Volcanoes National Park is Rwanda’s home for mountain gorillas sheltering the biggest number of mountain Gorillas in the Virunga Conservation Area. It covers over 160sqkm area in the northern part of Rwanda. The park is strategically located and is a 2hrs’ drive from Kigali international airport and you can drive back to Kigali after trekking the gorillas. Volcanoes National Park is well known for gorilla trekking but there’s a lot more than just that including golden monkey tracking, Birding, and nature walks that leave your mind amazed. Other mammals that live there include black-fronted duiker, spotted hyena, bushbucks, and buffalos.
The Park has and still is the top-visited tourist destination in magical Rwanda and if you have been to Africa and never visited it before, then you haven’t lived. There are many attractions and activities that take place within and out of the Park that makes your visit worthy for a while. Below are some of the activities that take place in Volcano National Park
This is Rwanda’s major tour activity attracting roughly 80 people on a daily basis to have a face-to-face interaction with the endangered gorillas. Volcanoes are the home to these endangered species in the Virunga Mountains. 10 habituated gorilla families have been trained and are all available for tracking in their natural habitat without the worry of attack from them to the travelers. The Gorilla families include; Suza, Sabyinyo, Amahoro, Titus, Karisimbi (Susa B), Bwenge, Hirwa, Agashya, Kwitonda, and Umubano gorilla family. Each family receives only 8 visitors each day for each of the 10 gorilla groups.
Golden monkey tracking is another common tour activity in the volcanoes National Park. Golden monkeys are rare species that live in the Virunga Mountains and can be done in Rwanda alongside the gorilla tracking activity. Just like gorilla tracking, this activity starts in the morning with an assembly at Kinigi Park Headquarters. Visitors will need a tracking permit that costs $100 before they are led to the forest for this great experience.
An American researcher spent close to two decades in the park, studying the mountain gorillas. Dian Fossey dedicated her life to learning about the different behavioral changes of these endangered species had but was horribly murdered by poachers in 1985. She was buried between the beautiful volcanic peaks of Bisoke and Karisimbi. The Journey to the tomb takes about three hours to get there. High chances of seeing elephants, buffalo, primates like golden monkeys, and sometimes even the mountain gorillas.
Walk to the Musanze market for the visitors can interact with the local people in this market of Rwanda. The Nyange Community walk is also another exciting venture designed to show all features of village life in Rwanda seeing how locals work and go about their daily lives. Another walk is can be to the twin lakes of Burera and Ruhondo.
This is also another great venture to add on your gorilla tracking safari at the Bisoke Mountain that stands 3700 meters tall above sea level. The hiking itself is a great adventure and this mountain has a deep crater lake at the top. You can also go to Mount Karisimbi the second highest volcanic peak in the Virunga ranges for a great experience as you hike. You will have a clear glimpse at the five volcanoes. You will only need to be physically fit for the long hike to the top of the mountain.
Visiting the Musanze Caves in Musanze is among the attraction around the Park that offers you authentic experience during safari in Rwanda. The cave was open to tourism in 2013, they have become one of the best attractions for tourists to the Park. The underground Musanze Caves measure approximately 2 kilometers (1.25 miles) long and feature well-designed walkways as well as stairways to make it easier to tour the Musanze Caves.
Volcano National Park offers you accommodation which is on international standard including Mountain Gorilla View Lodge-luxury, Bisate Lodge-luxury, Virunga Lodge-luxury, Sabinyo Silverback Lodge-luxury and Five Volcanoes Boutique Hotel-luxury, La Palme Hotel-midrange, Garr Hotel-midrange, Le Bambou Gorilla Lodge-midrange, Gorillas Volcanoes Hotel-midrange, Da Vinci Gorilla Lodge-midrange and Garden Place Hotel-midrange, Hotel Muhabura-midrange, Kinigi Guesthouse Kinigi-midrange and Villa Gorilla
Volcanoes National Park is found in the northern province of Rwanda, approximately 105 kilometers/2 hours’ drive from the Capital (Kigali). You can drive by private or public means to Musanze Town, the gateway into this lush National Park.
A visit to the Volcanoes National Parkis worth it as it offers you more than just a gorilla tracking experience but also a spectacular wildlife view and adventurous nature walks. Rwanda’s culture is also a wonder that you can never miss on your Gorilla safari does not hesitate to ask for it to be added.