Rwanda Gorilla Trekking Safari Guide, Self Drive Rwanda

Self Drive Rwanda provides upto date Rwanda gorilla trekking safari guide, Rwanda Covid-19 rules and regulations updates, Gorilla trekking permit costs, gorilla families, suggested companies to contact, when to visit and where to stay.

Gorilla Trekking in Rwanda

Best Rwanda Uganda Gorilla trekking safariMount Gorilla can only be found is Uganda, Rwanda and Congo. The mountain gorillas are found in Volcanoes national Park in Rwanda, Bwindi Forest and Mgahinga gorilla National Park, While the remaining gorillas are found in Virunga national Park.

Rwanda comprises of only 10 gorilla families, thus Rwanda issues only 80 permits per year, each costing at $1500 per person per trek, which is also part of the contribution towards Rwanda mountain Gorilla conservation.

Covid 19 Rwanda Updates :  Rwanda Reopened its tourism industry in August 2020, and until now Safety guidelines have been put in place for every safari traveler to follow including; a negative COVID-19 PCR test from a certified laboratory, taken within 72 hours  before arrival. All passengers entering Rwanda must conduct a second PCR, whose results are delivered within 8-24 hours during which time they will remain in designated hotels at their own cost.

How much does a gorilla trekking safari cost in Rwanda

A number of tour operators offering gorilla trekking safaris in Rwanda offer different prices, which majorly depends on the safari option, such as Budget, mid-range and High-end. Other factors include accommodation type, rental car, season and running costs of each company.

Which Company Should I use

Self Drive Rwanda partners with other car rental companies in Rwanda such as Self Drive Uganda, Active African Vacations LTD and Primate safari experiences, each of which provide free gorilla permit booking and purchase, Accommodation Booking and 24/7 roadside assistance with our car rentals.

Mountain Gorilla trekking Highlights

For an authentic Gorilla trekking trekking experience,  rise up early and head to  the park head quarters at Kinigi for briefing about the dos and don’ts  when and while with the gorillas. By the help of Ranger guides who are competent and with comprehensive knowledge, each group consisting  of 8 individuals, each obtaining a gorilla trekking permit will proceed to the jungle to  trek gorillas. This thrilling trekking adventure may take about 30 minutes to 8 hours, depending on the group’s strength and how far the gorilla group has moved.

Upon the gorilla group encounter, a time schedule of at most 1 hour is allowed for every individual to stay and interact with the gorillas. After, the trekking group then return to the park head quarters, from which they are picked and transferred back to their preferred place of residence or can either join up for some other activities within Rwanda.

Gorilla Groups In Volcanoes National Park Rwanda

Surprisingly Rwanda’s Mountain Gorillas are tracked at non other than Volcanoes national park. Today the estimated number of gorillas in the Virunga  is approximately 480, all of which reside within the altitude range of 2300 to 4500 meters, South of Virunga National Park.

Rwanda Mountain Gorillas classified into 2 namely; for research and sturdy purposes. These include Beetsme and Pablo’s Shida’s which have the highest gorilla population.

Besides, the habituated mountain gorillas families are distinguished into 10 groups, which are often available for trekking. Trekkers visiting Gorillas each day are limited to 8 persons, per group per days, which includes at most 1 hour upon the gorilla family encounter.

Among these groups include: Ugenda, Umubano, Susa group, Karinsimbi, Sabinyo, Hirwa, Amahoro, Bwengye, Group 13 (the Agasha group) and the Kwitonda.

Mountain Gorilla trekking Families

Rwanda Gorilla Trekking Groups

  1. Susa A Gorilla Family Trek

Susa A family was first researched by the famous. This family derives its name from the Susa river which flows within this family region and consists of 28 gorilla individuals, including 3 silverbacks.  The group was previously known as “the Susa Group” and was composed of 42 individuals, which later divided into 2 groups, ie Sasa A and Susa B. Currently the group is famed for its playful twins; Byishimo and Impano.

However the  group is also believed to have Rwanda’s oldest habituated gorilla “Poppy” who was born 1976, and was part of Dian Fossey’s  initial first gorilla group of research.

Susa A gorilla family trek is regarded as the most stannous, since they stay in the higher mountain ranges. This group is rarely tracked, due to the challenging hike & distance.

  1. Karisimbi Family Gorilla Trek (Susa-B)

The Karisimbi group, also known as the “Susa-B”  has 15m individual gorillas, and are normaly located along the slopes of Mount Karisimbi volcano, which is at the highest peak of Rwanda (at 4507m). The family seemed to have made a home on the Mount Karisimbi caldera, which may take about a whole day trek. Tiracking this group becomes most challenging especially when the gorillas have vacated to higher altitude, which may however lead to no visits due to the furthest locations.

