Umubano Gorilla Family
Umubano gorilla family /group is found in volcanoes national park which is located in Musanze province in the northwestern part of Rwanda. The name Umubano is derived from a Kinyarwanda word to mean living together and this is seen between the togetherness and tightness between Umubano and Amahoro gorilla groups that do meet and live together for a period of time even after days of separation.
Umubano gorilla family is among the 10 gorilla families that are fully habituated and readily available for trekking in volcanoes national park. Volcanoes national park in the northwestern part of Rwanda is comprised of different types of vegetation that have acted as a home to mountain gorillas of which some are habituated like Umubano gorilla family.
Umubano gorilla family was before part of Amahoro gorilla family but due to fights between 2 silverbacks Ubumwe and Charles, the group split into 2 and Charles started his own gorilla family Umubano and went with 2 females from the group. Charles become a good leader and attracted other mountain gorillas to the group and as of today, the family has 13 members. When these families meet today, they don’t fight but live together for a certain period of time.
Umubano gorilla family is of today made up of 13 members including 5 silverbacks, 2 black backs, 2 adult females, 2 infants, 1 sub-adult, and 1 juvenile. Trekking Umubano gorilla family gives you the best experience when it comes to trekking mountain gorillas in Rwanda and if you want to trek this very gorilla family, you will have to inform your tour operator and they inform the park rangers.
Umubano gorilla family is found in the Virunga conservation area in volcanoes national park together with other gorilla families such as Hirwa, Amahoro, Sabyinyo, Karisimbi, Agashya, Hirwa, Bwenge, Titus, and Susa. Tourists can still trek other mountain gorilla families in Bwindi impenetrable forest national park and Mgahinga national park of Uganda as well as Virunga national park of DR Congo.
Trekking Umubano gorilla Group
Trekking Umubano gorilla family starts with a briefing at the Kinigi park headquarters where trekkers are requested to report as early as 7 am for a briefing. The wardens do brief all trekkers about the dos and don’ts of the gorilla trekking activity and later grouping is done and people are located different gorilla families to trek. You will be assigned to trek Umubano gorilla family because your tour operator would have informed the wardens that you want to trek this family.
Later your driver-guide will transfer you to the starting point of the trekking activity and ranger guides will lead you through different trekking trails and you look for the Umubano family. After several hours of searching and meeting the gorilla family, you will be given 1 hour to be around the family and this will enable you to learn about their habits, watch them do daily activities, and take photos.
During the trekking, you will be able to spot different park animals like elephants, buffaloes, giant forest hogs, hyenas, duikers, monkeys, different monkeys, and bird species. After trekking, you will trek out of the jungle and get back to your lodge, do other activities, and or move to the next destination.
How much is a gorilla permit for Umubano family?
The gorilla trekking permit is a card that allows tourists to trek a single mountain gorilla family for a maximum of 1 hour and it comes with a park entrance fee, ranger guide fee, and excludes accommodation or porter fee. The gorilla trekking permit for Umubano family or any other family in volcanoes national park costs $1500 per person per trek.
Trekking Umubano gorilla family can be done by only 8 people on a single day according to mountain gorilla trekking rules and regulations in all gorilla parks. There are only 8 trekking permits available at Rwanda Development Board for Umubano gorilla family on a daily basis.
Tourists intending to visit Rwanda and trek mountain gorillas and Umubano family in particular have to inform their tour operator while booking and these will inform the rangers at the park offices to assign you that very family. You also need to book in advance the gorilla trekking permits for Umubano family most especially if you are planning to trek in the dry seasons to avoid disappointments since the permits sell out quickly.
What is the best time to visit Umubano gorilla family?
Umubano gorilla family can be visited at any time of the year in volcanoes national park Rwanda but there are some months that are better than the rest and these are the dry months. The dry months always occur from June to October and December to February and are characterized by little or no rainfall. It’s during the dry season that the trekking trails are dry, the vegetation in the park is thin giving a clear view of the mountain gorillas and other park animals and the roads leading to the park are passible.
Tourists can still visit volcanoes national park and trek mountain gorillas of Umubano group in the rainy season which occurs from March to May and October to November to enjoy huge discounts on accommodation facilities. However, during the rainy months, there is plenty of rainfall which makes the trekking trails muddy and slippery, the vegetation in the park is thick giving unclear views of the mountain gorillas and other park animals and the roads leading to the parks are impassable.
Packing list for Umubano gorilla family trekking?
The pack list for Umubano gorilla family trekking is not that long fr we look at the necessary equipment only like the camera and extra batteries, insect repellents, a pair of binoculars, waterproof hiking shoes, long-sleeved clothes, a pair of gaiters, a rain jacket, sunscreen, a hat, first aid kit, face mask and sanitizer, reusable drinking water bottle, and energy-giving snacks.
Activities to do before or after trekking mountain gorillas of Umubano family
Golden monkey trekking
Golden monkey trekking is that one activity you don’t have to miss out on while on a safari to volcanoes national park to trek Umubano gorilla family. Golden monkey trekking activity gives you an opportunity to trek the endangered primate species that are found nowhere else but in this park in the whole of Rwanda. The activity requires one to have a $100 golden monkey trekking permit from the Rwanda Development Board and they will join other trekking to search the apes. When the golden monkeys are found, the trekkers will be given 1 hour to be around them, watch them do daily activities, and take photos.
Birding activities in volcanoes national park before or after trekking Susa gorilla family will give you an opportunity to encounter some of the 178 bird species that have been recorded in the park. Birds to encounter in volcanoes national park include Ruwenzori turaco, strange weaver, African green broadbill, nirana trogon, African swamphen, bat hawk, grey-headed bush shrike, Ruwenzori batis, crested barbet, palm nut vulture, crested barbet, and red chested sunbird among others.
Tourists on a mountain gorilla trekking safari in volcanoes national park can hike any of Virunga volcanoes before or after trekking mountain gorillas of Umubano family. To hike any of the Virunga volcanoes you will need a hiking permit which you can buy at the park headquarters even on the day of hiking. Hiking can be done on mountain Karisimbi, Mountain Bisoke, Mountain Gahinga, and Mountain Muhabura and reaching the summit of these mountains takes different hours.
Hiking these mountains will give you an opportunity to spot some of the park animals such as hyenas, bushbabies, giant forest hogs, elephants, monkeys, and different bird species and the summit will give you beautiful views of the surrounding places, vegetation, lakes, neighboring mountains and much more.
Tourists can be part of the cultural tour in volcanoes national park before or after trekking mountain gorillas of Umubano gorilla family. The cultural visit is led by the local people who take you around the local community of Iby’Iwacu cultural village visiting people’s homesteads, tasting local foods, watching people do day to day activities, listen to old people stories of which some are former poachers, support their local shops and get entertainment from traditional dancers.