Titus Gorilla Group
Titus gorilla group in Volcanoes national park is one of the 12 habituated gorilla families in Rwanda. It is also one of the oldest gorilla groups in the park and is strictly meant for research purposes. The group is found on the slopes of mountains Bisoke and Karisimbi; and was previously led by Titus, as the group’s dominant male.
The group was named after its dominant silverback ‘Titus,’ who was born during the days of Dian Fossey’s research at the Karisoke Research Center. Both Titus’ parents and entire family were killed by poachers, leaving the youngster as the only survivor. He was raised by another gorilla family. Later, 5 other female gorillas joined the group which at the time, was led by a silverback named ‘Beetsme.’
Beestme chased all male gorillas from his group, only sparing Titus whom he loved so much. However, in 1991; at the age of 17 years, Titus challenged Beestme in a bloodless duo which he won and became the dominant silverback of the group. In 2007, Titus started experiencing confrontations from one of his, Kuryama; who amidst his challenging father, always lost the fight.
Kuryama left his father’s group to start his own and later returned in 2009. Titus died a natural death in his nest, surround by his family. The death of Titus affected the group so much so, that its members started to exit from the group, and joined other gorilla families in the area.
By the time of Titus’ death at the age of 35 years, he had fathered over 20 gorillas in the group, being the only male gorilla in the national park with the highest number of offspring. Although the group is strictly meant for research purposes, tourists are allowed to track the group during the peak seasons in the national park, when other gorilla groups have been fully booked.
Other gorilla groups in Rwanda.
Rwanda has a total of 12 gorilla groups; all found in Volcanoes national park. Only 10 of these habituated gorilla groups are available for tourists to track and they include; Susa, Karisimbi, Sabyinyo, Agashya, Hirwa, Bwenge, Ugenda, Amahoro, Umbano and Kwitonda gorilla families/groups.
Cost of Gorilla Trekking in Rwanda.
A gorilla trekking permit in Rwanda costs USD 1500 dollars per person and can be done by tourists aged 15 years and above. Visitors interested in trekking mountain gorillas in Rwanda are advised to book your gorilla trekking permits at least 6 months in advance in order to avoid any inconveniences especially during the peak seasons when the activity is on high demand.
How many people can track a gorilla group in Rwanda?
Gorilla trekking in Rwanda is conducted in small groups of a maximum of 8 members per gorilla group. This is done in order not to scare the gorillas or agitate them. Also, small groups of tourists are easy to manage and guide while in the dense forests of Volcanoes national park.
What to pack when going gorilla trekking in Rwanda.
If you are planning to do gorilla trekking in Rwanda, ensure to pack the following items; long trousers and shirts, a water bottle, hat/car, sunscreen, and insect repellent cream, warm hand gloves, your gorilla permit, hiking boots, a light raincoat/jacket, some snacks/lunch, and a camera.
How to get to Volcanoes National Park in Rwanda.
Volcanoes national park is the only destination for gorilla trekking tours in Rwanda. The national park can be accessed by road or air. Tourists can easily access the park from Kigali city which is located about 2½ hours’ drive to the national park. Alternatively, visitors can also charter a domestic flight from Kigali international airport to the park which can take between 30 minutes to an hour.