Volcanoes National Park, Rwanda
Volcanoes national park is Protecting Rwanda’s portion of the Virunga Mountains, the Parc des Volcanoes (also referred to as Volcanoes National Park) was the site of Dian Fossey’s celebrated gorilla habituation and anti-poaching project, and will be familiar to some as the location of the film Gorillas in the Mist. And what a memorable location it is. It’s the only destination where gorilla trekking is done in Rwanda and it’s the natural habitat for the mountain gorillas.
This 160km² national park protects the Rwandan sector of the Virunga Mountains, a range of six extinct and three active volcanoes which straddles the borders with Uganda and the Democratic republic of congo. The Volcanoes Park is part of a contiguous 433km² Transfrontier conservation unit that also includes the Virungas National Park and Mgahinga National Park, which protect the DRC and Ugandan sectors of the Virungas respectively. The three national parks are managed separately today ( that is if the word “managed can be applied to any park in the DRC at the time of writing). Prior to 1960, however, the Volcanoes and Virungas Parks together formed the Albert National Park.
VOLCANOES NATIONAL PARK RWANDA (Mountain gorilla trekking in Rwanda)- Remarkable gorilla trek
The Volcanoes National Park is best known to the outside world as the place where for almost 20yrs the American primatologist Dian Fossey took her pioneering studies of mountain gorilla behavior. It is largely thanks to Fossey’s single-mindedness that poaching was curtailed while there were still some gorillas to save. For her dedication, Fossey would pay the ultimate price still some gorillas still unsolved – murder at the Karisoke Research Centre in December 1985 is generally thought to have been the work of one of the many poachers with whom she crossed swords in her efforts to save her gorillas.
Three years after her death, Fossey’s life work was exposed to a mass audience with the release of Gorilla in the mist, a cinematic account of her life filmed on location in the Volcanoes Park. Gorilla in the Mist drew global attention to the plight of the mountain gorilla and generated unprecedented interest in the gorilla tourism program that had been established in the park some ten years earlier. In 1990, the
Volcanoes Park was the best organized and most popular gorilla sanctuary in Africa and gorilla tourism was probably Rwanda’s leading earner of tourist revenue.
Primate Tracking including the mountain gorillas, Golden Monkey Tracking remains the most popular activity here, with a total of up to 40 permits issued daily, eight for each of the five habituated troops. But Volcanoes National Park is not just about mountain gorillas. Tourists who previously came for just one night can now stay for four or five and still not run out of things to do. Trekking, walking and climbing are now well organized, from a two-day ascent of Karisimbi to a non-strenuous nature walk to a cluster of crater later, but the most exciting innovation is that tourists can now visit habituated troop of the near-endemic golden monkey. Rwanda Gorilla Trek Offers gorilla tracking safaris in Rwanda.
Getting there & Transportation to Virunga National Park
The normal base for visiting the Volcanoes Park is Musanze (formerly Ruhengeri), which can easily be reached on public transport from Gisenyi, Kigali on the day you track (you need to be at the ORTPN office in Kinigi, by the park entrance, by 07.00), but this isn’t a reliable option using public transport. There is no public transport between Musanze and the park headquarters at Kinigi.
Where to Stay, Accommodations in Volcanoes National Park
There is no accommodation within the national park and overnight camping is forbidden. Check with ORTPN about camping possibilities nearby. For those on a restricted budget, the best option is to overnight in Musanze, but smarter and more convenient accommodation is available near the park headquarters at Kinigi or at the superior but more distant Virunga Lodge overlooking Lake Burera.
Where to stay in Volcanoes National Park
The Park does not have any accommodation and overnight camping is not accepted. You can check with ORTPN about camping possibilities nearby. For those on a restricted budget, the best option is to have overnight in Musanze, but smarter and more convenient accommodation is available near the park headquarters at Kinigi or at the superior but more distant Virunga Lodge overlooking Lake Burera
The facility accommodates 12 guests in its 6 en-suite rooms boasting modern and elegant facilities and furnishings with maximize comfort, warmth and views while retaining environmental principles and reflecting the culture of the surrounding rural Rwanda. To go along with the lodge’s high standards, there is a high level of service, the superb meals that are served along with an extensive wine list. This is not just a lodge with a bed, but the experience of a lifetime that only compliments your time with the Mountain Gorillas in nearby Volcanoes National Park. Be sure to plan your time here with us at least six months in advance.
