MAJOR THINGS TO SEE IN VOLCANOES NATIONAL PARK- RWANDA
THE MAJOR TOURIST ATTRACTION IN VOLCANOES NATIONAL PARK IN RWANDA
Volcanoes national park is the most visited and the chief tourist destination in Rwanda. The Journey to the park starts from Kigali through the rolling hills to the park- the view of virunga ranges also attract many tourists to Visit the park. Serious photographers who are interested in taking pictures of amazing relief, find them selves in Volcanoes national Park thus a park of great importance. From Kigali, the journey is 3 hours drive but worth undertaking.
Tourists from many parts of the world visit Volcanoes National Park purposely to see the following major tourist attractions:
Mountain Gorillas is the number one attraction in Volcanoes National Park. According to Rwanda development Board (RDB), most visitors to the park come in purposely for Gorilla trekking thus earning the country a lot of foreign exchange. The bamboo forest of Volcanoes National park hosts more than five habituated gorilla families like Bwenge group, Amahoro gorilla group, Susa gorilla family, Sabyinyo group, the 13 group (Agasha group), Umubano group, Kwitonda gorilla group, Hirwa group, Ugenda gorilla family and Karisimbi gorilla family. Encountering Gorillas in their nature habitat still rank as the top life time and tourist exprience- this is beacause mountain Gorilla is among the rarest primate species in the whole world.
Golden monkeys are among the second thought for by visitors in Volcanoes National park. There are two habituated groups of Golden Monkey, one group comprises around 80 - 100 members and has its home at the foot of Mountain Sabyinyo. As with treks to see the Mountain Gorillas, treks to see the Golden Monkeys take place in the mornings and visitors are permitted to stay for 1 hour with the monkeys. Departure for the Golden Monkey trekking starts from the Park’s Kinigi Headquarters at 07:00am. The number of visitors is not limited and the fee for a Golden Monkey permit is currently US$100 per person per trek. Permits can either be arranged in advance or booked at the park headquarters on the morning of the trek. Porters can be hired at the entry point of the park.
Birds- Volcanoes National park is endowed with a variety of bird found no where else in the world. Staff members at Sabyinyo silver back Lodge are willing to escort visitors to see some local birds found around. The staff members speak English and have a genuine knowledge of the bird life. For serious birders, a professional, ornithologist can be arranged for you however, you need to announce this in advance for adequate preparation. Ornithologists are staying in the area and well conversant with the local birds and the bird havens or sites for birding activities.
Iby' Iwacu cultural Village - this is where skilled art and craft persons are found. Visitors willing to learn skills in art and craft, craft materials among others are found here. This is where ex- poachers are found and ready to entertain the visitors- they where poachers but after being convinced by the Rwanda Development Board under the Rwanda Government, they changed their behaviors and now survive on the profits got from tourists. Visiting the cultural village, you can discover the traditional house of a local king, watch an authentic medicine man prepare herbal mixtures, try your hand at bow and arrow shooting or enjoy cultural dances and drumming performed by people from the local area. Cultural safari can be done in the morning or in afternoon and visitors are free to take photos- the safari cost US$ 20 per person.
Dian Fossey research centre- the centre is situated amidst Bisoke and Karisimbi mountains. The research centre is where the the body of the greatest friend of Gorillas (Dian Fossey) was laid to rest in eternal peace. The hike takes 3-4 hours by worth undertaking and starts in the morning from kinigi - the park headquarter. Currently each visitor is expected to pay US$ 750 for this tour and permits are purchased on the day of the trek.
Lake Ngezi- it is found few minutes walk with in Volcanoes National park. This small lake is situated at the foot of Mountain Visoke or Bisoke. The 3 hours walk to Ngezi reward tourists the view over the congolese parts of the Virunga range- take memorable photos and believe as if you have reached Democratic Republic of Congo.
Mountain Visoke- the trek takes 5 hours and the whole day depending on the speed of the walk and the frequency of stops. The ascent typically takes around 3 hours. Some level of fitness is need to whoever willing to climb any of the mountain found in Volcanoes national park. Like most of the tourist activities, the trek starts at 07:00am from the Park’s headquarters in Kinigi. Current cost for the hike is US$75 per person.
Mountain Mgahinga-the hike starts from Kinigi park's headquarter and takes approximately 6-12 hours walk. Permits can be purchased on the day of the climb, no advance booking is necessary and porters can also be hired for the trek. Currently, the hike is US$ 75 per person.
Mountain Muhabura - From the top of the volcano one can enjoy fantastic views over the other five volcanoes and the “twin lakes”. There is a crater lake near the summit and the vegetation is usually drier than in other areas of the Volcanoes National Park, with giant heather thriving on the volcano's slopes. The climb can be physically demanding and the slopes are very steep. Like all mountain climbing in Volcanoes National Park, Mt Muhabura hiking starts from 7:00am at Kinigi park's headquarter - the hike takes full day. Currently, the hike is US$ 75 per person.