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Volcanoes National Park
Volcanoes National Park : is found “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 rain forest the Virungas.” Situated in the far northwest of Rwanda, Volcanoes National Park protects the steep slopes of this magnificent mountain range home of the endangered mountain gorilla and a rich mosaic of montane ecosystems, which embrace evergreen and bamboo forest, open grassland, swamp and heath. Tracking endangered mountain Gorillas through the mysterious intimacy of the rain forest, alive with the calls of over 200 species of colorful birds and chattering of the rare golden monkey is only one of the truly unique experiences in the area. Within the boundaries of Volcanoes National Park are Buhanga Eco-Park, an ancient forest holding Rwanda’s most intriguing folklore and Musanze cave, formed 62 million years ago after the last estimated volcanic eruption.
Mountain Gorilla trekking
Mountain gorilla trekking is the most wilderness adventurous activity in Volcanoes National Park. The park has 10 habituated gorilla families which makes it a better place to spot mountain gorillas. Habituated Gorilla groups include; Umubano gorilla group, Amahoro gorilla group, Titus gorilla group, Sabyinyo gorilla group, Agashya gorilla group, Kwitonda gorilla group, Hirwa gorilla group, Umubano gorilla group and Bwenge gorilla group. Each gorilla trekking group is assigned with two scouts and a guide/rangers (assigning a group depends on the age and fitness of the tracker). The scouts carry guns one from behind and another infront to ensure that the tracking group is protected from wild animals and annoyed gorillas.
The rangers/guides will help you trek through the foothills of the thick forest in search for mountain gorillas in Volcanoes National park. Have your passport with you and a gorilla permit directly from Rwanda Development Board which will be crosschecked at the gate to ensure that it belongs to you. Carry your gears such as boots, rain jackets, gloves, long sleeved clothes, insect repellant, and walking stick for support among others. There is a maximum number of 8 trekkers per gorilla family and depending on the speed of the trekkers, the trekking can last for 4-7 hours. Travelers are still given one hour to learn more about the gorillas in their presence (when travelers have spotted a certain gorilla family).
There various hiking expeditions that take you through the jungles of Volcanoes National Park namely; Mt. Muhabura, Karisimbi (the highest of all the 8 Virunga Volcanoes), and Bisoke. Tourists hiking to Mt. Karisimbi get a chance to view elephants, insect, butterfly species, primates, mountain gorillas, birds, and other wildlife in the park. Mt. Bisoke offers a precise view of the crater lakes at the top of the mountain but hiking this mountain requires travelers to be physically fit. Muhabura is the 3rd highest of the Virunga volcanoes and during the activity you can view warthogs, buffalos and the monkeys in the area.
Monkey trekking is the most adventurous and interesting activity in Volcanoes National Park next to gorilla trekking. The park is made up of two habituated monkey groups each comprising of 100 members with a dominant male which turns to be the leader of the group. The thrilling activity begins early in the morning at the main headquarters “kinigi tourism office”. The golden monkeys are active, and very entertaining as they swing from one branch of tree to another.
Village Experience/cultural encounter
During the village encounter, visitors are entertained with the traditional dances from Ibyiwacu cultural village organized by Rwanda Development Board Office. You can as well be part of other activities like being crowned a king (male) or a queen (female) of the day following African tradition and lifestyle. Travelers can as well buy crafts from African craft makers.
Hiking to Musanze cave is an interesting and adventurous activity. The cave is situated in Musanze district inside the park in the northern part of Rwanda. In 2013, the Rwanda Development Board opened up the cave to the public. The cave is 2km long with stairs that help you trek inside the cave and it’s big enough to accommodate a number of people. Walk through the cave and appreciate the geographical nature of Volcanoes National Park.
How to get there
Volcanoes National Park is about 105 kilometers (65 miles) away from the Country’s city and Airport (Kigali), it can be accessed by road and by air. By air you can land in Kigali International Airport after which you drive for 2 hours to reach the park.
Where to Stay In Volcanoes National Park
The park has got a lot of lodges, camps & hotels for accommodation ranging from luxury, budget and mid-range and these are available both inside and outside the park. You can book your accommodation through our company and early bookings are advised.
- Gorilla Village
- Mountain Gorilla View Lodge
- Gorillas Volcanoes Hotel,
- Musanze Caves Hotel
- Red Rocks Rwanda,
- Rohondo Beach Resort
Below are some of our short and long Rwanda safaris to to different National Parks in Rwanda.