Welcome to Volcanoes National Park Rwanda
Volcanoes national park is the most renown Rwanda national park. Found in the north-west of Rwanda, it is part of the Virunga massif and thus borders the virunga mountains in the Democratic republic of Congo formerly known as Zaire as well as Mgahinga gorilla national park in South Western Uganda. Volcanoes national park measures 130 square km with an altitude of between 2400m-4507m above sea level.
Five of the eight Virunga mountains are found with in Volcanoes national park, namely Bisoke, Gahinga, Karisimbi, Muhabura and Sabinyo. All these mountains are close to one another and can be viewed from any one of the others. The highest of these mountains is Karisimbi which peaks at 4507m above sea level. The average annual temperatures of Volcanoes national park is very low measuring 9.6 degrees celcius and the region receives very high amounts of rainfall with an average 1975mm annually.
Volcanoes national park is the oldest in African and was established in 1925. Upon attaining independence, Rwanda expanded the park’s borders and is currently a very popular tourist attraction worldwide.
The world over, Volcanoes national park is famous for the mountain gorillas. The renown Dian Fossey, the American primatologist established her research center and stayed here for about 20 years. She was unfortunately murdered in 1985. For a long time Dian Fossey dedicated her life to fighting poachers who were rapidly killing the mountain gorillas and it is believed that it is because of this that she was killed. As a memorial, she was buried in the national park. The increase in the number of these endangered mountain gorillas can be attributed to her work which helped highlight plight of these gentle giants.
Volcanoes national park has rich biodiversity and the flora and fauna found in the park vary with altitude. These flora include hagenia woodland, bamboo forest, grassland, afro-alphine moorland and marshy grounds.
Other than mountain gorillas, the other animals that can be found in Volcanoes national park include; chimpanzees, golden monkeys, baboons, buffalo, spotted hyena, bushbuck, black fronted duiker and forest elephants.
The park is a birder’s paradise with 16 sub species and 13 species endemic to the region of Rwenzori and Virunga mountains. In total there are 180 recorded bird species in Volcanoes national park. Some of the bird species that you can expect to find are: Rwenzori batis, dusky crimson-wing, red-faced woodland warbler, Rwenzori turaco, archer’s ground robin, francolin, collared apalis, strange weaver and the Rwenzori double collared sunbird.
What to do in Volcanoes National Park Rwanda
Volcanoes national park currently has 10 mountain gorilla families that have been habituated for mountain gorilla trekking. The park offers you the opportunity to see these majestic gentle giants upclose right in their natural habitat.
Golden Monkey trekking
A visit to the golden monkeys in Volcanoes national Park is another tour activity. Like in Nyungwe forest national park, golden monkeys are also found here in good numbers.
Karisimbi volcano climbing
Mountain Karisimbi trekking takes two days and involves climbing to about 3800m above sea level with overnight camping.
Climbing of Bisoke volcano
Unlike Mountain Karisimbi, this mountain trekking takes only one day. The other activities that can be carried in the Parc National Des Volcans is exploration of the caves as well as a tour the surrounding lakes in the Virunga mountains.
Visiting the tomb of Dian Fossey
This primatologist is the reason the park is what it is today. She was killed in her 20 year effort to protect the primates especially the Rwanda mountain gorillas in the national park.