Gorilla Families in DR Congo

10 gorilla families are the only mountain gorilla families that can be visited in the DR Congo since they are used to humans and habituated for gorilla tourism and conservation.

There are 10 Congo Gorilla families habituated in the Virunga National Park, making it ideal for Gorilla trekking in Congo. These 10 families are the only mountain gorilla families that can be visited since they are used to humans and habituated for gorilla tourism and conservation. However, due to the area’s instability, the number of mountain gorillas in Virunga National Park is unknown, but the last census estimated over 100.

Without wasting time, let’s dive into the ten groups of these endangered Mountain gorillas known to be Virunga National Park residents. These gorillas families that you might trek during your Gorilla trekking tour in Dr. Congo

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Gorilla Families in DR Congo

Rugendo Gorilla Family

There are 9 individuals in the Rugendo group, including 3 Silverbacks, 1 Blackback, 1 Adult female, 2 Sub-adult females, and 2 babies. Besides Rugabo and Zunguruka, Rugendo was one of the first groups habituated in 1985. A group leader was the Silverback Rugendo, who unfortunately died in 2001 near Bukima in a rebel attack. When the group was formed, Silverback Rugendo led the group.

There are numerous Silverbacks known to be fathered by Rugendo in Virunga National Park, including Mapuwa, Humba, Ruzirabwoba, Mukunda, Nyakamwe; Mburanumwe; Baseka; Kongomani; Lubutu and Bahati. After his death, his son Senkwekwe led the group until 2007, when he was murdered with 5 other gorillas in his group by unknown people.

Silverback Bukima took over leadership in 2008 after the group was without leadership for a few months. Bukima originally belonged to the Buhanga group and later joined the Munyaga group until he became a lone Silverback in 2005.

Baraka  Gorilla Family

This family is led by a male silverback known as Baraka, The Baraka Family was named after Rachel Masika, one of the 26 women rangers in the park’s wildlife force. While accompanying British tourists to Mikeno Lodge in Virunga National Park, she was killed by unknown people in honour of that fallen hero, the park named this family.

Gorilla Families in DR Congo
Gorilla Families in DR Congo

Muyanga gorilla family 


The Munyanga gorilla family currently consists of 3 Silverbacks, 2 female adult females, 2 subadults, and 2 babies. This family is led by a dominant Silverback called Munyaga, who was a lone wild Silverback until 1998. 

After meeting the Buhanga group headed by Nsekuye in February 1998, Munyaga took advantage of the absence of a dominant Silverback to make himself a leader. After several interactions with the Kabirizi group, Munyaga lost all his females to the Kabirizi group. The dominant silverback Munyaga was reportedly missing for two years (2007-2008). Upon his disappearance, Mawazo took advantage to become the leader of the Munyaga gorilla family. 

Mapuwa Gorilla Family

Mapuwa group was formed in 1998 by Mapuwa Silverback. In August 1995, Mapuwa left the Rugendo group with his brother Ruzirabwoba for a solitary life. In 1998, Mapuwa formed his group – Mapuwa – by taking two females (Kagofero and Kanepo) from the Lulengo group. There are 22 individuals in the Mapuwa group, including 3 Silverbacks, 3 Blackbacks, 6 Adult females, 2 Sub-adult females, 4 juveniles, and 5 babies.

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Gorilla Families in DR Congo

Lulengo Gorilla Family

The Lulengo Gorilla family was originally known as the Musekura mountain gorilla family. However, the name was changed to Lulengo in memory of a land mine that killed Virunga national park’s technical director Lulengo. The family consists of 9 individuals: a silverback, a triplet, a subadult male, and 3 babies. Numerous factors contribute to the change in gorilla populations.

The dominant silverback of the group, Lulengo, was born into the Rugabi gorilla family, and during the Great Lakes Refugee Crisis in 1994, his father, Rugabo, was a victim of poachers who shot and killed him. A trek to this group can be made from Jomba near Bunagana near the DR Congo-Uganda border.

Kabirizi Gorilla Family

This group was once known as the Ndungutse family, named after the known silverback Ndungutse. However, this silverback was assassinated in 1997 after being caught in the crossfire between the rebel groups and the DR Congo Army at the Bukima patrol post. Kabirizi is named after the ICCN director killed in a 1990 traffic accident. A humble and powerful silverback leads the group; he inherited the name Kabirizi and lived in the wild unhabituated gorilla habitat until 1998, when he became habituated.

His competition currently comes from a young silverback named Masibo. There are 19 members in the Kabirizi group. The trek starts from the Bukima patrol post when trekking with this gorilla family. Gorilla trekking bookings should be made 3 months before your arrival.

Gorilla Families in DR Congo
Gorilla Families in DR Congo

Bageni Gorilla Family

The Bageni family is usually found in the Bukima and Gatovu areas of Virunga National Park. There are 26 members in the Bageni group, including 1 Silverback, 2 Blackbacks, 10 adults, 1 sub-adult, 3 juveniles, and 9 babies. In January 2013, Bageni the Silverback split from his father’s group (Kabirizi group). In addition to his mother Mapendo and brothers, Bageni formed his group called Bageni with 20 individuals. Visitors prefer the Bageni family during Congo gorilla trekking because it’s the calmest and great for photographers.

Nyekamwe Gorilla Family

The dominant Silverback Nyakamwe leads the Nyakamwe group in the Bukima area of Virunga National Park in DRC. As a result of the split in the Humba group in 2014, we formed the Nyakamwe group. On 20/04/2014, Nyakamwe Silverback split up with his brother Humba because of internal conflicts, leaving the Humba group with only five members. There are 15 individuals in the Nyakamwe group today, including 3 Silverbacks, 4 Female Adults, 2 Sub-Adults, 3 Juveniles, and 3 Infants.

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Humba Gorilla Family

There are 16 gorillas in this family and one silverback. It can be found near the Goma sector in the Bukima area. The dominant silverback in this group is Humba himself.

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