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A Guide to Rwanda’s Volcanoes National Park

A Complete guide to Volcanoes National Park Rwanda, a world famous destination for mountain gorilla trekking. This travel resource provide a comprehensive look at the Volcanoes National Park (also known as Parc National des Volcan) in Northern Rwanda including park information, what to see, what to do, and more.  You are now one-step closer to enjoying great adventures in the most accessible national park for gorilla trekking in Africa. Plan your safari with exclusive information on making reservations for gorilla permits, hotels or safari lodging, extensive information to plan your visit, guide gorilla trekking, golden monkey tracking, hiking etc.  maps and much more. Our comprehensive guide to gorilla trekking offers information on how to plan for a gorilla trek, etiquette for gorilla watching, what to pack, best time to see gorillas and more.

So what can you expect to gain from this travel resource?

  • Find the best attractions (things to see) in the Volcanoes National Park
  • Find the best adventure activities that you can enjoy in Volcanoes National Park
  • Get help researching and planning your ultimate adventure holiday in PNV
  • Find out the best places to stay from our exclusive accommodation listings
  • Source the directory of the top tourism service providers including tour operators, travel companies and more.
  • Gain valuable tips to help you plan a perfect trip to PNV
  • Access advice on how to travel to Volcanoes National Park
  • Be inspired to broaden your horizons and push your boundaries

Go Gorilla Trekking in Rwanda

Experience an unforgettable gorilla trek in Volcanoes National Park in Northern Rwanda. Let us help create a perfect tour for your safari in Rwanda, the land of a thousand hills.

Day Trip to Rwanda Gorillas

Rwandan Gorilla
Travel to Volcanoes National Park and get to see the mountain gorillas in just one day. Read More

2 Days Rwanda Gorilla Trek

PNV Mountain Gorilla
A 2 Day trip to see the Rwanda gorillas. Travel to PNV, stay a night in the Gorilla Kingdom. Track the great apes and return to Kigali. Read More

3 Days Rwanda Gorillas

Rwanda Gorilla Family
Spent two nights in the Virunga Volcanoes. Meet the mountain gorillas in their natural home. (Best Seller) Read More

4 Days Gorillas & Lake Kivu

Lake Kivu
Trek mountain gorillas in the bamboo forest and get yourself soaked in the relaxing atmosphere of the scenic lake Kivu. Read More

4 Days Gorillas & Golden Monkeys

Rwanda Golden Monkeys
Meet both the mountain gorillas and golden monkeys in the Volcanoes National Park in a 4 days (3 nights) tour. Read More

4 Days Gorillas & Dian Fossey

Dian Fossey Grave
Track mountain gorillas in Dian Fossey’s footsteps and relive the inspiration of the great primatologist who prevented their extinction. Read More

About the Rwanda’s Volcanoes National Park

The Volcanoes National Park is one of the most prestigious national parks in Africa. Situated in northwestern Rwanda, Volcanoes National Park is one of the country’s most popular tourist destinations.

Since reopening in 1999, it has experienced a growing number of visitors each day, thanks in large part to its role as the world’s most popular mountain gorilla sanctuary.

With about 1000 of this species left, tourists can catch a rare glimpse of the gorillas as they can nowhere else in the world. Beyond gorillas, however, the park is also able to offer some of the country’s most spectacular scenery and diverse vegetation. It is part of the Virunga Conservation Area and covers more than 160km2, including five extinct volcanoes: Muhabura, Sabyinyo, Gahinga, Karisimbi and Bisoke. The latter two can be climbed during one or two-day treks.

Made famous as the research base of the late American primatologist Dian Fossey and, subsequently, as the setting for the film Gorillas in the Mist, the park continues to uphold its reputation as a destination for unrivaled wildlife encounters. The edges of Mt. Sabyinyo are also where you will find Fossey’s tomb, as she was buried among the gorillas she grew to love so dearly.

Experienced guides will take you through this impressive montane ecosystem on a gorilla trek in Rwanda, where you can witness the sights and sounds of the heart of Africa.

Things to See in Volcanoes National Park

This corner or northwestern Rwanda is a breath-taking unforgettable place where culture, adventure and conservation intersect.

