National Parks | Rwanda

Volcanoes National Park in Rwanda

Volcanoes National Park is situated in the far northwest of Rwanda. It protects the steep slopes of the Virunga mountain range, and is a biologically diverse area that is home to more than half of the world’s endangered mountain gorillas.

Bird watching
Gorilla trekking
Bird watching
Gorilla trekking

Everything you need to know:

Volcanoes National Park is the oldest park in Africa with over 50% of the world’s remaining mountain gorillas. It’s located in northwest Rwanda, on the Virunga Mountain Range. Legendary primatologist Dian Fossey lived and worked in the park and the movie ‘Gorillas in the Mist’ was filmed there. This ecological gem is a popular destination for gorilla trekking.

Where is the reserve located?

The Volcanoes National Park is a picturesque conservation park located on the Rwandan slope of the Virungas, covering approximately 62 square miles (160 square kilometres) of rainforest. With its close proximity to Rwanda’s capital, Kigali, located only 80kms away, it is readily accessible. 

The Virungas are an extensive mountain range that extends to the neighboring countries of Uganda and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), constituting a branch of the Albertine Rift Mountains. The park encompasses five of the eight volcanoes present in the Virunga Mountains, namely Karisimbi, Bisoke, Muhabura, Gahinga, and Sabyinyo and is a haven for over half of the world’s population of mountain gorillas.

About the reserve

What type of wildlife will we see?

Volcanoes National Park boasts a variety of elevations, with landscapes ranging from dense forests and bamboo thickets to sprawling marshes and grasslands. Its exceptional ecology creates a rich habitat with diverse wildlife populations. The park’s main attraction is the endangered mountain gorilla, while the golden monkey – a subspecies of Sykes monkey – is a highlight unique to the Virunga mountains. 

Additional sightings may include rare forest elephants, black-fronted duikers, and bushbucks. Ornithological enthusiasts will appreciate the over 180 bird species found in the park, including the Rwenzori double-collared sunbird. With such an abundance of exceptional wildlife, Volcanoes National Park is a must-visit destination for any nature lover.

Top experiences to enjoy at Volcanoes National Park

Volcanoes National Park is renowned for its unparalleled gorilla trekking opportunities that attract a sizeable number of visitors. With about 400 gorillas residing in the park, and around 10 to 12 habituated tribes that call the mountain slopes home, a trek to see these magnificent primates up close is a truly memorable experience. Moreover, the park boasts a rich fauna, housing numerous species such as the rare golden monkey and various birds that will entice nature enthusiasts. 

To enrich your visit, you can venture further and explore the park’s cultural and historical heritage by taking guided walks or visiting Dian Fossey’s tomb, located between the Bisoke and Karisimbi volcanic peaks. This national park is an ultimate destination for adventurers, hikers, and even cyclists who will discover a world of unique experiences in this park’s lush and diverse terrain.

When to visit Volcanoes National Park

The Volcanoes National Park is an excellent destination, especially during the dry months of December to February, and June to mid-September, when gorilla trekking is at its finest. This season offers an unparalleled opportunity to observe gorillas and other animals. 

In contrast, the months of March-May and October-November, are perceived as the rainy season. Nevertheless, it’s essential to note that there are days without any rainfall. This time of year is a treat for nature lovers as the lush, verdant forests attract myriad bird species, making it an excellent time for bird watching and photography.

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