Volcanoes National Park

Volcanoes National Park is located in the northwestern part of Rwanda in a small town known as Musanze. This is an amazing Rwanda National Park. Volcanoes Park has an area of 160 km2 covered with green vegetation and rainforests and consists of five volcanoes in the Virunga Massif which include Mount Bisoke, Mount Muhabura, Mount  Gahinga, Mount Sabyinyo, and Mount Karisimbi. Volcanoes Park is a home for a good number of wildlife such as the endangered mountain gorillas, the golden monkeys and a variety of bird species that live in the Volcanoes National Park.

Volcanoes National Park

Volcanoes National Park was gazette in 1925 with an aim to protect and safeguard the mountain gorillas that had become the poacher’s target while the subspecies were getting extinct. As the first African national park on the continent of Africa, the park’s boundaries were extended into Rwanda and the Belgian Congo to form the Albert National Park which was operated by the Belgian authorities. In 1967, Dian Fossey,  a primatologist arrived in Volcanoes Park and constructed a research center to research more on the mountain gorillas. Her research center was known as Karisoke Research Centre which was set up between Karisimbi and Visoke.  

Volcanoes National Park is famously known for gorilla trekking in the whole country of Rwanda and a stop center for gorilla safaris. The fact that Volcanoes National Park is strategically located within the Virunga conservation area, travelers get a variety of insights and activities such as mountain gorilla trekking, hiking, bird watching among others. These give you a spectacular holiday in Rwanda and you cannot be disappointed.

Activities in Volcanoes National Park

  • Gorilla trekking in Volcanoes Park: The forested slopes of the Virunga mountains form a natural setting that gets the tourist to have a memorable, exciting and adventurous mountain gorilla trekking in Volcanoes National Park.  The climbing to the mountain gorillas’ natural habitat inside the forest offers insight views of all directions of the volcanoes as the trackers move towards the deep insides of the bamboo forests in Volcanoes Park. On the way, the trackers get a chance to view other wildlife in the forest such as the different species of birds that make pleasant sounds and also witness the rare golden monkeys. The mountain gorillas are habituated into 10 groups inside Volcanoes Park and this has enabled the travelers to get to view the different groups and their behaviors in the wild. Groups that the travelers will encounter are such as Susa A group, Susa B group, Sabyinyo group, Amahoro group, Umubano group, Agashya group, Kwitonda group, Hirwa group, Bwenge group, and Ugenda group. As a traveler, you have to note that one group can be viewed by a maximum of eight people per day and gorilla trekking starts in the morning at the park headquarters where you will be briefed about the activity you will be encountering that day. The mountain gorilla permits go for USD 750 each person and 88 permits are always given out each day. It is always advised that travelers book their tickets prior to arrival on their holidays.
  • Golden Monkey Tracking: Most of these rear monkeys are seen as travelers are heading to go for gorilla trekking. But some travelers prefer tracking these golden monkeys as their number one priority. These good looking monkeys always give you a natural feeling of the wonderful creatures that live in the wild. The travelers always have memorable and adventurous experiences when they have a glimpse of these mammals in the deep forests of Volcanoes Park. Tracking the golden monkeys is much simpler compared to the gorilla trekking since these creatures do not live far away but close within the forests and bamboos and a golden monkey permit goes for around USD 100 each person.
  • Mountain Hiking in Volcanoes National Park: Volcanoes National Park has three dormant volcanoes that offer travelers the possibility of hiking the mountains. This can be done during their gorilla trekking or as a sole activity during their stay in Volcanoes Park. Hiking to the top of these mountains gives travelers a spectacular view of the vegetation cover of Volcanoes National Park and the surrounding communities near the boundaries of the park. Mount Kirisimbi is the most hiked volcano and the highest in Volcanoes National Park and hiking Mount Bisoke does not require much hiking experience but one has to be physically in good condition.   
  • Bird watching in Volcanoes National Park: Volcanoes National Park harbors a great number of bird species that give pleasant sounds that give the traveler a relaxation mood and taking time. A glimpse of these wonderful birds will let you know the behaviors of different bird species that reside in the deep montane forests on Volcanoes National Park. To have a great insight of the birds, a traveler can carry their binoculars and telescopes.
  • Caving in Volcanoes Park: Volcanoes National Park also has the Musanze caves and travelers who want to learn and know the origin of these caves are given experienced guides that lead them through the trails of the caves as they narrate the stories about the mysteries of the caves and facts about Rwanda. Additionally other activities to do in Volcanoes National Park include cultural tours mostly to Iby’lwacu cultural village, visiting the twin lakes of Bulera and Buhondo, guided walks and Mountain Bikes Excursions, and adventurous hike to Dian Fossey Tombs.
Volcanoes National Park
Gorilla in Volcanoes National Park

Accommodations in Volcanoes National Park

A great number of lodges are located near and within the Volcanoes National Park fully packed with accommodation facilities and ranging from luxury, mid-range, and budget. The visitors can choose according to what they prefer during their stay in Rwanda. Some of the great lodges are such as the following;

Mountain Gorillas’ Nest Lodge: This luxury lodge is located in Musanze district nestled in a forest of eucalyptus trees. This lodge features well-sized accommodation at the Jack Hannah’s cottage with a spectacular view of the slopes of the volcanoes in the Volcanoes National Park. The place has great professional staff and client services are excellent.

Sabyinyo Silverback Lodge: The luxury lodge is also located in Musanze district near to the Volcanoes Park’s headquarters. The lodge has over 8 cottages all having a pleasant view of the volcanoes rolling hills. The lodge features a sheltered balcony for relaxation and having breakfast. There is also a bar and a restaurant in the lodge.

Garden Place Hotel: It is located in Ruhengeri offering stylish accommodation to both holidays and business travelers. Visitors can easily access the hotel because it is about 30 minutes’ drive from the airport. The hotel features twenty-eight rooms with modern bathrooms having plenty of water and pressure. There is also a restaurant that serves all kinds of meals as well as the quality is legit.

Mountain Gorilla View Lodge: Mountain Gorilla View Lodge neighbors the Volcanoes National Park and it is located in the northern part of Rwanda. The Lodge offers thirty cottages which are made of stones and thatch. The main lodge has a restaurant serving complimentary meals as well as a bar.

Other great lodges that can be tried by the visitors include;  Volcanoes Boutique Hotel, Gorilla Solution Lodge, Hotel Muhabura, Gorillas Volcanoes Hotel, Bambou Gorilla Village, and Kinigi Guest House.

How to get to Volcanoes Park

Travelers mainly use Kigali International Airport and on arrival, they get taxis that transport them to their respective resting areas as they prepare to head to Volcanoes Park. Getting from Kigali to Volcanoes Park can take around 2 hrs without meeting traffic and the distance is about 109km.

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