List of the 10 Congo Gorilla Families in Virunga National Park

Congo Gorilla Families: Congo’s Virunga National Park has 10 mountain gorilla habituated families that’s ready for tracking: Rugendo, Baraka, Muyanga, Mapuwa, Lulengo, Kabirizi, Bageni, Nyakamwe, and Humba Gorilla Families.

Despite the on/off political Unrest , Congo out of 3 Gorilla destinations (Uganda, Rwanda, Congo), is Unique, with endangered Mountain Gorillas in Viruna National Park, and Eastern lowland gorillas in Kahuzi Biega National Park, although the actual number of Gorillas members in Virunga National Park is not clear, they believe that there are more than 100 gorillas, following the previous census.

The Democratic  Republic of Congo Gorilla trekking permits  cost $400 for both lowland & Mountain gorillas, compared to Uganda Gorilla  trekking permits at $700, and Rwanda’s Gorilla trekking permit at $1500.

However, Congo is now open for gorilla trekking, and above all secure, so be rest assured of your safety, and great protection when you go gorilla trekking, and outside the national parks.

Besides Mountain Gorillas, Virunga National Park, also protects chimpanzees, birds, several vegetation types, forests, savannahs, and swamps. The park also features lava plains, erosion valleys, active Nyiragongo & Nyamuragira mountains, and Rwenzori Volcanoes.

Find a comprehensive list of Congo gorilla families, that are ready for gorilla trekking Safari tours in Democratic Republic of Congo.

Rugendo Gorilla Family

Rugendo Gorilla family among the first habituated in 1985, and is made up of 9 gorilla individuals as; 2 sub adult females, 2 babies,3 silver backs, 1 blackback, and 1 Adult females.

After the group was formed, Rugendo Silverback became its leader, and safe guarded , until he met an unfortunate death nearby Bukima, in the 2001 rebel attack. He was then succeeded by his son, who took all the responsibilities, until he  was murdered along with 5 other gorillas in his group  in 2007,  by unknown people.

The group then stayed without leadership for several months after the loss of their leader, thereafter Bukima silverback stepped in 2008. Bukima formerly belonged to Buhanga group, joined Munyaga, and became a lone silverback in 2005.

Rugendo fathered several silverbacks in Virunga National Park, including Mapuwa, Humba, Ruzirabwoba, Mukunda, Nyakamwe, Mburanumwe, Baseka, Kongoman, Lubutu and Bahati.

Baraka Gorilla Family in Congo

Baraka silverback heads the Baraka Gorilla Family. The family was named in honor of Rachel Masika who was part of the 26 women rangers in the park’s wildlife force. She was killed on her way to Mikeno lodge, by unknown murderers, when  she was escorting the British tourists.

Munyaga Gorilla Family.

While Munyaga Gorilla Family  is made up of 7 gorilla members as: 3 silverbacks, 2 adult females, and 2 sub-adult females, It was named by the then Munyaga Silverback to took over the family in 1998, in the absence of a dominant  silverback Senkuye.

The family is well known for its twins birthed by Bilali, the female adult who joined the group, from  Rugendo family, though they later died at an infant stage.

Munya gorilla family is now headed by Gasore, the dominant silverback  who succeeded Mawazo.

Nyakamwe Gorilla Family

Nyakamwe gorilla family is among the  new listed gorilla families,  that have been declared ready of gorilla trekking in Virunga National Park. They both  at the same  time with  Bageni gorilla family underwent through the process of Gorilla habituation.

The family was named after its current leader Nyakamwe, who heads 11 gorilla individuals. Nyakamwe Gorilla Family  is know as the second Largest family, out of 8.

Bageni Gorilla Family

With 26 Gorilla individuals, Bageni Gorilla family  is the biggest Congo gorilla family in Virunga National Park. The  group is being led by Bageni, the dorminant Silverback, who is currently undergoing competition from  Kanamaharagi and Kitagenda silverbacks for the role of an Alpha in the group.

Lulengo Gorilla Family

Lulengo Gorilla Family, previously Musekura group, earned its name from Lulengo- a dominant silverback who was named in memory of the technical director who succumbed to death in a land mine. Lulengo silverback’s family of birth is Rugapo, under the leadership of his father-Rugapo (the first habituated gorilla group in Mikeno sector). Rugapo met his death to poachers, When he was shot during the great Lakes Refugee Crisis in 1994.

Lulengo group now has 9 gorilla members, settling in Jomba area closeby Bunagana, where Congo Border is contagious with Uganda Border.

Kabirizi Gorilla Family

Kabirizi Gorilla family was first headed by Ndugutse Silverback,  after which the it was named. The gorilla family later earned its name  Kabirizi, after the death of Ndugutse who was assassinated in 1997, and was murdered in a cross fire  during the war between Democratic Republic of Congo and the Bukuma Patrol Post rabel groups.

The New Name Kabirizi,  was obtained from the  director of Institute Congolais pour la Conservation de la Nature (ICCN) , met an accident and died in the late 1990s.

The family now has 19 members, and safeguarded by the dominant  silverback- Kabirizi, who was wild and unhabituated, until he underwent a successful habituation in 1998. He is currently facing frequent competition from a young and energetic  silverback.

Bukima patrol post is the starting point for trekking this group.

Mapuwa Gorilla Family

Mapuwa Gorilla family was named after the then Mapuwa Silverback, whose father was Rugendo, and his brother Humba.

Mapuwa left his father’s family in 1988 to start his with 2 adult femals Jicho & Mafaze with whom he left. He fought without getting tired to protect his family, as well as acquiring more members into his group. He fought with the renown Pilipili Silverback, after which he took his rival’s entire family. Several birts have occurred adding upto 22 gorilla members, under the leadership of  Mvuyekure Silverback. This family is  located in Jomba nearby Bunagana Border (Congo-Uganda border).

Humba Gorilla Family.

Humba gorilla family which is famous for its humble nature and highly trekked gorilla family in Virunga National Park, and the entire Democratic republic of Congo. The family settles in Bukima sector, consisting of 9 members, under the leadership of Humba silverback.

Humba seperated himself from his father’s group (Rugendo), to succeed his brother Senkekwe, who was  shot to death by unknown gunmen on 22 July 2007.

Untill today, Humba group doesnot face power struggles because of Senkekwe’s leadership