Activities in Volcanoes National Park
Activities in Volcanoes National Park that tourists can do at any time when they do visit range from adventurous to soft. Located in Musanze just about 3 hours away from Kigali International Airport, the park is easily accessed that travellers can even do one day short safaris like 1 day Rwanda gorilla trekking safari. The park has a number of attractions that include the flora, fauna with the most captivating being the endangered mountain gorillas and the rear golden monkeys. The 6 enormous volcanoes of Muhabura, Karisimbi, Gahinga, Sabinyo and Bisoke are a sight and wonder to marvel at, while the various bird species with many of them endemics, butterflies, large mammals like forest elephants all make the park the more captivating that travellers cannot tire of visiting, thus being the most visited tour destination in Rwanda.
Volcanoes National Park is a top tourist destination in Rwanda that has seen a growing number of travellers visiting it over the years particularly for gorilla safaris. There are however other activities that travellers to Volcanoes National Park can do apart from gorilla trekking. Among the popular tourist activities in Volcanoes National Park include among others;
Mountain gorilla trekking
Mountain gorilla trekking is definitely the most done and sought after tourist activity in Volcanoes National Park. Mountain gorillas were up until 2018 considered critically endangered species. Since the conservation efforts by various stake holder paid off, they are now listed as just an endangered species. Mountain gorillas can only be found Volcanoes National Park, Virunga National Park in Congo, Mgahinga Gorilla National Park in Uganda which all three make the Virunga Massif Area, as well as Bwindi Impenetrable National Park which is renowned for hosting well over half the total world gorilla population.
Volcanoes National Park has 12 habituated gorilla families that tourists can visit daily in groups of 8 per gorilla family for a maximum of only one hour. Amahoro, Umubano, Hirwa and Karisimbi gorilla families among others are some of the habituated gorilla families in Volcanoes National Park that travellers can visit while on a gorilla trekking adventure. Gorilla trekking in Volcanoes National Park starts as early as 7am with a briefing of what to expect during the trek by the park officials over Rwandan brewed coffee. The activity can take anything between 30 minutes to 4 hours or more depending on the location of the gorillas and the terrain. Once travellers encounter the silverbacks, infants or the very curious and playful juveniles or mother gorillas nursing their toddlers just as a human would will leave you awed in ways you have never imagined possible. To be allowed to do gorilla trekking in Volcanoes National Park, tourists are required to buy gorilla permits with a single entry Rwanda gorilla permit costs $1500 for an hour of interaction with the gentle yet giant apes. Gorilla permits need to be booked well in advance to secure one’s spot since they sell out very fast due to high demand. Have a reputable tour operator help you with the booking, or get in touch with the Rwanda Development Board reservations team in Kigali.
Golden monkey tracking in Volcanoes National Park
Second to gorilla trekking is golden monkey tracking in Volcanoes National Park that sees thousands of travellers visiting the park just to get a glimpse of them. Golden monkeys are exceptional creatures that can only be found in Volcanoes National Park as well as Mgahinga Gorilla National Park in Uganda as their natural habitats and not some captives in zoos and cages. Golden monkey tracking in Volcanoes National Park is relatively cheap, costing only $100 to encounter them for one hour.
Apart from the enchanting gorillas and golden monkeys as well as other wildlife in Volcanoes National Park, the volcanic mountains that are in the park are all worth a visit. Travellers are sure to be rewarded with some of the most wonderful views and scenery. Mount Karismibi in particular is the most opted for volcano by most travellers after volcano climbing in Volcanoes National Park.
Caving in Volcanoes National Park is done in the Musanze caves in the guidance of experienced guides. The mystery of the caves, their formation and all that there is to tell and experience about them shouldn’t be missed out by travellers exploring the park.
Dian Fossey tomb Hike
Dian Fossey was the American primatologist who spent almost two decades studying the gorillas and brought their plight to the attention of the world. With her efforts to protect and study the gorillas’ behaviours, mountain gorillas got a different perspective from the people. She was however murdered in her cabin in the park, and was buried next to her gorilla friend Digit, along with some other gorillas. The Dian Fossey tomb hike will reward travellers with views of elephants, buffaloes, primates like golden monkeys and even gorillas if lucky.
Guided nature walking
Guided nature walks are a great way to explore the park. While at it, be on the lookout for birds that are abundant in the park with a number of endemics. There are a number of guided walks available in the park with the most popular being the one that leads to Musanze market where travellers can interact in detail with the local people. Nature walks to the twin lakes of Burera and Ruhondo are perfect for having a picnic once there. If not up to a walk there, a canoe ride would be opted for. They are a perfect place to be after gorilla trekking for they are refreshing and a calming sight.
The IbyÍwacu cultural village has travellers experiencing the local way of life of the Rwandans. While on a visit at the IbyÍwacu, travellers get to see the traditional house of a local king and also get to take part in the preparation of a herbal mixture by a traditional medicine man.
With all the activities in Volcanoes National Park that travellers can opt to do, make time to plan for a wonderful experience. Get in touch with a reputable tour operator to have it all done for you, and get to explore Volcanoes National Park and take with you the most amazing experiences and memories.