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Bwenge gorilla family

Bwenge gorilla family

Bwenge gorilla family

Bwenge gorilla family is among the 10 fully habituated gorilla families in volcanoes national park Rwanda. Volcanoes national park is located in Rwanda and it’s the only place you can meet mountain gorillas in this country including those in Bwenge gorilla group.

The name Bwenge was derived from a local Kinyarwanda word to mean wisdom and this same name belongs to the leading silverback in the group. Bwenge gorilla family was formed in 2007 and it stays on the slopes of mountain Karisoke volcano between Karisimbi and Bisoke above 600m and this means trekking requires one to be physically fit.

Bwenge gorilla family is of today made up of 12 members of which 1 is a silverback. After going through a hard time of losing 6 young ones at ago which turned out to be a terrible horror for the entire group we do believe the group is going to increase with time due to new births and other members joining the family.

Bwenge the dominating silverback started his group with 2 females after separating from others and while his family was increasing, the other silverbacks could come for fights and these left her wounded so many times. The wounds were the cause of his death and one morning he was found dead by Dian Fossey who was staying in the park by then. Before his death, Bwenge and other group members featured in the “gorillas in the mist” famous movie in 1998.

Bwenge gorilla group is not the only one in volcanoes national park but there are other gorilla families like Ugenda group, Karisimbi group, Kwitonda group, Titus group, Amahoro group, Agashya group, Hirwa group, Sabyinyo group, and Umubano group.

Trekking Bwenge gorilla family

On the day of gorilla trekking, trekkers will be expected to be at the briefing point (Kinigi) early in the morning where they will meet other tourists for a briefing. During the briefing, trekkers will be taught about the dos and don’ts of the trekking activity and when it comes to the time of grouping, you will be allocated Bwenge gorilla family.

Trekkers will later be transferred to the starting point where they will meet armed ranger guides to lead them into the jungle and as they look for Bwenge gorilla group, they will get opportunities of seeing different park animals like the buffaloes, giant forest hogs, duikers, hyenas, several monkey species, birds and much more. When you meet Bwenge gorilla family, you will be given 1 hour to be around the group members ad this will enable you to know about their habits, watch them do daily activities, and take photos.

Gorilla trekking permits for Bwenge gorilla family.

There are 8 permits available for Bwenge gorilla family every day at Rwanda Development Board because a maximum of 8 people is allowed to trek this peacefully gorilla family on a daily basis. Each gorilla permit for Bwenge as well as other gorilla families costs $1500 per person per trek. With only 8 permits available for this mountain gorilla group, we advise you to book in advance in order to avoid inconveniences

Booking gorilla permits for Bwenge family

African adventure vacations limited can help all tourists to book their trekking permits for Bwenge gorilla family. All you have to do is send us an email containing the dates you want to travel and the gorilla family you want to trek. Using the dates, we shall check for the availability of permits with the Rwanda Development Board and once they are available, we shall send you an email containing different ways you can send us money from the permit.

After receiving money for the permit, we shall go-ahead to purchase them at the Rwanda Development Board, and thereafter we shall send you a scanned copy. On the day of trekking, we shall inform the rangers to join you with those that are to trek Bwenge family. You can as well book a gorilla permit for yourself and then tell the rangers the gorilla family you want to trek.

When to trek Bwenge gorilla family?

Tourists can trek Bwenge gorilla family at any time of the year but there are months that are better than the rest and these are the dry months. The dry months occur from June to September and December to February and are characterized by little or no rainfall which leaves the trekking trails dry, the vegetation is short which gives clear views of Bwenge group gorillas, and the roads leading to the park are passable.

Tourists can still visit the volcanoes national park and trek Bwenge gorilla family in the rainy season of March to May and October to September. During these months there is plenty of rainfall which leaves the trekking trails muddy and slippery, the vegetation in the park tall giving unclear views of Bwenge group members and the roads leading to the park are impassable. Travelers who visit Bwenge gorilla family in the rainy season benefit from huge discounts on accommodation facilities.

What to pack for Bwenge group trekking?

Tourists coming for Bwenge gorilla group trekking have to pack waterproof hiking shoes, gardening gloves, a pair of gaiters, sunglasses, a camera, and extra batteries, a pair of binoculars, a hat, rain jacket, sweater, scarf, long-sleeved clothes, reusable drinking water bottle, insect repellents, energy-giving snacks, facemask, sanitizer, first aid kit, and much more.

Activities to do before or after trekking Bwenge gorilla family


Birding is another amazing activity you can do before or after trekking the mountain gorillas of Bwenge group in volcanoes national park. The park being home to over 178 bird species helps you to spot a variety with the help of a guide who takes you to the best birding spots. The bird species to encounter in volcanoes national park include Rwenzori turaco, Grauer’s rush warbler, African long-eared owl, archer’s robin-chat, dusky turtle dove, cinnamon-chested bee-eater, Baglafecht weaver, handsome francolin, Bateleur, Doherty’s bush-shrike, red-faced woodland warbler, lagden’s bush shrike, Rwenzori nightjar, scarlet-tufted malachite sunbird, and blue-spotted wood dove among others.

Golden monkey trekking

Only done in volcanoes national park, golden monkey trekking is another exciting activity that tourists can do after or before trekking Bwenge gorilla family in volcanoes national park. The activity gets you an opportunity to meet the endangered golden monkeys, get to learn about their habits, watch them do daily activities like hunting, feeding, playing as you take photos with a camera that has no flash. To trek the golden monkeys you will need to be having a golden monkey trekking permit from the Rwanda Development Board

Cultural visits

Don’t miss out on the cultural visits before or after trekking the mountain gorillas of Bwenge gorilla family in the volcanoes national park. The local people lead you through this cultural visit to the Iby’iwacu cultural village which is located near the park. Visiting these people gives you an opportunity to know how they live their day to day life, the foods they eat, support their small businesses, be part of ceremonies, and get entertained by traditional dancers through dances and drama.


Tourists on a safari to volcanoes national park to trek Bwenge gorilla group shouldn’t miss out on hiking ant of the Virunga mountains in the area. There are 5 mountains in Virunga national park and 4 of these are available for hiking like Mountain Bisoke, Mountain Karisimbi, Mountain Gahinga, and Mountain Muhabura.

Hiking any of the mountains in volcanoes national park before or after trekking Bwenge gorilla group will give you an opportunity to spot different park mammals, primates, birds, and vegetation on the way to the summit. At the summit of these mountains, you will have spectacular views of the surrounding areas like the national park, lakes, mountains, and the crater lake on Mountain Bisoke.

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