Volcanoes National Park Rwanda
Volcanoes National Park situated in northwestern Rwanda is one of the country’s most popular tourist destinations. Since reopening in 1999, it has experienced a growing number of visitors each day, thanks in large part to its role as the world’s most popular mountain gorilla sanctuary. With fewer than 700 of this species left, tourists can catch a rare glimpse of the gorillas as they can nowhere else in the world. Be-yond gorillas, however, the park is also able to offer some of the country’s most spectacular scenery and diverse vegetation. It is part of the Virunga Conservation Area and covers more than 125km2, including five extinct volcanoes: Muhabura, Sabyinyo, Gahinga, Karisimbi and Bisoke. The latter two can be climbed during one or two-day treks.
Against this backdrop, tourists can hike through the lush bamboo and Hygenia rainforest, open grassland and swamp of Volcanoes National Park to discover golden monkeys, bush duiker, buffalo and spotted hyenas. You will not have to listen too hard before you hear one of the 178 recorded bird species in the park. Look through the gaps in the dense forest canopy and you will also see the breathtaking peaks of the volcanoes standing tall at over 4,500m.
Made famous as the research base of the late American primatologist Dian Fossey and, subsequently, as the setting for the film Gorillas in the Mist, the park continues to uphold its reputation as a destination for unrivaled wildlife encounters. The edges of Mt. Sabyinyo are also where you will find Fossey’s tomb, as she was buried among the gorillas she grew to love so dearly.
Experienced guides will take you through this impressive montane ecosystem, where you can witness the sights and sounds of the heart of Africa.
POPULAR ACTIVITIES AT VOLCANOES NP
The mountain gorillas are critically endangered, with fewer than 900 left in the wild worldwide.
Time is running out to see these gentle giants in their natural habitat, which is why this experience is at the top of most visitor’s lists.
Volcanoes National Park has 11 habituated gorilla families. In visiting the park, you may come to meet any of them – Susa, Amahoro, Sabyinyo, Uganda, Hirwa, Umubano, Karisimbi, to name a few.
Each gorilla group can be seen by a maximum of eight people per day. To visit, you must book a gorilla permit in advance, which is priced at $750 USD each. A maximum of 88 gorilla permits are on offer each day and are given on a first come, first serve basis.
Mountain gorilla trekking starts in the morning with assembly at the park headquarters for a briefing about the activity.
This is followed by a hike through the bamboo forests of Volcanoes National Park, keeping an eye out for the gorillas in their natural habitat.
The trek can take anywhere from one to six hours depending on the movement of the mountain gorillas across their habitat. You’ll spend a maximum of one hour with the gorillas, where you’ll be able to take photos and videos.
Trekkers are accompanied by trained Tour Guides who are well-informed about different wildlife in the park and will lend a hand along the trek. They could carry your daypack or offer you a helping hand if you were to get stuck in the mud!
A visit to Volcanoes National Park Rwanda can be mixed up with a hike to the tomb of the late Dian Fossey.
Dian Fossey was an American primatologist who spent close to two decades in the park, studying the mountain gorillas. A biopic of her life was made into a movie in the late eighties, titled Gorillas in the Mist.
She was murdered by poachers in 1985. Her grave is nestled between the beautiful volcanic peaks of Bisoke and Karisimbi, near Karisoke Research Center.
The hike through the forest to the tomb takes about six hours (there and back). Along the way, you may be lucky enough to see elephants, buffalo, primates like golden monkeys and sometimes even the mountain gorillas that Dian dedicated her life to.
Rare golden monkeys have been sighted in the magnificent Virunga Mountains.
Tracking the beautiful golden monkeys is another popular tourist activity in Volcanoes National Park, Rwanda. A glimpse of these creatures is considered to be a wonderful lifetime experience.
Most visitors book a 3-day gorilla safari package, to experience the golden monkeys in Volcanoes National Park.
Like gorilla tracking, this activity starts in the morning with an assembly at Kinigi Park Headquarters.
However, golden monkey tracking is less strenuous than to gorilla trekking, so you’ll be finished by around midday.
A Rwanda cultural tour to Ibyiwacu cultural village is one of the key features that make Rwanda safaris exceptional experiences. Iby’Iwacu Cultural Village gives you a rare chance to meet local people, in their environment, with a taste of our culture and traditions. Be genuinely welcomed by the community as a special visitor while they proudly present to you aspects of their traditions and beliefs. The only way to get to know people is getting close and interacting with local people, and taking part in their daily activities and most of all with them.
Iby’Iwacu village is located around Parc National des Volcans in Nyabigoma, Kinigi, Musanze district, Northern Province- have a visit to Iby’Iwacu to share with local people home and heritage treasures including lifestyles, activities, artifacts, and ways of living of local people. Iby’Iwacu Cultural Village is committed to showcasing the ways of living, traditional lifestyles, and dances to tourists.