Volcanoes National Park, also known as Parc National Des Volcanos, is a must-visit destination for anyone seeking an unforgettable Gorilla Safari in Rwanda. The park, which is believed to be the oldest national park in Africa, is the only home to mountain gorillas in Rwanda and boasts an impressive variety of primates and wildlife, including golden monkeys, hyenas, elephants, buffaloes, bushbucks, and duikers.
Located in Musanze/Ruhengeri, the park is easily accessible from nearby Mgahinga National Park and Bwindi Impenetrable National Parks in Uganda, as well as the Volcanoes National Park in DR Congo. In fact, the park is part of the largest cluster of gorillas, with more than half of the world’s gorillas living in this region.
Apart from Gorilla trekking, visitors to the park can also enjoy hiking through bamboo forests, savannah grasslands, and vent swamps, as well as exploring the beautiful volcanoes of Gahinga, Muhabura, Sabinyo, Kaisimbi, and Bisoke.
If you’re planning to visit Volcanoes National Park for gorilla trekking, there are several ways to get there. You can either drive from Kigali, the capital city of Rwanda, or fly into Kigali International Airport and take a private or shared transfer to the park. It’s important to note that gorilla trekking permits are limited and must be booked in advance, so make sure to plan your trip well in advance and secure your permits early.
In summary, Volcanoes National Park is a must-visit destination for anyone seeking an incredible Gorilla Safari in Rwanda. With its breathtaking landscapes, diverse wildlife, and fascinating primates, the park promises an unforgettable experience that will stay with you forever.
If you’re planning a trip to Rwanda, then visiting the Volcanoes National Park for gorilla tracking is a must-do activity. With more than 600 mountain gorillas in the park and 10 available gorilla families for tracking, it’s no wonder why this is the most popular activity in the park. However, the question remains: how do you get to Volcanoes National Park for gorilla tracking?
Thankfully, the answer is simple. The park can be accessed by road or by air, depending on your interests and budget. The park is located in Musanze/Ruhengeri, making it easy to find on a road map. Once you arrive, you’ll be surrounded by the park’s stunning vegetation, which includes bamboo forests, savannah grassland, vent swamps, and volcanoes like Gahinga, Muhabura, Sabinyo, Kaisimbi, and Bisoke. This diverse landscape offers excellent hiking opportunities to those visiting the park for gorilla tracking or any other activity.
Volcanoes National Park is also home to other primates and wildlife, such as hyenas, buffaloes, elephants, bushbucks, duikers, and the majestic golden monkeys. And, of course, the park is most famous for its mountain gorillas. One of the best-known gorilla families is the Susa Gorilla Family, which lives high up on Mount Karisimbi and was studied by the renowned primatologist Dian Fossey. The other groups stay much lower down the slopes and are easier to track, constantly on the move and ready to be discovered by eager adventurers.
One of the easiest ways to access the park is by road. If you arrive at Kigali airport, it is only a 2-3 hour drive to the park. Tour operators such as Trek Africa Tours provide experienced safari guides who know the park location and will get you there in no time. They will also connect you to the Kinigi headquarters for tracking briefing and group allocation.
For those coming from Uganda, it is also possible to connect to the park. If you have time in Uganda and are visiting other national parks, you can drive for approximately 6-7 hours to the park. For those interested in double-tracking, Bwindi is just a 2-3 hour drive through the Cyanika Border.
One advantage of Volcanoes National Park is that it is the only park where one can track gorillas and fly back home on the same day. This is because of its closeness to Kigali city. However, Bwindi and Mgahiga National Parks require an extra night stay around the park if you are to fly out through Entebbe Airport. The drive from these parks is approximately 8-9 hours, which can be exhausting for visitors who are not nature lovers.
For those who prefer flying, Volcanoes National Park is conveniently located close to Kigali, the capital city of Rwanda. You can arrive in Kigali and be taken directly to your accommodation in Ruhengeri, the gateway to the park. This means you can even arrive in the late afternoon and still make it to the park for an overnight stay before your Gorilla tracking adventure the next day.
In contrast, if you were visiting Bwindi Impenetrable National Park in Uganda, you would need at least 5 hours of driving time from Kigali or 8-9 hours from Entebbe after landing, making it a longer journey.
For those starting their trip in Uganda, there are also options for domestic flights to Kisoro Airstrip. However, please note that all flights to this region are morning flights due to weather conditions.
