Gorilla Trekking Safaris in Rwanda are mainly done in Volcanoes National Park which lies in the Northwestern part of Rwanda, bordering Virunga National Park in the Democratic Republic of Congo and Mgahinga Gorilla National Park in Uganda. At the time of independence, Rwanda’s new leaders confirmed that they would maintain the gorillas which were already known internationally despite the pressing problem of overpopulation.
Ranging in altitude from 2400km to 4507 the Volcanoes National Park is conquered by the setting of volcanoes. This chain of steep, all free standing mountains linked by fertile saddles which were formed by solidified lava flows , is one of the most stirring and memorable sights in East Africa.
Things to do in Volcanoes National Park Rwanda
Gorilla Trekking Safaris
Mountain Gorilla Tracking in Rwanda is the most popular activity in Volcanoes National Park, with over a total of 80 permits issued daily, eight for each of the five habituated troops. Other tourist activities in Volcanoes National Park include; golden monkey trekking, volcano hiking, nature walks among others.
Volcanoes National Park has a total of 180 bird species. A local specie is the vulnerable swamp-dwelling Grauer’s rush warbler, while at least 16 Albertine Rift endemic are present, including handsome francolin, Rwenzori turaco, Rwenzori double collared sunbird, Rwenzori batis, strange weaver, dusky crimson-wing, collared apalis, red-faced woodland warbler and Archer’s ground robin. Enjoy epic birding safaris on your Rwanda safari.
Visitors can also take part in volcano hiking. For the less energetic, walks of about two and a half hours to the nearer crater lakes and in the forest are thoroughly enjoyable and will be particularly rewarding to birdwatchers!
It is also possible to visit Dian Fossey’s tomb and the adjacent gorilla cemetery at the former Karisoke Research Camp. This trek involves a 30-minute drive from the park headquarters to the trail head than a 10-minute stroll to the park boundary. From here, the climb through the forest takes from 90 minutes to three hours, depending on your fitness and how often you stop to enjoy the scenery, while the plunge takes 1-2 hours.
Note that all hikes depart from the park headquarters at Kinigi at round 07.30 (check-in-time 07.00), the same departure time as for gorilla tracking, which means that visitors can undertake only one activity per day within the park.
How to get to Volcanoes National Park
The easiest way of reaching Volcanoes Park is Musanze which can easily be reached on public transport from Gisenyi, Kigali on the day you track. You need to be at the ORTPN office in Kinigi, by the park entrance, by 07.00, but this isn’t a reliable option in case you are using public transport. There is no public transport between Musanze and the park headquarters at Kinigi.
Where to stay at Volcanoes National Park
Bisate Lodge offers unique gorilla trekking sightings in Rwanda. Other safari lodges include; Virunga Lodge which overlooks Lake Burera, Governors Camp Sliver back Lodge, Gorilla view lodge, Gorilla Nest Lodge, Le’Bambou Gorilla Lodge, Da Vinci Gorilla Lodge, Muhabura Guest House and Kinigi Guest house.