Volcanoes National Park (also Known as “Parc National Des Volcans in French and as well as Pariki y’igihugu y’ibirunga in Kinyarwanda”) is found in the Northwestern parts of Rwanda sharing borders with Mgahinga Gorilla National park in Uganda and Virunga National park in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Volcanoes National Park is the origin to five of the ancient eight volcanoes of the Virunga Mountains which include Karisimbi, Bisoke, Muhabura, Gahinga and Sabyinyo, the rainforests and the bamboo vegetation covers an area of 160 km2. The park is home to one of the world’s greatly endangered species that are the Mountain gorillas and golden monkeys.
The park was gazetted in 1925 as a small area encompassing only Bisoke, Karisimbi and Mikeno with an aim of combating poachers from hunting the Gorillas and hence making it the first national park to be created in Africa.
Volcano National park is a must visit park and is the leading tourist destination in Rwanda though Rwanda has got her sister game parks like the Nyungwe and Akagera national park.
The offers a lot of memorable experiences to a tourist while on an adventure in Rwanda for example An amazing hike to Dian Fossey tombs who was an American primatologists who arrived in Rwanda in 1967 to study Mountain gorillas, she did her research for almost two decades and she was murdered by poachers in 1985, trekking magnificent golden monkeys which are a rare species to be sighted is another interesting activity, Mountain gorilla tracking is the first priority of every tourist who’s doing a tour in Rwanda.
The gorillas are critically endangered with less than 1000 gorillas left in the whole world and gorilla tracking in Volcano starts at Kinigi the park headquarters (the park has 11 habituated gorilla families) and each gorilla family can be tracked by a group of eight people per day and gorilla permit goes for $750 USD each.
Volcanoes National Park also offers an additional experience of rare golden monkeys trekking in the highlands of the Virunga Mountains. This another beautiful adventure in the park as most visitors book 3 -4 days to as well enjoy the beautiful Golden monkeys in the park. Trekking the Golden monkeys goes for around $100USD per individuals permit. This is a less tiresome activity because it takes only few hours unlike gorilla trekking in the thickets of the park.
The park boasts of yet another excursion that led to the famous Tombs of the Late Dian Fossey. Dian Fossey was an American primatologist who did her research on the Mountain gorillas for almost two decades. She named her research center as “Karisoke Research Center” combined the two mountains (Mt. Karisimbi and Bisoke). In 1985, she was murdered by poachers and she was laid to rest between the Volcanic peaks Mt. Karisimbi and Mt. Bisoke, near Karisoke Research Center.
For all mountaineers, mountain climbing and mountain hiking lovers, Volcanoes National Park is yet another park to visit and include on your travel list. Mt. Bisoke is at an altitude of 3,700m above sea level with a deep crater lake on top. Hiking Mt. Bisoke doesn’t require Mountain climbing gears but rather you just have to keep fit for climbing up high in the Mountains. This activity goes for 5 – 7 hours and Mt. Karisimbi is the second highest volcanic peaks in the Virunga Mountains.
Another popular activity is the bike riding experience in Rwanda, there are a lot of guided and guided nature walks around the Volcanoes National Park. For example a walk or a ride to Musanze market (Allowing interaction with the locals), a nature walk to yet amazing Twin lakes that are Burera and Ruhondo, a guided walk through the Nyange community brings you to the locals socio-economic lifestyle, a tour to Iby’Iwacu Cultural Villages opens Rwanda’s tradition to foreigners like seeing the Traditional house of a local king, herbal mixtures by an authentic medicine man, Kinyarwanda traditional dance and music and many more interesting experiences.