“In the heart of Central Africa, so high up that you shiver more than you sweat,” wrote the eminent primatologist Dian Fossey, “are great, old volcanoes towering up almost 15,000 feet, and nearly covered with rich, green rainforest – the Virungas”.
The park is situated in the far northwest park of Rwanda just a drive of about 2-3 hours from the capital Kigali up to Kinigi Park headquarters in Ruhengeri Musanze district. Its easy access can make it very easy to go and track the gorillas and return back to Kigali on the same day.
The Parc des Volcans(volcanoes national park) protects the steep slopes of this magnificent mountain range – home of the rare mountain gorilla – and the rich mosaic of montane ecosystems, which embrace evergreen and bamboo forest, open grassland, swamp and heath.
ParcNational is regarded as the oldest national park in Africa being gazetted in 1929 during the Belgian colonial times and it was then named Albert National park and extended into DRC. It was made a national park after independence to protect the remaining mountain gorillas which were under extinction.as a result of poaching and deforestation resulting into death of many gorillas. Thanks should go to the Dian Fossy who habituated these apes to human standards that no they can be tracked safely in their natural habitat without any harm caused to human, she studied these apes for a period of over 18 years until she was killed by the said poachers who were against her works.
Diane Fossy staged her research center in Karisoke in the middle of the forest where she conducted most of her research, without her tireless effort together with the government the tourism industry, ranger guides who monitor these apes time to time and the local community especially those who live near the park and tourism police, there is possibly wouldn’t be any gorillas remaining in Rwanda, and Rwanda could not be much known in terms of tourism as it’s known today.
The main safari activity done in volcanoes national park is the mountain gorilla trekking, and its regarded as the leading tourism activity done in Rwanda attracting a huge number of tourists all over the world who jet in to the country to meet these giants in their natural habitat deep in to the forest. however other safari activities done at the park include birding safaris, community walk,
Golden monkey tracking ,Hiking Karisimbi volcano (3,800 m), One day Mount Bisoke volcano hike, Visiting Dian Fossey’s graveyard, Iby’Iwacu village tour, Visiting the twin lakes of Ruhondo and Bulera among many others
An exhilarating trek through the cultivated foothills of the Virungas offers stirring views in all directions. Then, abruptly, the trail enters the national park, immersing trekkers in the mysterious intimacy of the rainforest, alive with the calls of colorful birds and chattering of the rare golden monkey, and littered with fresh spoor of the mountains’ elusive populations of buffalo and elephant. Through gaps in the forest canopy, the magnificent peaks are glimpsed, easily accessible and among the highest in Africa, beckoning an ascent.
The bustling market town of Ruhengeri has a memorable setting at the base of the Virungas. On the outskirts of town, the natural bridge at Musanze – a solidified lava flow is a fascinating relic of the volcanic activity that shaped this scenic area. Also within easy day tripping distance of Ruhengeri are the seldom visited but lovely Lakes Burera, Ruhondo and Karago.
Ruhengeri offers a good selection of reasonably-priced small hotels and guest houses, which offers a nice stay as you watch the remaining mountain gorillas in their natural habitat. Some of the accommodation within and around the park include La Palme hotel, Le Bambou Gorilla Lodge, The Sabyinyo Silverback Lodge, Hotel Muhabura, The Gorilla Volcano Hotel. Visitors could also base themselves in Gisenyi or Kigali and – with an early start – head to the Parc des Volcans and Ruhengeri as a day trip. Volcanoes national park is a must park to visit for gorilla tracking, don’t miss! Gorilla tracking is pre-arranged at least 3-months in advance and certain rules have to be followed.
What to bring
- A camera to capture the moments
- Light and heavy clothing to prepare for any change in weather
- Insect repellant
- A cap or hut
- Hiking boots