List of Congo Gorilla Families in Virunga
Amazing Gorilla Expeditions
September, 28 2019

There are eight Gorilla Families in Virunga National Park available for gorilla trekking by visitors namely Munyaga, Humba, Kabirizi, Lulengo, Rugendo, Mapuwa, Nyakamwe, and Bageni

  • Munyaga Group: This Gorilla Family has seven members led by Gasore. It is better known for the loss of two twin babies born by Bilali, an adult female. The group was habituated in 2008. The group prefers to spend much of their year in Bukima sector, a pristine wing of Virunga National Park. Why? It has all the 142 plant species they love to consume. This constitutes about 86% of their daily diet. There is a great chance that you might witness them as they climb up trees to harvest the few wild fruits in the park. Gasore the incumbent leader of the group took over power from Silverback Mawazo as preceded by Silverback Munyaga. Given that mountain gorillas are very hairy. The group is known for its most unique member Kadogo-a bold headed Silverback.
  • Humba Group: While male mountain gorillas weigh 136 to 195 kg (300 to 430 lb), adult females weigh about half 68–113 kg (150–250 lb). This gives them the ability to fight off any rival group that comes their way. Interestingly, this Gorilla Family loves to maintain calmness even other Gorilla Families in Virunga invade their territory in Bukima sector of the Park. For that, it is a darling among tourists who come for gorilla tracking in Congo. Its current pathfinder is a Silverback called Humba, a brother to Senkwekwe, a fallen silverback that died in 22nd July. The two split from their father Rugendo in 1998. Humba has 9 members.
  • Kabirizi Group: In 1997 the DR Congo army and rebel groups had a cross fire at Bukima patrol post. The fight claimed the life of Ndungutse, one of the silverbacks in Virunga. This Gorilla Family was previously named in his memory. Today, it is called Kabirizi group after its lead Silverback. He was named after one of the former directors of L’Institut Congolais pour la Conservation de la Nature (ICCN). Under his reign, Virunga National Park registered lots of growth in conservation. At the time of writing this profile, Masibo—a silverback in the group had showed interest in overthrowing Kabirizi so as to lead the groups 19 group members. He didn’t succeed, but he might some other day. It could be the lucky day you will visit the park
  • Rugendo Group: This Gorilla Family is one of the most successful groups that have stood the test of time. It hasn’t been weakened by disintegration of rebel members. At the time of the group’s habituation in 1989, it was led by Silverback Rugendo. Today it is headed by Silverback Bukima who foresees the welfare of 9 members. The group is well known for having nurtured Humba, a silverback that went a separate way in 1997 to start its own family. He left with 10 members most of whom were his siblings as born by Rugendo.
  • Lulengo Group: This Gorilla Family was the first gorilla family in Mikeno sector to be habituated. It has 9 individuals and was named after its lead Silverback Lulengo. He was named after one of the fallen Directors of Virunga National Park who died over 10 years back. He fell victim to a landmine explosion—believed to have been planted by rebels who raided the area. The group was previously led by Rugabo, a smart silverback that was shot to death during Great Lakes Refugee Crisis in 1994. At the moment, the group has 9 members. You will have excellent chances of getting their pictures as your group co-trackers will comprise of not more than 8 people.
  • Mapuwa Group: This Gorilla Family was established in 1998 by a Silverback called Mapuwa. This followed a successful breakup from his father’s group Rugendo. He took with him Jicho and Mafaze both of whom are adult females. Together, the three have built a prosperous kingdom which today comprises 22 members. The group is now led by a Silverback called Mvuyekure.
  • Nyakamwe Group: The leadership of this 11 member dynasty is under Nyakamwe, an alpha male. It has 2 Silverbacks, 3 Adult females, 1 Blackback, 2 juveniles, 2 babies and 1 Sub adult female. The group was established in 2014 under its current leader who split from Humba group. The Gorilla Family lives in Bukima Group. Don’t forget to wear good hiking boots when coming to visit them. Their habitat experiences rain out of the blue as it is a well conserved rain forest.
  • Bageni Group: This is the largest Gorilla Family in Virunga National Park. Lots of tourists get so emotional at the sight of this group as it has so many cute babies and cheerful blackbacks. It has 26 members under the good care of Bageni, a silverback that goes above and beyond to protect his team. His extra effort is partly inspired by the fear that the group could split up anytime as it is too big. At the moment, there are two separate silverbacks who are vying to over throw him. These are Kitagenda and Kanamaharagi. May the best win!