Gorilla  groups ready for trekking in Rwanda

Agashya Gorilla Group

Agashya group has the most interest history any trekker wouldn’t prefer to miss out as long as you visit the group as compared to other groups found in is found in Volcanoes National Park. First and foremost, the name Agashya means “News”. Originally known as Group 13, the group was headed by the dominant Silverback Murthi. Unfortunately, Murthi died in 1992 leaving behind 3 young males (Munane, Nyakarima and Kwirinda) who struggled to lead the group. The 3 males stayed together not until Munane turned into a Silverback and led the group. As time went on, he died due to natural causes leaving behind Nyakarima to lead the group.

Unfortunately, Nyakarima was overthrown by a dominant gorilla known as Agashya whom the name of the group is got from and took over the entire group. The group was later named Agashya in 2010 at the Kwita Izina ceremony. Currently, Agashya group is led by the Silverback Agashya and latest updates indicate that the group is composed of 22 individuals: including 4 Silverbacks, 4 Adult females, 1 Blackback, 2 Sub-adult females, 2 Sub-adult males, 2 Juveniles and 7 Infants.

Agashya is very protective of his gorilla family and once he senses any danger, he moves with the whole mountain gorilla family from foothills to uphill for protection towards the group or whenever he senses the presence of another silverback that might challenge him. In other words, being that this group moves alongside the Sabinyo group, its known for its behavior characters of migrating to higher altitudes with his members. This at times makes it harder for tourists to trek this gorilla family despite of the fact it offers unforgettable experiences whereas hiking in search for Agashya gorilla family

Isimbi Gorilla Group

Led by Muturengere the alpha male silver back gorilla, Isimbi Group is located in Volcanoes National Park inhabiting the slopes of mount Karisimbi. Formerly was headed by Getty who passed on because of pneumonia. The group was created after it split from the Karisimbi gorilla family in April 2013 which was too large. This group is graded as a medium trek and is quite rewarding watching the group. Today the group offers 13 individual members

Pablo Gorilla Group

Pablo group is named after the dominant silver back mountain gorilla Pablo who headed the group for one year and later succeeded by Cantsbee, The family is monitored and followed by the Dian Fossey fund in Volcanoes National Park since 1976 originating from Group 5 which was studied by Dian Fossey. The group is located along the slopes of Mount Karisimbi, an inactive volcano at 4,507 meters making it the highest of the Virunga volcanoes.

Trekking to the Pablo gorilla family has been referred to as a tough hike composed of Karisimbi Volcano steep terrain and thick vegetation cover. With time, the group became larger and split into 2 in 1993 to make the Pablo group. Today, the group is one of the largest comprising of 26 mountain gorillas although the group has been noticed to have hit the highest number of gorillas at 64 who later migrated to nearby Susa gorilla family.

Musilikale Gorilla Group

Musilikale gorilla family broke away from Pablo gorilla group in order to form his own group. Musilikale group is named after Musilikale silverback. He is the son of the legendary silverback Cantsbee. Like father who held leadership from Pablo’s group many years back, Musilikale leads a large group of gorillas and did exactly like his father.

This group was formed in 2013 and started his group with 6 members including one female, young silverback and many youngsters. More interesting of this group is that their ongoing alliance with Pablo’s group. In other words, these two groups are never apart and if they have an interaction, it always ends peacefully.

Kwisanga Gorilla Group

Kwisanga group is found in Volcanoes National Park in Rwanda and is led by the dominant Silverback Kigoma. Kwisanga is one of the newest groups, formed on 4th May 2021 as a result of a split. Silverback Kigoma left Kwitonda group with 16 members and since then, they have never returned. There was no interaction prior to the split; it just happened that Kigoma as well wanted to lead a group! Kwisanga is composed of 17 members including 2 Silverbacks, 3 Adult females, 2 Blackbacks, 2 Sub-adult males, 3 Juveniles and 5 Infants

Bwenge Group group

The word ‘Bwenge’ means “wisdom” in Kinyarwanda language. Bwenge gorilla family group comprises of 11 members and one silverback. This gorilla group can be tracked within the Karisoke volcanic areas and it is said that it’s dominant ‘silverback’ Bwenge in whom the group is named after experienced dark times when six of it’s young mountain gorillas died during the early formation of the group. This group was established in 2007, at a time when Bwenge split off from the originality of his family and other females gradually joining him.

Getting to this gorilla family is also a little challenging because it involves a hike of about 2 to 3 hours through the trails and steep slopes. The trekking paths at times are wet making the path muddy and slippery thus a big challenge for the trekkers to hike through the steep slopes. One other thing to know about this group is that it’s not a big surprise that the group featured the Movie ‘Gorillas in the Mist’ during Dian Fossey’s filming.

Currently, the group is expanding based on the fact that two births have been experienced in the previous years. This Gorilla family group among the Gorilla families in Rwanda’s Volcanoes National Park inhabits the slope of karisoke between Karisimbi and Bisoke Mountains and it is the easiest group to trek.

Titus Gorilla Group

The Titus gorilla group is named after its silverback being the head of the family. This group is one of the oldest among gorilla families in Volcanoes National Park circulating from the time of Dian Fossey’s research and study on mountain gorillas she was carrying out at the Karisoke Research Center. During that time, Dian was fighting the massive killing of animals and her target was on mountain gorillas. Titus the young gorillas by then lost his family to poachers “it was murdered” that is; father, uncle and brother and the rest of the family members joined other families thus leaving him to be raised up in the unfortunate way of life from a different family of male gorillas.

According to Dian Fossey’s follow up, the young Titus seemed under developed and had difficulties in breathing but he overcame all the circumstances and became the only survivor in his family. Despite of the above, Titus managed to build another family after going through many hardships to grow creating the Titus Family. In 2009, the silver back Titus died at the age of 35 years; this is quite considered old for a male gorilla.

It is known for being able to withstand difficult conditions and emerged as the most successful gorilla family group among other gorilla family groups that inhabited Rwanda’s Volcanoes National Park. The group comprises of about 7 mountain gorillas and it inhabits the slopes of Kalisimbi and Bisoke mountains

Muhoza Gorilla Family

The Muhoza gorilla family is named after the 460 pound alpha male silverback comprising of over 12 mountain gorillas of varying ages. This is the newest gorilla group in volcanoes national park, led by the youngest leading silverback Muhoza. Generally the Muhoza group is ranked as an easy family to trek to in Volcanoes national park as located lower the mountain slopes

Mafunzo Gorilla Group

Mafunzo gorilla family derives its name from Mafunzo silverback mountain gorilla. Mafunzo group is a new group that is monitored and followed by Dian Fossey Fund team. It was first identified in 2014 and consisted of Mafunzo silverback-a younger silverback at the time with 2 female gorillas-Umusatsi and Taraja. In 2015, the group added some members and also endured many stressful situations. Despite the constant travel and stress, the group has seen some successes, such as the transfer of female Nzeli from Isabukuru’s group to Mafunzo’s group

Gushimira Gorilla Group

Gushimira gorilla family is one of the new families that is observed by team from Karisoke Research Center. It was formed in 2013 by Gushimira silverback gorilla who went with some females from Ugenda family. Unfortunately, he lost one of his females-Inziza who went back to Ugenda family and later also; he lost Kurudi who joined Titus group.

The group always moves in and out of Rwandese monitoring range throughout. This happens when they cross the border of Democratic Republic of Congo where the Rwanda trackers cannot follow

Isabukuru Gorilla Group

Isabukuru group is named after Isabukuru silverback mountain gorillas. He mysteriously died in 2017. Kubaha silverback-a second silverback gorilla took over the leadership of Isabukur