What you need to know about Gorilla Tracking in Rwanda

What you need to know about Gorilla Tracking in Rwanda

March 18, 2014

Mostly known for Mountain Gorillas, Rwanda has and ever- changing landscapes and friendly people. Gorilla tracking in Rwanda is one of those unforgettable experiences that Africa can offer. This promising tourist destination is also called a country of a thousand hills that holds more than worthy of its epithet of the mille collines, a thousand hills, moody-misty rainforest, forested volcanoes and bamboo plantations.


Rwanda has 10 gorilla families that a visitor can enjoy while on his/her Rwanda Gorilla Safari and these are:

  • Susa: This is the largest gorilla family in Rwanda with about 42 gorillas. Many trackers find this family as the most adventurous because of its trekking hardships. The family is also known for the rare gorilla twins names Impano and Biyishimo both of 5 years. This group derives its name from the Susa River that flows their home range.It is considered to be the hardest group to track because of its location in the high mountains.But this does not stop trekkers from visiting this family of 45 impressive mountain gorillas
  • Amahoro: This is made up of 17 gorillas led by a calm and lovely Ubumwe. To visit this family, a visitor is required to climb a fairly steep platform.
  • Sabyinyo: Also referred to as the easiest family to be accessed, Sabyinyo has fewer members compared to others.
  • Kwitonda:  Kwitonda has 18 members led by Kwitonda meaning the humble one. Kwitonda is helped by blackback and silverback in leading the group. This family migrated from Democratic Republic of Congo and is moderately hard to trek.
  • Group 13: Initially this group had 13 members and this led to its name. As time went on, the number of members increased and currently, there are 25 gorillas. The family is strongly protected by RDB.
  • Umubano: This originally was among the Amahoro group but broke after the dominant silverback was challenged by Charles, the current leader of Umubano.  Umubano has 11 members.
  • Hirwa: This is the newest gorilla family in Rwanda and it is from the different existing families (from Sabyinyo and Group 13).
  • Karisimbi (Susa-B): This family split away from the Susa family and it has 15members.It is basically found in the slopes of Karisimbi Volcano about 4508 meters above the ground.
  • Bwenge family: This group consists of 11 members and it’s found on the Karisoke Volcano slopes.The group was formed in 2007 and is one of the rapidly growing groups in Rwanda. With the recent joining of female gorillas to the group, the number has greatly increased.
  • Ugenda Family: Consisting of 11 gorillas, Ugenda family is found in Karisimbi area of Rwanda. The name Ugenda means “on the move” and it was given to this group because its way of life of moving from one place to another.

A gorilla trek via volcanoes National Park in Rwanda can take 1-4 hours.

Important information about gorilla safaris in Rwanda

Rate of gorilla views per day 9/10
Cost per permit USD750
Tracking time between 20 minutes to 6hours. This depends on the gorilla group
Viewing time 1 hour
Age limit 15 years of age
Current permit allocation per day Volcanoes National Park
General fitness level 5/10
Best months Jan, Feb, June, July, Aug, and Sept
Worst months Apr, May, Oct, and Nov (wet months)