Rwanda is one of the countries found in Africa and East Africa in particular, it boarders countries namely Uganda, Burundi and Democratic Republic of Congo and Tanzania. Rwanda is a true destination worth visiting especially its beautiful eye catching capital city – Kigali and the fascinating mountain gorillas in Volcanoes national park. Lots of treasure is hidden within this small but magical nation.
Furthermore, Rwanda happens to be blessed with nature due to the conservation practices thus enabling it to be one of the best tourist destinations not only in Africa but world over. In addition to Uganda and D.R. Congo, Rwanda boasts a home of the endangered mountain Gorillas in its mesmerizing Volcanoes national park.
Being a home for the endangered mountain Gorillas and most visited national park in Rwanda, Volcanoes national Park, also known as Parc National Des Volcans is situated in northwestern region in the Kinigi village.
Volcanoes national Park is one of the first national parks to be created in Africa, it was originally gazetted in 1925 together with Virunga national park of D.R. Congo as one big conservation area with intentions of protecting the then critically endangered mountain gorillas from poachers. At that point in time, it was bounded by Karisimbi, Mikeno and Bisoke volcanoes.
However, with subsequent times, the park became a research base for Dian Fossey, the American primatologist who set up a research center between Bisoke and Karisimbi mountains thus the name “Karisoke research center. This great Park is well known for Mountain Gorillas and other rare primates such as the Golden Monkeys, and forest mammals like Buffaloes, bushbucks, black fronted duiker and about 178 Bird species recorded.
Amazingly though, regardless of its immense beauty Volcanoes national park remains one of the smallest national parks in Rwanda. It is the only park in Rwanda which inhabits the rare Mountain gorillas and fetches thousands of tourists all over the world to come and have a one on one encounter with these mighty creatures.
The park is also gifted with varied ecosystem that has favored the presence of various mammals and bird species in this destination. There are so many activities that can be done while on a tour to the Volcanoes national park.
Mountain Gorilla Trekking
Mountain Gorilla Trekking is one of the most fun parked, exciting and adventurous wilderness activity you can do while in Rwanda and in this park particularly. It is done either as a single person or in a group of not more than eight. During a gorilla trek, you will follow the footprints of the Gorillas, explore the forests until you meet the family led by the male leader, the silverback.
Birding in PNV
Fortunately, Volcanoes national park has wonderful ecosystems that favor a number of bird species worth watching by all the bird lovers. The park is home to about 180 bird species including Gluer’s rush warbler, the Rwenzori Turaco, red-faced woodland warbler, collared apalis Francolin which are part of the 16 Albertine Rift Valley Endemics, and some other Rwenzori endemics. All this will expose you a lot reality in the nature and their songs a lone will be great to hear.
Hiking and Nature Walks
The expert guides take you through the hiking experience ensuring that you enjoy it to the fullest. All you need is to come along with good hiking boots and long pants, hat and a walking stick.
The guides take visitors to climb a shorter mountain called mount Bisoke where you will meet an amazing crater lake at 37711 meters as well as mount Karisimbi which is 4507m, located along the border with Democratic Republic of Congo. Most hikes to each of these volcanoes can take up to a full day depending on the speed and physical fitness of the hikers.
For nature walks, visitors are taken to the nearby crater lakes, villages and exposed to the numerous wildlife including birds, communities, tea plantations and amazing landscapes. You can also visit Musanze caves, an underground cave detailing ancient history and its role during Rwanda’s genocide.
Golden Monkey Trekking
This is an entertaining encounter, as you watch the elusive golden monkeys. One of the endangered primates and only endemic to the Virunga region, just like mountain gorillas, they look so beautiful and generally shy, but pretty playful and can render hard time for proper photography.
These primates are found in volcanoes National Park and Mgahinga national park in Rwanda and Uganda respectively. They in most cases roam the bamboo vegetation in search for what to eat.
Dian Fossey Grave Hike
Dian Fossey is a renowned gorilla conservationist who first studied the behaviors of these mammals, strongly advocated for their conservation and helped set up the Karisoke Research Centre on the slopes of Bisoke and Karisimbi volcanoes to continue the study of these endangered apes.
Majority of travelers take hike to this place to study more about conservation of Mountain gorillas and in memory and appreciation to the efforts of the late Dian Fossey who happens to be the pioneer of gorilla conservation in the Virunga region.
While in the Park, fun surely doesn’t end, from activity to activity. The gorillas have co existed with the different communities in and around the park. The famous Iby’Iwachu cultural village has indigenous people who share with tourists there lifestyle and experiences. They engage tourists in their historic songs, dances, stories, art and cultural rituals and ceremonies. They even go ahead to offer home stays to the visitors.
There are various accommodation facilities one can have; you can even choose to have a camping experience so as to enjoy the sounds of the primates, birds and mammals at night.
However, some of the lodges here include the Bisate for super luxurious experience, Sabyinyo Gorilla Lodge for mid luxury accommodation, Muhabura Hotel, Kinigi Guesthouse for budget accommodation and Le Bambou Gorilla Lodge for midrange option. All these are secure and comfortable places to stay and enjoy your optimum gorilla experiences.
Volcanoes National Park is one of the most famous National parks in Rwanda, and a famous home to the endangered mountain gorillas and loved by all tourists who visit the destination. The park can be accessed both by road and by air. By air, you will land to Kigali International airport, and afterwards, it is possible to book a cab from the airport through Musanze. It will take you about two – three hours to reach the park on a well tarmacked road.
Volcanoes National park is a hub for wonders and reality, every one’s dream destination if you ever wished to interact with nature, beauty and rare wildlife; it is small but truly rich and blessed with wonders. Come and adventure nature in its completeness here in volcanoes National park.