Volcanoes national park

Volcanoes national park

Volcanoes National park

“In the heart of Central Africa, so high up that you shiver more than you sweat,” wrote the eminent primatologist Dian Fossey, “are great, old volcanoes towering almost 15,000 feet, and nearly covered with rich, green rainforest – the Virungas.”

Volcanoes National park also known as the Parc National des Volcans in French and Pariki y’Igihugu y’Ibirunga in the local Kinyarwanda language. It is  part of the Virunga Protected Area, the Parc National des Volcans (PNV) occupies more than 125 km2. Five Virunga volcanoes are located in the PNV: Sabyinyo (3,674 m), Gahinga (3,474 m), Bisoke (3,711 m), Muhabura (4,127 m), and Karisimbi, the highest volcano at 4,507 m altitude. All five volcanoes are extinct, while the active volcanoes are situated in the Congo. 

This is among the three national parks found in Rwanda and its the most popular park not only in Rwanda but the entire world. Its one of the five national parks in the world which inhabits the rare Mountain Gorillas. Other parks where mountain gorillas are found include: Bwindi impenetrable national park and Mgahinga Gorilla national park in Uganda, Virunga national park and Kahuzi Biega national park of Democratic republic of Congo. 


Volcanoes National park hosts bothe Golden monkey and Mountain Gorillas. IOt was first gazetted in 1925 as a small area near Karisimbi, Bisoke and Mikeno. Its the oldest national park not only in Rwanda but the entire African continent. Volcanoes National park also shelters the five of the 8 volcanoes that make up the Virunga Conservation Area. These mountains include: Mount Karisimbi, Mount Muhabura, Mounty Bisoke, Mount Sabyinyo and Mount Gahinga. 


Location of Volcanoes National park

The Volcanoes National Park, situated in the far northwest of Rwanda, protects the steep slopes of this majestic mountain range, home of the endangered mountain gorilla and a diverse mosaic of montane habitats, including evergreen and bamboo forests, open grasslands, swamps and heaths. Volcanoes National Park is located in the NorthWestern part of Rwanda near Uganda Rwanda Border. Access to the area starts with about 1h30minutes drive from Kigali to Ruhengeri a town and then to Kinigi (14 km from Ruhengeri) where the headquarters of the park are located.


Activities done in Volcanoes National park

There are several activities that can be done in Volcanoes national park how ever much Gorilla tracking is a key activity. We highlight to you the more remarkable activities that can make your Rwanda safari lifetime experience.  Below are the activities:


Mountain Gorilla tracking

Mountain Gorilla tracking is the highlight of Rwanda safari as well as Volcanoes National park safari. Gorilla trekking in Rwanda is lifetime experience with larger gorilla families tracked. There are 10 gorilla families that are fully habituated and tracked by Tourists. These Gorilla families include: Susa Family, Mahotro Family, Sabyinyo family, Karisimbi Family, Hirwa family, Ugenda family, Umubano family, Kwitonda family, Agashya family and Bwenge Family. Like any other Gorilla tracking country, the guest has to secure his or her Gorilla permit early. This can be booked through a local; tour operator or directly from the Rwanda Development Board. The cost of the Gorilla permit is only 1500usd. 

The trek starts with a briefing at the headquarters of the park and is accompanied by a climb up the mountain’s bamboo terrain. For each group of trekkers, there are guides to lead you to the gorilla families’ habitats and the maximum number per group of trekkers is only 8 participants. Once you’ve met a family of gorillas, all you can do is spend an hour with them, taking pictures, making videos and watching these great primates.


Golden Monkey tracking

Golden monkeys are an endangered primate species in Volcanoes national park. Golden monkey tracking on a safari in the Volcanoes National Park is a bucket list activity. They were used to enhancing the experience for visitors. In the bamboo forest at the foothills of the Virunga Volcanoes, most golden monkeys can be found. The experience of tracking the golden monkey comes with a guide to ease your way through tracking. The gude also shares the history of the park, information about the primates and lead you to the hotspots of the golden monkey.


The Volcano Hike

You’ll have two hiking choices to choose from if you love to climb and find yourself in the Volcanoes National Park. The Day Hike leads you to one of the volcanoes in the Virunga range, Mount Bisoke. With a crater lake at the top, it stands at 37,000 meters.


The Overnight Hike is the second highest volcanic peak on Mount Karisimbi in the Virunga Ranges. There are diverse vegetation zones along this trail, from bamboo, Afro-Montane to savannah. This hike is also known to be one of the most difficult hikes in the National Volcanoes, with a snow-capped peak, particularly in the June, July and August dry seasons.


Experience Rwanda Culture through a visit to Iby’Iwacu Village


Now known as the Gorilla Guardians Village, Iby’Iwacu Village is close to the park, making it a perfect place to visit as you leave the National Park of Volcanoes. Whether you opt to stay a few hours or overnight, the activities here can be done. Are you on the lookout for a new menu? Try to make or eat traditional meals and drinks, such as banana juice or brewed banana beer. Try out the local herbal medicine grown and brewed fresh from the garden for the botanist or medical staff. Unwind to the traditional music, dance and folklore of the local people and dance troops after your curiosity has been quenched.


Exploring the Musanze Caves


These age-old caves were once used in times of war to store food supplies for the kings of Rwanda. Nowadays, when visiting the Volcanoes National Park, they are quite a scene to behold. The ceilings of the cave are studded with many bats whose eyes sparkle when you shine at the ceiling with your flashlight. As you move towards the end of the cave and into the daylight, your footsteps are all you’ll hear in the midst of the cave’s silence, and the thick drops of dew hit the floor of the cave. Literally, a walk through these caves is a walk down memory lane.


Visit the Dian Fossey Grave

Remembered in the history of the conservation of primates is Dian Fossey. She spent her entire life in the conservation of the primates, especially the gorillas. She remains the outstanding influential figure in the world for conservation of Mountain Gorillas. She was murdered on the cold by unknown people at her home in 1985. She was buried in the park and todate her grave is one of the key attractions found in Volcanoes national park. Hike to the Dian Fossey grave takes more than 4 hours but the hike is simple and does not require any hiking experience. You will also visit the research centre once you reach there. 


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  1. […] is a key tourist activity done in Volcanoes national park. Mountain Gorillas in Rwanda are found in Volcanoes national park known as Parc National Des Volcans in French. The locals also call the park as Pariki Y’Ibirunga. […]

  2. […] the Northern part rolling on the foothills of thousand hills.  You will reach at your lodge near Volcanoes national park check in for dinner  and overnight at Jack-Hanna cottage/ Gorilla Nest Lodge (high end) Meal plan […]

  3. […] morning at 8:00am go for a boat trip at Lake Ihema to see crocodiles and hippos. After we leave for Volcanoes National Park from Akagera national park. Enjoy the winding roads and scenery along the way to the north. […]

  4. […] Day 2: Gorilla Trekking – Volcanoes National Park […]

  5. […] Days Rwanda Tour offers you an amazing experience of Rwanda , doing gorilla trekking in volcaones national park, chimp trekking in Nyungwe and wildlife in […]

  6. […] you will visit the Genocide Memorial Center, craft shops.  Then after which you will proceed to Volcanoes National Park and check in at your […]

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