Led by the gigantic Silverback Guhonda, Sabyinyo gorilla group is found on the foothills of Mount Sabyinyo in Volcanoes national park. This epic national park is one of the few areas which inhabits the rare and endangered mountain gorillas. It is located in the north-western corner of Rwanda in Musanze province and home to over a quarter of the world’s total population of mountain gorillas.
Volcanoes national park has a total of 12 mountain gorilla families and Sabyinyo is one of the first groups to be habituated in this park. The history of Sabyinyo gorilla family is a fascinating one and it begins all the way from 1992, following the separation of Group Thirteen and the death of its lead silverback.
When Group thirteen’s silverback perished, a few adult females (Ijisho, Gukunda and Kampanga) left with two silverbacks to form a separate group, and later on joined other females from group eleven. These gorillas went on to settle on the slopes of Mount Sabyinyo thus the name.
The group was originally called Amavubi, a Kinyarwanda word which means “wasps” because of the difficulty in habituating the family. The group then was composed of 3 silverbacks, namely Guhonda, Ryango and Ruhenyi.
Sabyinyo gorilla family is currently made up of 18 members, including 3 silverbacks with Guhonda – the biggest of all silverbacks in the Virunga region and several other young and female gorillas.
Trekking Sabyinyo family in Volcanoes National Park
Sabyinyo gorilla group is considered to be the easiest family to track, located only 15 minutes off the park headquarters, though obviously the trek is highly unpredictable and sometimes can take even longer depending on the movement of the family.
The trek to Sabyinyo family begins with a brief drive from the briefing point, followed by a 10 minutes’ walk on a flat area and then a hike on the slopes of Mount Sabyinyo in search of the mighty apes.
The group is tracked by a maximum of eight visitors per day, who are accompanies by ranger guides, trackers who are always in the field to monitor the movements of gorillas and porters for those trekkers who may need one to help in carrying the heavy luggage.
An encounter with Sabyinyo gorilla family in Volcanoes national park is purely breathtaking and worth all the effort and high costs of a Rwanda gorilla permit. The group is made of many juveniles and infants who keep on rolling up and down as the mighty silverbacks keep looking on for maximum protection.