Volcanoes National Park
Volcanoes National Park Rwanda is the most visited national park in Rwanda, for a number of reasons. Volcanoes National Park also known as Parc National des Volcans (PNV) is one of the most beautiful places in Africa that one would visit for jungle experiences. Volcanoes National Park is named after the chain of dormant volcanoes that make part of the park, namely Mount Karisimbi, Bisoke, Sabinyo, Gahinga and Muhabura which give commanding views while in the park as well as when approaching. Volcanoes National Park is majorly composed of mosaic montane ecosystems with evergreen and bamboo rain forest, open grassland, swamp and heath, with an altitude range of 2600-3600 meters above sea level; favourable conditions for mountain gorillas.
Volcanoes National Park Location
Volcanoes National Park is located in the north western part of Rwanda, in the Northern Province of Rwanda in Musanze village. Volcanoes National Park is one of the oldest national parks in Africa having been gazetted in 1925 as a small area intended to protect the mountain gorillas which dwelt in the area. Volcanoes National Park Rwanda covers about 160 square kilometers of space, encompassing five of the eight volcanoes of the Virunga Massifs.
Parc National des Volcans is the most visited national park in Rwanda, for gorilla safaris most especially. Volcanoes National Park Rwanda is one of the few African countries with gorillas, specifically inhabiting a considerable population of the endangered mountain gorillas. mountain gorillas are an endangered gorilla species that can only be found in the Virunga Conservation Area which encompasses Parc National des Volcans of Rwanda, Virunga National Park of the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Mgahinga Gorilla National Park of Uganda; as well as Bwindi Impenetrable National Park Uganda which inhabits the highest population of the endangered mountain gorillas.
Attractions in Volcanoes National Park
Mountain gorillas are the top reasons to visit Volcanoes National Park Rwanda, according to a number of travellers and the number that actually visits the park. There is however so much to see and do in Volcanoes National Park, and below are some of the top attractions in Volcanoes National Park;
Mountain gorillas are the top attraction in Volcanoes National Park which sees thousands of travellers visiting Volcanoes National Park to encounter the gorillas. Mountain gorillas are an endangered gorilla species that can only be found in three countries of Uganda, Rwanda and the Congo. Gorillas in Volcanoes National Park are both wild and habituated, with about 12 gorilla families in Volcanoes National Park being fully habituated and availed for gorilla trekking experiences.
Apart from the much sought after mountain gorillas, there are a number of other primates in Volcanoes National Park that travellers can encounter on various activities like primate walks as well as golden monkey tracking. Other primates in Volcanoes National Park that travellers can see include golden monkeys, vervet monkeys, and red tailed monkeys, among so many others.
Other animals in Volcanoes National Park
Apart from primates, there are other animals in Volcanoes National Park that travellers who do visit Rwanda and Volcanoes National Park specifically can encounter while on different activities in the park. The other animals in Volcanoes National Park that travellers can see include forest elephants, buffaloes, bush pigs, giant forest hogs, bush-bucks, duikers, among so many others.
Birds of Volcanoes National Park can be spotted while on different activities in the park, especially birding safaris in Volcanoes National Park. There are over 200 bird species recorded in Volcanoes National Park, with a number of Albertine rift endemics which bird enthusiast can sot while birding in Volcanoes National Park. After mountain gorillas and golden monkeys, birds are the next big thing to see in Volcanoes National Park, with the best time being in the wet season which sees a variety of other migrant birds coming to the park. some of the birds in Volcanoes National Park that travellers can spot on birding safaris include the Rwenzori double-collared sunbird, handsome francolin, collared appalis, red-faced woodland warbler, Grauer’s rush warbler among so many others.
Volcanoes National Park Rwanda derived her name from the fact that the park has 5 volcanoes that straddle the land. Volcanoes National Park has 5 of the 8 Virunga volcanoes, namely Mount Sabinyo at 3674m, Mount Gahinga at 3474m, Mount Bisoke at 3711m, Mount Muhabura at 4127m and Mount Karisimbi at 4507m above sea level. All the volcano mountains in Volcanoes National Park are dormant and can be hiked anytime of the day, for both long and short time hikes.
Activities in Volcanoes National Park
Gorilla trekking in Volcanoes National Park Rwanda is the most sought after and done activity in Volcanoes National Park and Rwanda itself, attracting thousands of travellers every other year to see the endangered mountain gorillas in their natural habitat. Gorilla trekking is an activity that involves travellers hiking through the rainforest area of Volcanoes National Park in search of the endangered mountain gorillas. Gorilla trekking safaris in Volcanoes National Park start very early in the morning at 7am with briefing by park officials of what travellers should expect, and then allocated a gorilla family to trek, in groups of 8. While gorilla trekking, travellers are advised to do look out for other animals in Volcanoes National Park. Travellers do spend only 1 hour with the gorillas, and then trek back to the starting point.
To be able to take part in gorilla trekking in Volcanoes National Park, travellers need to book gorilla trekking permits at least 3 months in advance to secure one’s spot, with a Rwanda gorilla trekking permit price being $1500 per person per trek. For successful gorilla trekking in Volcanoes National Park Rwanda adventures, be sure to carry and use essential gorilla trekking gear and wear like good fitting hiking shoes with a grip on them and preferably waterproof, long sleeved shirts and trousers with nature friendly colours like khaki, gaiters, rain jackets irrespective of season, insect repellent creams, among others.
Golden monkey tracking
Golden monkey tracking is almost just like gorilla trekking, only that travellers do go in the lookout for the golden monkeys, noisy and very active primates. Combining gorilla trekking with golden monkey tracking is a great way to see more primates in one place.
Birding safaris in Volcanoes National Park take travellers to spot the various bird species in the park, in the company of an experienced bird guide.
Visit Dian Fossey Tomb
Visiting the Din Fossey tomb has you hiking through some slopes to get to where the great primatologist Dian Fossey whose tireless efforts helped conserve mountain gorillas and make their plight known to the world, that travellers can even encounter them now on gorilla trekking safaris. Hiking to the Dian Fossey tomb has you appreciating her passion and dedication to protect and conserve the mountain gorillas.
Visit Musanze Cave
The Musanze caves were formed as a result of the volcanic eruptions creating caves underground, and a worth a visit especially to relax after gorilla trekking adventures.
Best time to visit Volcanoes National Park
Volcanoes National Park can be visited all throughout the year, with the dry season being the best time to visit Volcanoes National Park for the fat that roads and paths in the park can be easy to use unlike during the wet season which has roads and paths quite impassable since they are slipper and muddy. The dry season falls in the months of June through September and December through February but is wise to note that Volcanoes National Park is a rainforest area which can receive rains any time of the day.
How to get to Volcanoes National Park Rwanda
Volcanoes National Park can be accessed by both road and air. By road Volcanoes National Park is easily accessed from Kigali Rwanda only about 2 hours of road drive. volcanoes National Park is only about 30 minutes from the Uganda border of Cyanika, making gorilla safaris in Rwanda from Uganda and vice versa very possible.