A Brief History of Volcanoes National Park : Volcanoes National Park, located in northeastern Rwanda, is the number one tropical destination for every traveler visiting the “Land of a Thousand Hills.” The park’s rich history extends back to 1925 when the Belgian colonial administration designated it as a national park.

Volcanoes National Park in Rwanda is a famous tourist destination owing to its habituated mountain gorillas, which are the park’s principal attraction. The park, which is part of the Virunga Volcanic Massif, is home to around 300 mountain gorillas, which may be walked by tourists all year.

The national park is located in Musanze, Rwanda’s northwestern province. The national park is home to a variety of bird and plant species. It has a rainforest and bamboo cover of 160 square kilometers. Rwanda’s Volcanoes National Park is surrounded by the Democratic Republic of the Congo’s Virunga National Park and Uganda’s Mgahinga National Park. Mount Karisimbi, Mount Sabyinyo, Mount Gahinga, Mount Muhabura, and Mount Bisoke are among the five volcanoes that make up the Virunga volcanic area, A Brief History of Volcanoes National Park

Among the animal species found in the park are bushbucks, vervets and white and black colobus monkeys, spotted hyenas, forest elephants, buffaloes, and giant pigs. It includes 178 bird species, 13 of which are located in the Virunga Conservation Area and 16 of which are found in the Rwenzori Mountains.

Volcanoes National Park was established in 1929 and was formerly known as Albert National Park after King Albert 1. During that time, the park was managed by the Belgian Colonialist administration.

After attaining independence in the 1960s, Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of the Congo partitioned the national park. This effectively cut the park in two, giving birth to the world-famous Virunga National Park in Congo.

Dian Fossey, a prominent researcher, began researching mountain gorilla tribes in Rwanda’s Volcanoes National Park in 1966, and in 1967 she established a base there. She was buried in a cemetery located within the park following her murder in 1985.

In the early 1990s, the park became a battleground for the Rwandan civil war. The genocidal conflict not only had a significant impact on the lives of Rwandans, but it also limited tourism activity in the area until 1999.

But, in 2005, the Rwandan government instituted the ‘Kwita Iziina’ infant naming ritual for baby gorillas. This was done in order to revitalize the park’s tourist and conservation efforts. The ritual for naming infant gorillas takes place every year and involves both the local population and tourists.

The park’s headquarters are presently located in Kinigi, a tiny village in Musanze, which was originally known as Ruhengeri. The park headquarters at Kinigi is where trekking permits are granted and people entering the national park are briefed.

Activities in Volcanoes National Park-Rwanda.

Gorilla Trekking

One of the four national parks where mountain gorillas may be seen in Volcanoes National Park. The others are Virunga in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Mgahinga Gorilla National Park, and Bwindi Impenetrable National Park in Uganda. In Mgahinga Gorilla national park, there is a good probability of sighting gorillas. Tracking is possible with 10 habituated Rwanda gorilla groups led by competent and motivated rangers. It is critical to be in good physical condition before engaging in an activity that might be physically taxing depending on the gorilla group you are allocated to.

Trackers can pay roughly $15-30 to hire a porter to help them with extra luggage. For additional information on porters, see our page on gorilla trekking for the handicapped. A gorilla permit in Rwanda costs $1500, with a portion of the proceeds benefiting local people and infrastructure development around the park, A Brief History of Volcanoes National Park

Rwanda gorilla permits can be obtained directly from the Rwanda Development Board or, more simply, via a tour operator. Long-sleeved shirts and pants, hand gloves, raincoats, and hiking shoes are required for gorilla trekking.

Golden Monkey Trekking

Monitoring golden monkeys have grown in popularity over the years, ranking second only to viewing gorillas. It pays $100 to see the endangered monkeys feed, groom, and swing from one bamboo tree to another. Rwanda Volcanoes National Park Tour A group can have approximately 100 members and is generally led by a dominating guy.

Tracking golden monkeys may be done before or after gorilla trekking. Monitoring Golden Monkeys is less difficult than tracking gorillas since they do not go to high altitudes in search of fresh food like gorillas.

A Brief History of Volcanoes National Park
Golden Monkey Trekking in Rwanda

They prefer to eat the bamboo shoots that grow near the volcanoes’ bases. Permits for golden monkeys do not need to be reserved in advance like those for gorillas, although we recommend doing it early just in case.

Hike to Dian Fossey Gravesite

Dian Fossey is widely regarded as one of the best primatologists of all time. Poaching of wildlife, notably mountain gorillas, was considerably decreased in the Volcanoes National Park as a result of her bravery and dedication. Mountain gorillas would most likely be gone today if it weren’t for her efforts. She is also recognized for inventing innovative techniques for making gorillas feel at ease in the company of humans by replicating their noises and obtaining the acceptance/trust of the dominant male.

Nowadays, hundreds of tourists pay their respects to this renowned environmentalist by visiting her tomb and the old Karisoke Research Center, which is located between Mount Karisimbi and Mount Bisoke. The guided hike lasts around three hours and costs $75. As one climbs the volcanoes to her previous base, one will be able to feel what she had to go through, as well as her tenacity and love for the gorillas.

Bisoke and Karisimbi Mount Climbing

Mount Bisoke in Volcanoes national park is an extinct volcano that is part of the larger Virunga mountain range. It takes 3 hours to get from Kigali city to the mountain’s base. Mount Bisoke is a one-day hike that is less difficult than Karisimbi. Hikers must, however, be reasonably fit to accomplish the exercise. The hiking permit costs $75, and like with other park activities, it begins with training at the park headquarters before traveling out to the starting location. The roads from the park headquarters to the head trail can be muddy and strewn with stones, necessitating the use of a four-wheel drive vehicle. Porters are available for rent for roughly $15 for individuals with large luggage, A Brief History of Volcanoes National Park

Mount Karisimbi is an extinct volcano with a height of about 4,507m. Climbing Mount Karisimbi is one of Musanze’s most popular tourist attractions. It is Africa’s fifth highest peak, thus mental and physical preparation is required to complete the two-day trip. The trek takes you through dense forests before arriving at 3700m for the first rest, rest, and overnight halt. Hikers then go on to the peak over the last steep stretch early in the morning. Hikers are rewarded with spectacular views of Volcanoes National Park, the snow-capped Rwenzori Mountains, Mount Nyiragongo, and all the volcanoes in the Virunga region from the summit.

Twin Lake of Ruhondo and Burera.

After participating in a significant activity such as gorilla trekking, one way to unwind is to visit the twin lakes of Ruhondo and Burera. A boat ride over the deep waters of these two lakes will reward you with stunning views of wildlife and a large mountainous landscape dotted with waterfalls. Visiting the lake islands allows you to interact with the residents and learn about their rich past and culture, which distinguishes them from the other tribes in Rwanda.

How to get to Volcanoes National Park.

The Volcanoes National Park is not far from Kigali. Musanze District in Rwanda’s Northern Province is about three hours away by car from Kigali. This means that if you leave Kigali at 4 a.m., you may go gorilla trekking in one day.

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