Volcanoes National Park

Volcanoes National Park Rwanda : This 160-kilometer-long area, which guards Rwanda’s portion of the Virunga Mountains, is the country of Rwanda’s most significant tourist attraction. More than half of the population of magnetic mountain gorillas in the world are protected in the area by at least six extinct and three active volcanoes that span the boundaries of Uganda and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Volcanoes National Park is a stunning area with a wide range of ecological diversity. Among the most dramatic and unforgettable of African vistas is this chain of high free-standing mountains, rising to heights of 2,400m to 4,507m and joined by fertile saddles created by solidified lava flow.

The highest points of the chain and the westernmost area of the National Park are Karisimbi on the border with the DRC, Mgahinga, and Muhavura on the border with Uganda. Mountain gorilla tracking is the most popular activity in Volcanoes National Park, which is where mountain gorillas are found. Visits to the habituated family of golden monkeys, a trip to Dian Fossey’s former camp and cemetery on the Karisoke wooded slopes, and an overnight hike to the peak of Karisimbi are the most significant activities after gorilla tracking.

Gorilla Families in Volcanoes National Park Rwanda

There are multiple gorilla families in Volcanoes National Park, some of whom have been trained for gorilla tourism or research while others have not. You must buy a gorilla permit through your tour operator with certain dates before beginning this gratifying bucket list event. Each gorilla troop is given a name and is commanded by a silverback, depending on the situation. when a challenger to the dominating silverback is a vouna silverback. He has to

Amahoro gorilla group

The group’s name, Amahoro, means “peaceful,” and it is led by the calm Ubumwe. It requires a tough hike to eventually reach the group’s domain because they reside mostly uphill, but the effort is always rewarded.

Susa (A) Gorilla family

The Susa gorilla group, the largest gorilla group in the park with 41 gorillas, was the subject of Dian Fossey’s research. Byishimo and Impano, the group’s unique twins, are well-known. Although it is challenging to trek to this family because they live in the high mountains, you will be rewarded by their size.

Hirwa gorilla group

This family descended from earlier gorilla clans like Group 13, Susa, and Sabyinyo. Munyinya the silverback set out from Susa with two females, and as he traveled, he came across others and eventually established a group.

Sabinyo Gorilla family

Guhonda, the leader of the Sabyinyo gorilla troop, is named after one of the volcanoes. This family is smaller than most, yet it is still a remarkable one. Requesting a group that is near to the park headquarters will save you from having to travel great distances.

Kwitonda gorilla group

Silverback Kwitonda, whose name means “humble one” in Swahili, is the group’s leader. This gorilla family moved to Rwanda from the Democratic Republic of the Congo and established itself there “permanently.” As a result of its location on the upper slopes of Mount Muhabura, the walk is moderately challenging.

Group 13 | Agashya gorilla group

Group 13/Agashya gorilla group only had 13 members during habituation, hence its name. The reason for the name change is that it now has roughly 25 members and is commanded by silverback Agashya.

Umubano gorilla group

The Umubano gorilla group, which broke away from the Amahoro gorilla group with a few females to form Umubano, is led by Silverback Charles. Swahili for “living together” is umubano.

Karisimbi (Susa B) gorilla group

Two silverbacks are present in the Karisimbi/Susa gorilla group, which separated from the original Susa (A) group. One of the hardest to reach is this community, which is located on the mountain’s highest slopes. It is most suitable for seasoned hikers who love both viewing gorillas and the hiking experience.

The Titus gorilla group

The silverback Titus, who was born during Dian Fossey’s studies at Karisoke, inspired the name of the Titus gorilla group.

Bwenge gorilla group

Silverback Following his breakaway with females from other groups, Bwenge established the Bwenge gorilla group. The word “wisdom” is bwenge. The group typically lives on the slopes between the Karisimbi and Bisoke mountains.

Ugenda gorilla group

The Karisimbi area is where the Ugenda gorilla group roams, earning its unusual name. If you want to follow this gorilla troop, be prepared to trek the volcano.

Activities to do in Volcanoes National Park

Gorilla Trekking

Rwanda is renowned as the best spot in Africa to see gorillas, which contributes to the popularity of gorilla trekking in the Volcanoes National Park.

