There are now 10 gorilla families available for gorilla tracking in Rwanda with 8 members per group per group:
- Karisimbi Gorilla Family (Susa-B gorilla group)
This group is awesome to visit as it contains over 15 individuals and it can be reached through the Karisimbi volcano which is over 4507M. It is the highest slope of Rwanda. Initially this group was part of the Susa A gorilla group but it split and formed the Karisimbi gorilla group (Susa-B gorilla group). Some times tracking in this group is a bit tiresome as these giant apes tend to migrate to higher altitude and hence makes tracking difficult thus, a visit to this group may well end up as a full-days trek. However the RDB tourism and conservation guides know where to find the group a day before and at the end tracking becomes breathtaking. Not only tracking is done but also hiking on this highest volcano can be made so you can spend more days on in Rwanda if hiking is inclusive
- Group 13 (Agasha Group)
This group derives its name from the number of individual made up that group. The group had only 13 members hence its name. However by the time of writing there are over 25 individuals led by a dominant silverback which is responsible for the protection of the group. It complies of other young males aged from 9 to 12 years, females and juveniles. A very positive sign for conservation and the efforts put forward by RDB Tourism & Conservation to protect the gorillas’ habitat. This group is so nice to visit as chances of seeing these giants is very high as it’s among the group with the highest concentration of these apes
Another Rwanda gorilla group is a group of over 18 individuals led by a dominant silverback known as Kwitonda meaning ‘’humble and has two silverbacks and one blackbuck. This group migrated from Democratic Republic of Cong. However much this group tends to range far, tracking them in there natural setting can be made possible. Although this group Together with Susa B is one of the difficult groups to track in Rwanda so a reasonable degree of fitness is needed when tracking in these two groups. However tracking is made easier by having skilled guides, helpful porters, being dressed right and having and having the right equipments which includes the walking stick
- Sabyinyo gorilla group
This is one of the oldest Rwanda gorilla groups, it was named after the Sabyinyo volcano which means ‘’old man’s teeth’’. It’s the most easily accessible group led by the dominant silverback called Guhonda. It’s the largest silverback of all the groups, and it is well known for his massive physical appearance. This giant silverback ‘’Guhonda’’ has kept his main challenger, Ryango, out of his group as a lonesome silverback. It has fewer members (8 individuals) as compared to its counterparts, though they are equally exciting as a family. The group has 1 Silverback (the biggest in the park); 3 Adult females; 1 Non adult female; 2 Juveniles and 1 Baby
- Amahoro Gorilla Group
This group is regarded as the most peaceful group among other Rwanda gorilla groups, as its name suggests Amahoro means “peaceful group”. Amahoro gorilla group complies of 17 individuals which make them sizable group to track. They include 1 Silverback; 2 Blackbucks; 5 mature females; 2 Sub adult males; 2 babyish and 5 Babies. This group is mostly found on the slope of mount Bisoke and it is a slope of medium difficult some fitness is also called for when choosing this gorilla group. Due to the fact that the leading silverbuck ‘’Ubumwe’ ’is so peaceful, easy going and calm, he has lost group members to Charles in the Umubano group.
- Susa gorilla group
This is Rwanda’s largest gorilla tracking group which had over 41 gorillas, like other families this group also split up and other members joined or formed others groups and currently there are about 28 individuals with 3 silverbucks. The susa group is the group which Dian Fossy studied during her many years in Rwanda until when she was killed in 1985 by the poachers whom she had made her self unpopular. Dian Fosy was a prominent researcher who studied the behaviors of these giant gorillas for a period of over 20 years. The Susa group derives its name from the Susa River which flows through their home range. This family is the hardest to trek as it tends to range high into the mountains, however the RDB Tourism & Conservation trackers will always know well in advance where these giant gorillas are located. Due to its distant location some visitors are prohibited from tracking this group. The group is also well known for having rare 5 year old twins named Byishimo and Impano who are very playful.
- Umubano Group
This is one of the most interesting groups among other Rwanda gorilla groups and Umubano means “neighborliness”, this group is led by Charles the dominant silver back responsible for all the activities taking places in the group and also defending the group in case of any attack. Umubano was initially part of the Amahoro group but later broke off when Charles matured into a silverback of the same rank as Umbumwe, he staged out a fight as he could not submit to the commands of Ubumwe who was the leader of Amahoro group and eventually he challenged him and formed his own group called Umubano. The fight went on for weeks, and then months, he snatched from Ubumwe a few females and formed his own group which is now having 11 individuals including 1 Silverback; 1 Sub adult male; 3 Adult females and 6 Babies.
- Bwenge Family
This is one of the tough treks among Rwanda gorilla groups as the group is mostly found in the Karisoke Volcano, some level of physical fitness is needed when tracking in this group. The trails are sometimes muddy and very steep. In fact it was also the group that was featured in the movie “Gorillas in the Mist. The leader of the group (silverback) is called Bwenge, and it is the most recent formed group being formed in 2007, when he left his natal group he was gradually joined by females from other groups. The group has met very many challenges as it lost 6 infants, However now the group is growing strong with 2 successful births in the last few years with a strong capable silverback leader. The group is currently having 11 individuals with Silverback as a dominant male leading other members in the group.
- Hirwa group
This is one of the recent established Rwanda gorilla group among other groups. Hirwa meaning ‘lucky one’’ it come into existence on the 17th of June 2006. Members who split from other groups like the Group 13 and Sabyinyo come together and formed a small group, however as luck would have it, other isolated gorillas later joined the group and by the time of writing, Hirwa has 9 individuals including 1 dominant silverback; 3 Adult females; 2 Sub adult females and 3 Babies.
This group is some times difficult to track as its name suggests Ugenda means “being on the move” it always move from one area to another. It is found in Karisimbi area of Rwanda and tracking in this group is some times tough, so before booking with this group you must be assured that the gorillas are present. The Family Size consists of 11 gorillas with 2 silverbacks.