WHAT CAN I DO AT VOLCANOES NATIONAL PARK-RWANDA
Volcanoes National park is situated in an ancient emerald forest with mist-swathed mountains that are reverberating and boosting the sound of wonderful bird species singing in the park. Volcanoes National Park is perched on the northwest border of Rwanda. Volcanoes National Park occupies over 62 square miles of montane rainforest and protects five of the eight chained volcanoes that make up the Virunga Mountains. Volcanoes National Park neighbors Virunga National Park of the Democratic Republic of Congo, and Mgahinga Gorilla National Park of Uganda.
Mountain gorillas can only be seen in three countries worldwide; Volcanoes National Park offers encounters with the gorillas in their natural environment. Volcanoes National Park was designated a protected area in 1925. The Virunga Mountain chains protect more than half of the world’s gorilla population, which was last estimated to be over 1,000 individuals surviving in the wild. Gorilla trekking is inevitably the park’s most popular tourism activity, alongside visiting primatologist Dian Fossey’s tomb at Karisoke Research Center.
Things to Do at Volcanoes National Park
Volcanoes National Park is often recognized as the best place to go for mountain gorilla trekking encounters. This is due to the fact that Rwanda is safer than the DR Congo, Volcanoes National Park offers more habituated mountain gorilla troops than Mgahinga Gorilla National Park, and it is more accessible than Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park in Uganda. Visitors to Volcanoes National Park can get more information about the gorillas at primatologist Dian Fossey’s Karisoke Research Center, which was created by Dian Fossey in 1967. Dian Fossey stayed here until she was murdered in 1985, and she wrote her seminal book here called "Gorillas in the Mist." Engage at her center, where her book is displayed to give travelers an insight into her ongoing work at the Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund.
Volcanoes National Park is mostly covered by montane rainforest, but it also supports evergreens, swamps, heaths, bamboo forests, and open grassland. Volcanoes National Park has a variety of habitats that make it a sanctuary for many surviving wildlife species, including habituated golden monkey troops. Golden monkey trekking tours happen daily, departing from the headquarters in Kinigi every morning. Along the way for golden monkey trekking, you may spot many other wildlife species, including forest elephants, bush pigs, buffalos, forest hogs, and black-fronted duikers, among others. Volcanoes National Park is also another birder’s paradise, recording more than 200 bird species. Volcanoes National park offers Albertine Rift endemics such as the Rwenzori turaco, Grauer’s broadbill, and Shelley’s crimson wing.
Volcanoes National Park's other tourism activities include hiking, mountain biking, and canoeing. Village experiences abound, including witnessing the traditional Injera warrior dancers perform their best and engaging yourself in the local crafts in the markets. Participate in the local folklore to get a greater insight into Rwanda’s culture. Tour Buhanga Eco-Park on a guided nature walk. Buhanga Eco-park covers a 31-hectare forest that is remembered because of the past kings of Rwanda, who underwent all their kingship rituals and initiations before becoming king. Visit the Musanze Caves.
Mountain gorillas are among the world’s largest surviving primates in the wild. Because gorillas have over 98 percent of human DNA, their behavior often feels remarkably human. Volcanoes National Park is home to over 12 mountain gorilla troops for tourists interested in observing gorilla behavior up close. Each gorilla troop has at least one silverback leading the family, or alpha male, and a harem of females and youngsters. Each day, eight tracking permits are issued per family. which helps keep the gorilla experience as natural as possible.
Gorilla trekking experiences with the troop vary from an hour to four hours; trekkers are allowed to spend one hour maximum with the gorilla family once they have been located. During this time, travelers can watch how gorillas groom, play, and feed. The gorilla trekking experience offers an unforgettable memory that may be incredibly spiritual. Because gorilla trekking permits are limited, it is essential for travelers to book their gorilla trekking trips months in advance. Travelers interested in gorilla trekking must be at least 15 years old, a` and Rwanda’s mountain gorilla trekking permits cost $1,500 per person, per day.
Best Hikes & Trails around Volcanoes National park
Hiking is another great adventure tourism activity in Volcanoes National Park. Volcanoes National Park offers different hiking trails, for which every tourist requires a hiking permit and a knowledgeable guide. The following are some of the most common hiking trails:
•Lake Ngezi: Hiking to Lake Ngezi is One of the easiest hikes around Volcanoes National Park, the Lake Ngezi Trail takes you to the scenic lake situated at the foot of Mount Bisoke. Hiking to Lake Ngezi may take more than three hours, but it will reward you with views of the Congolese forests across the border.