Sabyinyo Silverback Lodge
Sabyinyo Silverback Lodge is an exclusive luxury lodge located in Musanze district close to Volcanoes national park headquarters-kinigi with Great views, great room, great view and your stay at the exclusive Sabyinyo Silverback Lodge will only add to your time at Volcanoes National Park and make your gorilla tracking more complete.
The lodge sprawls across a 2,175 meters top hill overlooking the shimmering twin lakes of Burera and Lake Ruhondo and with a phenomenal view of the four Virunga volcanoes to the northwest and Enjoy luxury comfort while you go on your Gorilla Trek in the “land of a thousand Hills.”
Mountain Gorilla View Lodge
Mountain Gorilla View Lodge a few minutes from the park headquarter and is a more moderately priced upmarket lodge that makes gorilla tracking in Rwanda more affordable. Here you stay in a cottage that has a fireplace.
Kinigi Guest House
Kinigi guesthouse is situated in Kinigi district only 11 Km from Ruhengeri and meets the budget traveler’s needs who come here to trek gorillas and then adds a few pluses and Close to Gorilla Trek starting point. This is a budget hotel with a self-contained room with bath. Restaurant, bar and lounge on site. Dorm Rooms are also available at a lower price
Activities in Volcanoes National Park
Volcanoes National Park is a top safari destination with a growing number of travelers coming to Rwanda for gorilla safaris and other Rwanda wildlife tours. Travelers to Volcanoes national park have a variety of activities Rwanda safaris to do depending on their travel interests and time. Without a doubt, Volcanoes national park is Rwanda’s most visited tourist destination and the first priority for most if not all travelers to the land of a thousand hills. Among the popular activities to do in Volcanoes national park include among others:
Mountain gorilla tracking
This is a priority for most travelers to Volcanoes national park. The park comprises of habituated gorilla families available for trekking. Also, Volcanoes Park covers Rwanda’s share of the great Virunga massif bordering Virunga National Park in Congo and Mgahinga gorilla national park in Uganda. Travelers to see mountain gorillas in Rwanda are required to buy gorilla permits each costing $1500 for an hour’s interaction and all permits are issued out by Rwanda Development Board.
Golden Monkey trekking
Golden monkey trekking is another activity done in Volcanoes national park that attracts thousands of travelers into this jungle. Golden monkeys are exceptional creatures that every traveler should not miss out on his/her Rwanda safari. It’s only in Volcanoes Rwanda and Mgahinga gorilla national parks that travelers can see golden monkeys in their natural habitats. A golden monkey trekking permit costs $100 but the experience is worth the penny.
Volcanoes national park is a home for three extinct volcanoes and travelers to this park have the added advantage of hiking to the top of any Volcano which rewards them with spectacular views of Rwanda’s rolling hills, Kigali city, Virunga volcanoes, and local communities. Mt Karisimbi is the most hiked Volcano and the experience is worth the hike.
Do not miss out on visiting the Musanze caves on your Rwanda safari to Volcanoes national park. Experienced guides lead you into these caves while telling you the mysteries of the caves, history, and all other facts about Rwanda.
Twin Lakes of Burere & Ruhondo
Reach out to Rwanda’s twin lakes of Burere and Ruhondo situated in the heart of Volcanoes national park. A boat ride on either of the lakes rewards you with spectacular views of the entire park and the neighboring communities.
After gorilla trekking, you will meet people who are hospitable, proud, and unique people, happy to welcome you into their lives and introduce you to their traditions. Music and dance play an indispensable role in everyday life here, and performances range from dashing demonstrations of bravery and prowess to humorous songs, light-hearted dances, and rural artistry with roots in traditional agriculture. Traditional songs are often accompanied by a solitary lulunga a harp-like instrument with eight strings while more celebratory dances are backed by a drum orchestra, which typically comprises seven to nine members who collectively produce a hypnotic and exciting explosion set of intertwining rhythms.