Volcanoes National Park Rwanda
Volcanoes National Park Rwanda also known as Parc National des Volcanoes in French lies in northwestern Rwanda and borders Virunga National Park in the Democratic Republic of Congo and Mgahinga Gorilla National Park in Uganda. Volcanoes National Park Rwanda is famous for gorilla tours in the Virunga Conservation Area and as the first African national park. The Park was gazetted in the year 1925 as the area surrounded by Mikeno, Karisimbi and Visoke volcanic peaks and a mountain gorilla’s natural sanctuary. This park is mostly known after the famous primatologist Dr Dian Fossey who arrived in this park in 1967 setting up Karisoke Research Centre between Visoke and Karisimbi. Dian Fossey later was assassinated by poachers she had vehemently fought all her life as portrayed in her autobiography – Gorillas in the Mist. Her graveyard at the research Centre has up to date become a great tourist attraction. Volcanoes National Park Rwanda became a battlefield during the Rwandan Civil War, with the park headquarters being attacked in 1992. The research Centre was abandoned, and all tourist activities (including visiting the gorillas) were stopped. They did not resume again until 1999 when the area was deemed to be safe and under control. There have been occasional infiltrations by Rwandan rebels from the Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda in subsequent years, but these are always stopped quickly by the Rwandan army and there is thought to be no threat to tourism in the park.
The well- known Volcanoes national park is habitat to Mountain Gorilla (Gorilla beringei beringei), golden monkeys (Cercopithecus mitis kandti), Spotted Hyena (Crocuta crocuta), buffaloes (Syncerus caffer), elephants, black-fronted duiker (Cephalophus niger), and bushbuck (Tragelaphus scriptus). The park also harbors an estimated total of 178 bird species including at least 29 endemics to Rwenzori Mountains and the Virungas.
As earlier described by the primatologist Dian Fossey, Volcanos is perfectly in the heart of Central Africa and being home of Virunga massifs, one has to shiver more than he or she sweats when climbing the hills in the park. The park is covered with rich, green lush rainforest the rich mosaic of montane ecosystems, which embrace evergreen and bamboo forest, open grassland, swamp and heath. An exhilarating trek through the cultivated foothills of the Virungas offers stirring views in all directions. Then, abruptly, the trail enters the national park, immersing trekkers in the mysterious intimacy of the rainforest, alive with the calls of colorful birds and chattering of the rare golden monkey, and littered with fresh spoor of the mountains’ elusive populations of buffalo and elephant. Through gaps in the forest canopy, the magnificent peaks are glimpsed, easily accessible and among the highest in Africa, beckoning an ascent.
Tourists’ Attractions in Volcanoes National Park Rwanda
Trekking to the Dian Fossey Tomb is one of the most sought after safari activities carried out while visiting Volcanoes national park for a gorilla trip. The trek involves a 30 minutes’ drive from the park headquarters to the trail head to access the Karisoke research camp where visitors walk for 10 minutes to the park boundary.
The mountain gorillas (Gorilla Gorilla Beringei Beringei), the world’s most endangered ape is found only in small portions of protected afro montane forests in northwest Rwanda, southwest Uganda and eastern DRC. The mountain gorilla is one of many species unique to these forests.
Located in the Musanze district just drive 90 minutes away from Kigali and formed over centuries of volcanic activity from the Virunga volcanoes, these caves give tourists a rare look into Rwandan earth and history. The 1.25 mile long cave formations are a great place to explore.
The rich and ancient Nyungwe forest has a wide diversity of animal species, making it a priority for conservation in Africa. The forest is situated in a region where several large-scale biogeographically zones meet and the variety of terrestrial biomes provides
Lake Burera and Lake Ruhondo are the two most neglected lakes of Rwanda. These are beautiful lakes located at the base of volcano Muhabura and close to the border with Uganda. They are surrounded by steep hills and large waterfalls with a backdrop of the Virunga volcanic mountains.
Tourist Activities in Volcanoes National Park Rwanda
The mountain gorillas (Gorilla Gorilla Beringei Beringei), the world’s most endangered ape is found only in small portions of protected afro montane forests in northwest Rwanda, southwest Uganda
The prominent activity also takes place in Volcanoes national park and it starts at the same time 7:00AM just like gorillas. These rare species are also listed as world endangered species and
Rising at an elevation of about 4507m above sea level is Mount Karisimbi is a stratovolcano which is the highest of the eight major volcanoes of the Virunga field and the 5th highest in Africa.
Nyungwe Forest National Park Rwanda
is situated in the majestic hills of southwestern Rwanda and its bordering Burundi on the south with Lake Kivu and the Democratic Republic of the Congo on the western part of the park. The park is the only largest montane forest remaining in Central and East Africa. It is perfectly positioned in the watershed between the basin of the river Nile on the eastern side and the basin of the river Congo on the western part. Nyungwe forest is one of the outstanding sources of the prominent Nile on the eastern part of the part of the park. Nyungwe National Park Rwanda was established in the year 2004 and it covers an area an estimated area of 970 km² of rainforest, grassland, bamboo, blogs and swamps. Cyangugu town is the nearest town located just 54 km from the town to the park on the western direction and Mount Bigugu is perfectly situated within the park
Akagera National Park Rwanda is perfectly situated in the north east of Rwanda along the border with Tanzania. The park was named after the Akagera River that flows along its eastern boundary and feeds into a labyrinth of lakes of which the largest is Lake Ihema. The rolling hills of Acacia and Brachystegia Woodland coupled with scattered grassland and swamp-fringed lakes along the meandering Akagera watercourse combine to create a park of breathtaking scenic beauty. Akagera National Park covers 1,200 km² in eastern Rwanda, along the Tanzanian border. It was established in the year 1934 to protect animals and vegetation in three Eco regions of savannah, mountain and swamp. The park is named for the Kagera River which flows along its eastern boundary feeding into several lakes the largest of which is Lake Ihema. The complex system of lakes and linking papyrus swamps makes up over 1/3 of the park and is the largest protected wetland in central Africa.