Explore Volcanoes National Park
Volcanoes National Park is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Rwanda, and for good reason. It is home to the endangered mountain gorilla, as well as a variety of other wildlife and stunning scenery.
Volcanoes National Park is located in northwestern Rwanda, on the border with the Democratic Republic of the Congo. It is about 120 kilometers from the capital city of Kigali.
What to see
The main attraction of Volcanoes National Park is the mountain gorilla. There are about 1,000 mountain gorillas living in the park, and visitors have the opportunity to see them up close on guided treks.
In addition to mountain gorillas, Volcanoes National Park is also home to a variety of other wildlife, including golden monkeys, black-and-white colobus monkeys, and buffaloes. The park is also home to a variety of birds, including the Rwenzori turaco and the Ruwenzori double-collared sunbird.
The park also has stunning scenery, including the Virunga Volcanoes, which are a chain of eight volcanoes that rise along the border between Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. The highest volcano in the chain is Mount Karisimbi, which is 4,507 meters tall.
There are 13 habituated gorilla families in Volcanoes National Park. These families are used to human presence and can be visited by tourists on guided treks. The gorilla families are:
Volcanoes National Park is located in a beautiful area of Rwanda, with rolling hills, lush forests, and stunning volcanoes. There are a number of other attractions in the area, including:
- Musanze Caves: These caves are located just outside of Volcanoes National Park and are home to a variety of bats.
- Iby'Iwacu Cultural Village: This village offers visitors a chance to learn about Rwandan culture and traditions.
- Twin Lakes: These two lakes, Bulera and Ruhondo, are located just north of Volcanoes National Park and offer visitors a chance to swim, boat, and fish.
When visiting Volcanoes National Park, it is important to follow the safety guidelines set by the Rwandan Development Board. These guidelines include:
- Always stay with your guide when trekking to see gorillas.
- Do not touch or feed the gorillas.
- Keep a distance of at least 7 meters from the gorillas.
- Do not make loud noises or sudden movements.
- Do not use flash photography.
By following these guidelines, you can help to ensure a safe and enjoyable experience for both yourself and the gorillas.
Dian Fossey's grave is located in the Karisoke Research Center in Volcanoes National Park, Rwanda. The grave is located in a clearing in the forest, surrounded by trees and flowers. There is a simple tombstone on the grave, which reads:
Dian Fossey 1932 - 1985 A friend to the gorillas
Fossey was an American primatologist who spent over 18 years studying mountain gorillas in Volcanoes National Park. She was a passionate advocate for gorilla conservation and worked tirelessly to protect them from poaching and habitat loss. Fossey was murdered in her cabin at Karisoke Research Center in 1985. Her murder remains unsolved.
Fossey's grave is a popular pilgrimage site for gorilla conservationists and visitors to Volcanoes National Park. It is a reminder of her dedication to gorillas and her sacrifice for their protection.
How to get to Dian Fossey's grave:
Once you are in Volcanoes National Park, you must obtain a permit to visit Dian Fossey's grave. Permits can be purchased at the park headquarters in Kinigi.
From the park headquarters, it is a short drive to Karisoke Research Center. The grave is located about a 10-minute walk from the research center.
Visitors to the grave are asked to be respectful and to remain silent. There is a small bench near the grave where visitors can sit and reflect on Fossey's life and work.
There are two lakes in Volcanoes National Park in Rwanda: Lake Ruhondo and Lake Burera.
The two lakes are located in the northwestern corner of the park, near the border with Uganda. They are formed by a lava dam that blocks the flow of the Nyabarongo River. The lakes are surrounded by lush forests and rolling hills, and they offer stunning views of the Virunga Volcanoes.
Lake Ruhondo is the larger of the two lakes, and it is also the deeper. It is home to a variety of fish, including tilapia, catfish, and Nile perch. The lake is also a popular spot for birdwatching, as it is home to a variety of species, including the African fish eagle, the grey-crowned crane, and the papyrus gonolek.
Lake Burera is the smaller of the two lakes, but it is also the more scenic. It is surrounded by steep hills and lush forests, and it offers stunning views of the Virunga Volcanoes. The lake is also home to a variety of fish and birds, and it is a popular spot for swimming, boating, and fishing.
Both Lake Ruhondo and Lake Burera are beautiful and peaceful places to visit. They offer visitors a chance to relax and enjoy the natural beauty of Rwanda.
The Mugongo Caves are a series of lava caves located in the Volcanoes National Park in Rwanda. They are formed from Cenozoic volcanic rock that was formed millions of years ago. The caves are about 1.5 kilometers long and contain a variety of lava formations, including stalactites, stalagmites, and lava tubes.
Mugongo Caves, Volcanoes National Park, Rwanda
The Mugongo Caves are a popular tourist attraction, and visitors can take guided tours of the caves. The tours typically last about two hours and include a visit to the main chamber, which is a large cathedral-like space with high ceilings and impressive lava formations.
Visitors to the Mugongo Caves should be aware that the caves can be dark and slippery, so it is important to wear sturdy shoes and bring a flashlight. There are also a number of bats living in the caves, so visitors should be prepared for that.
Here are some tips for visiting the Mugongo Caves:
- Wear sturdy shoes and bring a flashlight.
- Be prepared for darkness and bats.
- Follow your guide's instructions and stay on the marked trails.
- Be respectful of the cave environment and do not disturb the lava formations.
The Mugongo Caves are a unique and fascinating place to visit. They offer visitors a chance to explore the hidden world of volcanoes and to see some of the most impressive lava formations in the world.
Golden monkey trekking in Volcanoes National Park is an unforgettable experience. These playful and colorful primates are endemic to the Albertine Rift region, and Volcanoes National Park is one of the best places to see them in the wild.Golden monkeys live in bamboo forests at altitudes of 2,000 to 4,000 meters. They are social animals and live in groups of up to 30 individuals. Golden monkeys are omnivores, and their diet consists of bamboo leaves, shoots, fruits, and insects.
Golden monkey trekking tours typically start early in the morning, when the monkeys are most active. Visitors are led by experienced guides who know the best places to find the monkeys. The trek can take anywhere from a few hours to a full day, depending on how long it takes to find the monkeys.
Once the monkeys have been found, visitors are allowed to spend one hour with them. This is enough time to observe their behavior, take photos, and simply enjoy their presence.
Here are some tips for golden monkey trekking in Volcanoes National Park:
- Book your trek in advance, especially if you are visiting during peak season.
- Wear comfortable shoes and clothing, as the trek can be challenging at times.
- Bring a raincoat and sunscreen, as the weather can be unpredictable.
- Follow your guide's instructions and stay calm and quiet around the monkeys.
- Do not touch or feed the monkeys.
Golden monkey trekking is a must-do activity for any visitor to Volcanoes National Park. It is an opportunity to see some of the most unique and endangered primates in the world up close and personal.