Umubano Gorilla Family
Umubano Gorilla Family- Volcanoes national park located in the northwest of Rwanda is one of the four national parks where you can trek mountain gorillas, the park is located at the Virunga range volcanoes harboring 10 habituated mountain gorilla families that are open for tourism.
A maximum number of 8 people is allowed to trek each habituated gorilla family per day, mountain gorillas share 96% of their DNA with human beings making them their closest relatives just like chimpanzees and bonobos. Just like human beings having unique thumbprints, the mountain gorillas also have unique nose prints to each of them.
Mountain gorillas live on a high attitude of tropical and sub-tropical forest, they have long and thick fur which helps them to adapt to cold conditions of the rain forests. Mountain gorillas live in groups dominated by a silverback that is responsible for the protection and safety of the troop.
Umubano gorilla family
The gorilla family was initially part of the Amahoro group but broke off when two silverbacks Charles and Ubumbwe couldn’t get along and therefore decided to part ways. The word Umubano is derived from a Kinyarwanda word to mean living together. Umubano gorilla group lives in the same territory with Amahoro gorilla family but when they meet, they don’t fight.
Umubano group is made up of 13 individuals with 2 silverbacks, six infants, 3 adult females, and a sub-adult. Umubano and Amahoro groups are always sported interacting with each other but they never get into fights. Trekking Umubano gorillas family takes you 30 minutes to 3 hours depending on the location of these apes.
Umubaho gorilla family ain’t the only one you can visit in volcanoes national park. There are other 9 gorilla families namely susa family, sabyingo family, amahoro family, kwitonda family, agasha family, ugenda family, karisimbi family, hirwa family, titus family, and bwenge family.
Other activities in volcanoes national park
Volcanoes national parks happen to host 4 out of 8 virunga massif volcanoes that are mount Sabyinyo, Mount Karisimbi, Mount Gahinga, and Mount Bisoke. Mountain gorillas live on the slopes of these mountains so apart from trekking one can take park in volcanic climbing with each mountain giving you spectacular views at the summit.
Volcanoes national park has 178 bird species so far recorded among which include endemics to Virunga area, some of the examples of bird species include strange weaver, Ruwenzori turaco, scarlet – tufted malachite sunbird, archer’s robin – chat, Doherty’s bush – shrike, brown – necked parrot, Ruwenzori nightjar, Ruwenzori apalis, Ruwenzori batis, red – faced woodland warbler, African long – eared owl, brown woodland warbler, Ruwenzori double – collared sunbird, dusky crimsonwing, baglafecht weaver, blue – spotted wood, lagden’s bush – shrike, grauer’s swamp warbler, include narina trogon, lesser honey guide, palm nut vulture, handsome francolin, bateleur, cinnamon chested bee – eater, and red – backed shrike among others.
Gorilla trekking permits In Volcanoes
Gorilla trekking is assured only when you have secured a gorilla permit. Uganda and Rwanda gorilla permits are very competitive and scarce most especially during the high seasons of June, July, August, and September as well as December, January, and February. During the high season, the gorilla permits get sold four months in advance so any traveler needs to book a gorilla trekking permit 3-4 months in advance.
Gorilla permits can only be sold to people ages 15 and above. Each gorilla permit to volcanoes national park costs $1500 per person per trek. This gorilla permit allows you to spend a maximum of one hour with mountain gorillas and this gives you an opportunity to learn about their behaviors and habits.
Best time to visit volcanoes national park
The park can be visited at any time of the year but the best time to visit it is during the dry season when the terrains are dry and roads are passable. The dry season happens from June to September and December to February. All trackers are given gorilla trekking certificates to commemorate their visit in Africa
The dry season goes from June to mid-September and again from December to February and this is the best time to visit volcanoes national park for those who want to trek gorillas and also do canopy walks because the trails are dry, not slippery and are easily accessible. But since volcanoes national park has a tropical rain forest you are advised to carry a jacket just in case it rains.
Hiking Volcanoes National Park is much easier during dry season and game viewing is clear as most of the animals are near water sources drinking water because it’s a dry season meaning you have chances of seeing these animals converged in one place.
The wet season in volcanoes national park runs from March to May and again from October to November and these are the rainy months in Rwanda. But these does not mean it will rain every day on your safari and if it does rain in Rwanda it rains a few hours and it shines the rest of the day not like unlike counties in west Africa. However those interested in birding this is their best time to visit Volcanoes National Park because in this season plants are flowering attracting birds.