Volcanoes National Park

Travel to Volcanoes National Park – Gorilla Tracking in Parc National des Volcans

In the heart of Central Africa, so high up that you shiver more than you sweat,” wrote the eminent primatologist Dian Fossey, “are great, old volcanoes towering up almost 15,000 feet, and nearly covered with rich, green rainforest – the Virungas”.

Situated in the far northwest of Rwanda, the Parc National des Volcans protects the steep slopes of this magnificent mountain range – home of the rare mountain gorilla – and the rich mosaic of montane ecosystems, which embrace evergreen and bamboo forest, open grassland, swamp and heath.

Volcanoes National Park consists of the Rwandese side of the Virunga volcanoes. There are five volcanoes that can be accessed from the Rwandese side, a number of which have specific attractions.

Attractions in Volcanoes National Park

The park is not only home to several habituated gorilla families, it is also home one of the most endangered primates – the Golden Monkey. The volcanoes are forested, turning to woodland and moorland higher up. 200 bird species have been recorded in the park, with 13 species endemic to the Albertine Rift, including the Rwenzori turaco.

Activities in the park are numerous, track gorillas – there are currently four habituated families withing the park. It is possible to climb two of the volcanoes in the Rwandan part of the park – Karisimbi and Visoke. The Karisimbi climb takes 2 days and requires an overnight in a tent, Visoke is not as steep and can be climbed in a day. Visit the remains of Dian Fossey’s Karisoke Research Centre.

An exhilarating trek through the cultivated foothills of the Virungas offers stirring views in all directions. Then, abruptly, the trail enters the national park, immersing trekkers in the mysterious intimacy of the rainforest, alive with the calls of colourful birds and chattering of the rare golden monkey, and littered with fresh spoor of the mountains’ elusive populations of buffalo and elephant. Through gaps in the forest canopy, the magnificent peaks are glimpsed, easily accessible and among the highest in Africa, beckoning an ascent.

Private transport by 4WD or an organised tour is recommended for a thorough discovery of this area.

  • Mountain gorilla tracking.
  • Visit the remains of Dian Fossey’s Research Centre.
  • See stunning volcanic scenery.

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