Volcanoes National Park Rwanda | Attractions, Location, Photos, Lodges and Overview 2020 – Parc National des Volcans
Volcanoes National Park lies in northwestern Rwanda approximately 2-3 hours’ drive from Kigali capital city. It is remarkably one of the most pristine sites in East Africa that is worth exploring while on safari in Africa. It is also called Parc National des Volcans and makes up part of the vast Virunga Conservancy Area (VCA).
The VCA covers Volcanoes National Park, Mgahinga Gorilla National Park in southwestern Uganda and the Virunga National Park in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). Parc National des Volcans up graded its status as a national park in 1925 and it is undoubtedly the oldest national park in Africa. The main reason for its creation was offer refuge to critically endangered mountain gorillas that today remain not more than 1004 and only thrive within the rainforests of Uganda, Rwanda and DRC.
Volcanoes National Park extends up to 160sq.km and consists of the tropical rainforest and bamboo. Despite its small size, Volcanoes National Park is Rwanda’s most popular safari destination with strong hold of mountain gorillas, bushbuck and black fronted duiker buffalo and spotted hyena, golden monkeys; over 200 bird species, 13 and 16 of which are sub-species endemic to the Virunga and Ruwenzori Mountain ranges.
The birds to sight at in Volcanoes National Park include Rwenzori doubled collared sunbird, Rwenzori Turaco, dusky crimson wing, the francolins, red faced woodland warbler, collared apalis, strange weaver, archer’s ground robin a mention but a few.
The vegetation in Volcanoes National Park ranges depending on its altitude. The rain-forest covers the largest portion in Volcanoes National Park; between 2400 and 2500 meters there is Neoboutonia forest; from 2500-3200 meters you find a bamboo forest that makes up 30% of the park.
From 2600-3600-this is mainly humid slope in the south and west with hagenia forest-one of the vast forest covers at the park. Between 3500 and 4200 meters, there is lobelia hagenia Abyssinia and as you hike up 4300 to 4500 meters you find grassland. Volcanoes National Park also features thickets, marshes, Lakes and many others.
Volcanoes National Park is a home to 5 Virunga Massifs that include Karisimbi volcano (4507m), Gahinga (3474 meters), Sabyinyo stands (3634 meters), Bisoke (3711 meters) and Muhabura (4127 meters).
Activities to do in Volcanoes National Park
Gorilla trekking is one major safari experience visitors on Rwanda safari shouldn’t miss to be part in Volcanoes National Park. 10 gorilla families have been habituated and set for visitors to trek in Volcanoes National Park. They include Group 13 also known as Agashya, Kwitonda, Sabyinyo, Susa A, Susa B (Karisimbi), Amahoro, Ugenda, Umubano, Guhonda, Bwenge and Hirwa.
Mountain Gorilla trekking in Volcanoes National Park start from Kinigi park headquarters with an early morning briefing on the set rules and regulations for gorilla trekking Rwanda. Trek to see mountain gorillas in the wild may take you 2 to 6 hours depending on your hiking speed, their location and nature of habitat. Permits for gorilla trekking in Rwanda cost $1500. Book a 1 day Rwanda gorilla tour
Golden Monkey Tracking
Trekking to see golden monkeys in Volcanoes National Park is the most exciting experience. To be part of amazing primate adventure, you need $100 to secure your permit.
With about 200 bird species, Volcanoes National Park is remarkably a birder’s paradise. The birds to spot out in Volcanoes National Park include Rwenzori Batis, collared apalis, archer’s ground robin, dusky crimson wing a mention but a few.
Hiking in Volcanoes National Park is the most thrilling adventure. It takes you through beautiful volcanoes like Karisimbi (4507 meters) and to have a complete hike through this volcano, you need two days with first camp at 3700 meters and the second to the summit and descend. You may also hike through Bisoke Volcano (3711 meters) and it is a one day trip. On top of this volcano, enjoy incredible view of the scenic crater lake-Lake Ngezi.
Dian Fossey Tomb Hike
A hike to Dian Fossey tomb site allows you explore more about her conservation legacy. Dian Fossey established a research center (Karisoke Research Station) in Volcanoes National Park in 1967 to help her research work. She conducted research on mountain gorillas for about 18 years but she was killed unknown people.
Other activities include visit to the twin lakes of Burera and Ruhondo; nature walk through Buhanga sacred forest, Musanze cave exploration.
Lodges in Volcanoes National Park
The lodges in Volcanoes National Park range from budget to luxury. They include Mount Gorilla View Lodge, Bisate Lodge, Muhabura Hotel, La Palme Hotel, Gorillas Volcanoes Hotel, Le Bambou Gorilla Lodge, Garden Palace Hotel, Kinigi Guesthouse and many others.
Best Time to Visit Volcanoes National Park
Volcanoes National Park is all year round destination. However, the dry season is preferably the best for you to visit Volcanoes National Park. The dry months of the year in this park start in June, July, August, September and December, January, February. The wet/rainy season is also ideal especially for birders and this occurs in the month of March, April, May and October, November. Read Best time to go Gorilla trekking in Rwanda.
Volcanoes National Park Location
Volcanoes National Park is located in northwestern Rwanda about 2-3 hours’ drive away from Kigali. To get here, you need a good 4 wheel drive safari car.
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