VOLCANOES NATIONAL PARK

VOLCANOES NATIONAL PARK

Volcanoes National Park is undoubtedly the most popular tourist destination in Rwanda. Home to the endangered mountain gorillas and endemic to the area the rare golden monkeys. The park was also home to the late Dian Fossey who lived in the forest and conducted valuable research on one of our closest relatives. The Volcanoes National Park is named after the chain of dormant Virunga volcanoes: Karisimbi, Bisoke, Muhabura, Gahinga and Sabinyo. The mountains are situated on the north west of Rwanda and extend into Uganda and the Democratic Republic of Congo. Within the boundaries of the National park are the Musanze caves and the Buhanga Eco Park, not as popular destinations, but they do offer beauty in different forms and are worth a visit. Volcanoes National Park is just 2 hours’ drive from Kigali city centre and about 30 minutes flight by helicopter.

HIGHLIGHTS

GORILLA TREKKING

There is really no wildlife experience that is as amazing as an encounter with the mountain gorillas. It certainly is an experience of a lifetime! With fewer than 1,000 Mountain Gorillas left in the wild, it is truly a privilege to spend time with them and watch them in their natural habitat. Volcanoes National Park in Rwanda offers guests a unique and almost exclusive experience to witness these magnificent apes in their natural habitat. Because of the limited number of permits, it is highly recommended to book the permits well in advance to avoid disappointment. The age limit for gorilla trekking is 15 years and above.

MOUNTAIN HIKING

There are 5 volcanic mountains which are part of the famous Virunga mountain ranges where you can hike. With over 300 species of birds in the forest, while hiking you may come across some beautiful endemic species.

MUSANZE CAVES

Close to Volcanoes National Park, on the outer side of Ruhengeri are a geological treat. Formed from lava basaltic layers after an eruption from Mount Bisoke and Sabyinyo these caves are 2km long, covered in lush greenery and the inside of it are the homes for the bats. In case you are not brave enough to venture inside, the beautiful vegetation around these caves make for good pictures and are also good to explore.

CULTURAL VISITS

The Iby’iwacu Cultural Village, a nonprofit organization that aims at improving the lives of the locals and the reformed poachers. This is one of the most interesting cultural activities in Rwanda. The Iby’iwacu cultural village is located in the outskirts of Volcanoes national park in Musanze district. Through visits these community development enterprises set up and also provide conservation incentives to provide alternatives for ex-poachers. This cultural visit gives one an opportunity to meet the locals while they are in their homes and get to enjoy all that they have to offer in relation to their cultures and traditional way of life. The people are warm and happy about sharing their culture with strangers any time thus making your trip worthwhile.

BUHANGA FOREST

A hidden gem off the tourist track, but definitely worth a visit. The forest is an isolated ritual place for the old kings of Rwanda, who were initiated and enthroned into kingship. The forest transforms from month to month and seasons. It is also a lovely place for birdwatching.

BEST TIME TO VISIT

Any time of the year is good for this amazing experience. However, the drier months of January, February, June, July. August, September and December are best. With little or no rain, these are the best months for trekking through the forest as the trails are less slippery

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