Rwanda’s northwest region is home to Volcanoes National Park. The national park shares boundaries with the Democratic Republic of the Congo’s Virunga National Park and Uganda’s Mgahinga Gorilla National Park. The three parks come together to form the Virunga conservation region, which was created primarily to safeguard the critically endangered mountain gorillas. The size of Volcanoes National Park is merely 62 square miles (160 sq. km). In 1920, the Volcanoes National Park was created. Dian Fossey’s presence in the park in 1967 and the founding of the Karisoke Research Center increased awareness of the park , and helped to curtail rampant poaching.
Volcanoes National Park attractions.
The mountain gorillas are the most well-known attractions in Volcanoes National Park; Dian Fossey’s research and the film “Gorilla in the Mist” are to thank for putting the park on the map of the globe. The Virunga region is home to the incredible, uncommon, and endangered golden monkeys. In addition, the forest is home to the forest elephant, buffaloes, bush pigs, huge forest hogs, duikers, spotted hyenas, bushbucks, and various primates.
In addition to mountain gorilla tracking and golden monkey trekking, this park is home to over 200 bird species, many of which are endemic to the Albertine Rift, making it a haven for bird watchers. Some of the bird species to look out for include the handsome francolin, strange weaver, dusky crimson wing, collared Apalis, red-faced woodland warbler, Archer’s ground robin, and Grauer’s rush warbler.
Caves in Musanze.
After seeing the gorillas, visitors may view the Musanze caverns, which are two kilometers long and include pathways and steps that lead to the cave’s dark interior. The Musanze caves were created as a result of a volcanic explosion.
Volcanoes National Park activities.
The main activity in Volcanoes National Park is gorilla trekking safari; tourists can see gorillas here, which is a wonderful thing to do in the park. Other gorillas can be trekked in Virunga National Park in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Mgahinga National Park in Uganda, and Bwindi National Park in Rwanda. Almost ten habituated Rwandan gorilla groups are present in the park and may be tracked with the assistance of knowledgeable and driven park personnel. Before beginning an activity that may prove hard depending on the gorilla group you are given, it is necessary to be in good physical condition.
Golden monkey tracking.
The second most popular activity in Volcanoes National Park after viewing gorillas is monitoring golden monkeys. This activity may be done either before or after trekking gorillas. As golden monkeys prefer to eat the bamboo shoots that grow at the volcano’s foot rather than ascending to high elevations in search of new food like gorillas do, following them is less taxing than tracking gorillas.
visiting Dian Fossey’s Grave.
Without Dian Fossey’s courage and tenacity, poaching of animals, especially mountain gorillas, would currently be extinct. She is also credited with developing novel techniques for acclimating gorillas to human presence by mimicking their sounds and winning the trust of the dominant male. Dian Fossey is one of the greatest primatologists of all time. The old Karisoke Research Center, which was situated between Mount Karisimbi and Mount Bisoke, and her tomb are currently visited by visitors in their hundreds.
Mount Karisimbi Volcano hiking.
The hiking safari on Mount Karisimbi, the fifth-highest mountain in Africa, is one of the most popular activities in Musanze. It involves navigating through dense forests before stopping at an altitude of 3700 meters for the first stop, rest, and overnight. Mount Karisimbi is an extinct volcano that rises to a height of approximately 4,507 meters.
climbing on Mount Muhabura.
The hiking safari at Mount Muhabura begins at a height of 1200 meters, and by the time one reaches the summit, tourists have passed through the beautiful green forests and marveled at the other volcanoes within the larger Virunga region. Mount Muhabura is one of the most interesting and adventurous volcanoes to climb while visiting the Volcanoes National Park; at 4,127 meters, it is the third highest mountain within the Virunga ranges.
Hiking on Mount Bisoke.
The extinct volcano Mount Bisoke is a part of the larger Virunga mountain range. From the country’s capital, Kigali, the hiking safari takes around three hours to get to the mountain’s base. Mount Bisoke is relatively simpler to hike than other mountains like Karisimbi.
visiting Ruhondo and Burera Twin Lakes.
After a long day of activities, taking a boat cruise through the deep waters of the Twin Lakes Ruhondo and Burera is one way to unwind. You’ll see the most breathtaking sights of birds and the vats of hilly landscape with waterfalls. Additionally, visiting the lakes gives you the chance to interact with the locals and learn about their rich heritage and culture, which distinguishes them from the other tribes in Rwanda.
On a cultural trip near the Volcanoes national park, visitors will get a taste of the local way of life by participating in events like being proclaimed king or queen for the day, learning about the local customs, and taking in music and dancing.
Best time to visit Volcanoes National Park.
The dry months of June through September are the finest times of year to visit Volcanoes National Park, when maximum temperatures range from 250 C to 270 C (770 F to 810 F) during the day and from 13.50 C to 150 C (560 F to 590 F) at night.
Where to stay in the Volcanoes National Park
The lodging options around the Volcanoes National Park are broken down into three categories: budget, mid-range, and luxury. The decision of which hotel to choose relies completely on the traveler’s budget, although all of the accommodations are of high quality. The Sabyinyo Silverback Lounge, La Palm Hotel, The Virunga Hotel, Five Volcanoes Hotel, Gorilla View Hotel, Villa Gorilla Lodge, and many more often provide room services, a 24-hour front desk, a lounge, a bar, a restaurant, and other amenities.
Volcanoes National Park location.
In addition to being accessible in two hours by car from Kigali, the Volcanoes National Park is also 30 minutes by car from Kisoro’s Cyanika border crossing with Uganda. Moreover, you can hire Akagera Aviation’s services to fly a helicopter.