Volcanoes national park also known as Parc national de Volcans is situated in northwestern part Rwanda and covering an area approximately 160km2 of rainforest. Its part of the five of the eight volcanoes in the Virunga ranges namely Bisoke, Karisimbi, Muhabura, Gahinga and Sabinyo. This amazing destination is bordered by Mgahinga national park in Uganda and Virunga national Park in the Democratic Republic of Congo. It is home to the balances of the endangered Mountain Gorillas that can be found on earth. The other two destination that have rendered rescue to these mammals include Virunga national park, Bwindi national park and Mgahinga national Park
Volcanoes national park was first gazetted in 1925, as a small area surrounded by Karisimbi, Mikeno and Bisoke with intentions of protecting the endangered mountain gorillas from poachers who were killing these animals for food and money, it was the very first National Park to be created in Africa.
1929, saw the extension of the border further into Rwanda and the Belgian Congo, forming the then Albert National Park, a large area of 8090 km2, managed by the Belgian colonial authorities who were responsible for all the two colonies. Then in1958, 700 hectares of the park was designated for settling the homeless people residing around the national park.
From the taxes and revenues realized from tourists to this park, 20% is given back to the local communities surrounding the park for upkeep and development and the rest for maintenance of the infrastructure in and around the national park.
These destinations prime attraction are the unique endangered mountain Gorillas that have been harbored in the thick trees of the wilderness of Volcanoes. While traversing through the jungle of this park, you will hear the sweet melodies of birds and call of the different primate species enjoying their safety. Thanks to the endless efforts of a researcher named Dien Fossey whose conservation efforts is being felt till today.
Dien Fossey who a rived in the land of Rwanda in 1967 erected Karisoke Research Centre between Karisimbi and Bisoke where she used to study the habits of mountain Gorillas as well as rescuing the young ones in the verge of death.
It is on that Matter that saw her spend most of her time in the park, and is widely recognized with saving the gorillas from extinction by bringing their needs to the attention of the international community. Unfortunately, Dien Fossy was murdered by unknown assailants at her home in 1985, a crime often caused poachers whom she had had opposed. Her life and Heroic practice was later showed on the big screen in the film, Gorillas in the Mist, named after her autobiography. Fossey’s burial ground is located in the park close to the research center, and amongst the gorillas, her best friends.
In the early 1990s, the park became a battlefield for Rwanda’s civil war which halted the parks touristic activities until 1999. However, In 2005, an effort to promote conservation and gorilla safaris in Volcanoes national park commenced with Rwandan governments introducing an annual Baby Gorilla Naming ceremony known as ‘’Kwitalziina’’ Which has attracted great attention from both local population and international bodies thus yielding great results and adding visitor numbers n Gorillas national Park.
In addition to mountain gorillas, Volcanoes national park is home to golden monkeys, Spotted Hyena, buffaloes, elephants, black-fronted duiker, bushbuck and many more. This park also home to over 178 bird species including at least 29 endemics to Rwenzori Mountains and the Virunga.
There are some many interesting activities that can be carried out in Volcanoes national park of which some of them include among others Gorilla trekking, Hiking, Mount Bisoke and Karisimbi, Visiting Dian Fossey, Visiting the twin lakes of Ruhondo and Bulera among others.
Golden Monkey Tracking
Volcanoes National Park is situated in a village of Musanze which was previously known by many as Ruhengeri; it is very accessible by public transport from Gisenyi or Kigali airport. A drive to this park is approximately 2 hrs from the Kigali airport and making it very easy for someone to go trekking and drive back the someday thus not sabotaging with their programs. Flying mio0ght possibly last for roughly 45mins to one hour
As the slogan goes, “Gorillas in the Mist”, Volcanoes national park becomes Rwanda’s prime destination with unmatched Mountain Gorillas. The giant but gentle primates were the subject of the late Dian Fossey who committed her life to their protection and conservation makes your visit very interesting and rewarding, all you need to do is to cross check your bucket list and put volcanoes national park as one of the choices.