The Parc National des Volcans (PNV) is part of the Virunga Conservation Area, covering more than 125 kmsq and is the best place to go gorilla trekking in Africa. PNV is home of five Virunga volcanoes: Sabyinyo (3.674 m), Gahinga (3.474 m), Bisoke (3711 m), Muhabura (4.127 m), and the Karisimbi, the highest volcano with an altitude of 4.507 m. All five volcanoes in the Virunga are extinct, the active ones are located in Congo. Two of them erupted recently; the Nyiragongo erupted in January 2002 and Nyamulagira in July 2002. we offer a trip to the Nyiragongo Volcanoes on one some of our combined safaris.
Volcanoes National Park is the oldest known place to be open for gorilla trekking. It is this park where Dian Fossey’s established a base for the conservation of the mountain gorillas. She spent a long time in the park fighting against poachers and her efforts were featured in the popular movie “Gorillas in the Mist”. She died on the 26th of December 1985 and she was killed by the poachers! She established the Karisoke Research Center that you can support her 18 years of study and conservation of the mountain gorillas by donating to the Gorilla Fund or taking a hike to her Grave on one of our tours.
The park was closed for tourism in 1991 when the war broke out and was reopened again in July 1999. The numbers of visitors are increasing every day and the PNV regained its former reputation as the best organized and most popular mountain gorilla sanctuary.
The park is located in northwestern Rwanda within the Musanze District also called Ruhengeri. The park borders Virunga National Park in the Democratic Republic of Congo and Mgahinga Gorilla National Park in Uganda.
Things to See
Mountain Gorillas: Parc National des Volcans protects the Rwandan side of the Virunga volcanoes that are home to the endangered mountain gorillas. Volcanoes National Park is most known for hosting some of the last remaining mountain gorillas of the world and are renowned for the work of the famous American primatologist Dian Fossey. The mountain gorillas spend most of their time in the hagenia woodlands and bamboo forests. During the rainy season when new bamboo shoots are growing, the gorillas spend more time foraging in the bamboo forests (base altitude). The climb to the natural habitat of bamboo forest and Hagenia woodlands offers fantastic views.
The Mountain Karisimbi reaching with its highest peak rising to 4,507m offer great hiking experience to those looking to mountain climbing!
Things to Do
With some of the most breathtaking scenery of Africa, Parc National des Volcans now hosts a range of activities including a number of different levels of trekking through the extinct volcanoes, a visit to Dian Fossey’s grave and the graves of the gorillas with which she worked, tracking the golden monkey, and of course tracking the endangered mountain gorilla.
- Go gorilla trekking in PNV
- Hike Mountain Karisimbi
- Visit the Twin Lakes
- Golden Monkey Tracking in PNV
- Trek to Dian Fossey Grave
- Visit the Local Communities near the Park
Where to Stay
Choice of accommodation in and around PNV is varied with the most dramatic lodge location being that of
1. Virunga Lodge – a very comfortable eco-lodge located just outside PNV, set on a stunning hillside with breathtaking views of the Virunga Volcanoes and Lakes Ruhondo and Bulera. Perched on a hilltop at 2,000m each banda affords dramatic views overlooking either the volcanic peaks or the lakes below whilst the bar and dining room give one the chance to sit back and relax by the warmth of the open fireplace.
2. Gorilla Nest – this lodge located just 5 minutes drive from the park headquarters is another great option. Comfortable accommodation with electricity and running water however lacks the spectacular views and creative imagination of Virunga Lodge.
3. Sabyinyo Silverback Lodge – the newest edition to Parc National des Volcans; a luxury lodge managed by Governor’s Camps in conjunction with the localMountain Gorilla Safari, PNV, Rwanda community. Set on the slopes of Sabinyo Volcano with easy access to the park headquarters, log fires and private verandas this is the most luxurious lodge in the area.