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A Guide to Volcanoes National Park, Rwanda

A Complete Guide to Rwanda’s Volcanoes National Park,  the world’s best destination for gorilla trekking. From this guide read free and inspirational information to help you prepare for an amazing journey into the Volcanoes National Park of Northern Rwanda and the nearby tourist destinations.

Check out inspiring tours, amazing things to see, what to do and everything you need to plan your dream expedition into Rwanda’s Virunga Region. Easily plan your safari with exclusive information on how to book your visit, make reservations for gorilla permits, hotels or safari lodging, or even guided gorilla tours into Rwanda. Our extensive information will help you plan your visit, whether it is your first time visiting or your fiftieth.

Our activity guides highlight information on gorilla trekking, golden monkey tracking, volcano hiking, tourist maps and much more. You are now one-step closer to enjoying great adventures in the most accessible national park for gorilla trekking in Africa. Read expert tips to guide you plan for a gorilla trek, advice on etiquette for gorilla watching, what to pack, best time to see gorillas and much more.

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

Go Gorilla Trekking in Rwanda

Experience an unforgettable gorilla trekking in Rwanda and meet the great apes the wild. Take use of these discounted safaris into Rwanda, the land of a thousand hills, the best place to see the endangered mountain gorillas in the world. From day hikes to week long safaris that are tailored to include nearby destinations, we have carefully crafted itineraries that offer lifetime experiences into the Virunga Volcanoes and nearby destinations.

$3,500 PNV Rwanda Gorilla
$3,790 Rwanda Gorillas

4 Days Rwanda Gorillas (2 Treks)

Gorilla Tours 0 review(s) 4 days
$1,695 Rwanda Gorillas

Day Trip to Rwanda Gorillas

Gorilla Tours 0 review(s) 1 day
$3,275 Nyungwe Forest Canopy

7 Days Rwanda Safari

Chimpanzee Tours, Gorilla Tours 0 review(s) 6 days
$2,700 Mount Karisimbi
$2,610 Lake Kivu

4 Days Rwanda Gorillas & Lake Kivu

Boating, Gorilla Tours 0 review(s) 6 days

What to See in Volcanoes National Park

There are lots of amazing attractions in the Volcanoes National Park Rwanda. From the rare mountain gorillas to unique birds that are endemic to the Virunga Region, a lot awaits you to see during your safari in Rwanda. Here are the most popular attractions not to miss during your visit;

Mountain Gorillas

Rwanda Silverback Gorilla
The Rwandan Volcanoes are famous for its thriving population mountain gorillas, rare apes endemic to Africa. The park hosts almost a third of the remaining population of the mountain gorillas in the world. The park is part of the larger Virunga Massif. Seeing the mountain gorillas in Wild Rwanda is a privilege and meeting them is a lifetime experience! Read More

Dian Fossey Grave

Dian Fossey Cementery Would you like to follow and trace the footsteps of Dian Fossey, the American researcher featured in the popular movie ” Gorillas in the Mist”? You can hike to the tombs of the iron lady who did much to protect the mountain gorillas. The hike takes two too three hours through the bamboo forest where she did most of the work. Read More

Golden Monkeys

PNV Golden Monkeys
The golden monkey is an old world order monkey that is endemic to the Virunga Region. It is characterized with a bright orange- gold body thus its name! You can see this rare monkey during a hike through within only the Volcanoes National Park and the nearby Mgahinga National Park (of Uganda). Golden monkeys are only found in the Virunga. Read More

Musanze Caves

Musanze Caves
Near the Park are Musanze Caves that were created about 65 million years as a result of vulcanization within the Virunga Mountains. The caves are some of the popular attractions and can be visited all year round. See the brilliant views of cascading lights from the surface, interesting rock formations, and bats that colonized the cave walls. Read More

Buhanga EcoPark

Buhanga Eco Park
The Muhanga Ecopark is of great biological and cultural significance within the Rwanda. There are well developed trails that lead you through park! The forest is a habitat for a variety of birds and butterfly species. The forest is an ancient sacred site that was used by the past Rwandan kings (Omuami) for coronation rituals and thus a great cultural site. Read More


Elephants in Volcanoes National Park
Rwanda’s Volcanoes National Park hosts an amazing array of flora and fauna. From large mammals to incredible birdlife there is a lot to see in the park. On this guide, check out the amazing checklist different wildlife including mammals, reptiles and amphibians. The checklist of birdlife of the Virunga is also outstanding and listed on this travel guide. Read More

Top Things to Do in Volcanoes National Park

There are several adventure activities that you can engage in during your trip. 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

Dian Fossey Tomb Trek

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

Golden Monkey Trek

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

Iby’Iwacu 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

Volcano 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, Muhabura Volcano Hike, Dian Fossey Grave Trek 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. Plan a birding safari in the Rwandan volcanoes. Read More

Experience the Volcanoes National Park

Would you like to make the most out your safari in Rwanda’s Volcanoes National Park? Don’t miss out on the unforgettable things to do in the Rwandan Volcanoes and nearby places.

