Volcanoes National Park Rwanda
Volcanoes National Park is located in Ruhengeri District North West of Rwanda covering an area of 160 km2 (62 sq mi) with rain forest and 5 of the 8 Virunga Mountain Volcanoes i.e Mountain Karisimbi Volcano, Mountain Bisoke Volcano, Mountain Muhabura Volcano, Mountain Gahinga Volcano and Mountain Sabinyo Volcano.
The Park is prominently known to inhabit the rare species of mountain Gorillas and Golden Monkeys in Rwanda bordering Mgahinga National Park in Uganda and Virunga National Park in the Democratic Republic of Congo.
The Park was the foundation of Dian Fossey a dedicated Primatoligist who gave up her own life to save that of the Mountain Gorillas that were killed and illegally hunted for bush meat at the time.
Flora and Fauna in the Park
Volcanoes National Park has numerous Fauna species i. e the Mountain Gorillas which are the most prominent mammals in the Park. Other mammals seen in the park include; the Golden Monkey, spotted hyena, the Bush buck and various bird species which include; Archers ground robin, red faced woodland warbler, Ruwenzori double collared sunbird, Collared apalis, Ruwenzori turaco, handsome francolin, strange weaver.
The Flora around the Park includes lower montane forest, Neoboutonia forest between 2400 and 2500 m and Arundinaria alpina (bamboo) forest from 2500 to 3200 m. Secondary thicket, meadows, marshes occupy the area from 4300 to 4500 m with grassland as well.
Activities to do in Volcanoes National Park
Mountain Gorilla Trekking
Mountain Gorilla Trekking is the most prominent safari activity carried out in the Park and requires you to purchase a valid Gorilla Trekking Permit at US $1500 per person. You transfer to the Park headquarters for briefing on the Dos and Don’ts around the Mountain Gorillas then later in groups of 8 with a skilled ranger guide, penetrate the forest to track the Gorillas for 3-5 hours and when you meet them, only an hour is allowed in their presence taking various photos to keep for memories.
Golden Monkey Tracking
Golden Monkey tracking is another safari activity carried out in the park requiring you to transfer with a valid Golden Monkey Tracking Permit at US $100 per person then in groups, proceed to enter the forest with a skilled ranger guide to track the Golden Monkeys for 2-4 hours. When you meet them, take numerous photos to keep for memories about the unique experience.
Bird watching is another safari activity carried out in Volcanoes National Park due to the numerous species of Birds that inhabit the verdant green vegetation terrain around the Park. Approximately more than 300 birds inhabit the forest vegetation making it a very ideal destination for all birders from all over the world interested in watching some of Africa’s stunning vibrant bird species. Some of the birds include; Common Waxbill, the Great Sedge Warbler, Grey-backed Fiscal, African Reed Warbler, Tropical Boubou, Winding Cisticola and the un common ones like Great White Pelican, Yellow-billed Stork, Yellow-backed (Black-headed) Weavers, Grosbeak Weaver, Common Moorhens, the Red-rumped, Pied Kingfisher, Grey Heron and the African Spoonbill.
Hiking and Nature Walks
Volcanoes National Park is a very ideal safari destination for all travelers interested in Hiking and Nature Walks along the various trails in the Park. The Trails take you through ancient and magical forests, Caves, Lakes watching various primates, birds and mammals in the forest. The Trails include;
- A Visit to the Karisoke/ Dian Fossey Research Center which requires you to transfer from the headquarters to the Center through verdant green forest vegetation watching numerous species of birds, mammals, reptiles and primates. On arriving at the center, you are informed about the life of this dedicated primatologist that gave up her entire life to save that of the Mountain Gorillas that were hunted and poached at the time for bush meat and illegal trade.
- The Ngezi Lake Trail that requires you to transfer for 3 to 4 hours with a park ranger with en-route views at various species of birds and monkeys. You watch the Democratic Republic of Congo and Virunga National Park at a distance.
- Climb Mountain Bisoke/ Visoke Volcano located within the National Park and you will climb to the top section at 3700 meters ASL watching various vegetation zones like the Afro-Montane Zone that includes exclusive plants i.e the large Lobelias. The trek takes about 3-5 hours depending on the physical fitness of the group.
- Hiking to the top of Mountain Muhabura the second highest peak in the Park and spans across two borders i.e Uganda and Rwanda. At the top of the volcano lies a Crater Lake and the hike takes about a Day with en-route views at the varying stunning vegetation terrain.
- Hiking/ Trekking to the top of Mountain Karisimbi Volcano a hike that takes 2 Days with a 6 hours hike on the first Day and 6 hours descent on the last Day.
- Other hiked around the Park travelers can take include; the walk to the Twin Lakes of Burera and Ruhondo with views at the beautiful Rusummo Waterfalls a walk of 3 hours. You can also transfer to the Buhanga Sacred Forest where the Kings of Rwanda bathed from before coronation and en-route, watch various bird species and butterfly species. The other trek takes you to the Musanze Caves located a few kilometers from Volcanoes National Park and these provided food and refuge to the Kings of Rwanda during the time of battle.
ARON WISHLEY Founder & Director
NIMA SEDAN Chief Executive Officer
JOHN FALMI Head Manager