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Things you need to know about volcanoes national park Rwanda

Best time to visit volcanoes national park Rwanda

Things you need to know about volcanoes national park Rwanda

What is the best time to visit volcanoes national park Rwanda? Find out all things you need to know about volcanoes national park Rwanda. Located in a small country called Rwanda, Volcanoes national park was first gazetted on a small piece of land in 1925 and this was done so to protect the remaining species of mountain gorillas from poachers. By 1925 it was the first national park to be gazetted on the African continent and 4 years later the park was extended to protect more animals and mountain gorillas. The park covered a total area of 8090 sq. km and with time more land was cleared for human settlement and the other to grow pyrethrum.

Wildlife in volcanoes national park

The vegetation in volcanoes national park Rwanda comprises of the rain forest, montane forest, bamboo forest, swamps, thickets, meadows, marshes, grassland, and alpine forests on different altitudes. The park is famous for mountain gorillas but there are other animals found in this park and these include the black-fronted duikers, golden monkeys, spotted hyenas, , bushbucks buffaloes, elephants and there are over 178 bird species so far recorded of which 16 are endemic to the Virunga and Rwenzori mountains.

Dian Fossey in volcanoes national park

Dian Fossey was an American primatologist who fought so had to protect mountain gorillas and it’s for her role that mountain gorillas areas of today increasing in the world. The American young lady come to Rwanda in 1967 and taught the local people the importance of mountain gorillas, made some of the gorillas get used to human presence and she fought poachers and also burnt their houses.

Dian Fossey set up Karisoke Research Centre on arrival to the park and this was built between mountain Bisoke and Karisimbi. She spent most of the time learning about mountain gorillas, habituating them, and chasing away poachers from the park. For unclear reasons she was murdered and her body was found in the cabin at her home on 26th December 1985.

What makes volcanoes national park Rwanda famous?

What makes volcanoes national park Rwanda famous are the gorillas. The park is home to mountain gorillas which happen to be one of the two subspecies of the eastern gorillas. The gorilla subspecies do live in the thick rainforests on the slopes of the Virunga volcanoes. The Virunga mountains in volcanoes national park are 5 and these are Gahinga, Muhabura, Karisimbi, Sabyinyo and Bisoke.

To encounter the rare mountain gorillas of volcanoes national park, you will need to be aged 15 years and above and you must possess a valid gorilla trekking permit which is issued out by the Rwanda Development Board although you can book it through Africa Adventure Vacations. The gorilla trekking permits do allow you to be around mountain gorillas for 1 hour in this park and this time does help you know about their habits, witness their daily activities and take photos.

Where is the volcanoes national park located in Africa?

Volcanoes national park is located in a small country Rwanda in East Africa. In Rwanda, you can find volcanoes national park in Kinigi, Ruhengeri, northwest of Rwanda. The gorilla national park is part of the Virunga conservation area and it borders Virunga national park that is in DR Congo, and Mgahinga national park in southwestern Uganda. Travelers in Kigali city that want to visit the volcanoes national park take 2-3 hours and reach this park which makes it the nearest park from the city.

Attractions in volcanoes national park


What has made volcanoes national park popular to the outside world are the primates. The park hosts some of the remaining population of mountain gorillas and also the golden monkeys. These primates do live in the thick vegetation of this park which comprises rain forests and bamboo forests. They mostly live on the slopes of Virunga volcanoes

Tourists can trek any of these primates in volcanoes national park as long as they are above the age of 15 years and they have a valid trekking permit that’s issued out by Rwanda Development Board. The gorilla permit goes for $1500 per person per trek and the golden monkey trekking permit goes for $100 per person per trek.


Over 178 bird species are found in volcanoes national park and 16 of these are endemic to the Virunga and Rwenzori mountains region. Tourists interested in birding can come to do the birding activities in this park at any time of the year though the rainy season would be the best since there are a lot of migratory birds in the park as well as permanent ones.

The birds of volcanoes national park include African green broadbill, dusky crimson wing, Rwenzori turaco, red-faced woodland warbler, Archer’s ground robin, black and white manikin, handsome francolin, lesser honeyguide, grauer’s rush warbler, collared apalis, red-backed shrike, bateleur, dusky crimson wing, baglafecht weaver, and cinnamon-chested bee-eater among others.


There are over 5 mountains situated within the area of Volcanoes national park and these are Mont Bisoke, Mount Gahinga, Mount Karisimbi, Mount Muhabura, and Mount Sabyinyo. Four of these mountains are open for hiking activities so you will need to choose the best for you however Mount Bisoke and Mount Karisimbi are the most hiked ones.

At the summit of these mountains, you will have an aerial view of the surrounding areas, the national park, surrounding mountains, lakes like Kivu, Burera, and Ruhondo. You will also find a crater lake at the summit of Bisoke. During the hike, you will meet some of the park animals like mountain gorillas, golden monkeys, buffaloes, elephants, bushbucks, duikers, several monkeys, and different bird species.

Best time to visit volcanoes national park Rwanda

Yes if you are looking for the best time to visit volcanoes national park Rwanda, the park is open at any time of the year which means that tourists can book and have their safari in this park. However, there are some months that are better than the rest and these are the drier months. These months do occur from June to September and December to February and are characterized by little and sometimes no rainfall. In the drier months, the trekking, and hiking trails are always dry, the vegetation is short giving clear views of the park animals and the roads to the park are passable.

Tourists can still visit the volcanoes national park in the rainy season of October to November and March to May but during this time there is plenty of rainfall in the country. The rainy season is good for budget travelers for they get huge discounts on accommodation facilities, they are also good for birders because during these months there are plenty of bird species in the park including the migratory ones. There is plenty of food in the park in the rainy seasons which means activities like birding and primate trekking takes a few hours since primates and birds don’t move too far to look for food.

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