Volcanoes National Park
The Ultimate Gorilla Experience
Volcanoes National Park
Also known as Parc National des Volcans in French, and Parikiy’Igihuguy’Ibirungain Kinyarwanda, this small park is part of the greater Virunga Conservation Area that also includes Virunga National Park in the Democratic Republic of Congo and Mgahinga Gorilla National Park in Uganda. Volcanoes National Park is best known as a haven for the rare and endangered mountain gorillas and golden monkeys, but just as breathtaking and unforgettable is the scenery that is easily one of the continent’s winners. Located inside the park are five of the eight lush and verdant volcanoes in the Virunga Mountains range, which feature magical white-capped peaks, fascinating rainforest and bamboo vegetation on their slopes, and even a couple of serene crater lakes.
Rwanda is one of only 3 places where you can see Mountain Gorillas in the wild. The other two places being Uganda and Congo. The Mountain Gorillas in Rwanda live in Volcanoes National Park situated in the north-west of the country. The park is only 2.5 hours away from Kigali the capital city. Gorilla trekking in Rwanda has made it one of the most sought after tourist destinations and which has, in turn, won it recognitions such as Nr 4 in the Top 30 Travel Destinations to Visit in 2020 and the Visit Rwanda brand winning the top award for destination excellence in luxury and experiential travel at the 2019 Lux experience Awards in Sydney, Australia.
There will forever be an inextricable link between Gorilla Trekking in Rwanda and the famous American Primatologist Diann Fossey who pioneered Gorilla Conservation, Research and Anti Poaching in Rwanda during the late
Golden Monkey Trekking in Rwanda
Golden Monkey can only be found in five National Parks: Mgahinga National Park, Volcanoes National Park, Gishwati Forest National Park, Virunga National Park and Kahuzi-Biéga. They are restricted to highland forest, especially near bamboo. In Rwanda there are two groups which can be tracked, one on the slopes of Mount Karisimbi and the other in the bamboo forest on Mount Sabyinyo. This is also a standalone excursion, departing from the Kinigi headquarters once each day.
There are 8 Volcanoes in the Virunga Mountain Range 5 of which are in Rwanda, in Volcanoes National Park. Hiking can be done on all the mountains apart from Mount Sabinyo.
Mount Karisimbi ( 4,057m ) - 2 Day climb with camping on the mountain.
Mount Muhavura ( 4,121m ) - 1 Day climb, 6 - 8 hours depending on fitness
Mount Bisoke ( 3,771m ) - 1 Day climb, 6 hours
Mount Gahinga ( 3,474m ) - 1 Day climb, 4 hours
Each climb regardless of height a duration allows you to experience the total natural beauty of this volcanic area. You will come across, crater lakes, birds, primates as well a vegetation that an only be found in this area and to top it all off the panoramic views are second to none.
The Dian Fossey trail begins at the base of Mt. Bisoke and goes to her burial site, her research station at Karisoke and then winds its way back. The majority of the trail is located in the valley between Mount Bisoke and Mount Karisimbi. The 3 – 4 hour trail offers affords you incredible views of the mountains, unique vegetation such as orchids and a chance to encounter the Mountain Gorillas, Golden Monkeys as well as some Albertine rift endemic birds
There are around 180 bird species recorded in Volcanoes National Park with the majority of them also recorded in Nyungwe Forest. This means that when birdwatchers come to Volcanoes National Park they are looking to view one or more of the 16 Albertine Rife endemics some of the most sought after to view are
Grauer’s swamp warbler
Ruwenzori double-collared sunbird,
Although you can birdwatch throughout the year during the rainy season visibility is reduced due to the mist, making birding watching more difficult. The dry season from June to August is more conducive to birdwatching, December and January are also popular though not as dry. Migratory birds can be seen in the Park from November to April