Named after its founder “Kwitonda” silverback, Kwitonda gorilla family is one of the 10 gorilla families that call Rwanda home. Kwitonda is locally translated as “humble one” in Kinyarwanda due to the humble character of its founder, the fallen “Kwitonda silverback”. Kwitonda Gorilla family initially lived in Virunga National Park Congo till 2003 when its crossed borders to Volcanoes National Parkin Rwanda. Since 2003, Kwitonda has become a permanent gorilla family in Volcanoes National Park. Unfortunately, Kwitonda silverback died a natural death in 2012 and his son Akarevuro took over leadership. At the time of his death, Kwitonda silverback was 40 years old. Due to his humble character, Kwitonda silverback accepted other silverback gorillas to mate with adult females, a rare case with silverbacks in other families. It’s also believed that the increased pressures from other silverbacks and blackbucks were unbearable to Kwitonda silverback. This made him leave his family and went into hiding until his death. Kwitonda’s body was discovered 10 days after his death. Kwitonda gorilla family lives in the slopes of Mount Muhabura and is one of the most challenging gorilla families to trek in Volcanoes National Park. However, the magical feeling of meeting this amazing gorilla family is worth the effort of hiking.
How to trek Kwitonda gorilla family
Trekking to see Kwitonda gorilla group starts at 7:00am. Travelers are required to wake up early, have breakfast and transfer to Kinigi park headquarters for registration and briefing about the dos and don’ts of gorilla trekking. The trek to meet Kwitonda family starts at 8:00 am lasting for between 30 minutes to several hours depending on where gorillas will be located that day.
Gorilla permit to trek Kwitonda gorilla family
Each day, 8 gorilla permits are available to trek Kwitonda gorilla group. Each permit cost $1500 and can be bought directly from Rwanda Development Board or through Gorilla Trek Africa, the number one gorilla safari company in Rwanda and the whole Africa. Gorilla permit booking is recommended at least 6 months in advance for timely planning and preparations.
Best time to trek Kwitonda gorilla family
The dry season in the months of June, July, August, September, December, and January is the best time to visit Kwitonda gorilla family. During this time, rains are less, which make trekking through the jungle forest less challenging. However, gorilla trekking is done all round and the experience in whichever season is memorable.
What to pack for trekking Kwitonda family
Trekking to see Kwitonda gorilla family is a strenuous but enjoyable experience. Make sure you carry and pack the right things to help you trek gorillas without difficulty. Among the things to carry for Kwitonda gorilla trekking include hiking boots, gardening gloves, rain jackets, sweaters, scarf, sunglasses, hat, long-sleeved shirts, long pants, bottled drinking water, energy-giving snacks and insect repellents among others.
Other gorilla families in Rwanda
In addition to Kwitonda family, Volcanoes National Park is home to more 9-gorilla families habituated for trekking. Other Rwanda gorilla groups include:
• Susa A
• Agasya group
• Karisimbi family
• Sabyinyo group
• Titus group
• Amahoro family
• Hirwa family (currently living in Mgahinga gorilla National Park Uganda)
• Bwenge gorilla group
Each gorilla family is visited by a group of eight people per day.
In conclusion therefore, a visit to Kwitonda gorilla family is an exceptional experience you should not miss. Contact Gorilla Trek Africa, today, book a Rwanda gorilla tour, spend time with Kwitonda family and