Mountain Gorillas

Rwanda Silverback Gorilla
The Volcanoes National Park is famous for its gorillas, the star attraction of the Virungas. The park hosts over half of the remaining population that live in the Virunga Massif. Seeing the mountain gorillas is a previlege! Read More

Dian Fossey Grave

Dian Fossey Cementery
For those interested in tracing the footsteps of Dian Fossey, her tomb is a 30-minute drive from the park headquarters and then two or three hours hike through the forest, to above 3,000m altitude. Read More

Golden Monkeys

PNV Golden Monkeys
The golden monkey is characterized by a bright orange- gold body, cheeks and tail, contrasting with its black, crown and tail- end. This ancient species of monkeys is rare and can be tracked in only two parks. Read More

Musanze Caves

Musanze Caves
Rwanda’s caves date back 65 million years and lie withing the volcanic region where lava flow layers long ago created the Albertine Rift Valley. The caves offer easy hiking 2 kilometers in distance and have brilliant views of cascading lights from the surface, unique rock formations, and a colony of bats. Read More

Buhanga EcoPark

Buhanga Eco Park
Despite its small size, this serene forest packs a great deal of biological and cultural significance. Meditative trails cross through towering trees home to a variety of bird and butterfly species. The location is built on an ancient sacred site that was used for coronation rituals of Rwandan kings. Read More

Wildlife

Elephants in Volcanoes National Park
The park hosts an amazing array of flora and fauna. From large mammals to incredible bird life there is a lot to see in the Volcanoes National Park. Check out the amazing checklist of mammals, reptiles and amphibians, birdlife in the Virunga etc. Read More

Top Things to Do in Volcanoes National Park

There are many activities to be enjoyed in the Volcanoes National Park. Here are the top adventure activities to do in the area;

Gorilla Trekking

Gorilla Trek
Tracking mountain gorillas in the Virunga is a peerless wildlife experience, and one of Africa’s indisputable travel highlights. It is difficult to describe the simple exhilaration attached to first setting eyes on a wild mountain gorilla. Read More

Golden Monkey Tracking

Golden Monkey Tracking
Take a nature walk though the Virunga Mountains and get to see the little known golden monkey. This rare species  is also IUCN listed as ‘endangered’. This primate is restricted range within the Albertine Rift. Read More

Hike to Dian Fossey’s Tomb

Hike to Dian Fossey Grave
This trek involves a 30 minutes’ drive from the park headquarters to the trailhead and then a 10 minute stroll to the park boundary. The trek takes anything from 90 minutes to three hours, depending on your fitness level. Read More

Iby’Iwacu Cultural Village

Ibyiwacu Gorilla Experience
It is situated next to the car park at the trailhead for the Sabyinyo Group and Group Thirteen, this award- winning venture was founded in 2004 by Edwin Sabuhoro of Rwanda Eco- tours to help improve the livelihood of communities. Read  More

Hiking

Mount Karisimbi
Hiking the Virunga Volcanoes is one of the adventures not to miss. Several hiking trails have been developed in the park and popular hikes include Karisimbi Hike, Mount Visoke Hike, Trek to Dian Fossey Grave etc. Read More

Bird Watching

Virunga Birdlife
There are over 180 species of birds that are protected in the Virunga Mountains in Northern Rwanda and bird watching is one of the adventure activities that you should not miss. Read More

Virunga Mountains

The 160km Volcanoes National Park protects the Rwanda sector of the Virunga Mountains, a range of six extinct and three active volcanoes that straddle the Ugandan and Congolese borders and protect more than half the world’s population of the charismatic mountain gorilla. Also sometimes referred to by its French name, Parc des Volcans, it forms part of a contiguous 433km trans-frontier conservation unit that also includes Virunga National Park and Mgahinga National Park, which respectively protect the Congolese and Ugandan sectors of the Virunga mountains.

Plan Your Trip to Rwanda’s Volcanoes National Park

Start here for basic information about the Volcanoes National Park such as; getting there, getting around, and more. Find answers to the most frequently asked questions such as when to visit the park, the best times to go gorilla tracking, what to pack, and guidelines for visiting the park.

Are you planning a gorilla trekking adventure far in advance? Check our articles to learn more about gorilla trekking, the best time to see gorillas, gorilla families to visit, gorilla-watching guidelines, etc.

Preparation

Every successful and memorable African safari starts with preparation. That is psychological, physical, and sometimes educational. Here are a few things that come on top mind when preparing to visit Volcanoes national park in Rwanda.

 About Gorilla Trekking in PNV, Rwanda

Mountain gorilla trekking is the most popular gorilla trekking activity on the African continent. Even though gorillas can be tracked in countries such as the Central African Republic, Gabon, and Congo among several other locations. It is only in Uganda, Rwanda, and the Democratic Republic of Congo where you can find the endangered mountain gorillas.

