The Volcanoes national park is one of the most popular national parks in East Africa. Situated in northern province of Rwanda in Musanze village, it’s the ultimate destination for gorilla trekking in Africa.
The park was once part of the Virunga National Park, the oldest national park in Africa that was gazetted in 1925 specifically to conserve the endangered mountain gorillas.
The Volcanoes National Park Rwanda is also known as Parc National des Vulcans (PNV) in most guidebooks. The park covers an area of about 150 square kilometers. It is bordered by the Virunga national park of Dr Congo and Mgahinga National Park of Uganda. The Virunga conservation region is formed by these national parks specifically to protect the endangered mountain gorillas.
The Volcanoes National Park is a home to various animal species that include primates like mountain gorilla, golden monkeys, and baboons. Animals like buffaloes, duiker, bush pigs, and forest hogs. Over 200 bird species call volcanoes national park a home. This has also made the best destination for bird watching.
Things to do in Volcanoes National Park
Gorilla trekking in Rwanda is one the major activity to do while in the Volcanoes National Park. The park is one of the four East African national parks where endangered mountain gorillas can be seen while on an African safari.
Most gorilla treks in Rwanda starts at 8 am in the morning where by you will walk through the forest for over 30 minutes in search for Mountain gorillas and when they are seen visitors will be allowed one hour with them in their natural habitat.
Rwanda has about twelve habituated gorillas in different location and can be accessed quickly depending on the location. For the visitors to see and track gorillas’ they are required to have a valid gorilla permit which costs about $1500 and authorized by Rwanda Development Board.
Golden Monkey Tracking
Golden monkey trucking is the second best most done activity in volcanoes national park. The park has two habituated golden monkey families. Golden monkey trucking can only be done in Viruga ranges of Mgahinga national park, volcanoes and Virunga national park in Congo while on Uganda tour
Golden monkeys live in large communities of about 50 individuals they differ from other species of monkeys with their golden spots on their fur coats which makes them the beautiful specie of monkey.
The golden monkey trucking permit in Rwanda costs 90$ for foreign nonresident and can be accessed from Rwanda development board.
Volcanoes national park in Rwanda is popularly known for gorilla trekking and hiking and golden monkey trucking. However this cannot stop it from being the best spot f birding watching. While on a Uganda tour, visitors can as well as access volcanoes national park and explore the beauty of a land of thousand hills.
The park is gifted with about 200 species of birds 20% can only be seen a while on Rwanda tour and others are endemic species of virunga mountains. Some of the common bird species to encounter while in Rwanda are Archie’s ground robin Rwenzori baits, fly catcher, black and white manikin, and cinnamon bracken warbler. The park is boarder by Uganda and some of the birds can be seen while on a Uganda tour
Volcanoes national park is made of number of hills which has brought about hiking around the park.
Hiking Mount Karisimbi
Mot Karisimbi is the highest extinct volcano that goes about 4432m above the sea level. Hiking Mount Karisimbi is one popular tour activity while in Rwanda.
Mount Karisimbi is the fifth highest in Africa. The hiking of Mt Karisimbi takes about 2-3 days which requires health fitness of hikers to ensure that they reach on top walking through thick forests. On the first day depending on their mountain climbers may reach at the altitude of 3700m where they will have a rest and an overnight and continue next morning up to the top. The top summit of Mount Karisimbi will reward the hikers a chance to view white snow MT Rwenzori in Uganda, all mountains with in the Virunga region and Mt Nyiragongo.
Hiking Mount Bisoke
Hiking Mount Bisoke. Bisoke is part the large and wide Virunga ranges. It can be accessed quickly faster than any other Virunga rangers it three hours’ drive from capital Kigali city. It’s not too high as mount karisimbi. It can be hiked in one day but it also requires healthy fitness of the hikers. The cost of hiking Mount Bisoke costs 75$ and like any other park the hiking starts with the briefing and foot hills of the mountain.
Dian Fossey Hike
Dianna fossey was primatology researcher who was killed in 1985 by poachers. The primatology was doing research about the mountain gorrliras and fighting for their conservation. The hiking of Dianne fossey takes about 3 hours and this will give visitors a chance to view the digit tomb of Dianna fossey and the gravel yards of mountain gorillas that were killed by poachers or died of injuries sustained from poachers. Hiking the research center will give the visitors a chance to learn more about the endangered mountain gorillas and learn about the legacy of Dianna fossey she left behind.
The volcanoes national park is surrounded by tribes and on arrangement visitors can be visit and encounter their life style. During the community visits you will see ibi wachwu cultural village where you will learn their traditional living , life styles , learn their entore dances, taste them local brew made from banana , entertained with music drama and dance, learn how to weave buckets and make craft shoes.
How to Access Volcanoes National Park
Volcanoes national is situated in the eastern province of Rwanda In Musanze village it can be reached by road transport about 2 hours’ drive from Kigali international airport.
Where to stay while in Volcanoes National Park
The Volcanoes national park has a variety of beautiful accommodations around it. These accommodations arrange from budget, mid-range and high end lodges. These include;
- Hotel Muhabura
- Da Vinci lodge
- Mountain gorilla nest lodge
- La bamboo lodge
- Volcanoes hotel
- Sabinyo silverback lodge.