Volcanoes national park
Volcanoes national park is among the few places on the African continent to find the Mountain gorilla, it is a part of the eight series of the great Virunga Volcanic region. Volcanoes, and the only park in Rwanda that is as close as a 2-hour drive from Kigali Rwanda’s capital city. The park is located in the northern part of Rwanda approximately 160 square kilometers, the park comprises five of dormant volcanoes of Virunga including Mount Karisimbi, Mount Gahinga, Mount Bisoke, and Mount Sabinyo, three of these are shared with Uganda, it was gazette in 1925 as a way of protecting the critically endangered species of Mountain gorilla (Gorilla beringei) a subspecies of the eastern Gorillas and Golden Monkeys. The park acted as a research center for the American primatologist Dian Fossey whose passion and great works haven’t been forgotten to date. Volcanoes national park is featured in the movie “Gorillas in the mist” which gave an insight into the primate species.
Volcanoes national park is made up of diverse vegetation, which well suites several habitats and ecosystems, the vegetation type varies according to different altitudinal zone, popular is the Bamboo rain forest which covers 30% of the forest area, it boasts the largest forest cover of hagenia Abyssinia, grasslands, thickets, and swamps, the forest is home to two popular species the Mountain Gorillas and the Golden Monkey, although there are other present animals in the national park like the spotted hyenas, Bush backs to mention a few and over 180 bird species are present in the national park.
Volcanoes national park is a destination for gorilla trekking activity, Gorillas live and roam freely in the ecosystem, they are known to be a social type of primates, intelligent and herbivorous in nature, gorilla lives in Families led by a male silverback, it takes a fully mature male gorilla to get the grey silver back from which it attains its name, they feed on leaves, fruits, dead tree bucks, mushroom, and some small insects, gorillas spend most the day eating, and relax on the ground.
Dian Fossey the research primatologist during her time at the Karisoke research center spent time studying these primates, there are habituated gorilla Families in the national park, they have been trained to be in the human presence while doing their day-to-day duties.it is safe while with the gorillas unless you provoke them, there are strict guidelines to follow on a gorilla safari which will be explained by the game ranger. Rwanda Gorilla Safari permits cost USD 1500, it is advisable to book these in time prior to the traveling date.
Hiking the Dian Fossey tombs is one of those popular things not to miss on a visit to Volcanoes national park, travelers pay tribute to the fallen Primatologist Dian Fossey, who died during her time of research on Mountain gorillas, along the Hike to pay tribute to the tombs it is filled with nature/life, expect to see a number of tree species, plant types, flowers, butterflies and some of the most stunning surrounding environment, on a lucky day you might as well meet the Gorilla en route to the Karisoke,
Golden monkeys live in only the ecosystem of the Virunga volcanic region, the ones of Rwanda are in this park, tracking them takes 2-3 hours while enjoying their puffy golden brown and black cheeks filled with Bamboo shoots, The Monkey is mainly in the Bamboo forested areas, normally the Rwanda Gorilla Safari is best combined together with the Golden Monkey, along the trails you will be amazed by how beautiful Volcanoes national park can be, Golden Monkeys give the best picture possess but very fast so in case you will need to capture them the camera should be on stand by
Volcanoes national park surrounding is home to the Ibywacu cultural people living around the national park, they initially used to be poachers of the Forest, but now they are its keepers as they learned to appreciate the goodness of conservation, and they pass on their traditional cultural performances to travelers, presenting their history of Rwanda to thrill while on Rwanda Gorilla Tours.
Volcanoes national park is surrounded by beautiful lodges that are categorized into Luxury, midrange, and the best budget, on a gorilla trekking safari, one can decide to stay in Kigali or near the park both ways trekking is possible. The park is approximately 2 hour’s drive from Kigali city by road.