had continuous fights over power. Charles later succeeded in breaking away with some few members and established its own group that came to be called Umubano that means living together. 

Sabyinyo Group

The group is made up of 13 members together with its 2 silver back. It’s one of the easiest group to track because it stays in the gentle slopes of mountain Sabyinyo and mountain Gahinga. The group is famous because of its biggest and largest silver back in the national park that weighs over 220 kilograms. Guhonda has stood as a challenger since it has managed to chase away all the young silver back hence being the core leader of the group.

Agashya Group – Group 13.

The group is comprised of 27 members together with its 2 silver backs; it is led by Agashya a Kinyarwanda word that means “New”. During the time of habituation the group had 13 members lead by Nyakarima who was later overthrown by Agashya. The group also resides in the gentle slopes of mount Sabyinyo although sometimes they go deeper into the mountain incase its senses danger.

Kwitonda Group.

This is the group that came from democratic republic of Congo. The group is made of 23 members together with 4 silverbacks and it inhabits in the lower slopes of Mt Muhabura and Mt Karisimbi.

Hirwa Group.

This family came from sambinyo group in 2006 and others from Agashya .the gorillas from other group joined the group and formed a group of 16 members. Its name was delivered from its process of formation that was by chance.it inhabits I the foothills of Mt Sabyinyo and Mt Gahinga.

Ugenda Group

this is a Kinyarwanda word ‘Ugenda’ to mean ‘on the move’ or ‘mobile’. The group was named after its exclusive behavior of wandering from place to place. It comprises of 11 members including 2 silver backs and inhabits around Karisimbi area hence very challenging group  to track since it has no specific home.

Bwenge Group
This group was made as early as 2007 by Bwenge, and baptized after him the group’s leading silverback, after he had left his Natal group and  females joined his from another group. The group inhabits slopes of Karisoke volcano between Karisimbi and Bisoke mountains and had countersigned bad times when it lost 6 infants. The group has however improved and now has 11 members including one silver back. Bwenge is a Kinyarwanda word which means ‘Wisdom’ and it’s no wonder that this was the group that featured the Movie ‘Gorillas in the Mist’.

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