What Is Volcanoes National Park Famous For?
Volcanoes National Park is so popular a tourist attraction but have you ever asked your question what this park is famous for? Volcanoes National Park is Rwanda’s most famous destination because its home to one of the only world-celebrated gorilla trekking activities. Volcanoes National park covers an area of about 160 km with five mountains where mountain gorillas love to spend some time on the slopes or bottom.
These renowned mountains that are commonly hanging out areas for mountain gorillas include Karisimbi Mountain, Bisoke Mountain, Gahinga Mountain, Muhavura Mountain, and Sabyinyo Mountain. Because mountain gorillas entirely feed on the foliage the various vegetation zones create the best feeding grounds for the mountain gorillas. Bamboo is the best delicacy for mountain gorillas.
A number of activities can be arranged in Volcanoes National Park but to enjoy them, you need a well-tailored itinerary with enough time for you to spend on this African holiday in Rwanda.
Highlights Of Activities In Volcanoes National Park
- Gorilla Trekking
- Golden Monkey trekking
- Mountain climbing
- Birding in Volcanoes National Park
- Dian Fossey Trek
Gorilla trekking In Volcanoes National Park
The epitome of all tourism activities in Rwanda is gorilla trekking in Volcanoes National Park. Everybody needs a gorilla trekking permit from the Rwanda Development Board to be part of this historic activity.
Rwanda has about 13 gorilla trekking families open for tourism but only 8 gorilla permits per family per day are available for the world to book.
Mountain gorillas that live freely in the Virunga area were on the verge of extinction by 1980s because of poaching, setting snares, hunting for trophies and so much more. The number of mountain gorillas had dwindled to about 300 gorillas in the entire world. Gorillas are some of the survivors of arid conditions that hit the world over 30000 years back.
The remnant mountain gorillas were saved by an American philanthropist Dian Fossey who established a relationship ship with the gorillas. She staged her mountain gorilla research in Karisoke Rwanda and through this gorilla habituation was born leading to gorilla trekking.
You spend at least a day in Rwanda before gorilla trekking to enjoy the country’s beauties and get more comfortable for your next expedition. You can book a 3day gorilla trekking safari in Rwanda for starters.
Golden monkey Trekking In Volcanoes National Park
scientifically golden monkeys are referred to as Cercopithecus Mitis Candits and if you are looking for some excitement, golden monkey trekking in Rwanda has it all. These exciting monkeys are always on the move in the forest even if they have been semi-habituated to be in the presence of humans.
The golden monkeys have golden brown hairs and are physically larger in size compared with other species of monkeys. In the entire world, golden monkeys are residents of the Virunga area and are some of the endangered species.
During the golden monkey’s trek, look out for other primates like black and white colobus, vervet monkeys, grey-cheeked mangabey, red-tailed monkeys, and blue monkeys to mention but a few.
Mountain Climbing In Volcanoes National Park
Testing your fitness with a day hike on one of the famous Rwanda mountains is epic. Rwanda has five volcanoes overlooking picturesque views of rich vegetation cover. Some of these mountains include Karisimbi, Bisoke, Gahinga, Muhabura, and Sabyinyo.
These mountain gorilla feeding grounds are composed of various vegetation zones according to the level of altitude like between 2400m to 3000m Neoboutania, 3000m to 3300m Arundinaria, 3300m to 3700m Hagenia- Hypericum.
Sometimes when the ground has less food supply for mountain gorillas, they move to the slopes of these volcanic mountains. During the hike, you get to see several primates that enjoy the treats of the forest vegetation cover
Birding in Volcanoes National Park
A Rwanda birding experience can only be completed when you visit Volcanoes National Park. The perfect nature of various habitats in the forest provides a home to a variety of birds including Albertine endemics. Over 90 bird species are residents of this park of which 13 species are endemic.
Well placed in the Virunga volcanic chain, the terrain consists mainly of steep volcanic slopes. Higher-up resident birds with many of the Albertine rift endemics such as handsome Francolin, Rwenzori Turaco, Arche’s Robin-chat, and Shelley’s Crimson wings to mention but a few.
Visit Dian Fossey Grave
The remains of a brave mountain gorilla hero called Dian Fossey lay in Volcanoes National park. She gave her entire life to mountain gorilla conservation by partaking in research about the life of mountain gorillas. By the 1970s and 1980s, the population of mountain gorillas had dwindled to about 300 gorillas.
