Volcanoes National Park
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Being the first national park to be created in Africa, volcanoes national park is truly a splendor that every tourist should sight on every Rwanda safari.
The volcanoes national park was first gazetted as a protection area for mountain gorillas in 1925 against the notorious poachers around the Karisimbi and Bisoke mountains where the gorillas lived. It was used as a base for the passionate naturalist and primatologist Dian Fossey, who fell in love with the gentle beautiful giants and extended her work to Virunga national park in D.R. Congo and Mgahinga Gorilla National Park in Uganda.
This national park is located in the North West region of Rwanda, bordered by Mgahinga national park in Uganda and Virunga national park in Democratic Republic of Congo. Volcanoes national park continues to amaze the tourist as it encompasses five of the 8 Virunga Mountains. These include mountain Gahinga, mount Sabinyo, mount Muhabura, mount Karisimbi and mount Bisoke.
Volcanoes national park holds great importance in the primate history of Rwanda. This park is the only home of mountain gorillas in Rwanda, the presence of these primates attracted the heart of a passionate primatologist Dian fossey. She arrived in 1967 and dedicated her whole live to protect the gentle mountain gorillas.
She established a research centre between mount Bisoke and mount Karisimbi called karisoke research centre. After the death of Dian fossey, another fund was established in 2018 by Portia de Rossi as a gift to Ellen DeGeneres. The Ellen fund aims at continuing the beautiful work of the late Dian fossey and conserving the endangered mountain gorillas in the world.
Volcanoes national park is still one of the main tourist destinations in Rwanda that has sourced tourists across the globe to explore and experience the beautiful gems and magical activities of the park.
What to do in Volcanoes national park?
The top tourist activities and attractions in the park are as follows; -
Volcanoes national park is among the only three destinations in the world harboring endangered mountain gorillas. Gorilla trekking here is one activity that offers the trekkers with lifetime venturesin their natural habitat. Witness the jungle livelihoods of these great apes, as they feed on forest products of stems, leaves and shoots. Watch as the silver backs guard their territories and how the infants wrestle against each other.
This park has about 12 gorilla families that are trekked through the jungle. These include the Titus family, Bwenge family, Ugenda family, karisimbi family, Hirwa family, Kwitonda family, Umubano family , Agashya family, Amahoro family , Sabinyo family and Susa family.
Before encountering any gorilla family in the park, one is required to buy a gorilla permit from the Rwanda development board. This permit costs 1500 $ valid for only one person for a single trek.
Volcanoes national park is among the best destinations for primate lovers. This harbors the elusive golden monkeys, one of the world’s oldest monkey species. These are listed endangered by the international unit of conservation dueto high habitat loss.
Come and witness these primate species feasting on bamboo shoots of the jungle.
As this national park encompasses five of the 8 chain Mountains; mount Karisimbi and mount Bisoke are situated within the periphery of the park. This gives a high chance to touristsas theytrek these mountains on your Rwanda safari.
Visit to the Dian Fossey grave
A visit to the grave of Dian Fossey, a naturalist and primatologist who held the conservation and preservation of the endangered apes at heart, is truly a rewarding experience for you get to know more about her works in Volcanoes national park.
Volcanoes national park has about 178 bird species, this park has 16 sub species and 13 species endemic to the Rwenzoris and Virunga. Birders can enjoy the beautiful sight of bird species such as the red faced woodland warbler, collared Apalis, dusky crimson – wing, strange weaver, Rwenzori turaco and the Rwenzori batis etc.
The Ibyiwachu cultural community in Volcanoes National park is a community basedinitiative that was started by former poachers in the neighborhood of the park. This community has helped the former poachers to appreciate the benefits of tourism in their community other than being against it.
While at this community, explore the authentic Rwanda culture through the performances and practices at this cultural village.
Activities such as the millet and sorghum grinding, banana brewing, milking of the cows and participating in the Intore dance are among the adventurous activities engaged on your cultural safari at the Ibyiwachu cultural community.
Volcanoes national park has different accommodation facilities that ease the stay of a tourist at the park. These facilities range from hotels, lodges, tents and camp sites all offered at a range of price from budget, midrange to luxury.
Volcanoes national park with all the richness in beauty and activities,webelieve it should be on your top bucket list as you plan your gorilla trekking safari in Rwanda.