Volcanoes national park is located in the northwestern region of Rwanda and covers an area cover of 160 square kilometers and is surrounded by five volcanoes within the Virunga mountains and these include muhabura, gahinga, sabinyo, karisimbi and bisoke. The national park was gazetted in 1925 in order to conserve the endangered gorillas from poachers. The park is a home to the endangered mountain gorillas as well as the golden monkeys and was a home to a primatologist known as Dian Fossey.
ATTRACTIONS IN VOLCANOES NATIONAL PARK
The mountain gorillas are the worlds most endangered ape species living in the protected and conserved afro montane forests of the park. The national park has a number of gorilla families that are habituated and ready to be trekked by tourists. These include Sabinyo, Amahoro, Bwenge, Umubano, Susa, Hirwa, Agashya, Kwitonda and Karisimbi family.
Besides the mountain gorilla monkeys, the volcanoes national park is a home to the golden monkeys. Most of the golden monkeys in the national park are habituated. The national park has 2 habituated golden monkey families that have 80 to 100 members. One of the monkey group is found and trekked from mountain sabyinyo foothills.
The national park is blessed with the twin lakes that are found in Musanze district on the peak of mount muhabura. The twin lakes were formed by a result of volcanic glaciers from the erupted volcanoes that blocked river nyabarongo which flowed towards the north region of rwanda. The twin lakes are a great attraction because of the green vegetation as well as islands that can be visited while at the lakes.
The national park elongates up to the five volcanoes which make up the Virunga volcanoes. These include the karisimbi, bisoke, muhabura, gahinga and sabinyo. These offer an amazing view as well as habitat to a number of wildlife majorly the mountain gorillas as well as the golden monkeys.
ACTIVITIES IN VOLCANOES NATIONAL PARK
HIKING VIRUNGA MOUNTAINS
Within the volcanoes national park there are 5 Virunga mountains that have a number of attractions as they participate in the various hikes. The Virunga mountains include mount bisoke, mount gahinga, mount karisimbi, mount muhabura and mount sabinyo.
As tourists hike mount gahinga there are many attractions that are more rewarding such as the caldera that is usually used as a picnic area for hikers. The mountain has a number of bird species such as handsome francolin, strange weaver, archers ground robin, red faced woodland warbler, Rwenzori turaco, collared apalis, collared sunbird among others.
This is the most done activity within the national park while on the Rwanda safaris. Gorilla trekking requires tourists to hike the Virunga mountains in search of the endangered mountain gorillas within the park. When the tourists meet the endangered mountain gorillas, they get to learn more about the gorillas such as how they co-exist with each other, their day-to-day activities, how they feed among others.
Tourists within the volcanoes get an opportunity to spot various bird species such as the migratory bird species, those that are endemic to the Albertine among others. Bird species include the paradise flycatcher, African Rwenzori, double collared sunbird, Rwenzori turaco, common moorhen, Rwenzori night jar, grey throated tit, Rwenzori batis dusky turtle love, archer’s ground robin among others
GOLDEN MONKEY TREKKING
The golden monkey trekking requires tourists taking part in search for the habituated golden monkeys. During the trek the tourists are rewarded with a number of attractions such as black and white colobus monkey, dents monkey, Hamlyn’s monkey as they swing in the bamboo trees. The tourists get a chance to learn more about the primates as they take pictures within the national park.
DIAN FOSSEY HIKE
Dian Fossey was a primatologist and conservationist who dedicated her whole life to research about the mountain gorillas and that’s why she had set up her camp within the national park. The survival of mountain gorillas is credited to her within Rwanda. Dian Fossey was killed by the poachers and was buried next to her Karisoke research center.
The hike is greatly done in the morning as tourists report at kinigi at 7am to meet the rangers for briefing and thus proceed up to mount Bisoke where the trek starts from. A walking stick is given to the trekkers free of charge. The entire trek takes 1-3 hours depending on the fitness levels