Trekking gorillas in Rwanda

Volcanoes National Park

Volcanoes national park is the best national park in Rwanda and a stop centre for mountain gorilla trekking in Rwanda. Volcanoes national park is the best mountain gorilla national park because it is the one with the highest number of mountain gorillas among the national parks on the virunga ranges. Volcanoes national park is also the closest national parks to the urban centre; it is a just a two hours’ drive from Kigali capital city of Rwanda. The closeness of volcanoes park to the Kigali makes it so accessible for the visitors, plus, it is the only national park in Rwanda where you can reach with public means.

History about volcanoes national park

Volcanoes national park was established in Rwanda and also shared by congo in 1929 by the Belgians in colonialists, it was later named albert national park which was managed and controlled by the Belgian authorities in the congo of then. In 1960, volcanoes national park was divided between congo and Rwanda as the two countries gained independence, however, the park that was given to Rwanda was reduced in size compared to its original size, before the that decade of independence struggle in Rwanda and congo.

The conservation work in volcanoes national park was enacted in 1967 by an American zoologist, called dian fossey, who was doing are research on the mountain gorillas in congo. However, the political instabilities with wide spreading insecurity, forced dian fossey to run away from congo and fled to Rwanda. She established a research centre based in the area called visoke karisimbi that later came to be called karisoke research centre. Dian fossey is crowned and always remembered for spare heading the conservation campaign of the mountain gorillas in volcanoes national park. She also took the initiative to mobilize the resources that were used to reduce poaching in volcanoes national park in 1985.

Despite the effort put in by dian fossey, volcanoes national park in 1990s became a fighting ground for the civil was in Rwanda then. This greatly made the once standing tourism in Rwanda, paralytic again in 1999 as many animals were killed and eco systems destroyed. In 2005, the government of Rwanda realised the reason to revive tourism and also treat the damage caused by the wars on the tourism industry of the country. The government of Rwanda introduced a strategy to bring tourism back on and also to fund the conservation of the mountain gorillas in volcanoes national park, the project was called “the baby naming” ceremony of mountain gorillas which was done annually, in the local language, it is called “kwita izina” translated as “baby naming”. The ceremony was a success that it led to the conservation of volcanoes national park mountain gorillas plus boosting tourism in the country.

The Rwandan safaris to volcanoes national park are very interesting and come come as a complete package. The  national park is not only for the mountain gorillas, it is also a home for a number of other animal species which make your gorilla tour a package; these other animals include golden monkeys, quite arrange of bird species, reptiles, amphibians, insects, spotted hyena, buffaloes, elephants, the black fronted duiker, and bush bucks among other interesting creatures of the African jungle you have not seen before.

You will enjoy to watch the elephants on the lowerland of volcanoes park in Rwanda as they break trees and interrupt your hiking in a beautiful way, plus a lot of other animal keep on appearing during your gorilla trekking safari in volcanoes national park, but it is all added up to give you the best mountain gorilla trekking experience.

Birding is awesome in volcanoes national park because it is a home for over 170 bird species whose beauty is a good meal for your sight. About 29 bird species in volcanoes national park are endemic species to mountain areas; you can only find them in the national parks of the virunga mountain ranges such as volcanoes, mgahinga and virunga national  park of congo, they can also be sighted during the Ruwenzori mountain hiking in kasese Uganda.

Getting there

Volcanoes national park is located in a magnificent small village which goes by the name musanze, which is also well known to be called ruhengeri village. Volcanoes are strategically located in a very accessible location by public transport means too, from gisenyi Taxi Park or Kigali city, or even from Kigali airport. Is a short distance from Kigali to volcanoes national park, which is just a two hours’ drive, this factor enables someone to do gorilla trekking, in the same day, and travel back to Kigali after the activities. However, you have to reach the visitor centre of volcanoes national park in the morning in order to catch up with the first mountain gorilla trekking shift; it starts at exactly 7 o’clock.

You can also do other activities in volcanoes national park to supplement your gorilla trekking, including,  hiking Karisimbi (elevated 3800m above sea level),  mount bisoke volcano hike, visiting the twin lakes of ruhondo and butera, you will also enjoy visiting the grave of dian fossey and where she established the research centre earlier.

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