Volcanoes National Park Rwanda

Volcanoes National park in Rwanda in French is called Parch national des volcano and in Kinyarwanda, it is called Pariki Y’lgihugu Y’Ibirunga and is located in the north-western part of Rwanda. Volcanoes National park covers an area of 170 sq meters of the rainforest with a total of three volcanoes out of eight in the Virunga ranges. These volcanoes include Gahinga, Muhabura, Bisoke, Karisimbi, and Sabyinyo. The park borders Virunga National park in the Democratic Republic of Congo and Mgahinga Gorilla National Park in Uganda. The park is home to almost half of the world’s mountain Gorillas in the world and golden monkeys. It was a base for the primatologist Dian Fossey who used to carry out research in Gorillas. Dian Fossey arrived in 1967and set up the Karisoke Research Centre which was located between Visoke and Karisimbi.

Volcanoes National park Rwanda was gazetted in 1926, the area was bounded by Bisoke, Mikeno, and Karisimbi. The area was to protect the Mountain Gorillas from poachers. Volcanoes National park was the battlefield for the Rwandan Civil War when the park headquarters were attacked in 1992.

The park inhabits the mountain Gorillas, wildlife, Vegetation, Bird species, tree species, primates, reptiles and many more. 

Volcanoes National Park Rwanda is located 2 hours drive from Kigali International airport and this is the main entrance to access the mountain Gorillas in the world.

This park is not only home to mountain Gorillas, but also to golden monkeys, bird species, amphibians, Insects, tree species and many more to spot. 

Volcanoes National Park Rwanda
Gorillas in Volcanoes National Park Rwanda

Visit the park for a life-changing adventure to see the endangered species in their natural habitats, which was gazetted for protecting half of the world’s Mountain Gorillas that face extinction as a result of poaching.

Volcanoes National Park Rwanda is located in a small village called Musanze. The area is formerly called the Ruhengeri, and the park is accessible by public transport from Gisenyi or Kigali from the airport.

The park headquarters briefing starts at 7 am at Kinigi national park.

Activities done in Volcanoes national park Rwanda include gorilla trekking, visiting the Karismbi volcanoes like Mount Bisoke for a hike, hike to Dian Fossey’s grave, visiting the Twin lakes of Ruhondo and Bulera.

In 2005, they introduced the gorilla baby naming ceremony for Gorillas which is called Kwita Izina as a result of a new population in Volcanoes National park.

Volcanoes National park Rwanda, the park protects mountain Gorillas who live in families, the families which include silverbacks, black backs, Infants, females, option to visit one of the Gorilla families in Volcanoes National park.

The Gorilla families in the park include

  • Amahoro Gorilla family, the word Amahoro in Kinyarwanda means peace, this family is led by a gorilla silverback called Ubumwe.
  • Hirwa Gorilla family, this family has 13 members including Susa, Munyinya, Sabyinyo who formed the family.
  • Sabyinyo Gorilla family is lead by Guhonda silverback, the family is located near the slopes of the park.
  • Kwitonda Gorilla family is a family that is led by Kwitonda which means humble one, it lives on the slopes of Mount Muhabura.
  • Agashya Gorilla family, this family has over 14 family members its led by Agashya. Its name is derived from a local word which means change.
  • Umubano gorilla family is led by Charles, the word Umubano means living together.
  • Ugenda Gorilla family, its name is derived from the word roaming, the family moves from place to place near the Karisimbi place.
  • Susa A, this Gorilla family is the largest gorilla family that has over 42 gorilla individuals.  It is located near Dian Fossey camp.
  • Karisimbi which is commonly known as Susa B, it has 2 silverbacks and located at the upper slopes of Mountain Karisimbi.
  • Titus Gorilla family, this group is led by a silverback called Titus it is the oldest Family in volcanoes National park.
  • Bwenge gorilla family, the word Bwenge means wisdom; it’s located at the Bisoke and Karisimbi mountains.

Volcanoes national park Rwanda can be accessed on foot with hiking gears, and therefore book with a tour company who is registered under the Rwanda Development Board for a great excursion.

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