About Vocanoes National Park

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Volcanoes National Park in Rwanda is best known for mountain gorilla trekking but the park is also rich with many other exotic activities for one to take on. This park is part of the Virunga volcanoes which are shared between Uganda, Rwanda, and DR Congo. This park is an evergreen bamboo forest with grassland areas, swamp, and heath in other areas. The mountain gorillas are the prime attraction in volcanoes national park with gorilla trekking happening all year round. Because of the high altitude it is generally cold, especially early morning and the evenings, you are advised to carry a light sweater for these times. The park is located only 2 hours from Kigali in the north of Rwanda.

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Top Things to do and see in Volcanoes National Park

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Bwindi gorilla Habituation

Rwanda Gorilla Tracking

Volcanoes National Park is Rwanda’s, Gorilla Park. Located in the Virunga Volcanoes that make up Volcanoes National Park which provides a stunning scenic, a backdrop to the gorilla trek of thousands that flock each year to Rwanda to have their one hour with the Mountain Gorillas. Gorilla Tracking is #1 on the list of things to do and see in Rwanda and Volcanoes National Park is the ultimate destination see Mountain Gorillas up-close on a Gorilla Trek.
3 Days Golden Monkeys & Gorillas Tour

Golden Monkey Tracking

The rare and endangered Golden Monkeys are found only in the Virunga Volcanoes foothills and one of the best places to track and see them is Volcanoes National Park in Rwanda. There are several large groups of Golden Monkeys that have been habituated for visitors, to see them flit about in the bamboo forest regions of Volcanoes National Park in Rwanda. Since they have become habituated in the Park, Golden Monkey Tracking has become a most popular activity to do. 
5 Days Rwanda Gorilla trekking safari

Dian Fossey Research Camp Hike

This 3-hour hike is for those who have seen “Gorillas in Mist” movie about the life of Dian Fossey and her research camp in the Virunga Volcanoes of Rwanda. See the graves of her beloved Gorillas and her final resting place among them. There are also the ruins of her former Karisoke Research Center and home that she referred to as a mausoleum. The hike itself is quite scenic and wildlife, monkeys, birds are often observed along the trail. This is one of the most popular activities, after Gorilla and Golden Monkey Trekking.
Volcanoes National Park

HIking & Volcanoes Climbing

Volcanoes National Park offers visitors some of the best options in Climbing and Hiking up its Volcanoes. There are day hikes and climbs and also an overnight hike on Mount Karisimbi which is a snow-capped Volcano in Rwanda. The Mount Karisimbi climb is a real challenge and often one is pelleted by rain snow and has to deal with ice on the ground.

For the outdoor – adventurist this is a heaven filled with amazing sights, amazing challenges and passing through various vegetation zones including the most interesting Afro-Montane Zone. On the hike, that takes  3 to 4 hours round-trip you are accompanied by a Park Ranger as you see various birds and monkeys.

Volcanoes National Park

A Walk Through Musanze Caves

The ancient Musanze Volcanic Caves – millions of years old. When you enter the massive cave complex you think you stepping into a natural cathedral – the size alone is simply amazing. Musanze caves are one of the many caves in or near Volcanoes National Park in Rwanda. The silence of the caves that go deep into the earth are overwhelming – the only sounds you will here is that of your footsteps and drops of water hitting the ground.

If you look high above you will see hundreds of bats having from the ceiling which becomes visible as you shine your light to the ceiling. There is a well-constructed path that leads you to the other side of the cave and out into daylight and amazing experience.

Volcanoes National Park

IBy’Iwacu Cultural Tour

Located close to Volcanoes National Park and Gorilla tracking is the Iby’Iwacu Village – Iby’Iwacu means “Treasures of our Home and Heritage. Here Rwanda past and present come alive and real with visitors having hands-on cultural experiences that for many are most meaningful.

Here at Iby’Iwacu Village you can visit for a few hours or stay overnight in a traditional style Rwandan home which would be quite an experience, with the overnight stay there would be many cultural experiences, traditional meals and drinks such as Banana Beer or one can have Banana Juice. You will have an amazing cultural experience at the Iby’Iwacu Village.

When planning for a safari to the “Land of a thousand Hills, do not leave out the wonderful visit to this splendid and prominent National Park. Volcanoes National Park also known as Parc National Des Volcans (PNV) is one of the most visited National Parks in Rwanda and a Haven of the renowned Mountain Gorillas. It offers a favorable and exhilarating option to participate in the life changing activity (Mountain Gorilla trekking).

Volcanoes National Park is situated in Ruhengeri, Musanze district in the Northern Province of Rwanda and West of Kigali. This magnificent Park is part of the extensive Virunga Massif that is astride Rwanda, Uganda and Democratic Republic of Congo. The main purpose of establishing this park was to conserve the critically endangered Mountain Gorilla population.

