Volcanoes National Park Complete Guide



Volcanoes National park is situated in an ancient emerald forest, mist-swathed mountains that are reverberating and boost the sound of wonderful bird species singing in the park awaits in Volcanoes National park Rwanda. Volcanoes National park is perched on the northwest border of Rwanda, Volcanoes national park occupies over 62 square miles of montane rainforest, it also 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 offer encounters with the mountain gorillas in their natural environment, Volcanoes National Park was named a protected area in 1925. The Virunga Mountain chains protect home more than half of the world’s gorilla population, last estimated to be over 1,000 individuals surviving in the wild. Gorilla trekking experience is inevitably the park’s most wanted tourism activity, alongside visiting the primatologist Dian Fossey’s tomb called 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 DR Congo, Volcanoes national park offers more habituated mountain gorilla troops than Mgahinga Gorilla National park, and is more accessible than Bwindi impenetrable forest National park of Uganda. Visitors to Volcanoes national park can get more information about the gorillas at the primatologists Dian Fossey’s  Karisoke Research Center which was created by Dian Fossey in 1967. Dian Fossey stayed here until when she was murdered in 1985, and she wrote her seminal book here called, "Gorillas in the Mist." Engage at her center is 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 the montane rainforest, it also supports evergreen, swamps, heaths, bamboo forests, and open grassland. Volcanoes National park has a variety of habitats that is making it a sanctuary for many surviving wildlife species including the 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 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 eye witnessing the traditional intore warrior dancers perform their best, engage 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 under a guided nature walk. Buhanga Eco-park covers a 31-hectare forest remembered because of the past kings of Rwanda who underwent all their kingship rituals and initiations before becoming on the throne. Visit the Musanze Caves. 


Gorilla Trekking experience in Volcanoes National park  

Mountain gorillas are among the world’s largest surviving primates in the wild, mountain Gorillas have over 98 percent of human DNA, Gorilla behavior often feels remarkably human familiar. For tourist who is interested in observing gorilla behavior up close, Volcanoes national park habituates over 12 mountain gorilla troops. Each Gorilla troop has at least one silverback leading the family, or alpha male, a harem of females and youngsters. Each day, 8 tracking permits are issued per family. Which helps in keeping 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 maximumly 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. 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 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 adventurous tourism activity in Volcanoes National Park. Volcanoes national park offers different hiking trails and of 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, Lake Ngezi trail takes you to the scenic lake situated at the foot of Mount Bisoke. Hiking to Lake Ngezi may take over three-hour but reward you with the views across the border within the forests of the DRC.


•Mount Bisoke: Hiking to Mount Bisoke summit may take from five hours or a full day, depending on the hiker’s physical fitness or the weather. It’s worth your hiking effort, although, providing the stunning views of the volcanoes, it is the best place to take your perfect pictures around 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. 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-minutes transfer from Volcanoes national park headquarters, then followed by a 1-2hours 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 some volcanic crater on the edge of Volcanoes national park, Bisate Lodge suggests over six luxurious, self-contained rooms, 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 away 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 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-an-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 coincide with the annual Kwita Izina ceremony, Kwita Izina ceremony is when Rwanda carries out the baby gorillas born in Volcanoes national park within the previous year are officially named and conservation procedures are done alongside the 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 in protecting gorillas. Kwita Izina's ceremony happens every September yearly. 


•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 $1,500 per person per day, Volcanoes national park’s different activities have their own fees.


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