Gorilla Park Rwanda-Volcanoes N.P

Volcanoes National Park Rwanda –Gorilla Park in Rwanda / Parc National Des Volcans (PNV)

This is the detailed traveler’s guide to Gorilla Park in Rwanda.  The guide explains all what you need to know about Gorilla trekking in Volcanoes national park in Rwanda.

Volcanoes national park is situated on a 160sqkm area in the northern part of Ruanda. It is the oldest National park in Africa which was initially a small area around Karisimbi, Mikeno and Visoke volcanoes which was gazetted to protect the Mountain gorillas which were facing the threat of extinction as a result of poaching. Alongside ten habituated Gorilla groups, the park also hosts troops of Golden monkeys found swinging in the tree branches.

In 1929, the park was extended into Rwanda under the management of the Belgian colonial Authorities.  During the period, the park was called Albert National park and in 1960s, the park was divided as Rwanda and Congo gained their independence and by the end of that decade, the park was almost half of its original size.

In 1967, the American Zoologist and primatologist Dian Fossey was in the forests of Congo on her research study about Gorillas. She was forced to flee Congo due to insecurity but instead went to Rwanda and set her research Centre between mountain Visoke and Karisimbi.

In 1985, Dian Fossey was attached and killed by poachers and was buried. She spearheaded the conservation campaign of the mountain gorillas and mobilized resources to fight against poaching in this area favorite gorilla called Digit.

After the death of Dian Fossey, the Gorilla region continued to experience poaching although conservation efforts were also under way. In early 1990s, fighting became the order of the day in the area became a battle field for the Rwanda’s civil war which destructed tourism activities until 1999. In 2005, in a bid to boost conservation and gorilla tours in Volcanoes national park, Rwanda introduced the annual baby naming ceremony for baby gorillas known as ‘Kwita Iziina’ which has seen great results in as far as gorilla population in volcanoes is concerned.

Parc National Des Volcans protects Mountain Gorilla or Gorilla beringei beringei,  golden monkeys or Cercopithecus mitis kandti, Spotted Hyena or Crocuta crocuta, buffaloes or Syncerus caffer, elephants, black-fronted duiker or Cephalophus niger, and bushbuck or Tragelaphus scriptus. The park also harbors 178 bird species including at least 29 endemics to Rwenzori Mountains and the Virunga ranges.

Directions to Volcanoes national park:

Volcanoes National Park is found in Musanze town which was previously known as Ruhengeri, which is very accessible by public transport from Gisenyi town or Kigali city or from the airport. The drive to Volcanoes national park is 2hrs and hence one can do gorilla tracking on the same day and drive back to Kigali after the trek. You will be required to arrive at the headquarters of Kinigi,  at the park entrance, by 7:00 am, therefore, if you hope to trek gorillas for one day, you have to wake up very early by 4:30 am for your journey so that you are on time.

Tourist activities in the park include:-

Gorilla tracking, Hiking Karisimbi volcano (3,800 m), One day Mountain Bisoke volcano hike, Visiting Dian Fossey, birding, nature walks, cultural tours, Musanze caves exploration, Visit the beautiful twin lakes of Ruhondo and Bulera.