By choosing to fly, visitors to Volcanoes National Park can save time and energy, making the most of their adventure in this beautiful region of Africa.
The cost of a Gorilla permit in Volcanoes National Park is the most expensive among all the national parks that offer Mountain Gorilla tracking. A single trek permit costs USD1500.00 per person. However, visitors can take advantage of special discounts. Those who visit at least three national parks in Rwanda can enjoy a discounted rate of USD1050.00 per person per trek, while those attending conferences in Rwanda can get a permit at a rate of USD1275.00 per person.
Volcanoes National Park is a year-round destination for Gorilla tracking. However, the best time to visit the park is during the drier months of the year, from June to mid-September and December to February. During these months, the park is less muddy and trekking through the forest is more comfortable.
That being said, Gorilla tracking is an all-year activity, and permits are available every day, allowing visitors to choose their preferred dates according to their travel plans. Whether you plan to visit during the dry season or the rainy season, you can still have an unforgettable experience tracking the majestic mountain gorillas in their natural habitat.
If you’re planning a trip to Volcanoes National Park in Rwanda, there are plenty of accommodation options to suit all budgets. You can choose from luxury, mid-range, or budget facilities depending on your preference and financial situation.
For luxury lodges, there are five great options: Five Volcanoes Hotels, Mountain Gorillas’ Nest Lodge, Sabinyo Silverback Lodge, Bisate Lodge, and Virunga Volcanoes Lodge. These lodges provide VIP rooms with excellent services, including room service and complimentary alcoholic drinks (check with the lodge for details).
If you’re looking for mid-range lodges that offer good value for your money, consider Mountain Gorilla View Lodge, Lebambou Gorilla Lodge, or Davinci Lodge. These lodges provide affordable rates and decent accommodation.
For budget travelers, there are basic accommodations and camping options available. You can choose from Gorilla Solution Lodge, Villa Gorilla, Virunga Hotel, Faraji Hotel, Kinigi Hotel, Hotel Muhabura, or La Palme Hotel or Home Inn.
It’s recommended that you book accommodation near the park headquarters, so you can easily connect and arrive for your Gorilla tracking briefing by 7:00 am. The briefing exercise is essential to ensure your safety and the gorillas’ wellbeing during your tracking experience.
Volcanoes National Park is not just about Gorilla tracking; there are many other activities that visitors can engage in during their visit. Apart from the popular Gorilla tracking activity, visitors can also take part in Golden Monkey tracking. The Golden Monkey tracking process is similar to Gorilla tracking, and visitors are required to be at the park by 7:00 am for briefing before heading out to the forest to track the Golden Monkeys. Visitors can spend an hour with these rare and delightful creatures once they are found. The permit price for Golden Monkey tracking is USD100.00 for foreign nonresidents, USD65.00 for foreign residents of Rwanda, and USD80.00 for foreign residents of East Africa other than Rwanda.
Hiking is another exciting activity that visitors can take part in during their visit to Volcanoes National Park. Visitors can hike five of the mountains in the Virunga region, with Mount Karisimbi being the highest at 4507m followed by Mt. Bisoke at 37771m, Mt. Gahinga at 3470m, Mt. Muhabura at 4127m, and Mt. Mikeno at 4437. Hikes are conducted daily and require no prior arrangement.
Other activities in the park include birding, nature walks, cave visits, community visits, volunteer work, and the famous Dian Fossey trail. Visitors can book these activities on the ground without any prior arrangements. Make sure to add these optional activities to your itinerary for an even more enriching experience during your visit to Volcanoes National Park.
Booking a gorilla safari can be a daunting task, but it’s best to leave it to a recognized safari company to ensure that all services are booked and confirmed. Trek Africa Tours is a reliable solution to your search for a company to use. With years of experience in handling gorilla safaris, we offer quality service and ensure that your trip is well-arranged.
When you book with us, you can rest assured that we’ll take care of everything from accommodation to transport, gorilla permits, and any other activities you may want to do. Our team is knowledgeable and will provide you with all the necessary information to make your trip memorable.
To ensure that you’re making the right choice, you can check out our reputation on TripAdvisor and Safari Bookings. Our satisfied customers have left positive reviews, and we’re confident that you’ll have a great experience with us.
Don’t hesitate to book your gorilla safari with Trek Africa Tours today and let us take care of all the details for you.