Things to and See in Volcanoes National Park
Volcanoes National Park is a top safari destination with a growing number of travelers coming into Rwanda for gorilla safaris and other Rwanda wildlife tours. Volcanoes National Park was gazetted in 1925 making it Africa’s first ever national park. Dian Fossey a zoologist conducted research on mountain gorillas at this park right up until she died here. Her work with these grand primates has made Volcanoes National Park synonymous with Gorilla trekking; the most sought after safari activity in Rwanda. Volcanoes National Park is located north west of Rwanda and is a two hour drive from Kigali the country’s capital. The Park has been rightly described as one of Rwanda’s top destinations and here are the top things to do and see in Volcanoes National Park.
Travelers and visitors have a variety of things to do and see in volcanoes national park depending on their travel interests and time. With no doubt, Volcanoes national park is Rwanda’s most visited tour destination and a first priority for most if not all travelers to the land of a thousand hills. Among the popular activities to do in Volcanoes national park include among others:-
1. Mountain gorilla trekking – one of the things to do and see in Volcanoes National Park
With over habituated gorilla families in the Volcanoes National Park alone, Mountain Gorilla trekking is a must on the things to do and see in volcanoes national park while on a safari in Rwanda. The world’s dwindling and endangered gorilla population is found in only three countries in the world; the Democratic Republic of Congo, Uganda and Rwanda. Almost all the gorilla population in Rwanda can be found in the Volcanoes National Park. The families to visit include Amahoro, Ugenda, Umubano, Karisimbi, Sabinyo, Susa and Hirwa among others.
The trek begins with a briefing at the park’s headquarters and is followed by a hike up the bamboo terrain of the mountain. There are guides for each group of trekkers to lead you to the habitats of the gorilla families and the maximum number per group of trekkers is 8 people only. Once you have sighted a family of gorillas, you can only spend an hour with them in which you can take photos, make videos and see these grand primates. Mountain Gorilla Trekking is the top rated on the most things to and see in Volcanoes National Park, Rwanda.
2. Things to do and see in Volcanoes National Park #Golden monkey trekking
Golden monkey trekking is yet another most done activity in Volcanoes national park which attract thousands of travelers into this jungle. Golden monkeys are exceptional creatures which every traveler should not miss out on his/her Rwanda safari. Its only in Volcanoes Rwanda and Mgahinga gorilla national parks that travelers can see golden monkeys in their natural habitats.
Golden monkeys are an endangered primate species and a bucket list activity when on a safari in the Volcanoes National Park. They have been habituated to better the experience for the tourists. Most of the golden monkeys can be found in the bamboo forest at the foothills of the Virunga Volcanoes. The golden monkey trekking experience comes with guide to ease your way through the tracking, share the Park’s history, facts about the primates and lead you to the golden monkey hotspots.
Fortunately, golden monkey trekking costs $100 which is relatively cheap compared to gorilla trekking.
3. Things to do and see in Volcanoes National Park #The Volcano Climbing & hikes
Besides the Golden Monkey and Gorilla Trekking activity, Volcanoes national park is a home for three extinct volcanoes. Travelers to this park therefore have an added advantage of hiking to the top of any Volcano which reward them with spectacular views of Rwanda’;s rolling hills, kigali city, Virunga volcanoes and local communities.Mt Karisimbi is the most hiked Volcano and the experience is worthy the hike.
On the top things to do and see in Volcanoes, you will have two hiking options to choose from; the Day and Overnight Hike. The Day Hike leads you to Mount Bisoke one of the volcanoes in the Virunga ranges. It stands at 37,000meters with a crater lake at the top.
The Overnight Hike is along Mount Karisimbi the second highest volcanic peak in the Virunga Ranges. Along this trail are diverse vegetation zones from bamboo, Afro-Montane to savannah. This hike is also known to be one of the most challenging hikes in the Volcanoes National with a snow-capped peak especially in the dry season of June, July and August.
4. Adventurous Hike to the Dian Fossey Tomb
An Adventurous hike to the Dian Fossey Tomb is one of the most sought after safari activities carried out while visiting Volcanoes national park for a gorilla trip. The trek involves a 30 minutes drive from the park headquarters to the trail head to access the Karisoke research camp where visitors walk for 10 minutes to the park boundary.The walk from the park boundary to the research center where the Dian’s grave is, takes about an hour to 1 hour and a half hours and affords good views of forest hogs, forest elephants, a variety of primates and bird species.
This adventurous hike is an incredible experience physically, emotionally and intellectually. It is so inspiring to learn about someone who was so dedicated and left a legacy that exists even today. The hike involves moving through the forests and hiking up the slopes and therefore requires some relative degree of fitness and patience.
While at the grave site, get to learn about and explore the house from where Dian Fossey was mysteriously murdered in 1985 but the more peaceful is the place where she was buried just next to her favorite gorilla friend, Digit and about 20 other mountain gorillas either killed by poachers or suffered death for other reasons.
5. Iby’Iwacu Cultural Village Tour/ Gorilla Guardians Village
Iby’Iwacu Cultural Village now known as Gorilla Guardians Village is close to the park making it a perfect sendoff place to visit as you leave Volcanoes National Park. Iby’Iwacu cultural village is located around Parc National des Volcans in Nyabigoma, Kinigi, Musanze district, Northern Province- have a visit to Iby’Iwacu to share with local people home and heritage treasures including lifestyles, activities, artifacts and ways of living of local people. Iby’Iwacu Cultural Village is committed at showcasing the ways of living, traditional lifestyles and dances to tourists.
Iby’Iwacu Cultural Village gives you a rare chance to meet local people, in their environment, with a taste of our culture and traditions. Be genuinely welcomed by the community as a special visitor while they proudly present to you aspects of their traditions and beliefs. The only way to get to know people, is getting close and interacting with local people, and taking part in their daily activities and most of all with them. Try preparing or even eating the traditional meals and drinks such as banana juice or brew banana beer. For the botanist or medical personnel, try the local herbal medicine grown and brewed fresh from the garden. After your curiosity has been quenched, unwind to the traditional music, dance and folklore by the local people and dance troops.
Mentioned are top rated things to do and see in Volcanoes National Park, more activities can be raanged and tailored depending on request. If you would like to book a safari to Volcanoes National Park,