Volcanoes National Park
Volcanoes national park rwanda
Volcanoes National Park, also known as Volcanoes National Park Rwanda, is a renowned national park located in the small central African country of Rwanda. Established in 1925, it is one of the oldest national parks in Africa and covers an area of approximately 160 square kilometers (62 square miles). The park is part of the larger Virunga Massif, which includes the adjacent national parks in Uganda and the Democratic Republic of Congo.
The primary attraction of Volcanoes National Park is its population of endangered mountain gorillas. The park is home to several habituated gorilla groups that can be visited by tourists under the guidance of trained rangers. Gorilla trekking is a popular activity in the park, allowing visitors to observe these incredible creatures in their natural habitat.
Besides gorilla trekking, Volcanoes National Park offers other activities for visitors, including hikes to the peaks of several volcanoes, such as Mount Karisimbi, Mount Bisoke, and Mount Muhabura. These hikes provide stunning views of the surrounding landscapes and the opportunity to explore the region’s unique flora and fauna.
Volcanoes National Park was first established in 1925 by the Belgian colonial authorities as Albert National Park, making it one of Africa’s oldest national parks.
Initially, the park covered a larger area, including parts of Rwanda, Uganda, and the Democratic Republic of Congo. However, it was later divided into separate parks as the countries gained independence. The main objective of the park’s establishment was to protect the mountain gorillas, which were facing severe threats due to habitat destruction and poaching.
American primatologist Dian Fossey conducted extensive research on mountain gorillas in the 1960s and 1970s, bringing international attention to their plight.
Fossey’s groundbreaking work and her subsequent murder in 1985 helped raise global awareness about the need for gorilla conservation. In the 1970s and 1980s, various conservation organizations and governments collaborated to establish initiatives aimed at protecting the gorillas and their habitat.
In 1992, the park’s name was changed from Albert National Park to Volcanoes National Park to better reflect its location and prominent volcanic peaks.
The park’s area was expanded, and it became part of the larger Virunga Conservation Area, which encompasses national parks in Rwanda, Uganda, and the Democratic Republic of Congo.
In 2005, Volcanoes National Park, along with other parks in the Virunga Massif, was designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in recognition of its exceptional biodiversity and conservation value.
Mountain gorillas: The park is home to half the world’s mountain gorilla population, locates northwest of the country in Ruhengeri district. The park comprises of habituated gorilla
Genocide sites: The history of the genocide reflects the massive slaughtering of the people in Rwanda that belonged to the two ethnic groups of the Tutsi and the Hutus. The ferocious killing began on the 6th of April 1994 and lasted for 100 days.
Golden monkeys: The other attractions in Volcanoes National park include golden monkeys which are the second attraction for most travelers to the park. A golden monkey trekking permit costs $100.
Twin lakes: The twin lakes of burere & ruhondo are situated in the heart of Volcanoes national park. A boat ride on either of the lakes rewards you with spectacular views of the entire park and the neighboring communities.
Virunga volcanoes: Volcanoes national park is a home for three extinct volcanoes which are part of the Virunga volcano chain that comprises of eight volcanoes. The mountains in volcanoes national park are Mt Karisimbi, Mt Bisoke and Mt Sabyinyo all available for trekking.
lodges and Luxury Camps: There are several upscale lodges and luxury camps located near the park that provide high-quality accommodation and services. These establishments offer comfortable rooms or tents with modern amenities, excellent dining options, and often stunning views of the surrounding landscapes. Some include: Bisate Lodge, Virunga Lodge, and Sabyinyo Silverback Lodge.
Mid-Range Lodges: For travelers seeking comfortable yet more affordable options, there are mid-range lodges available near the park. These lodges provide cozy rooms, basic amenities, and good hospitality. Examples of mid-range lodges include Le Bambou Gorilla Lodge, Mountain Gorilla View Lodge, and Gorilla Volcanoes Hotel.
Budget Guesthouses and Campsites: If you’re on a tight budget, there are also budget guesthouses and campsites in the vicinity of the park. These accommodations offer basic facilities such as shared bathrooms, simple rooms, and camping grounds. They are a more economical choice for those who don’t mind a more rustic experience. Examples include Muhabura Hotel, Kinigi Guesthouse, and Red Rocks Rwanda.
Best time to visit
Gorilla Trekking: The activity can be enjoyed throughout the year, but the dry seasons are generally recommended for better trekking conditions.
How to get to the park
international Flight: Fly to Kigali, the capital city of Rwanda. The Kigali International Airport (KGL) is the main international gateway to the country, and several airlines offer direct flights from various cities around the world.
From Kigali to Volcanoes National Park: The park is located approximately 80 kilometers (50 miles) from Kigali, and there are a few transportation options available like Private Vehicles
As Climbing Nyiragongo, we are thrilled to offer incredible journeys to Volcanoes National Park, Rwanda’s crown jewel for nature and wildlife enthusiasts. Here’s a description of what our clients can expect when they embark on a tour with us:
Nestled in the Virunga Mountains in northwestern Rwanda, Volcanoes National Park is a sanctuary for endangered mountain gorillas and a haven for nature lovers. Covering an area of approximately 160 square kilometers (62 square miles), the park is a place of breathtaking beauty, rich biodiversity, and incredible volcanic landscapes.
As our clients venture into Volcanoes National Park, they will find themselves surrounded by a tapestry of verdant greenery, mist-shrouded mountains, and enchanting bamboo forests. The park is home to a chain of volcanoes, including Mount Karisimbi, Mount Bisoke, Mount Sabyinyo, Mount Gahinga, and Mount Muhabura. These imposing peaks not only provide stunning vistas but also serve as a natural playground for adventure seekers.
The park’s most renowned attraction is undoubtedly its population of critically endangered mountain gorillas. With approximately a third of the world’s remaining gorillas residing here, Volcanoes National Park offers a rare opportunity to witness these magnificent creatures up close in their natural habitat. Gorilla trekking is a truly transformative experience, allowing our clients to observe gorilla families, learn about their behaviors, and contribute to their conservation.
Apart from gorilla trekking, the park offers an array of captivating activities. Our clients can explore the park’s diverse ecosystems through guided hikes, taking them through afro-alpine meadows, dense bamboo forests, and captivating crater lakes. Bird enthusiasts will be delighted by the park’s avian diversity, with over 180 species of birds, including the elusive Albertine Rift endemics.
For those seeking a challenge, the ascent of Mount Bisoke is a thrilling option. This volcanic peak rewards climbers with panoramic views of the park and the opportunity to stand on the edge of its beautiful crater lake. The hike to Dian Fossey’s grave, the renowned primatologist and conservationist, is also a popular activity, allowing visitors to pay tribute to her remarkable work.
Volcanoes National Park is not only a sanctuary for wildlife but also a testament to Rwanda’s commitment to conservation and community development. The park plays a vital role in the protection of mountain gorillas, as well as supporting local communities through sustainable tourism initiatives. By visiting the park, our clients actively contribute to its preservation and the well-being of the surrounding communities.
As a Nyiragongo trekking company, we take pride in offering our clients an unforgettable experience in Volcanoes National Park. We ensure their safety, comfort, and enjoyment throughout their journey, providing expert guides who are well-versed in the park’s ecology, gorilla behavior, and cultural heritage.
A trip to Volcanoes National Park with us is an opportunity to witness the remarkable beauty of Rwanda’s volcanic landscapes, encounter magnificent mountain gorillas, and contribute to their conservation. It is an adventure that leaves a lasting impact, fostering a deep appreciation for the natural wonders of the park and the importance of protecting these incredible ecosystems for future generations.