How Many Gorilla Groups Are There in Virunga National Park? The Virunga National Park is home to eight gorilla groups: Kabirizi, Humba, Rugendo, Mapuwa, Lulengo, Munyaga, Nyakamwe, and Bageni.

Kabirizi Group

Kabirizi group is an interesting gorilla family in Virunga national park that was previously known as Ndungutse, a moniker it had obtained from its powerful silverback leader Ndungutse. Silverback Ndungutse was a gigantic modest silverback who commanded the organisation for a long time until his killing in 1997. Ndungutse was slain after being caught in a cross fire during a confrontation between the Democratic Republic of the Congo army and a rebel group at Bukima patrol station. Following Ndungutse’s death, the group’s name was changed to Kabirizi in commemoration of ICCN director who died in a traffic accident in the late 1990s.

Today, the Kabirizi gorilla group consists of 19 individuals led by a modest strong silverback Kabirizi, who was a wild gorilla acclimated by 1998. Though Silverback Kabirizi is a strong leader, he is presently facing fierce competition from Masibo, a juvenile silverback. Trekking Kabirizi gorilla is a fascinating adventure that starts at the Bukima patrol post.

Humba Gorilla Group

Humba Gorilla Group is a splinter gorilla group from Rugendo Gorilla Group; this family consists of 9 individuals led by dominant silverback Humba. Silverback Humba is the son of Silverback Rugendo, the previous leader of the Rugendo gorilla group. Humba was the lead silver who led other members abandoning the Rugendo gorilla family to form their own group under the name Humba gorilla group. Silverback Humba is a sibling of Senkwekwe Silverback, and the group is now one of the most placid gorilla groups, with no leadership challenges.

How Many Gorilla Groups Are There in Virunga National Park?
Humba Gorilla Group

Mapuwa Gorilla Group

The Mapuwa Gorilla Group is a group of 22 family members led by silverback Mvuyekure; before, the group was led by silverback Mapuwa. Silverback Mapuwa was the son of Silverback Rugendo. He broke away from his father’s Rugendo clan in 1998 to start his own, along with two adult females Jichi and Mafaze.

Silverback Mapuwa was noted for constantly engaging in battles and gaining new members to the group via these bouts, the most noteworthy occurrence being when he stripped Pilipili, a powerful silverback, of all the members leaving him alone in 2002. Trekkers often find the Mapuwa gorilla family around Jomba near Bunagana on the Congo-Uganda border.

Rugendo Group

The Rugendo gorilla group is one of the oldest mountain gorilla groups in Congo and Virunga National Park. This group serves as a mother group for the majority of the park’s gorilla families, since it is the source of mist silverbacks. Silverbacks are descendants of the Rugendi gorilla family, as are humba, Senkwekwe, and Mapuwa.

Originally, the Rugendo gorilla group included of 18 members led by silverback Rugendo. During Rugendo’s leadership, the group had power struggles, including Humba’s fight with his father in 1998. The dispute caused Humba to leave the group with the other 9 members, leaving the group with only 8 family members. The group now includes of 9 family members, with an extra sub-adult member taken from the Mapuwa gorilla group, and is led by silverback Bukima.

Bageni Group

Bageni gorilla group has 26 individuals, making it the largest gorilla group in Congo’s Virunga National Park. Bageni gorilla group is led by a dominating silverback named Bageni. Because of the huge number of family members and the presence of more than one silverback, there are power struggles in the group between Bageni, the leader, and the other two silverbacks, Kanamaharagi and Kitagenda.

Lulengo Gorilla Group in Virunga National Park

The Lulengo gorilla group of Virunga National Park was once known as the Musekura group, but the name was changed to Lulengo after a dominating silverback in the group and in memory of the park’s technical director, who was killed by a land mine. The silverback Lulengo gorilla group consists of 9 members led by silverback Lulengo. Lulengo is a born member of the Rugabo gorilla group, the park’s first habituated gorilla troop.

Rugabo Gorilla Group

Rugabo gorilla group in Virunga national park was led by silverback Rugabo, the father of silverback Lulengo. Unfortunately, Rugabo was killed by poachers during the Great Lake refugee crisis. The Lulengo gorilla group may be found in the Jomba section of the Virunga National Park, close to Bunagana (the Congo – Uganda border).

How Many Gorilla Groups Are There in Virunga National Park?
How Many Gorilla Groups Are There in Virunga National Park?

Nyakamwe Group

Nyakamwe Gorilla Group, along with Bageni Gorilla Group, is one of the recently habituated gorilla groups in Virunga National Park. This group now comprises of 12 family members led by silverback Nyakamwe. The Nyakamwe gorilla family is the second biggest in Virunga National Park in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and it is the most tranquil gorilla family, with no signs of power struggles.

Munyaga Group

Munyaga Gorilla Group is a group of 7 individuals discovered and walked in the Bukima region of Virunga National Park in 2010. Munyaga Gorilla Group was habituated by 2010 and named after its then-leader Silverback Munyaga. The group was lucky to get the birth of twins by adult female Bilal, who joined the group from the Rugendo group; nevertheless, the twins perished at their infant stage. The Munyaga gorilla group has had several silverback leaders. The group was first headed by silverback Munyaga, who was replaced by silverback Mawazo, who was succeeded by silverback Gasore, who is the current leader of the group.

How Much is a gorilla trekking permit in Virunga National Park.

A gorilla trekking permit in Virunga national park costs 400 USD per person. Gorilla permits in Virunga national park are included in the safari packages, so when booking for a Virunga safari package through your trusted tour operator company like Explore Rwanda Tours, be certain that your gorilla permit is included in your Congo safari package.

Get in touch with us if you are interested in visiting any of the above mentioned groups during your Congo safaris tours to Virunga national park.

book a safari