She noticed that humans were the biggest danger to the mountain gorilla population and so the need to bring them to understand the gorillas was crucial. Her gorilla conservation efforts yielded a lot of resentment from locals and others who benefited from souvenirs from mountain gorillas.
In 1985, Dian Fossey was assassinated by unknown people at her home, and her remains were buried amongst the gorillas as she wished. Some of her work still exists and an institution was set up in her memory.
During any Rwanda safari, a visit to the Dian Fossey grave helps in supporting the conservation of the endangered mountain gorillas. Although the number of mountain gorillas has increased with time, a lot more still need to protect their lives from humans.
Kigali City Tour Before Or After Volcanoes National park
The commercial experience in the land of a thousand hills is best felt in Kigali city on a tour. Although the city is not part of Volcanoes National park, taking some time off to visit the various sites within Kigali is absolutely fantastic.
After the 1994 Rwanda genocide, memorials were set up as menders of these days of Ignorance. Some of the memorials include the Kigali genocide memorial, St Families church, and Gisozi Genocide Memorial. Names of some victims of these Rwanda 100 days of terror were grafted on the walls and we listen to the horrific stories of ignorance.
During the genocide, numerous homes were abandoned, families were broken, and children were left orphaned to mention a few. A number of representations are present to demonstrate what happened to the victims of the genocide. Some lie in hall photos, wooden sculptures and so much more.
How Much Is Rwanda Gorilla Trekking and Golden Monkey permits
The cost of a Rwanda gorilla trekking permit per person per trek is $1500. The Rwanda Development Board is the selling body for all gorilla permits from so far 13 gorilla trekking families
Of the 13 gorilla families, each day only 8 permits per family per trek are released for public booking. This limit in numbers results from the quest to protect the mountain gorillas from human invasion. During the gorilla habituation of any family, the gorillas are accustomed to being in the presence of a maximum of 8 humans.
Having a larger population of gorilla trekkers may lead to trampling the vegetation that feeds the mountain gorillas.
As of today, the cost of a Rwanda golden monkeys permit is $ 100 per person per trek per day. All these permits can be purchased from the Rwanda Development Board.
What Is The Best Time To Do Activities In Volcanoes National Park?
Even if Volcanoes National park is known for all year-round humid conditions, its activities have no limit as to when to be done. The most taxing is gorilla trekking which is open all year round. Sometimes the gorillas feed from the slopes and so you have to be with some level of fitness to overcome all hurdles. With the right gorilla trekking gear, this is no overwhelming challenge.
The drier months that is June to September and December to mid-January are friendlier to gorilla trekking. The ground is not so boggy this time yet even foliage along the trails is more trimmed by regular visits creating clearer trail paths.
What Accommodations To Book In Volcanoes National Park
Some of the accommodations you can book on your Rwanda safari may be close to Volcanoes National park or Kigali city. They range from Upmarket, Midrange, or Modest Facilities.
Volcanoes National Park the accommodation facilities include Hotel Mille Collines, Sabyinyo Silverback Lodge, Virunga Volcanoes Lodge, Le Bambou Gorilla Village, Best View Hotel, Mountain Gorilla View Lodge, Gorilla Volcanoes Hotel, Kinigi Guest House, Da Vinci Gorilla Lodge.
How To Get To Volcanoes National park In Rwanda
The main mean of transport from Kigali Airport to Volcanoes National park is by road. The drive takes about 3 hours from Kigali to Musaze where Volcanoes National park is located.
By flight, Charter helicopter service can be arranged through Akagera Aviation to Volcanoes National Park
What To Pack For A Rwanda Safari To Volcanoes National Park
A camera with no flash because this scares the mountain gorillas in case you travel for gorilla trekking.
warmers to wear especially in the morning when temperatures drop and the sun has not yet emerged from below the horizon.
A pair of Binoculars to capture a clearer view of interesting features in Volcanoes National Park.
Tracking boots with a surface that can withstand slippery slopes as rains fall over the soft volcanic soils of the area.
Rainproof gadgets that can protect you from rains that fall without warning.
Energy bites to crunch on while hiking to locate the mountain gorillas or birding or golden monkeys trekking and so much more in Volcanoes National Park.
Garden gloves to protect your hands from biting nettles.
Light waterproof bag for carrying your belongings as you traverse volcanoes, National Park.