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Virunga Mountain Range spans around the border of three countries: Rwanda, Uganda, and DRC and it consist of 8 main volcanoes. Rwanda has 5 of those volcanoes and they are known to form the Volcanoes National Park. The Volcanoes National Park is known to be home to the rare and highly endangered Mountain Gorillas. The Volcanoes National Park is therefore one of the prime tourist destinations in the land of a thousand hills. Being made of highly steep volcanoes and mountainous forests, the Volcanoes National Park presents incomparable hiking adventures to be able to meet with these incredible Mountain Gorillas and to enjoy the breathtaking views from the summit of the volcanoes.
The 5 volcanoes found in Rwanda are Muhabura, Gahinga, Sabyinyo, Bisoke, and Karisimbi. Very enjoyable hiking opportunities are available on all of these volcanoes with the exception of Sabyinyo, which has been declared dangerous for the time being because of the presence of so many craters around it.
For outdoor fanatics, The Volcanoes National Park’s breathtaking beauty is a must –see. The blossoming green forest, very rare mountain vegetation, crater lakes, abundant wild-life like forest elephants and buffaloes, golden monkeys, and the celebrated mountain gorillas create a magical view for tourists. Undoubtedly, the prevalent birds of the Albertine rift and the spectacular views of Rwanda’s mountainous landscape and extensive volcanoes offer one of the best scenery around the continent.
On the hikers’ way up hills, there are chances to meet with the adapted Mountain Gorillas families. Hikers are allowed to view them for a very small time and they are prohibited from taking any form of pictures or videos to be fair to the people who have bought the Gorilla Trek Tour permit. There’s also very high chance to meet Golden Monkeys on the way hiking.
Mt. Kalisimbi Hike is the most demanding as its the heighest of all the eight Volcanoes in the massif and its the only one that takes two days to hike. Mt. Kalisimbi hikers are rewarded by a spectacular aerial view of all the other volcanoes some with crater lakes at the very peak.
Mt. Bisoke Hike takes roughly 6hrs to get to the crater lake peak and this makes it the most frequented summit. The most popular hike in the park is the Diann fossey hike named after the late Dian Fossey who fought and rescued the mountain gorillas from their sure extinction at the cost of her own life. This eye opening and inspirational hike leads to her tomb at an elevation 3,000m and it is higly recommended for conservation enthusiasts.
Twin Lakes Hike is the simplest of the four and the trail leads you to a point where you have the best view of the two almost intersecting lakes in a relaxed atmosphere ideal for a picnic.
Hiking is not only an upwards activiy in the massif. You can choose to hike downwards through the the enormous openings of the Musanze Caves which were formed by centuries old eruptions of these volcanoes. These caves have stairs and walk ways that facilitate your movement through different channels. Bat roosts are a significant feature of the caves, as are massive roof openings that form many patterns of light spectrum beams.