Driving two hours from Kigali international airport to the far northwest of Rwanda leads a visitor to Volcanoes National Park right in the steep slopes of the scenic mountain ranges, and home to some of the surviving endangered mountain gorillas in the whole world. The park is rich in the mosaic of montane ecosystems, which embrace evergreen and bamboo forest, open grassland, swamp, and heath.

This Park is named after the chain of dormant volcanoes that form the Virunga Massif namely; Bisoke, Karisimbi – the highest at 4,507m, Gahinga, Sabyinyo and Muhabura. Among the many ancient sites found within the Volcanoes National Park are the Buhanga Eco-Park, an ancient forest and Musanze Caves – formed 60 million years ago after the last volcanic eruption.

The Magnificent Volcanoes National Park, also known as Pac National des Volcans is a stretch of nearly 433 square kilometers bordered to the north east by Virunga National Park in D.R. Congo and the Mgahinga National Park in South Western Uganda. Thanks to the conservation efforts by the heroine primate researcher Dian Fossey who studied and advocated for the protection of these endangered primates thus saving them from the hands of poachers and unnecessary death.

Mountain gorillas being the subject of the late Dian Fossey, dedicated a lot of her life to their protection and conservation.  It was at Karisoke research center in volcanoes national park that Dian Fossey researched mountain gorillas. This study lasted for 18 years something that has enabled us to have gorilla tourism which contributes directly to gorilla conservation. One can also find more about her work by having a trek to Karisoke research center or watching the internationally recognized film “Gorillas in the Mist,” shot in Volcanoes National Park.

Mountain gorillas being the subject of the late Dian Fossey, dedicated a lot of her life to their protection and conservation.  It was at Karisoke research center in volcanoes national park that Dian Fossey researched mountain gorillas. This study lasted for 18 years something that has enabled us to have gorilla tourism which contributes directly to gorilla conservation. One can also find more about her work by having a trek to Karisoke research center or watching the internationally recognized film “Gorillas in the Mist,” shot in Volcanoes National Park.

What to do and see in Volcanoes National Park

Volcanoes National Park is home to over 10 habituated gorilla families, each as attractively chaotic and offering memorable experience as the other. Some of the famous gorilla groups found in the park include; Amahoro gorilla group, Sabinyo Gorilla group, Kwitonda, Umubano, Hirwa gorilla group, Karisimbi among others. Trekking each of these groups is really fun and very rewarding.

The mountain gorillas are the main attractions in volcanoes national park with gorilla trekking happening all year round. Yet, because of the high altitude that makes the place very cold in the morning and the evening, you are encouraged to come very equipped with warm clothes, hiking shoes and long-sleeved shirts.

Besides Gorilla trekking, volcanoes national park gives its guests a range of equally interesting activities such as Bird watching, golden monkey trekking, nature walks, hiking mount Bisoke and Mount Karisimbi, Musanze caves tour, visiting Dian Fossey tomb, Iby’iwachu cultural village tour, the twin lakes – Burera and Ruhondo, and so much more.

How to access Volcanoes National Park?

Accessing volcanoes national is just a 2 hours’ drive from Kigali and 30 minutes’ drive from Kisoro in Uganda through its border post – Cyanika. Or you can opt to use the Akagera helicopter to fly to the destination.

Lodging/Accommodation

Lodges in and around volcanoes national park range from luxury, midrange to budget depending on your interests. All the accommodation options provide standard services to their guests, clean and cosy environment, fantastic views and most of them are located Kinigi and Musanze towns.

Volcanoes national park is one of the safest parks to visit on the African continent, with its numerous rewarding activities, safety is paramount. Every tourist to the park (both local and international) is allocated to a guide and an armed escort into the jungle of volcanoes national park while trekking

 Besides that, there are set rules every tourist ought to abide by while trekking or carrying out any activity in the park.  All you need is add Volcanoes national park on your travel itinerary for that unforgettable African jungle encounter.