Of all the gorilla subspecies, it is only the mountain gorillas that until now cannot survive outside their natural habitats. It is this fact among several other reasons that gorilla trekking is more popular in Uganda and Rwanda than in other African countries. In Rwanda, Volcanoes national park is the only location where you can trek gorillas.

Gorilla trekking in Volcanoes national park has been specially designed as a luxury eco-tourism activity. Though most of the attention has for a long time been drawn to the $1500 permit, many people miss the highlight of how the population of mountain gorillas in the world has more than doubled due to similar prohibitive yet supportive conservation endeavors.

Kwita Izina – The Gorilla Naming Ceremony

The annual Kwita Izina (naming) gorilla-naming ceremony is predicated upon a common African practice of infant naming where commonly the grandfather or grandmother gives a name to their grandchild. In Rwanda, the naming ceremony is often attended by family and friends. In the effort to promote gorilla conservation, the Rwanda development board among several other conservation stakeholders took it upon themselves to adopt the human culturally known and practiced exercise of naming human babies and applied it to naming infant gorillas.

Gorilla Trekking Permits for Rwanda

To go gorilla trekking in Rwanda Volcanoes National Park, you must have a valid gorilla permit. Each of gorilla trekking permits for Volcanoes National Park costs US Dollars 1500 per person and they can be booked via the Rwanda Development Board (RDB) or through the reliable local tour company/operator.

What to Carry for a Gorilla Trek in Rwanda?

The essentials every Rwanda traveler should have when visiting Volcanoes National Park for mountain gorilla trekking include long socks, trousers, long sleeved shirts, daypack, waterproof walking/hiking/trekking boots/shoes, waterproof rain jacket/raincoat, insect repellent, camera with no flashlight, bottled drinking water, basic first aid kit, snacks, toiletries, sweater and others.

Is Gorilla Trekking in Rwanda Safe?

All Rwanda gorilla trekking safaris are safe and secure for all tourists on gorilla tour. All treks to see mountain gorillas are done in gorilla groups that have undergone through habituation (this takes a period of 2 years to make these apes get used to human presence before they are fully opened for tracking).

When is the best time to Go Gorilla Trekking in Rwanda?

Rwanda mountain gorillas can be trekked at any time of the year, but the dry season stands out as the most favorable time. This falls in June, July, August, September and December, January to February of every year, when low or no rains are recorded and the ground floor remains drier. This makes the dry season the best for trekkers to smoothly navigate via the dry trails rather than muddy floor during the wet season from March to May or October to November.

Getting to the Volcanoes National Park Rwanda

Volcanoes National Park Ruhengeri is located a short distance drive from Kigali, about 2-3 hours and from Bwindi or Mgahinga in Uganda, about 3-5 hours’ drive. A comfortable 4×4 vehicle is more preferable for all your road trips to Rwanda’s Volcanoes National Park.

What to Pack for a Rwanda Gorilla Trek?

If you are visiting Rwanda to see mountain gorillas, the following items should be considered a must-pack: waterproof daypack, hiking boots (waterproof), insect repellents, gardening gloves, gorilla permits, first aid kit, adequate snacks, bottled water, long sleeved shirt, long trousers/pants, sweater, rain jacket or raincoat, sunscreen, safari hat, sun glasses and many others.

Accommodation Around the Rwanda’s Volcanoes National Park

There is no accommodation with the national park and overnight camping is forbidden. However, there is now a choice of four mid range to upmarket lodges situated within a few kilometers of the park headquarters at Kinigi, all listed below.

The most convenient accommodation at this Park is staying in Kinigi near the Virunga National Park. For those with a low budget, Musanze is the only option otherwise there is totally no camping in this Park.

The park has all kinds of accommodation choices- budget, mid-range and luxury. The most popular budget accommodation in and around Rwanda’s Volcanoes National Park include La Palme Hotel, Hotel Muhabura, Virunga Hotel, Faraja Hotel, Kinigi Guesthouse, etc

Midrange Lodging in the park include Le Bambou Gorilla Lodge, Mountain Gorillas Nest Lodge, Villa Gorilla Lodge, etc.

Luxury Lodging close to the Volcanoes National Park include Five Volcanoes National Park, Gorilla Solution Lodge, etc

Highend luxury lodges in the Volcanoes National Park include Sabyinyo Silverback Lodge, Bisate Lodge, Virunga Volcanoes Lodge, One and Only Gorilla Nest Lodge, Singita Kwitonda Lodge, etc

There’s no camping inside the park and overnight camping is not allowed. If not, you can as well consult with ORTPN about camping prospects obtainable.

Latest News and Alerts

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