Volcanoes National Park

Volcanoes National Park Overview

Volcanoes National Park (Also known as Parc National des Volcano) is situated in the northern province of Rwanda (Musanze), along the Virunga conservation area. This national park borders Congo’s world heritage site, Virunga National Park and Uganda’s second gorilla home, Mgahinga Gorilla National Park. Volcanoes National Park has long been known as a a haven for the endangered mountain gorilla in Rwanda besides sheltering five of the renown 8 volcano mountains of the Virunga conservation area (Bisoke, Karisimbi, Muhabura, Sabyinyo and Gahinga). The park was the base for the zoologist Dian Fossey decades ago but apparently holds a lot of Rwanda gorilla tours. Volcanoes Park is definitely a good place to spend most of your Rwanda safaris should you decide to tip a toe on Rwanda’s soil.

Volcanoes National Park

More about Volcanoes National Park

Vegetation in Volcanoes National Park varies considerably due to the large altitudinal range within the park, with the lower montane forest between 2400 and 2500 m, mostly for agriculture, 2500 to 3200 m bamboo forest occurs, covering about 30% of the park area, 2600 to 3600 m, mainly on the more humid slopes in the south and west, is Hagenia-Hypericum forest, which covers about 30% of the park. This is one of the largest forests of Hagenia abyssinica. The vegetation above 3500 m is characterised by Lobelia wollastonii, L. lanurensis, and Senecio erici-rosenii and covers about 25% of the park. From 4300 to 4500 m grassland occurs. Secondary thicket, meadows, marshes, swamps and small lakes also occur, but their total area is relatively small.

Volcanoes National park is best known for the mountain gorillas and the famous tourist activity is Gorilla and Golden Monkey Trekking. Other mammals include black-fronted duiker buffaloes, spotted hyenas and bushbucks. 

Activities in Volcanoes National Park

gorilla trekking in Volcanoes

Mountain gorilla trekking

Gorilla trekking in Volcanoes National Park Rwanda is second to none in attracting tourists into the country. The mountain gorillas are critically endangered, with fewer that 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.

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!

Golden Monkey Trekking

Golden monkey trekking is yet another most done activity in Volcanoes national park which attract thousands of travelers into this jungle. Golden monkeys are exceptional creatures which every traveler should not miss out on his/her Rwanda safari.Its only in Volcanoes wanda and Mgahinga gorilla national parks that travelers can see golden monkeys in their natural habitats. Fortunately, golden monkey trekking costs $100 which is relatively cheap compared to gorilla trekking.

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.

Golden Monkey Trekking

Dian Fossey Tomb tour

Dian Fossey is one of the greatest primatologists of all time. Because of her courage and determination, poaching of animals and particularly mountain gorillas was greatly reduced in the Volcanoes National Park. Without her efforts, mountain gorillas would probably be extinct by now.She is also credited for introducing new ways of making gorillas comfortable around human presence by imitating their sounds and gaining the acceptance/trust of the dominant male. Today hundreds of visitors go to pay homage to this great conservationist by visiting her grave and former Karisoke Research Center located between Mount Karisimbi and Mount Bisoke. The guided hike lasts about 3 hours and costs $75.As one climbs the volcanoes to her former base, they will get to experience what she had to go through, her determination and the passion she had for the gorillas

Best time to visit the Volcanoes National Park

Regardless of which activity you choose to do in the Volcanoes  Park, you can be sure to find it arranged throughout the year. However, most visitors prefer visiting the park during the drier periods and months. The drier months fall between June to Mid September and December to February. This is usually the best time to go for gorilla trekking in the park because the mountain slopes are easier to hike. The months of March through to May and October to November are characterized by heavy rainfall that makes the major hiking and trekking trails slippery and full of mud. Photographers and nature lovers should come to the park during the rainy season to marvel at the lush scenery. A safari in the park can be combined with activities in other top national parks in Rwanda.