Visit the Twin Lakes

After gorilla trekking, tourists can also visit the beautiful twin lakes of Burera and Buhondo. This beautiful lake offers a scenic view to visitors who travel to the Virunga Mountains. You can take a boat ride along the lake or take a community walk to nearby places for entertainments and cultural studies.

Go Hiking in the Rwandan Volcanoes

The Volcanoes National Park offers unique opportunities of trekking and hiking in the Virunga ranges which today are well organized. Hikes vary from day hikes to 2 day ascent of the impressive Karisimbi.

Plan Your Trip to Volcanoes Park Rwanda

Here is all the basic information you need to get started with planning your tour within the Volcanoes National Park. From this resource, read everything you need to know to plan an expert trip into the Rwandan Volcanoes including; getting there, getting around, gorilla trekking and much 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 packguidelines for visiting the park etc. Are you planning a gorilla trekking adventure far in advance? Check our articles to learn more about gorilla trekking, hiking the Virunga Volcanoes, gorilla families to visit, gorilla-watching guidelines, etc.

Where is the Volcanoes National Park?

Located within the protected area of the Virunga Volcanoes, Volcanoes National Park is found in northern Rwanda. It lies 105km from Kigali, the Capital of Rwanda. It takes about 3 hours to drive from Kigali to Kinigi where the park headquarters can be found.

How to Get to the Volcanoes Park Rwanda

The Volcanoes National Park is located a short distance drive from Kigali (just about 2-3 hours drive) 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 Park.

When is the Best Time to Visit Volcanoes Park Rwanda?

The best time to visit the Volcanoes Park depends on what you would like to see, experience or do there. Though most activities can be done all year round, it is important to know the right time to go gorilla trekking, hiking or birding.

How Long Should I Spend in the Rwandan Volcanoes?

The length of time to spend on safari depends on what you would like to do or experience. Some do day trips to see gorillas from Kigali while still some spend a week within the volcanoes and do several adventures.

What are the Park Fees and Activity Fees?

For all clients who posses a gorilla permit, the park entrance fee is included in the cost. A golden monkey permit costs US$90 per person. There are special fees for gorilla permits up to December 2023.

Gorilla Tracking in the Volcanoes National Park

Gorilla trekking is the most sought after adventure activity that attracts most visitors to the Rwandan volcanoes. With a total of about 96 gorilla permits being issued every day, you can be among the privileged who go on amazing treks to see the great apes in the wild. Every 8 tourists are assigned to each of the 12 habituated families for tourism within the park. A permit costs US$1500 per person and you can easily book your gorilla safari with a local tour operator listed on this website.

Even though gorillas can be tracked in countries such as the Central African Republic, Gabon, and Congo, it is only in three countries 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. Elsewhere, they are only found in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park and Mgahinga National Park in Uganda, the Virunga National Park in DR Congo.

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.

Preparation for Gorilla Trekking in Rwanda

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.

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, ORTPN among several other conservation stakeholders took it upon themselves to adopt the human culturally known practice of naming human babies and applied it to naming infant gorillas. This annual festival is held every September and the ceremony is attended by celebrities, tourists, conservationists as well as local people.

Gorilla Trekking Permits for Rwanda

To track the endangered mountain gorillas in the Volcanoes Park, you must have a valid gorilla permit. A permit for Rwanda costs US$1500 per person and they can be booked via the Rwanda Development Board (RDB) or through a reliable local tour operator.

What to Carry for a Gorilla Trek in Rwanda?

The essential things every Rwanda traveler should have when visiting Rwanda for mountain gorilla trekking include long socks, trousers, long sleeved shirts, a daypack with energy giving foods, sturdy walking shoes, a rain jacket and insect repellent.

Remember your camera can be used as long as you don’t use the flashlight. Bottled drinking water is a necessity and you can also carry a basic first aid kit. Check out the packing list here

Is Gorilla Trekking in Rwanda Safe?

Many travelers ask about the safety of the activity of visiting the gorillas. All gorilla treks are safe and secure for all tourists. All treks to see mountain gorillas are done in gorilla groups that have undergone thorough habituation. The gorilla habituation process takes a period of about 2 years to make these apes get used to human presence before they are fully opened to tourist visits.

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

Rwanda’s gorillas can be tracked any time of the year. However the dry season stands out as the most favorable time for travelers from Europe and America. The dry season falls with the summer months of June, July, August, September. The peak season also occurs within December to March of every year. Visiting the mountain gorillas in the dry season (with low or no rains are recorded) makes hiking easier. Trackers can smoothly navigate via the dry trails rather than muddy floor during the wet season.

Accommodation Around the Rwanda’s Volcanoes National Park

There is no accommodation within the Volcanoes national park and overnight camping is forbidden. However, there is now a choice of 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 park headquarters. 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 Gorilla View Lodge, Villa Gorilla Lodge, etc. Luxury Lodging close to the Volcanoes National Park include Five Volcanoes National Park, Mountain Gorilla View Lodge, Gorilla Solution Lodge, Bishop’s House, Tiloreza EcoLodge 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 Travel News

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