Volcanoes national park
Also called Parc National de Volcans (PNV) remains the Rwanda’s center of adventures. Volcanoes National Park shares on the larger Virunga Conservation Areas (VCA) that borders Rwanda, Uganda and DR Congo. Volcanos National Park retains the highest number of mountain gorillas of the (VCR) other number stuck in Mgahinga Gorilla National Park of Uganda and Virunga National Park of DRC.
Volcanoes National Park located in the northern direction from Kigali, Rwanda’s capital. It can be reached on a roughly 2 hour drive in the tourism district of Musanze.
Initially, Rwanda’s Volcanos was a small area around visoke volcanoes, Mikeno and Karisimbi. It was gazetted to protect the threatened mountain gorillas which were at the edge of extinction. In 1929 the Volcano national park was extended to Rwanda, the then Belgian Congo and named Albert national park run by the colonial Authorities.
The prominent American zoologist Dian Fossey established her research base at the foothills of Karisoke volcano in Volcanos National Park. Fossy concentrated her research on mountain gorillas and spearheaded campaigns to conserve and ensure a future for the mountain gorillas. However, with all her protective efforts on mountain gorilla Fossey was murdered and was buried at the research center next to the grave of her favorite gorilla Digit.
By 1990s, Volcanos NP continued to suffer poaching and encroachment accompanied by the merciless Rwanda civil wars. It became a battle field for the bloody Genocide wars which affected largely affected the all country. Today, the calm political ambiance of Rwanda has facilitated a conservation and a rapid growth of the tourism sectors. Volcanoes National Park has featured in various travel accolades and sometimes ranked a best travel destination East and African at large.
Tourist attraction and activities in Volcanoes National Park
Mountain Gorilla Trekking
Volcanos National Park is another endemic forest for the unique mountain gorillas. This Rwanda’s most popular tourist destination is a niche for up-market gorilla trekking. The park accommodates highest number of gorillas on the remaining half of their number in Virunga Conservations Areas. Also shared with Mgahinga Gorilla National Park and Virunga National Park in Uganda and DR Congo respectively, as the rest of the half reside in the Bwindi of Uganda.
Volcanos NP has 10 habituated gorilla families, meaning 180 gorilla permits are issued daily. Trekking permits are obtained through Rwanda Development Board (RDB). A permit to trek at Volcanos National Park costs $1,500. Mountain gorillas at Volcanos are fully habituated and on trekking visitors have an hour before the apes when sighted.
Golden Monkey Tracking
Golden monkeys are beautiful primates which are only endemic to Virunga Conservation Areas on which Volcanos is part. Golden monkeys live in larger communities and sometimes shy away when they see people. But the Volcano golden monkeys are habituated that they are used to human presence. This gives an opportunity to have a close-up encounter with these beautiful species.
RDB remains with the authority to issue golden monkey tracking permits. A permit to track the brownish/golden monkeys costs $100, then you get a chance to spot the beautiful jumping feeding grooming and wing around. There are two golden monkey tracking sessions, that is the morning starting at 8am and the afternoon session starting at 2pm.
Visiting Dian Fossey Tomb
The mighty conservationists of the generation. Her efforts in ensuring the feature comfort of the endangered golden monkeys wasn’t in vain. Today the mountain gorilla trekking experience are fruits from the restless effort by Dian Fossey. Fossey initiated efforts to crack down all poaching activities on wildlife with the Volcano forest. Visiting Fossey Tomb, then you’re joining a number of visitors who pay a homage to this generational conservationist which is located between Moun Bisoke and the former Karisoke research center. The trek to the tomb lasts for 3 hours under the lead of a guide, the visit costs $75.
Volcanos National Park is a chain of various isolated and standing dormant volcanos. These volcanos include Mt. Karisimbi (4,507m), Mt Muhavura (4,127m), and Mt. Bisoke (3,711m). Hiking these volcanos is about trekking through thick forest, valleys, and bamboos before topping to the canopy. The hike is gives hikers a finest view of the Volcano National Park as well neighboring countries of Uganda and DR Congo.
Visiting Twin Lakes Ruhondo and Burera
A visit to these twin lakes can act as a relaxing session after an exhausting gorilla trekking. The two lakes seem small but very deep, a visit here then you take a boat ride. There is also an opportunity to interact with the local and learn deep about their daily life.