More than half of the world’s last mountain gorillas live here – about 350 of them – and at present it’s probably the best place in Africa for a mountain gorilla safari.
Even without the mountain gorillas, this park would be fascinating. Its altitude ranges from about 2,500m to the peak of Karisimbi, at 4,500m, resulting in extensive bamboo forests, and some of the last remaining afro-montane forest habitat on the planet.
Quite apart from the mountain gorillas, it harbors a spectacular array of rare and endangered animals and plants however, along side gorilla trekking, visitors can see forest elephants, buffalo, giant forest hogs (Africa’s largest swine), bush pigs, bushbucks, black-fronted duikers, spotted hyenas, and around 200 species of birds.
Volcanoes national park hosts more than nine gorilla families and among which include the following;
This group has 13 individual from which it delivered its original name when it was discovered, it has since maintained the name, with 21 individuals: 1 Silverback; 10 Adult females; 1 Sub adult female; 1 Juvenile and 8 Babies.
This gorilla family was named after the Sabyinyo volcano which means “old man’s teeth”. Sabyinyo is one of the groups closest to the park’s edge with 8 individuals: 1 Silverback (the biggest in the park); 3 Adult females; 1 Non adult female; 2 Juveniles and 1 Baby.
The word Umubano Means “neighbourliness”, this group consist of 9 individuals: 1 Silverback; 1 Sub adult male; 3 Adult females and 4 Babies. The group is led by Charles, the dominant silverback.
This is the largest gorilla group one can visit. The group name was got from the Susa River. The group has 38 individuals: 4 Silverbacks; 4 Blackbacks; 10 Adult females; 3 Sub adult females; 1 Sub adult male; 1 Non adult female; 2 Juveniles and 13 Babies.
This group also contains one of the oldest known habituated gorillas, Poppy. Born in 1976 Poppy is believed to be from one of Dian Fossey’s original gorilla groups.
Meaning “lucky one”, Hirwa has 9 individuals: 1 Silverback; 3 Adult females; 2 Sub adult females and 3 Babies.
Meaning “neighbourliness”, Umubano has 9 individuals: 1 Silverback; 1 Sub adult male; 3 Adult females and 4 Babies. This group is led by Charles, the dominant silverback.
The group name means peace. Family size: 18 members, including 2 Silverback.
Trackers are faced with quite a steep climb to reach this group, however the group is gentle and tranquil. Generally to be found on the slopes of Mt Visoke – intermediate in difficulty.
Family size: 16 members, including 2 Silverbacks.
This group was formed when the largest gorilla family, Susa split into 2 groups.
These groups consist of mobile members. Family size: 11 members including 2 Silverbacks. It is found around Mt Bisoke and the hike is generally not challenging.
The group name means “wisdom”Family size: 11 members including 1 Silverback. This group is also found around Mt Bisoke and reaching it involves less challenging hike.