Nestled in the northwestern region of Rwanda, Volcanoes National Park is characterized by steep slopes of mountain ranges and a rich mosaic of montane ecosystems; which embrace evergreen and bamboo forest, open grassland, swamp and heath. The Park got its name from the chain of dormant volcanoes making up the Virunga Massif, namely; Karisimbi – the highest at 4,507m, Bisoke with its verdant Crater Lake, Sabinyo, Gahinga and Muhabura.
Volcanoes National Park is indisputably the highlight of Rwanda safaris and it earns more money for the government than any other protected area in the country. The Park is most popular for its fascinating residents – the endangered mountain gorillas. In the world, there are only three countries and four national parks preserving the mountain gorillas, and Volcanoes Park in Rwanda is only among those few. The other mountain gorilla refuges in the world are Mgahinga and Bwindi Impenetrable National Parks in Uganda and Virunga National Park in DR Congo.
Volcanoes National Park is among the three Parks in the larger Virunga Massif which includes the other two Parks from Uganda and DR Congo – Mgahinga and Virunga Parks, respectively. Like all the other Parks in the Virunga Massif, gorilla trekking is the prime attraction in Volcanoes National Park as well. Gorilla trekking is conducted in the morning where you will be first briefed, about the activity, at the Park headquarters at Kinigi. The trekking is done is groups of eight individuals each group trekking of which each group will be allocated a specific gorilla family to trek. The Park has 12 habituated gorilla families, among which each trekking group will get one to trek.
Once gorillas are found, trekkers will be given only one special hour with these beautiful creatures attaining unfading memories. Besides the mountain gorillas, the Park is also a home of many other attractions including the five Virunga Volcanoes, aforementioned, golden monkeys, the Dian Fossey Tomb [Dian Fossey was an American researcher who put her life on the front just to preserve the lives of mountain gorillas in Volcanoes National Park, Rwanda], and a multitude of birds and other wildlife species.
Generally, a safari to Volcanoes National Park is always memorable as you will spot a variety of attractions. The Park is nestled just a 2 hours’ drive from Rwanda’s capital, Kigali, on the good and well maintained tarmac road. There are very many fantastic safari activities to indulge in, such as; gorilla trekking, golden monkey trekking, hiking, a lake circuit to the twin lakes of Bulera and Ruhondo, sighting, canoeing, mountain biking and cultural experiences and community visits, all making your trip so colorful!