Volcanoes National Park

The Birunga massif in the north of Rwanda, with five magnificent volcanoes, including Karisimbi with the highest peak of 4,507 meters. The ‘ Volcano National Park’ is located on the common border of Rwanda, Congo and Uganda where Dian Fossey studied 600 gorillas in Rwanda for many years.

The Volcanoes National Park is a primary forest lying on a chain of 5 volcanoes that encourage you do an excursion. The chain is extended to the Congo-Nile Crete separating two important large basins of Africa. Created in 1925 with the aim of protecting mountain gorillas, it was the first National Park in Africa and covers an area of 12,500 hectares.

Parc National Des Volcans is home to the endangered mountain Gorilla. The Parc is protected and managed by the Rwandan office fro tourism and National parks (ORTPN) and this conservation area has contributed to the main safaris to Rwanda.

Similar to chimpanzee tracking, tourists on a gorilla trekking activity are allowed to spend an hour watching these apes performing their daily activities, resting, playing, gathering food and feeding. It is your golden opportunity to shoot a picture of the amazing creatures in their natural habitat.

Getting There

When you travel to Rwanda, access to Parc National Des Volcans is via Ruhengeri town; a one and a half hours drive from Kigali city, the country’s capital. Gorilla trackers organize and hire cars for private transportation on their gorilla tour from Ruhengeri; the last stop over town adjacent to the park boundaries and proceed to the headquarters and follow the tracking trails on foot.

Following the well-maintained network of nature trails, we will take you through the forest, encountering creepers, hanging vines, colorful giant lobelia and misty bamboo. Regularly, golden monkeys among other mammals will be seen swinging from one branch to another whereas buffaloes and Duikers will cross your path at the time when you least expect it.

The Virunga Volcanoes

The five volcanoes situated in Rwanda are:

  •     Karisimbi : 4 507 m
  •     Muhabura : 4 127 m
  •     Bisoke : 3 711 m
  •     Sabyinyo : 3 634 m
  •     Gahinga : 3 474 m
  •     Mikeno : 4 437 m
  •     Nyiragongo : 3 470 m
  •     Nyamuragira : 3 058 m

Gorilla Families

The volcano park is characterized by the oldest mountain gorilla families living in a very splendid world and very attractive to the visitors. There are ten gorilla groups that are habituated for gorilla treks in Volcanoes National Park:

  • Groupe Sabyinyo
  • Groupe Amahoro
  • Groupe Susa
  • Groupe 13
  • Groupe Kwitonda
  • Groupe umubano
  • Groupe Hirwa

Things to Do

Most travelers to Rwanda visit the country in order to experience the life time amazing gorilla safari experience in volcano forest an activity which attracts thousands every year from   different   corners of the world. Gorilla trackers seek excitement in the wild forest which opens up everyday with a morning briefing from the park ranger guides. Gorilla trekking, Golden monkey tracking, Hiking Karisimbi volcano & Mount Bisoke, Visiting Dian Fossey, Visiting the twin lakes of Ruhondo and Bulera, Iby’Iwacu cultural village Tour, and Musanze cave visit are the breathtaking activities within the park for your unforgettable Rwanda Gorilla trek beyond compare.

You can visit mountain gorillas or go on the following excursions:

  • Visiting the tomb of the researcher DIAN FOSSEY TOMB’s RESEARCH CENTER.
  • Climbing Volcano Karisimbi and Bisoke
  • Visiting Musanze cave
  • Lakes Burera-Ruhondo tour
  • Visiting monkeys
  • Discovering the ecosystem of four types of vegetation including low altitude bamboos.

Nature Walks

Following the well-maintained network of nature trails, we will take you through the forest, encountering creepers, hanging vines, colorful giant lobelia and misty bamboo. Regularly, golden monkeys among other mammals will be seen swinging from one branch to another whereas buffaloes and Duikers will cross your path at the time when you least expect it.

Gorilla Trekking in Rwanda

Just 2 hours drive from Kigali, Volcanoes National park welcomes you in a small village called Musanze which was before   known as Ruhengeri a passionate spot for every traveler to Africa. One can do gorilla tracking in just a day from Kigali and still drive back though waking up early is one of the main rules for the days trek since you should be at the park headquarters of ORTPN in Kinigi for briefing by 7.30 am.

You need to have reliable transport from Musanze to the park head quarters since public means are never available unless you can miss out your day’s trek. It’s good to hire a tax directly from Kigali for a day or use tour operators to organize your one day gorilla tour in order to avoid hassles and stress before your life time adventure. The large exclusive forest and a hideaway for mountain gorillas in the remote setting in northern Rwanda is one of the most extraordinary parks in east Africa. This ultimate adventure is exclusive, romantic and one of the most stunning activities on earth.

Tips for a Successful Gorilla Trek

  • For any successful Rwanda vacation, you need to book a gorilla permit.
  • Wear rightly for the trek, spend a Night close to the park-book accommodation located close to the park.
  • Also chose whether to track gorillas during the rainy season or dry season.

Gorilla permits in Rwanda cost US$750 per permit year round both during the low and high season. It is claimed to be the most conservative method used to keep different habituated mountain gorilla groups health without being stressed up by humans. The price may look high but the experience is precious. The gorilla park has ten habituated gorilla families all ready for gorilla trackers but only eight tourists are allowed to visit each gorilla family per day. Rwanda gorilla tours range from 1- 10 days & beyond depending on your convenience and budget. Tour prices vary according to activities and accommodations used, Luxury Gorilla tours appear more expensive compared to budget.

Spend your days thinking about the beauty that surrounds you, from the beautiful hills, lush jungle side by side, impressive mountain, lakes to the exclusive cultural setting of villages. The park call for visits to other Rwanda attractions like the chimpanzees at Nyungwe Forest located in 7 hour distance from musanze, beach leisure fun at Lake Kivu and other wildlife discoveries at Akagera National Park.

Sometimes tourists to the Rwandan Volcanoes drive to other neighboring countries Uganda and Congo for other gorilla trek and live volcano hikes. The Virunga volcanoes appear stunning, impressive and too exclusive to most guests to Rwanda and Africa in general. With the hilly setting and green vegetation the endless hilly views of mountains and hills is a perfect retreat for every Africa safari to Rwanda bite for couples, sole or group travel.

Tour Companies

Several tour companies organizes tours to the National Volcano Park. The request for visit is generally simple. But visiting mountain gorillas depends on whether you have the authorization issued by ORTNP, which demand is very high. The booking is normally done in advance, and payment must be made at least six month earlier. For the tour, you need take the following items with you:

  • shoes appropriate to a long excursion
  • a rain coat, a hat and gloves.
  • long-sleeved clothes and long trousers.
  • enough drinking water
  • a camera and films but a flash is not allowed
  • a light bag