VOLCANOES NATIONAL PARK.
The park is located in north-western Rwanda covering an area of 160 square kilometres of rainforests, valleys, savannah and mountains. It borders five of eight volcanoes in the Virunga Mountains and these are Muhabura, Karisimbi, Sabyinyo, Gahinga and Bisoke volcanoes.
Volcanoes national park is situated at the border of Uganda neighbouring Mgahinga National Park and D.R. Congo’s Virunga National Park. It is covered with rain forested vegetation, bamboo plantations, swamp vegetation and heath in some parts.
It boasts a lot of attractions such as mammals like forest elephants, buffaloes, bush pigs, giant forest hogs, duikers, spotted hyenas, bush-bucks and several primates like Gorillas which make this park famous, golden monkeys, red-tailed monkeys among others. It has also over 200 bird species such as Rwenzori batis, Rwenzori turaco, Rwenzori double – collared Sunbird, handsome francolin among others.
This park was a base for the famous primatology Dian Fossey who started a campaign of conservation and protection of mountain gorillas which were going into extinction, reportedly due to poaching activities but was later murdered in cold blood at her home in Karisoke station. She pioneered gorilla habituation in this country and started the Karisoke research centre which still operates up to date.
What to do in Volcanoes National Park?
A safari to volcanoes, national park rewards you with memories and you will be able to participate in different activities including;
This is the main activity here in this conservation area which requires a visitor to have a valid gorilla trekking permit. Trekking takes about 2-4 hours depending on the gorilla family trekked and the movement of these endangered species. Each gorilla family / group can be trekked by a maximum of eight people and only an hour is allowed after setting your eyes on them. This time you will learn more about the mountain gorillas, their way of like, leadership, feeding among others.
Golden monkey trekking.
This is another premier activity carried out in Volcanoes National Park. Golden monkeys are rare and unique compared to other monkeys in a way that they have reddish punches all over the body and their nostril faces upwards. While on the trek, you will meet them in bamboo plantations and you will witness these beautiful species.
Some of them don’t have tails; they have been cut off by bamboo shoots while running. Trekking time is similar to that of gorillas and is done with the help of a park ranger guide.
There is a lot to discover while hiking any mountain near Volcanoes National Park. Some of the mountains to hike here include Mount Bisoke, mount Karisimbi, Muhabura and Sabyinyo. These give stunning views while on the slopes and summits but also travellers are able to sight different bird species, butterflies and primates.
With over 180 bird species, Volcanoes National Park is considered to be one of the important birding areas in Rwanda and among many birds that can be spotted include Rwenzori turacos, Archer’s ground robin, the red-faced woodland warbler, dusky crimson-wing and Rwenzori double collared sunbird.
Community tours (Iby’Iwachu cultural village).
This village rewards you with the best of Rwandan culture and experience while on your visit. While here, you may decide to take part in banana beer processing, local dishes preparations, get entertained by the music dance and drama among other activities. A visit to this village will reward you with the best African culture.
Dian Fossey Grave hike.
Take a visit to Dian Fossey graveyard where you will learn more about this primatologist who saved very many mountain gorillas from poachers. She also founded an institute, Karisoke research centre where she was buried together with her beloved gorillas whose innocent lives were claimed by merciless poachers. The hike is graced by different primates, bird species, and lush vegetation.
How to access Volcanoes national park?
You can access the park by road transport and the distance covered here is about 105km taking about 2 hours’ drive from Kigali city. The road is well tarmacked with en route attractions like the tea plantations, birds, homesteads, and lively towns.
Best time to visit Volcanoes National park.
Are you planning to take a safari to Volcanoes National Park in Rwanda? You are advised to take it in dry seasons which are June to September and December to early March. This is when the trails are easily accessed and the weather is good for photography.
Our experienced safari experts are ready to help you plan the best Volcanoes national park safari.