Parc National des Volcans
Situated in the Northwestern of Rwanda, PNV with steep slopes of magnificent and outstanding volcanic mountain range at the heart of the Virungas- is home to rare and endangered Mountain Gorillas. Inhabiting a rich mosaic of Afro-montane ecosystem lying in the albertine rift with a combination of neoboutonia forest, bamboo forests, separated with Hagenia woodland climbing higher is hypericum zone, senecio-lobelias zone and the alpine prairie with a fine cover of grass sedges towards the mountains of Muhabura (4.127m), Gahinga (3.474m), Sabyibyo (3.634), Bisoke (3,711m), and the highest of all Karisimbi (4.507m).
With a size of 16.000 hectares, it inhabits 10 groups of mountain gorillas, 7 groups of which are habituated for tourism including the Susa group with 38 individuals with a rare and only set of twins in mountain gorilla history, Sabyinyo group with 8 individuals, Group 13 with 20 individuals, Amahoro group with 15 individuals, Umubano group with 8 individuals, Hirwa group with 9 and Kwitonda with 17 individuals. The other 3 non tourism groups are kept for research. Other mammals in the Volcanoes Naitonal Park include; elephant, buffalo, black fronted duiker, spotted hyena and bush buck.
Mountain Gorilla Trekking: Trekking mountain gorillas in Rwanda is the most heartrending and memorable wildlife experience and makes it the most rich and rewarding experience on earth. The climb to the gorillas kingdom natural habitat of bamboo, wild celery and many more offers trekkers fantastic views embraced with bird calls and chatters of golden monkeys. The lush forested slopes form dramatic natural setting with a guarantee to see them face to face, forms a once and again surety of a life time experience.
Having an eye to eye close encounter with mountain gorillas is a heart-warming experience of a life time, and trekking them through the damp misty undergrowth gives you a sensational experience that you will never forget and brings you to the reality of our close kinship.
Meeting mountain gorillas in their misty natural habitat is a privilege one shouldn’t miss in life. As David Attenborough said “there is more meaning and understanding in exchanging a glance with a gorilla than any other animal I know”, and George Schaller had this to say “no one looks into a gorillas eyes-intelligent, gentle, vulnerable-can remain unchanged, for the gap between ape and human vanishes, we know that the gorilla still lives within us”.
Golden Monkey: PNV not only harbors Mountain gorillas but also rare and IUCN listed endangered Golden Monkey species. They are beautiful creatures with orange bodies and glossy back legs and head. They spend much time in the bamboo zone eating bamboo shoots, living in groups of up 40, they chirp and twitter all the time as they forage through the park vegetation.
Birding safaris: The park is home to more than 90 recorded bird species of which at least 13 species are endemic to the Virungas and Rwenzori mountains; including Rwenzori and spectacular mountain turaco, one of the more spectacular birds found in this montane forests, handsome francolin and many more.
Dian Fosey Tomb: It is here that the valiant American primatologist Dian Fossey worked and dedicated her life to the survival of Mountain Gorillas that led to the shooting of the movie “Gorillas in the Mist”, which aroused the world to stand and protect mountain gorillas that were at the verge of extinction and their habitat that was dwindling.
Dian Fossey established her research station between Karisimbi and Bisoke from where Karisoke research center derives the name, lived in this jungle with mountain gorillas she loved, cared and later died for in her cabin at her research station amidst her beloved and adopted kin-the mountain gorillas. Following the death of her friend DIGIT a gorilla she loved so much, Dian Fossey asked to be buried next to her friend, a request that was honoured and there she lies in the mist with her friend Digit. The journey to her research station and where she was buried, brings closer to you not only the kindness, passion, dedication and love she had for the gorillas but what actually they deserve from us- a contribution to their wellbeing and survival to the generations to come.
Mountain hiking & Nature walks: Mountain hiking and nature walks are the easy way to see the park in the mist and what actually lies beyond the mist, where you can have a glance of the virunga mountain chain and learning primordial stories behind their names. These mountains towering above the ground, provides some of the best views in Rwanda.
- Opportunity to visit Ruhengeri Market, providing you with an opportunity to see and buy local Rwandan fabrics and to see how local markets are organized and what they made of.
- Opportunity to visit our local projects, to see what you contribute and how it makes a difference in local peoples lives and interact with project members to learn much more.
- Opportunity to attend traditional dances and lessons, to see and have a taste of local culture and how it is embedded in the tradition.
- Opportunity to taste local food and beer and how it is different with home food and beer.
- Visiting local households and lifestyle experiences, to learn and feel the daily local life experience.
- Presentations on community development and mountain conservation and
- Guided walks in villages surrounding the park to interact with local people as you relax.
- Visiting twin lakes Burera and Ruhondo to have a view of the Virunga mountain chain.