  1. Sabyinyo Gorilla Group

Sabyinyo group  is ledsilverback “Guhonda”-the biggest silverback of all the gorilla groups, because of its massive physical appearance. Guhonda has for a long time retained its main competitor, Ryango, from his group as a solitary silverback. In comparison to other gorilla families, Sabyinyo has fewer members although it is similarly impressive.

The Sabyinyo group was named after Sabyinyo volcano , which means an “old man’s teeth”. The Sabyinyo is among the groups found adjacent to the border of the park with 8 individuals including one Silverback (which is the biggest in the entire park); three Adult females; a youthful female; two Juveniles and a Baby gorilla.


  1. Amahoro Gorilla Tours

Amahoro Group is the most quiet and Calm Group. The name “Amahoro” means “peace”, and the group contains 17 gorilla individuals with; a Silverback; two Black-backs; five Adult females; 2 Sub-adult males; 2 Juveniles as well as 5 Babies.  Visiting this group is truly worth it, because “Ubumwe”, the silverback of this group is peaceful, calm and tranquil, he has sadly lost some group members to the Umubano group led by Charles. Encountering this group requires trekking on slightly steep climb but the climb is worth it when you finally find this amazing group.

  1. Umubano Gorilla Group

Umubano Gorilla, which is also means neighborliness, were initially members of Amahoro group before it split, and flowed  Ubumwe who was by then the dominant silver back of the group, although he was overcome by Charles who is the current silverback.. The group comprises of eleven individuals: a Silverback; a Sub-adult male; three Adult females and six Babies.

As Charles grew into an adult silverback just as Ubumwe, he couldn’t tolerate taking orders around so he decided to attack and eventually challenged Ubumwe. The fight between both silverbacks lusted for several weeks and nearly months under which Charles eventually took a couple of females from Ubumwe hence forming the Umubano Gorup

  1. Agasha Gorilla Group

Initially the Agasha Gorilla group had 13 habituated gorilla individuals. Since then, the number of the gorillas has continually increased to nearly 25 members of late. The Agasha group has a Silverback; twelve Adult females; two Sub adult female; three Juvenile and seven Babies. This group was first led by Nyakarima who was overcome by Agashya whose name means “the news”. Surprisingly Agashya made news by first observing and estimating the strengths of Nyakarima and hence challenged him to a brutal fight taking away his whole group. This left Nyakarima devastated state. Agashya then shifted up the volcano so as to safeguard his group from Nyakarima. Since then, Agashya for continuously increasd in number by snatching some members from other groups.

Agashya is famously known for protecting his group, hence making it unique and challenging.

  1. Kwitonda Family Gorilla Adventure

Led by Kwitonda silverback, the group comprises of 18 members with 2 silverbacks and ablackback. The name means the “humble one”. The kwitonda group is believed to have moved from the DRC, and normally stays far away which makes it challenging to trek. This along with the Susa B are some of the most challenging groups to find

  1. Hirwa Group Trekking (Which Means “Lucky One”)

This group became famous on 17th June 2006 after trackers witnessed its make up when some members from 2 separate families the Group 13 and the Sabyinyo group merged to form a smaller group at that time. Suddenly some other gorillas also joined this group, leading to a group of nine individuals: one Silverback; three Adult females; two Sub adult females as well as 3 Babies.

Although it is the newest gorilla group, Hirwa shows strength and well safeguards its members

  1. Bwenge Gorillas Family

Led by Bwenge Silver back, the family comprises of 11 gorilla members with only 1 Silverback. It is mainly seen in the Slopes of Karisoke Volcano. Bwenge group was established in 2007 after he left his birth group and was joined by other females coming from various gorilla groups. The group has faced some challenging times; including the death of six infants.  The group is currently becoming stronger right from two successful births as well as a strong silverback leader. Trekking this group is also stranous as it includes an ascent of approximately 3 hours, muddy and pretty steep trails. It is believed that this group featured in the legendary movie ‘Gorillas in the Mist’.

10: Ugenda Family Gorilla Adventure

Settled  in Rwanda’s Karisimbi area. The Ugenda family comprimises of 11 gorillas with 2 silverbacks.  The group name Ugendo means “being on the move” because the family is continuously moving from one place to another. Tracking this group may be quite tiresome since the the group keeps moving which makes it difficult to find them.

Gorilla Conservation & Events

Rwanda hosts a number mountain gorilla related activities, such as the famous gorilla Kwita Izina ceremony of naming gorillas, This is a yearly event where various celebrities are invited to this occasion. While a number of gorilla conservationists also exists in Rwanda including Dian Fossey Foundation to the International Gorilla Conservation Project among others.