How to access volcanoes national park in Rwanda?
How to access volcanoes national park in Rwanda? Volcanoes national park Rwanda covers a total area of 160 sq. km and is situated in Musanze district in Ruhengeri in the northwestern part of the country. Volcanoes national park is part of the Virunga conservation area and its located on the borders of Uganda near Mgahinga national park and DR Congo near Virunga national park.
Volcanoes national park is home to so many unique creatures with the famous ones being the endangered mountain gorillas. other attractions in volcanoes national park include the endangered golden monkeys, 178 bird species, and Virunga volcanoes like Mountain Karisimbi, Mountain Bisoke, Mountain Gahinga, Mountain Sabyinyo, sand Mountain Muhabura.
Volcanoes national park is also home to other wildlife such as forest elephants, forest buffaloes, spotted hyenas, giant forest hogs, bushbucks, duikers, several monkey species, and much more. There are so many tourist attractions in volcanoes national park Rwanda and these include mountain gorilla trekking, golden monkey trekking, volcano hiking, bird watching, nature walks, and cultural visits.
Volcanoes national park is one of the national park to access in the shortest hours unlike Uganda and DR Congo where you reach the park after several hours of drive. to access volcanoes national park Rwanda takes 2-3 hours from Kigali city or Kigali international airport using road transport. Volcanoes national park is found in the areas of Burera district, Rubavu, Musanze district, and Nyabihu district in the northwestern side of the country.
Tourists in the outside countries will have to fly to Kigali international airport and the driver guide will pick you up from here and transfer you to volcanoes national park using road transport because there are no direct flights to Musanze. The distance from Kigali to volcanoes national park takes 160 sq. km which means You can even sleep in Kigali and trek mountain gorillas in volcanoes national park the next day.
Tourists that are in Uganda and want to visit volcanoes national park can drive to the southwestern part of the country and then cross to Rwanda using Katuna border in Kabale or Cyanika border in Kisoro and then drive to the park. The Southwestern part of Uganda is where you find Mgahinga national park and Bwindi impenetrable forest national park all harboring mountain gorillas.
Activities you can do in volcanoes national park
Volcanoes national park is the home of two endangered primates which are the mountain gorillas and golden monkeys. Gorilla trekking and golden monkey trekking are some of the activities you can do in volcanoes national park Rwanda. To participate in gorilla trekking you will require a valid gorilla trekking permit that costs $1500 per person and for golden monkey trekking, the permit is $100 per person per trek.
Trekking mountain gorillas or golden monkeys in volcanoes national park starts with a briefing at the park headquarters where rangers do teach the trekkers about the dos and don’ts of the trekking activity. Later the trekkers are taken to the starting points and armed ranger guides lead them into the jungle where they spend 2-7 hours searching for the primates. On meeting these primates, they are given 1 hour to be around them, watch them do daily activities, and take photos. While searching for the gorillas or golden monkeys, trekkers get to meet park mammals, primates, and different bird species.
Being a home of over 178 bird species of which 16 are endemic to the area, volcanoes national park is one of the best birding spots in the country. Tourists who visit volcanoes national park for birding exercises do encounter birds such as Baglafecht weaver, Grauer’s rush warbler, bateleur, Rwenzori batis, Rwenzori turaco, blue-spotted wood dove, Rwenzori double–collared Sunbird, cinnamon-chested bee-eater, handsome francolin, strange weaver, red-backed shrike, dusky crimson-wing, collared Apalis, African long-eared owl, red-faced woodland warbler, dusky turtle dove, and Archer’s ground robin among others.
Volcanoes national park is the only place where you will find over 5 mountains in the area. The national park has mounatsin such as bisoek, gahinga, sabyinyo, muhabura and kariismbi. All these mountains are available at any time of eh year for hiking, all you need are the hiking permits from the park offices.
Hiking the Virunga volcanoes starts with a briefing at the park headquarters and later the armed rangers lead the hikers to the summit of the mountains with passing through different vegetation zones, meeting different park mammals, primates, and different bird species.
Hiking the summit of the Virunga mountains takes different hours but upon reaching the summit of these mountains, you will have spectacular views of the surroundings like the neighboring mountains, lakes like Burera and Ruhondo, Kivu, country borders, and there is a crater lake on top of Mountain Bisoke.
While in volcanoes national park, you can do cultural visits to Iby’iwacu cultural village. The cultural village is located near the national park and the driver guide will just transfer you to the area and then the local people will take you around the small village. You will be able to visit different homesteads where you will meet local people do day to day activities, take part in activities like cooking after which taste some of their local foods, interact with the people of which some are former poachers, support local business owners, and in the end, you will get entertained by the traditional dancers.
What is the best time to visit volcanoes national park?
Volcanoes national park Rwanda can be visited at any time of the year for any activity but there are months that are better than the rest. the drier months are the best for a visit to volcanoes national park most especially when you are going to trek primates or do hiking. During the dry season which occurs from June to September and December to February, there is little or no rainfall, the trekking trails are dry, roads leading to the park are passable, and the vegetation in the park is short giving clear views of animals.
Tourists can still visit volcanoes national park in the rainy season that occurs from March to May and October to November but during this time, there is plenty of rainfall, the trekking trails are muddy, the vegetation in the park is tall giving unclear views of the park animals and the roads leading to the park are impassable. For budget travelers, this season favors you because lodges do give huge discounts on accommodation facilities and then the birders this is the best time for you because there are a lot of birds in the park including the migratory ones.
Where to stay on a safari to volcanoes national park?
Accommodation facilities in volcanoes national park are so many and they range from budget to mid-range to luxury options with where to stay depending on your budget. The accommodation facilities in volcanoes national park do include Bisate Lodge, Sabyinyo Silverback Lodge, Da Vinci Gorilla Lodge, One $ Only Gorilla’s Nest Lodge, Mountain Gorilla View Lodge, Singita Kwitonda Lodge, Virunga Lodge, Ruzizi Tented Camp, Le Bambou Gorilla Lodge, Gorilla Volcanoes Hotel, Villa Gorilla, and Five Volcanoes Boutique Hotel among others.