The park is home to fascinating but critically endangered mountain gorillas. Mountain gorillas are only found in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Rwanda, and Uganda.

The northwest region of Rwanda is home to the about 16,000-hectare Volcanoes National Park. It consists of five volcanoes (Bisoke, Gahinga, Muhabura, Sabyinyo, and Karisimbi), afro-montane forests, bamboo forests, savanna grassland, extensive swamps, and other natural features. One of the four tallest mountains in Africa is Mount Karisimbi. The Volcanoes National Park is home to a wide variety of species, including spotted hyenas, buffalo, elephants, bushbucks, duikers, and golden monkeys.

Gorilla trekking is the most well-liked tourist activity in Volcanoes National Park, and the likelihood of encountering a mountain gorilla is very high. Gorilla trekking in Rwanda’s Volcanoes National Park includes ascending steep mountain slopes and traversing dense bamboo woods. One of Rwanda’s most thrilling and memorable Gorilla Tracking encounters with animals occurred during the final encounter with the primates.

Visitors can travel across the border into Uganda to observe the gorillas in a practice known as double gorilla trekking, which gives them the best of both worlds.

Some visitors even opt to undertake gorilla trekking in addition to seeing the gorillas in the Virunga National Park in the Republic of Congo. It is even more exciting to see mountain gorillas and Eastern lowland gorillas at the Congo’s Kahuzi Biega National Park. Gorilla tracking is challenging, but seeing one in person is the pinnacle of animal encounters.

The Gorilla Tracking Experience

Gorilla trekking in Volcanoes National Park starts at roughly 7:30 a.m. with a briefing from park staff and Rangers. During the briefing, participants are divided into groups and assigned to particular gorillas. In Volcanoes National Park, gorilla trekking with your family. Hikers who are less fit are placed in groups that are closer to the park administration. At 8:00 a.m., the park Rangers take the group to the gorillas. As previously mentioned, you have a choice of 10 habituated groups or families when going gorilla trekking in Rwanda’s Volcanoes National Park. It doesn’t matter whose group you wind up in; seeing mountain gorillas is an incredible experience.

You may lose hours just watching the little gorillas play and run around. Mountain gorillas are always curious and playful.

Some people might approach you, but they don’t mean any harm. While with the gorillas, it’s important to pay attention to your guides’ instructions and maintain your composure. Avoid jerky motions. Depending on the gorilla group given to you and their precise location on the day of the hike, gorilla tracking in Volcanoes National Park might take anywhere from one to six hours.

Golden Monkey Tracking

An unforgettable meeting with a unique and stunning species of monkeys known as “Golden Monkeys” at Volcanoes National Park can be had in Rwanda by participating in golden monkey trekking or tracking. As their name suggests, the golden monkeys have beautiful golden fur, and when combined with their energetic personalities, they make for quite attractive subjects for photographs. The golden monkey trek at Volcanoes National Park, which is typically done as an add-on to the Rwanda gorilla tour there, is overshadowed by the popular gorilla trekking excursion.

Volcanoes National Park
Golden Monkey Tracking

Only the Virunga mountain region, which encompasses the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Rwanda, and Uganda, is home to the golden monkeys, an endangered species. The only two countries where travelers can journey to see these magnificent monkeys up close are Rwanda and Uganda. The bamboo forests and other plants close to the Volcano Mountains are home to the golden monkeys. The bamboo shoots, branchlets, and young bamboo leaves are what the monkeys mostly eat.

In Volcanoes National Park, there are two habituated troops of golden monkeys; the larger troop, which has 80–100 members, is the most popular.

The single session of the daily golden monkey walk is in the morning, much like all other activities in the Volcanoes National Park. The start of the trip is 15 minutes away at the boundary of the park, but visitors must first drive there (at 7 a.m.) to meet the park ranger guides for a briefing.

Because they reside in the bamboo forest at the foot of the volcano mountains, the monkeys will be simple to locate. Trackers can find them in less than an hour by looking for signs of recently consumed bamboo shoots and leaves. It is possible for visitors to spend up to an hour watching these stunningly attractive monkeys pluck bamboo shoots and young bamboo leaves while performing enormous jumps from one bamboo tree to the next.

