Visit Volcanoes National Park for Mountain Gorillas & Golden Monkey Primates
This is the only Park in Rwanda for trekking the rare endangered Mountain gorillas. The Park is found in the North West of Rwanda bordering Mgahinga national park in Uganda and Virunga national park in the Democratic Republic of Congo.
The Park attracts a lot individuals from various countries all over the world of which its major attraction are; tracking of the Mountain gorillas plus its annual ‘’Kwita Izina’’ event which happens each year when the newly born gorillas are given names.
This event takes place in every September of each year of which the event involves in many conservationists, diplomats, sports personalities and philanthropists of which for the ‘’Kwita Izina’’ of this year (2018), some of the personalities who were to attend this event included; An American-Senegalese artist Akon, His xhighness Sheikh Dr. Abdulaziz Ali Bin Rashid, Madame Grace Machel, Samba Bathly, Alexandra Scott and many others.
The Park is among the Virunga massif which consists of Virunga national park in Congo, Mgahinga national park in Uganda plus Volcanoes national park itself.
Since the tracking of Mountain gorillas is only found in Bwindi impenetrable forest national park in Uganda and the Virunga massif in which the Park lies, Rwanda receives a large number of gorilla trekkers who would have went there to enjoy its gorilla tracking activity and the Kwita Izina ceremony which has lasted for 13 years from 2005 up to date.
Unlike in other gorilla tracking Parks, the tracking of mountain gorillas in Volcanoes is a luxury one with no extra costs since trekkers will not get difficulty in accessing the Park it is so close to Rwanda’s capital city (Kigali), a two hours and thirty minutes drive from Kigali, and the roads accessing the Park are all tarmac and in a fine condition.
Thus the Park can be easily entered either during dry or wet seasons unlike on the dirt roads which becomes slippery and hard to pass on them during the wet/rainy season.
For a trekker to go for gorilla tracking in the Park should owe a Rwanda gorilla permit which costs US$ 1500 if you are to only visit the Park, US$ 1050 if you are to visit more than one Park in Rwanda and it can also cost US$ 1275 if you are to have a seminar or conference in Kenya and then go for gorilla tracking in the Park.
The Park currently has 11 habituated gorilla families open to the trekkers which include; Karisimbi, Siso, Sabyinyo, Agashya, Kwitonda, Titus, Umubano, Ugenda, Bwenge, Amahoro, and Hirwa.
The Park inhabits over 200 Mountain gorillas and there are also other things which a trekker will enjoy including; golden monkeys, bush bucks, black fronted duikers, buffaloes, spotted hyenas, and almost 200 bird species.
Accommodations in this Park include; Mountain gorilla view lodge, Bisate lodge, Jack Hanna’s guest house, Kwitonda lodge, Sabyinyo silverback lodge, Bishops house, Virunga lodge, Mountain gorilla nest, Five Volcanoes boutique hotel, Kinigi guest house and many more.
Gorilla tracking starts at 08:30Am thus trekkers are emphasized to access the Park earlier. The tracking of gorillas is done in groups of 8 individuals per tracking group.
Trekkers are advised to maintain maximum silence while tracking the primates and when found, trekkers are asked to strictly spend one hour with the gorillas keeping a distance of at least 8 meters from where they are and when taking photos, trekkers are emphasized not to use the flashlight cameras because the lights are most likely to scare the gorillas hence running away.
The Park also has five active volcanoes which include; Karisimbi, Sabyinyo, Bisoke, Gahinga and Muhabura which are also attractive therefore if you are that tourist who also likes hiking, Karisimbi (two days hike) will be your better choice after tracking the Mountain gorillas.
At the base of Muhabura volcano are the twin lakes (Lake Burera and Lake Ruhondo) where a tourist will get the spectacular and beautiful view of landscape, local communities, wetlands, aquatic birds, Virunga volcanoes and many other attractions in Rwanda’s neighboring countries like D.R Congo and Uganda.
Thus the tourists of the Park will get boat cruises at the twin lakes which are a complement to the gorilla safaris in the Park. Canoe riding is also offered at the twin lakes where tourist will have spectacular views of the green vegetation plus some aquatic bird species mostly seen at the shores of the lakes.
Besides all those, a tourist will also interact with the local people and also visit the tomb of Dian Fossey who was an American conservationist who had gone to the Park to research and protect the lives of Mountain gorillas and was later assassinated by unknown assailants.
All these will make your visit to the Park so memorable and equip a great experience from it since you will be enjoying the views to various amazing things in the Park as well as you learn and discover many.