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A natural oasis, laden with the jewels of wildlife and greenery, the Volcanoes National Park Rwanda, first overwhelms your senses and then lets you appreciate its beauty. Placed in the Northwestern region of Rwanda and neighboring to Uganda and the Democratic Republic of Congo, the Volcanoes National park is the largest national park in Rwanda and consists of all kinds of natural wonders. This massive national park is home to five of the nine Virunga mountains. With its steep slope and uninhibited greenery, these mountains are sure to enamor you with their raw beauty. But that's not all, the park also has a rich environment filled with all kinds of fearless animals and uncaged birds. Gorillas, Golden monkeys, birds, reptiles, amphibians, and insects dominate this landscape and add the fabled beauty to it.
The main attraction of the Volcanoes National park is the mountain Gorilla. Their healthy numbers in the park is attributed to the American zoologist, Dian Fossey.
Thanks to Dian Fossey, the Volcanoes National Park is a paradise for mountain gorillas Rwanda, with almost half of its population in the world living here. Home to seven groups of habituated mountain gorillas, the park has successfully been able to control the dying breed from poachers. But if you look beyond the gorillas you'll find many more amazing animals like the golden monkey, Elephants, Buffaloes, Bushpig, Spotted Hyena, and over 200 colorful bird varieties. So put on your trekking boots and take the first step towards an experience of a lifetime.
Nearest airport: Nearest international airport is in Kigali
How to reach: by road from Kigali
Famous for: Gorilla tracking treks, volcano summit
Months open: All year
Best time to Visit: December to February; June to August
Mountain Gorillas trek, Muzanze Caves,
Dian Fossey grave site - tomb hike, Mount Karisimbi Hike,
Golden Monkey tracking,
Mount Bisoke Volcano Hike,
Iby'lwacu cultural village tour, Bulera and Buhondo lakes
The Volcanoes National Park extended into Rwanda and the Belgian Congo in 1929 under the name of Albert National Park. The park was managed and run by the Belgian Colonial Authorities. When Rwanda and Congo gained their independence, the park was divided too and slowly became half its original size, but it did not affect its inherited natural beauty. This divided park came to be known as the Volcanoes National Park.
Mountain Gorillas Trek: The mountain Gorillas Trek offered in this tour is an exhilarating experience. Nestled in their natural habitat of shady bamboo trees, the huge mountain gorillas Rwandawill definitely be worth the trekking effort. Get a chance to lay your eyes upon a 400 lb silverback Gorilla, 3 times the size of a normal man, or a mother caring for her young, sights which will leave you in awe of these animals and the place. Gorilla Trekking Rwandais done under the guidance of expert guides, who have years of experience of giving the tourists just what they want while not stressing the gorillas too much. These beautiful, mighty creatures, half of whom in the world reside here, are the soul of this park. Cared for and nurtured by the park, these mountain gorillas are a must-see for every wildlife enthusiast.Learn more about Mountain Gorilla trackingin this blog
Musanze Caves: A Rwandan safari package that doesn't include Musanze caves is incomplete. This 2 kilometers long cave has become a major attraction in recent years. Located in the heart of the Volcanoes National Park, Musanze caves offer a chance to learn about the geological history of the place. Complete with tourist walkways, stairs, and trails, the Musanze caves lead to a dark interior of the caves which illustrate a picture of a house with several rooms and corridors.
Diane Fossey Grave Site-Tomb Hike: Dian Fossey, an American Zoologist who fought for the protection of the mountain gorillas, has been made immortal through her Tomb, which has today become a major attraction of the Volcanoes national park. Located at a 40 minutes drive from the park's headquarters and around a 2-3 hour trek through the forest, the Dian Fossey tomb is a great place to get a taste of the rich history that covers this place.
Mount Karisimbi Hike: The scenic Mount Karisimbi, rising at an elevation of 4507m above sea level, is a favorite among adventure seekers. Done in complement with gorilla Trekking Rwanda,the Mount Karisimbi hike rewards the tourist with a variety of pretty sights. Numerous bird varieties, monkeys, and gorillas greet the travelers on their way to the top. Mount Karisimbi hike may seem tiring and strenuous and is not for the weak-hearted, but the prize at the top which offers a riveting scenery is well worth the effort.
Golden Monkey Tracking: Golden Monkeys are an endangered species. The Volcanoes National Park houses 2 habituated troops of Golden Monkeys with around 80 members each. Living in the base of the Volcanoes, these delightful animals may seem timid at first but quickly grow accustomed to the tourists. Feast your eyes on these exciting and active monkeys as they jump from tree to tree which makes them a little difficult to photograph.
Mount Bisoke volcano hike: The Mount Bisoke Volcano hike usually is one of the most memorable activities in Rwanda. The main attraction of this mountain is the mesmerizing crater lake situated at the top. This 6-hour hike promises a good view of the natural landscape along with the picturesque crater lake which makes this long hike a rewarding one.
Iby’Iwacu cultural village Tour: The essence of a place is best experienced through its people and culture and what better to experience the culture of Rwanda than through the Iby’Iwacu cultural village tour.In this tour, get a chance to interact with the local people and understand their culture, traditions, and environment. Get a heartwarming welcome inside their lives as they introduce you to their tradition and beliefs. Interact with the people and take part in their daily activities and get to know about their lifestyle, artifacts, way of living, and more.
Bulera and Ruhondo lakes: The lakes of Bulera and Ruhondo are twins and named so because they are connected and are nearby. Offering a picturesque view of the landscape, wetlands, and water birds, these lakes are an ideal place for nature lovers. Enjoy an idyllic and peaceful time by the lake, surrounded by beautiful elements of nature.
How to reach
Arrive in Rwandathrough the Kigali International Airport which is 10kms from the capital of Rwanda, Kigali.
From Kigali, tourists have to travel via road to theVolcanoes National Park Rwanda, located in the northern part of the country. The park is at a distance of 130kms from Kigali, 70kms from Gisenyi, and 12kms from Musanze.
The option of Chartered helicopters is also available which the tourists can take to travel to any part of the country including theVolcanoes National Park Rwanda.
Where to Stay
Gorilla's Nest: Situated at the foot of the Virunga volcanoes, Gorillas Nest offers a comfortable resting place to tourists. Gorillas Nest close to the Volcanoes National Park as it's just a 5 mins drive.
Sabyinyo Silverback Lodge: If you want your stay in Rwanda to be luxurious, then Sabyinyo Silverback Lodge is the perfect option for you. With its beautiful cottages, the Sabyinyo Lodge is a boutique property that caters to all your accommodation needs.
Singita Kwitonda Lodge: Designed to offer sustainability, this newly opened lodge is the best choice for eco-conscious gorilla trekkers. Situated at the edge of the park and offering a stunning view of the landscape, the Singita Kwitonda Lodge is a place like no other.