Some monkeys with short tails have demonstrated how long tails can become tangled in the bamboo and even become amputated. The monkeys roam around on the ground while also spending a lot of time at the top of the bamboo. They may even descend to eye level. You can approach them up close, making them some of the least timid monkeys.

They make for wonderful photographic subjects, and flash is allowed, unlike other primate excursions like Rwanda’s gorilla and chimpanzee treks. Even these monkeys appear to appreciate a camera’s flash. The monkeys periodically leave the park to eat the leftover Irish potatoes from the harvest in the open potato fields.

Birding

The volcanoes are covered with extensive afro-Alpine forests, bamboo stands, and moorland that is dominated by soaring huge Lobelias.

Thankfully, we don’t need to climb these intimidating peaks to locate our bird prey. The park also safeguards 53 of the 74 species found in the Afrotropical Highlands biome and 17 of the 27 endangered species in the Albertine Rift.

The visitor must thus keep an eye out for these specialties and cross their fingers. You will pass through ecosystems on lower paths where you can search for some of the park’s unique species. Among these are the rare Rwenzori Turaco, Rwenzori Double-collared Sunbird, Handsome Francolin, Kivu ground thrush, and Lagden’s Bush Shrike.

Hiking to the Dian Fossey tomb

You can learn more about Dian Fossey’s life by making the trek to her burial. Gorilla protection in the Virunga region thanks to Dian Fossey. You will discover more about her love with gorillas and how, over time, gorilla conservation became a priority, ultimately leading to gorilla conservation laws, in 1932 — 1985.

Mount Bisoke hiking

The breathtaking crater lake on Mount Bisoke’s top makes the volcano’s hike a worthwhile journey. Including the two hours spent descending, the hike lasts about six hours. However, some seasoned hikers complete the descent in as little as three and a half hours. Hikers gather at the park headquarters at 7 a.m. for a briefing before setting out on their hike with their designated ranger guide. Your ranger guide is well-informed and willing to share his or her experiences in the mountains with you. For a small fee, you can hire porters to assist you with your luggage, and doing so is highly advised.

Mount Karisimbi hike

The fifth highest mountain in Africa is Mt. Karisimbi, which is 4507 meters above sea level and the highest of the Virunga volcanoes. The western rift valley between Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of the Congo is where it is situated. Its name, “amasimbi,” which means “white shell” in Kinyarwanda, comes from the summit’s white cap brought on by accumulation of hail and sleet.

The two-day journey to Karisimbi, which starts in Bisoke, is strenuous but rewarding. Birds, primates, including gorillas on rare occasions, and stunning vistas are all possible sightings.

The Iby’ Iwacu Cultural Village Encounters

This project is for the community’s former gorilla poachers who are now dedicated to conservation. In order to turn the park’s notorious poachers into environmentalists, Edwin Sabuhoro built the community while serving as a warden at Volcanoes National Park. Your visit to this village will support conservation efforts and give many local residents a source of income.

Take part in the events to gain a sense of the community; become the day’s king or queen; discover traditional ways of life; and take in music and dance.

How to get to Rwanda’s Volcanoes National Park

Both by land and air, Volcanoes National Park is reachable from Kigali, the nation’s capital and airport, which is located around 105 kilometers away. After landing at the Kigali International Airport, a 2-hour drive will take you to the park. Both public and private transportation are options. You may get to the park by hiring a cab for $50.

Accommodations in Volcanoes National Park Rwanda

The spectrum of lodging options close to Volcanoes National Park includes high-end, mid-range, and budget options. Depending on your preferences, you can find most businesses in Kinigi and Musanze, some of which are even an hour’s drive from the park’s administrative center. Accommodations include the One & Only Gorilla Nest, Le Bambou Gorilla Lodge, Mountain Gorilla View Lodge, Bisate Lodge, Kwitonda Lodge, Virunga Lodge, Sabyinyo Silverback Lodge, Kinigi Guesthouse, Muhabura Hotel, and Garden Place Hotel, among others.

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