Volcanoes National Park Rwanda also known as Parc National des Volcans 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
Tourist Activities in Volcanoes National Park Rwanda
- Mountain Gorilla trekking
- Ibyiwacu cultural encounter
- Golden Monkey trekking
- Dian Fossey tomb tour
- Mountain Karisimbi Hike