Volcanoes National Park is among the three parks Rwanda has and it is the nearest National park from Kigali, Rwanda. Volcanoes National Park can be reached after 2-3 hours drive from Kigali Airport making it possible to do 1 day Gorilla tour.
Volcanoes National Park is the only park protecting Mountain Gorillas in Rwanda. It is known to protect 10 habituated Gorilla groups and more are in the process of habituation. Gorilla trekking is the top tourist activity in Rwanda and the most expensive activity. Gorilla Trekking in Rwanda is ranked as the most expensive destination where gorilla permits costs USD 1500 as it hosts most of the primate safaris activities like Golden monkey tracking , Gorilla Trekking & other primate tracking as Arranged below.
Volcano Hiking In Virunga
Volcanoes national park is located amidst the Virunga Mountains which give amazing relief. The Virunga volcanoes here include Mt. Sabyinyo, Mt. Karisimbi, Mt. Muhabura and Mt. Bisoke among others. The nearness to Kigali city makes it famous in a sense that, tourists easily access it even from the plane and depart easily after visiting Volcanoes national park. The 2-3 hours drive through the rolling hill and mountains of Rwanda allows visitor travel while taking wonderful and memorable photos.
Golden Monkey Tracking
Volcanoes National Park is known for protecting the beautiful Golden Monkeys which are the second sought after Gorillas. Trekking Golden monkeys is currently costing US$ 100 per foreign visitor. Because of high cost for Rwanda Gorilla permit, you can substitute to Golden monkey trekking at US# 100 per permit.
After Gorilla trekking or Golden monkey tracking, clients can relax at the beautiful twin Lake. Lake Burera and Ruhondo are among the few lakes situated in one are (twin) the world has – the twin lake offers the beautiful scenery for excellent photography. You can have a drink while viewing the amazing natural waters or hire a boat to explore the small islands.
The park is composed of Bamboo vegetation which simplifies Photographing during Gorilla trekking exercise. It should be noted that, Bamboo forests are clear compared to the tropical forests of Bwindi Impenetrable National Park.
Birding in Volcanoes
Volcanoes National Park protects over 180 species of bird species including the Grauer’s rush warbler, 16 Albertine Rift endemic including francolin, Rwenzori batis, Archer’s ground robin, collared apalis, Rwenzori double collared sunbird, dusky crimson-wing, red-faced woodland warbler and the Rwenzori turaco.
The major annual event in Volcanoes National Park is the Gorilla naming ceremony “Kwita Izina” – annual celebration on which all the new born baby Gorillas in Volcanoes National park are given names for easy identification.
The park is surrounded by good lodges and Hotels – Lodges in Volcanoes National Park ranges from Luxury to budget accommodation. Some of the Lodges in Volcanoes National park include Sabyinyo Silverback Lodge, Virunga Lodge, mountain Gorilla View Lodge, Le bamboo Gorilla Lodge and Muhabura Hotel among others.
Volcanoes National Park can be reached by road (private or public means). Important to note is that, Rwanda has better roads connecting to different destinations like Akagera N.P, Gisenyi, Nyungwe N.P etc.
Safari Extensions from Volcanoes national Park.
From Volcanoes National Park, tourists can easily connect to other destinations like Gisenyi for boat trip on Lake Kivu, Akagera National Park for Game drives, Nyungwe National park for primate trekking.Read More
For those who have ever watched the 1988 film “Gorillas in the Mist” you realize that watching it alone doesn’t help and the best is for you to hit the jungles of Rwanda to search for these rare creatures. Mountain gorillas thrive in only Rwanda, Uganda and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and they remain not more than 1004 individuals. To get the best of magical encounters with these dramatic creatures while on Rwanda safari, a number of tips need to put into considerations. They include
1. Get a gorilla permit early enough
To trek to see a group of mountain gorillas in Rwanda, you need a gorilla permit. It is a gorilla permit that allows you to trek one habituated gorilla family in Volcanoes National Park. You can obtain your permit through a ground tour operator or reservationist at Rwanda Development Board (RDB). To obtain one, you need $1500 and interested visitors are always advised to book for their permits early enough at least 3 months or even year before the actual trek.
2. Always be prepared for any kind of weather
Volcanoes National Park mainly features tropical rainforest and given the kind of habitat where these creatures live, you have to expect it to rain at any time of the day. This means the ground can become muddy, slippery and you will need good waterproof hiking boots, rain jacket or poncho,
3. Have food/energy giving snacks and water
Please, note most national parks don’t have shops like it is a case with urban areas. This means that you have pack all that you need and that will last your stay at the park. You can have some dried fruits, nuts or trail mix to help you boost energy so that you make a complete hike. As well, don’t forget to have adequate drinking water.
4. Visit during the dry season
While gorilla trekking is regarded as an all year round adventure on the other hand the dry season is regarded as the most ideal time to track gorillas. This season is characterized by low rainfall and the gorilla habitat remains relatively drier making it easier for one to hike through the thick rainforest and steep slopes while in search for these beautiful creatures. The dry season always starts from June to September and then December to February.
5. Respect gorillas
During briefing, one of the most important safety measures you have to take note is maintaining a distance of about 8 meters at all times away from gorillas. Note, humans are more like intruders in these creatures’ habitat and this means that they deserve total respect and maximum relaxing environment.
6. Be realistic about your physical fitness
Gorilla trekking is a strenuous adventure and for visitors on Rwanda safari, you need to be physically well to be able to hike through the dense rainforest and steep slopes. These creatures thrive between altitude of 1500 and 3000 meters and this requires some physical wellness. Treks can last you about 4 to 8 hours depending on your physical fitness level, nature of habitat and location of gorillas.
7. Conduct research
Spending some time on internet isn’t bad but just for your own benefit. Therefore, do conduct some research on which gorilla family to trek in Rwanda. Remember each gorilla family rewards travel endeavors with unique experiences and history. Some of them can be strenuous to hike while others are easy to hike.
8. Hire porter to help carry your heavy luggage
In case you have heavy luggage, don’t stress yourself the fact that you will be heading off for a strenuous adventure. There are porters for hire at the park headquarters to help you carry the luggage then you can only concentrate on you thrilling adventure. Porters can be hired at $10 and $15 depending on how heavy your luggage is.
9. Observe the set rules and regulations
There are many set measures that you have to follow while on gorilla trek. They will be briefed to you before you hit the jungles to search for your gorilla family. They include-only 8 visitors are allowed to track 1 habituated family, a distance of 8 meters should be maintained at all times away from gorilla, keep your voices low but do ask as many questions as possible, no flashlight is allowed when taking photos, only persons above 15 years are allowed to take part in this lovely adventure among others that will be briefed to you at the park headquarters.
10. Use Your Hour with the Gorillas Well
During the gorilla trek, you have up to one hour to be in the company of the mountain gorillas. You should use this hour well. Take enough photographs that you can keep for your memorable visit. Also use this time to ask any questions about you would like to know about the great apes and their habitat.Read More