•Mount Bisoke: Hiking to the Mount Bisoke summit may take five hours or a full day, depending on the hiker’s physical fitness or the weather. It's worth the hike, and while it offers stunning views of the volcanoes, it's also the best place to capture the perfect shot of the crater lake.
•Mount Karisimbi: Hike Mount Karisimbi. Standing at 14,787 feet above sea level, Mount Karisimbi is the highest volcano among the Virunga chained volcanoes and the highest summit in Rwanda. A Mount Karisimbi round-trip may take two days to be completed, offering a night to be spent under canvas with good chances for viewing gorillas and other primates on your trail back.
•Karisoke Research Center: hiking to Dian Fossey’s Karisoke Research Center takes a 30-minute transfer from Volcanoes National Park headquarters, followed by a 1- to 2-hour hike to the saddle neighboring Mount Karisimbi and Mount Bisoke.
Where to Stay around Volcanoes National Park
Volcanoes national park offers an impressive choice of lodges and camps located just a few miles from the park headquarters in Kinigi. Here are some of the top-picked lodges:
•Bisate Lodge: Bisate Lodge is situated in a volcanic crater on the edge of Volcanoes National Park. It suggests over six luxurious, self-contained rooms and en-suite villas created in the traditional Rwandan fashion with grass-thatched, domed roofs. Bisate Lodge can arrange the best accommodation for gorilla trekking clients, guided nature walks, and cultural experiences for travelers.
Singita Kwitonda Lodge: Singita Kwitonda Lodge is situated so close to Volcanoes National Park, offering the best accommodation options for travelers who don’t want to be far from this national park. Singita Kwitonda Lodge provides eight opulent suites. Each suite has a private heated plunge pool as well as indoor and outdoor fireplaces. Singita Kwitonda Lodge makes your hiking, gorilla trekking experience, golden monkey trekking, and village walk so interesting.
Sabyinyo Silverback Lodge: Sabyinyo Silverback Lodge is the first community-owned lodge in Rwanda. Sabyinyo Silverback Lodge offers six cottages, one family cottage, and two suites; each room has a fireplace and sitting area. Sabyinyo Silverback's main lodge is so welcoming with shared spaces. Sabyinyo Silverback Lodge makes your activities at Volcanoes National Park a remarkable experience, including gorilla trekking, village walks, golden monkey trekking, and hikes to the Dian Fossey tomb.
•Five Volcanoes Boutique Hotel: Five Volcanoes Boutique Hotel is among the most popular mid-range hotel option within the Musanze, Five Volcanoes Boutique Hotel has eight rooms and a family suite. Five Volcanoes Boutique Hotel amenities include a restaurant, garden, and pool.
How to Get There
The nearest international airport to Volcanoes National Park is Kigali International Airport (KGL), situated in the Rwandan capital Kigali. From Kigali, travelers can only take roughly three hours to drive to Musanze, Volcanoes National Park’s closest village. Musanze is located a half-hour drive from Volcanoes National Park’s headquarters in Kinigi, where visitors’ checkups are done by 7 a.m. on their day of trekking mountain gorillas. There are no domestic flights available from Kigali to Volcanoes National Park.
Volcanoes National Park does not provide any specific amenities for visitors with disabilities, your tour operator is responsible for Traveling a special provision such as wheelchair hiring services for travelers interested in gorilla trekking in Rwanda but have disabilities issues.
Tips for Your Visit to Volcanoes national park
•The best time to go for mountain gorilla trekking in Volcanoes National Park Rwanda is in the dry seasons of June, July, August, and September. During the dry seasons, less rainfall is received which makes hiking on the trekking trails more comfortable and easier to navigable the terrain.
• Tourists may wish to visit during the annual Kwita Izina ceremony. The Kwita Izina ceremony is when Rwanda carries out the baby gorillas born in Volcanoes National Park within the previous year, officially names them, and performs conservation procedures alongside traditional music and dance. Kwita Izina is typically the best opportunity to come up with the leading names for primate research, and all the park staff members work so hard protecting gorillas. Kwita Izina's ceremony happens every September.
• When you are planning to travel to Rwanda, rainfall is expected at any time. Therefore, your packing list should include good-quality rain gear, waterproof boots, gaiters, warmers, and sturdy walking shoes with grip for tracking gorillas in slippery terrain. Volcanoes National Park is situated at a high altitude, so plenty of warm clothing is required.
•Rwanda’s Gorilla trekking permit costs $2,500 per person per day, Volcanoes national park’s different activities have their own fees.