Volcanoes National Park is about 105 kilometers (65 miles) away from the Country’s city and Airport (Kigali), it can be accessed by road and by air. By air you can land in Kigali International Airport after which you drive/be driven for 2 hours to reach the Park. When planning to participate in the remarkable gorilla trekking, you can choose the cozy accommodation facilities around the Park or in Kigali town because regardless of your choice you will leave totally satisfied, and you will not take long to reach the Park for your adventurous activity. However, wherever you choose to spend your night ahead of the adventure, you will be required to arrive at the Kinigi Park Headquarters by 7:00am for your pre-tracking briefing.

You will have to use a private means to access the Park since there are no public transport services from Musanze to Kinigi Park Headquarters. Public transport services are only available from Kigali town/ Airport or Gisenyi to Musanze town. In order to make your trip smooth, use the services of tour operators like Maranatha Tours and Travel who will book for your transport to and from the park and your accommodation. There are also exciting self drive services from Kigali to visit the Park

Unlike Uganda where Gorilla trekking cannot be performed on the same day of departing (going back home), tourists visiting Volcanoes National park are blessed because they can trek the gorillas for one day and still go back home that same day due to the small size of the park and country and also the short distance/less time from Kigali to the Park.

Volcanoes National Park is a spectacular and most visited destination in Rwanda because it is a home of the incredible mountain gorillas, the golden monkeys and other wildlife species besides the thrilling and scenic views of the Volcanoes. Visitors should access/visit this park and have the spellbinding memories of their lives.

Sabyinyo Silverback Lodge
This is a luxury lodge located in the neighboring district of Musanze, at the edge of the park just 3km from its main entrance. From the park headquarters in Kinigi it takes 15 minutes drive to reach this lodge. Has 8 well spaced cottages away from each other ensuring privacy of the guest. Read More

Mountain gorilla view lodge
This mid-range eco-lodge is new, located in Musanze district on the foothills of Mt Sabyinyo about 15 km from Ruhengeri town and 100km from Kigali. There are 30 spacious and simple cottages built with local materials like grass thatch, stones, tiles and pleasantly furnished for the comfort of their guests. Read More

Virunga Lodge
A cozy eco-lodge is located on an incredible hill side near the Virunga volcanoes. This offers a magnificent view of the mountains and twin Lakes of Ruhondo and Bulera. It is approximately one hour’s drive from the park headquarters and 3 hours drive from Kigali to this lodge. Read More

Gorillas Volcanoes Hotel
Located in Musanze district (Northern Province of Rwanda) in the heart of Ruhengeri on Rushengeri-Gishenyi road just 13 kilometers and 25 minutes drive away from Volcanoes national park headquarters. This clean hotel has over 31 rooms which have comfortable beds, a seating area with comfortable sofas,  Read More

Hotel Muhabura
This small budget hotel is located in Musanze, Northern Province of Rwanda. There are 30 self contained rooms comprising of Double, single, twin rooms and apartments. There is a room called Dian Fossey that was named after this American primatologist who used to spend nights during her leave form the gorilla camp. Read More

Five Volcanoes Boutique Hotel
A luxury hotel located also in Musanze district near Kinigi park headquarters about 3 hours drive from Kigali. The thatched and stone lodge has 13 air conditioned rooms comprising of a VIP cottage with VIP amenities like a private kitchen to prepare your own meals, a self contained double and twin,  Read More

Volcanoes National Park Summary Activities

  • Gorilla visits – as of January 2015, there are ten habituated gorilla groups open to tourists, allowing for a total of 80 permits per day. Each permit costs $1500. Tourists report at the park head office by 7:00 for a pre-tracking briefing. Once tourists meet the gorillas they spend an hour with them.
  • Golden monkey visits.
  • Climbing of Karisimbi volcano – this is a two-day trek with overnight camping at an altitude of 3,800 m.
  • Climbing of Bisoke volcano – one day.
  • Tour of the lakes and caves.
  • Visiting the tomb of Dian Fossey.
  • Iby’Iwacu cultural village tour

Gorilla Trekking Guidelines

  • Visitors are asked to maintain a distance of 7 m (about 22 feet) from the gorillas. If you are sick with a cold, flu or other contagious illness, please do not visit the gorillas. Should you need to cough, cover your mouth and turn away from the gorillas.
  • Viewing time is limited to one hour.
  • Maximum 8 visitors per day per group.
  • When with the gorillas, keep your voice low.
  • Try not to make rapid movements that may frighten the gorillas.
  • If a gorilla should charge or vocalize at you, do not be alarmed, stand still, look away from the gorilla, and follow your guide’s directions.
  • Spitting in the park is strictly prohibited
  • Do not litter.
  • Do not eat, drink or smoke in the presence of gorillas