Volcanoes National Park


VOLCANOES NATIONAL PARK is bounded by Mountains ranges of Karisimbi, Muhabura, Sabyinyo, Volcanoes N. park was the first National Park to be created in Africa..,

The park became the base for the American naturalist Dian Fossey to carry out her research into the gorillas, arriving in 1967 and set up the Karisoke Research Centre between Karisimbi and Visoke where she spent most of her time in the park. She was murdered by unknown assailants at her home in 1985, a crime often attributed to the poachers she had spent her life fighting against. Fossey’s life later was portrayed on the big screen in the film Gorillas in the Mist, named after her autobiography. She is buried in the park in a grave close to the research center, and amongst the gorillas which became her life.

The Volcanoes National Park became a battlefield during the Rwandan Civil War, with the park headquarters being attacked in 1992. The research Centre was abandoned, and all tourist activities (including visiting the gorillas) were stopped. They did not resume again until 1999 when the area was deemed to be safe and under control. There have been occasional infiltrations by Rwandan rebels from the Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda in subsequent years, but these are always stopped quickly by the Rwandan army and there is thought to be no threat to tourism in the park.

Vegetation in Volcanoes National Park varies considerably due to the large altitudinal range within the park, with the lower montane forest between 2400 and 2500 m, mostly for agriculture, 2500 to 3200 m bamboo forest occurs, covering about 30% of the park area, 2600 to 3600 m, mainly on the more humid slopes in the south and west, is Hagenia-Hypericum forest, which covers about 30% of the park. This is one of the largest forests of Hagenia abyssinica. The vegetation above 3500 m is characterised by Lobelia wollastonii, L. lanurensis, and Senecio erici-rosenii and covers about 25% of the park. From 4300 to 4500 m grassland occurs. Secondary thicket, meadows, marshes, swamps and small lakes also occur, but their total area is relatively small.

Volcanoes National park is best known for the mountain gorillas and the famous tourist activity is Gorilla and Golden Monkey Trekking. Other mammals include black-fronted duiker buffaloes, spotted hyenas and bushbucks. There are also reported to be some elephants in the park, though these are now very rare, also 178 recorded bird species, with at least 13 species and 16 subspecies endemic to the Virunga and Ruwenzori Mountains.

The major activities at the park include:-

Mountain gorilla tracking

This is a priority for most travelers to Volcanoes national park. The national park is a home to 10 habituated gorilla families available for trekking. Also, Volcanoes park covers Rwanda’s share of the great Virunga massif bordering Virunga national park in Congo and Mgahinga gorilla national park in Uganda. Travelers to see mountain gorillas in Rwanda are required to buy gorilla permits each costing $1500 for an hour’s interaction. All permits are issued out by Rwanda Development Board.

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 wanda and Mgahinga gorilla national parks that travelers can see golden monkeys in their natural habitats. Fortunately, golden monkey trekking costs $100 which is relatively cheap compared to gorilla trekking.

Volcano climbing

Besides wildlife, 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.


Do not miss out visiting the Musanze caves on your Rwanda safari to Volcanoes national park. Experienced guides lead you into these caves while telling you the mysteries of the caves, history and all other facts about Rwanda.

Other activities to do in Volcanoes national park include cultural tours especillay to Iby’Iwacu cultural village, bird watching, visiting the twin lakes of Bulera and Buhondo among others.

Accommodations around Volcanoes National Park

  • Mountain Gorilla View Lodge
  • La Palme Hotel
  • Mountain Gorillas’ Nest lodge
  • Five Volcanoes Boutique Hotel
  • Gorillas Volcanoes Hotel
  • Sabyinyo Silverback Lodge
  • Hotel Muhabura
  • Virunga Lodge
  • Kinigi Guest house
  • Le Bambou Gorilla Village
  • Virunga Hotel
  • Red Rocks Rwanda
  • Home Inn
  • Villa Gorilla