Volcanoes National Park is located in the northwest park of Rwanda. The national park borders with Mgahinga Gorilla National Park in Uganda and Virunga National Park in the Democratic Republic of Congo. The three parks together form what is known as the Virunga conservation region for the main purpose of protecting the endangered mountain gorillas. Volcanoes National Park only encompasses an area of 62 square miles (160 sq. km).Volcanoes national park was established in 1920. The arrival of Dian Fossey in the park in 1967 and establishment of the Karisoke Research Center brought more publicity to the park safari and led to the reduction of the severe poaching.

Attractions in Volcanoes National Park.

Animal species in Volcanoes National Park.

The most popular attractions in Volcanoes national park are the mountain gorillas, these have successfully placed volcanoes national park on the world map because of the work of Dian Fossey and the movie ‘’Gorilla in the Mist’’. It hosts the most amazing rare and endangered golden monkeys only found in the Virunga region, other animals found in the forest includes the forest elephant, buffaloes, bush pigs, giant forest hogs, duikers, spotted hyenas, bush-bucks and several primates.

Volcanoes National Park
Gorilla Trekking Tour

Bird species in Volcanoes National Park.

This  is a birding safari  paradise in that it is a home of over 200 bird species with number of the Albertine rift endemics for bird watching enthusiasts to enjoy, birding is the next awesome to do in this park after the mountain gorilla tracking and the golden monkey trekking, some of the bird species to look out include the handsome francolin, strange weaver, dusky crimson wing, collared Apalis, red-faced woodland warbler, Archer’s ground robin, Grauer’s rush warbler and many others.

Musanze Caves.

Musanze caves are due to the volcanic eruption which formed an underground space large enough for humans to enter, they are two kilometers long with walkways and stairs that take you to the dark interior of the caves, the Musanze caves can be seen after monitoring the gorillas.

Activities in Volcanoes National Park.

Gorilla trekking.

Gorilla trekking safari  is the dominant activity in the Volcanoes National Park, here the gorillas can be sighted by the tourists which is a great activity done in the park, other gorillas can be trekked in Virunga in Congo, Mgahinga and Bwindi national parks in Uganda. In the park over 10 habituated Rwanda gorillas groups are available for tracking under the guidance of experienced and motivated rangers. It is important to be in good shape before embarking on activity that can prove demanding depending on the gorilla group you are assigned.

Golden monkey tracking.

Tracking the golden monkeys has gained the popularity over the years in Volcanoes national park and is the second only to watch the gorillas, the tracking the golden monkeys can be done before or after gorilla trekking. The Golden monkey tracking is less strenuous than the gorillas because they do not go to high altitudes in search of fresh food like the way gorillas do, they prefer to feed on the Bamboo shoots that grow at the base of the volcanoes.

Volcanoes National Park
Golden Monkey Trekking

Visiting the Tomb of Dian Fossey.

The Dian Fossey is one of the greatest primatologist of all time that is because of her courage and determination, poaching of animals and particularly mountain gorillas was greatly reduced, without her efforts the mountain gorillas would be extinct now, she also credited for introducing new ways of making gorillas comfortable around human presence by imitating their sounds and gaining the trust of the dominant male. Currently the tourists who are over hundreds go to pay the homage to this great conservationist by visiting her grave and former Karisoke Research Centre located between Mount Karisimbi and Mount Bisoke.

Hiking Mount Karisimbi Volcano.

Mount Karisimbi is an extinct volcano that reaches a height of about 4,507 meters, the hiking safari at mount karisimbi is one of the top activities in musanze, it is known as the fifth highest in Africa and thus requires mental and physical preparation in order to ensure the effective hiking, as this involves the navigating through thick forests before stopping at an altitude of 3700 meters for the first stop, rest and overnight.

Mount Muhabura hiking.

Mount Muhabura is one of the most interesting and adventurous volcanoes to climb while visiting the Volcanoes National Park, at 4,127 meters, it is the third highest mountain within Virunga ranges, the hiking safari at Mount Muhabura starts at a height of 1200 meters and by the time one reaches the summit, tourists pass through the beautiful green forests and marveled at the other volcanoes within the wider Virunga region.

Mount Bisoke Hiking.

Mount Bisoke is an extinct volcano that forms part of the wider Virunga range of mountains, the hiking safari takes about 3 hours of driving to reach the foot of the mountain from the capital Kigali, hiking mount Bisoke takes one day and is relatively easier compared to other mountains like Karisimbi.

Visiting the Twin Lakes Ruhondo and Burera.

After the whole day activities, visiting the Twin Lakes Ruhondo and Burera is one way of relaxing while doing a boat cruise through the deep waters of these two lakes will reward you the most beautiful sights of birds and the vats hilly landscape with waterfalls, visiting the lakes gives you time to mingle with the locals to learn about their rich heritage and culture that defines them and makes them different from the other tribes in Rwanda.

Cultural tours near the Volcanoes national park.

Tourists during a cultural tour near the Volcanoes national park will enjoy an experience of the village by taking part in the activities with them like joining royalty by being crowned king or queen for the day, by learning about the traditional lifestyles and enjoying music and dance.

Best time to visit Volcanoes National Park.

The best time of year to visit Volcanoes National Park is during the dry months of June through September where the maximum temperatures are between 250 C and 270C ( 770 F to 810F) degrees during the day and fall between 13.50C and 150 C (560F to 590F) at night.

Where to stay in Volcanoes national park.

The accommodation facilities found around the Volcanoes National Park are divided into the Budget, Mid-range and Luxury, the choice of which hotel to select depends on the entirely on a travelers budget, the hotels are of good quality regardless of which category you choose. They typically offer room services, 24 front desk, a lounge, a bar, a restaurant and many more such as Sabyinyo silverback lounge, La Palm Hotel, The Virunga hotel, Five Volcanoes Hotel, Gorilla View Hotel, Villa Gorilla Lodge and many more.

Volcanoes National Park
Five Volcanoes Boutique

How to get Volcanoes National Park.

Volcanoes National Park can be accessed within 2 hours drive from Kigali, it is 30 minutes’ drive from border with Uganda at Cyanika in Kisoro. You can also contract the services of Akagera Aviation to fly by helicopter.

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