Volcanoes national park is found in the northwest of Rwanda and was named after a number of dormant volcanoes that make up the Virunga ranges. These include bisoke, sabinyo, gahinga and muhabura. The volcanoes national park safeguards the steep slopes of the amazing mountain range and it’s a home for the endangered mountain gorillas as well as the rich variety of montane ecosystems such as the bamboo and evergreen forest, swamp and heath plus the open grasslands.
Dian Fossey a biologist carried out a study about the endangered mountain gorillas within the park until her death. Her hard work with these primates has made gorilla trekking to be the most popular Rwanda gorilla safari activity.
ATTRACTIONS IN VOLCANOES NATIONAL PARK
This is the major attraction in Rwanda and Volcanoes national park has over 150 habituated mountain gorillas and are divided into 12 groups. The national park issues 96 gorilla permits every day and each permit costs 1,500 USD per person and each group has 8 individuals that visit the gorillas. The gorilla trekking starts in the morning with a briefing at the park headquarters and its followed by the bamboo forest. The trek takes 2 to 8 hours depending on the position of the gorillas.
The golden monkeys are spotted in the Virunga ranges within the volcanoes national park. A look at these amazing primates gives the tourists an amazing experience. Trekking these primates starts with a briefing at the park headquarters at kinigi and a golden trekking permit costs 100USD per person. This makes the safari within the volcanoes national park a memorable one.
HIKE TO DIAN FOSSEY TOMBS
While on a Rwanda gorilla trekking safari in the volcanoes, tourists can as well take a visit to the tomb of Dian Fossey who was an American primatologist. Dian Fossey spent two decades within the park trying to study the endangered mountain gorillas and she was murdered by poachers in 1985 and she was buried in the volcanic ranges of Bisoke and Karisimbi next to the research center. The hike takes about 6 hours going and come back. Tourists can spot animals such as buffaloes, elephants, and primates such as chimpanzees, golden monkeys among others.
HIKING MOUNT KARISIMBI
Mountain Karisimbi is the second-highest volcanic peak within the Virunga ranges and the hike takes about 2 days and one night experience. While at the top the tourists can spot the amazing views of the 5 volcanoes and the beautiful twin lakes. These make the whole safari amazing and memorable.
ACTIVITIES IN VOLCANOES NATIONAL PARK
Volcanoes national park is home to the largest population of mountain gorillas in Rwanda. The national park has 11 habituated gorilla families that re ready to be trekked such as the Amahoro, Ugenda, Umubano, Karisimbi, Sabinyo, Susa and Hirwa among others.
The trekking process starts with a briefing at the park headquarters and later proceeds to the mountain bamboo. Each group is given a guide to take them through the national park as they trek for the gorillas. The maximum number in each group is 8 and once the gorilla family is found, the tourists spend with them one hour as they get to learn more about the mountain gorillas as well as taking photographs with them.
For tourists who enjoy hiking the volcanoes national park has two hiking options that is day hike and an overnight hike. During the day hike tourists are made to hike on mount bisoke one of the Virunga ranges and it’s 37,000 meters tall with a crater lake at the peak.
The overnight hike takes the Karisimbi mount, the Virunga ranges known to be the second-highest volcanic peak. The route takes the tourists through the plant zones which include bamboo, Afro-montane and the savannah. This is the most challenging hike with the national park with a snow-capped peak mostly in the dry months.
GOLDEN MONKEY TREKKING
The golden monkeys are considered to be endangered primate species within the national park that one cant miss seeing while on a safari within the volcanoes national park. The bamboo forest that is next to the Virunga volcanoes is a habitat to the golden monkeys. The tracking of the golden monkeys requires an experienced guide that helps the tourists in finding these primates, telling them facts about the primates as well as the history of the park.
MUSANZE CAVES VISIT
The Musanze caves were used by the Rwanda rulers to store food supplies during times of conflicts. This makes them to be among the visited sites while at volcanoes national park. The ceiling of the caves are dotted with bats whose eyes gleam when one shine spotlight on them. The cave is all silent and the only noise that one can get is the footsteps and the thick drops that hit the floor. Therefore, a visit in these caves is memorable.
VISIT IBY’IWACU VILLAGE
A visit to iby’iwacu cultural village is interesting as one gets involved in the various activities within the village such as making traditional meals as well as drinks like banana juice that is made from bananas. After the tourists are entertained by various traditional dances, music as well as folklore by the locals and dance groups.