Nestled within the enchanting landscapes of Rwanda, Volcanoes National Park stands as a sanctuary of unparalleled natural beauty and biodiversity. This remarkable park shares borders with the Virunga National Park in the Democratic Republic of Congo and the Mgahinga Gorilla National Park in southwestern Uganda. While renowned for its thriving population of Mountain Gorillas, Volcanoes National Park offers a diverse range of tourism activities, including the chance to encounter the endangered Golden Monkeys. The park’s vast territory is home to five of the eight volcanoes found in the Virunga Mountains: Mount Karisimbi, Mount Bisoke, Mount Muhabura, Mount Gahinga, and Mount Sabyinyo. These majestic peaks span over 160 km², adorned with lush rainforests and bamboo.
Occasionally, you may even spot a few Forest Elephants, although such sightings are exceedingly rare. Bird enthusiasts will be delighted by the park’s avian residents, with a total of 178 species recorded, including 12 primary species and 15 subspecies endemic to the Virunga conservation area and the majestic Ruwenzori Mountains. Volcanoes National Park offers an array of activities coordinated by the Rwanda Development Board, with Gorilla trekking taking center stage. Other captivating experiences include tracking Golden Monkeys, visiting the twin lakes, mountaineering adventures, paying homage to Dian Fossey’s tomb, exploring the Iby’Iwacu cultural village, and engaging in various community visits.
Trek Africa Tours specializes in organizing memorable Rwanda Gorilla safaris and tours to Volcanoes National Park, where you can embark on the life-changing experience of trekking the endangered Mountain Gorillas. It is highly advisable to secure your Gorilla trekking permits well in advance, ideally 3-5 months before your intended trekking date. Rwanda Gorilla permits are in high demand, particularly during the peak seasons of June, July, August, September, December, January, and February when rainfall is minimal. Avoiding the rainy season is preferable for many travelers. Trek Africa Tours can assist you in booking your Rwanda Gorilla permits, accommodations, and transfers to and from Volcanoes National Park. Our extensive experience in organizing Gorilla safaris ensures a seamless and unforgettable adventure.
Volcanoes National Park is situated in Musanze, formerly known as Ruhengeri, a small village accessible via public transport from Gisenyi, Kigali City, or the Kigali International Airport. The journey from these locations to Volcanoes National Park typically takes 2-3 hours, making it feasible to trek the Gorillas on the same day and return to Kigali afterward. To ensure you arrive on time, plan to be at the National Park headquarters in Kinigi by 7:00 am. However, please note that there is no public transport from Musanze to the National Park’s headquarters at Kinigi.
Rwanda welcomes visitors for Gorilla tracking all year round. The optimal time for travel is during the dry seasons, which run from December to early March and June to September. December to March constitutes an extended dry season, with temperatures occasionally reaching 29 degrees Celsius. Conversely, the months of March to mid-May and July to September are considered rainy seasons.
Overall, Rwanda enjoys favorable weather throughout the year, but the dry season is particularly preferred. The weather is generally pleasant, and wildlife sightings are more common during these periods. For tourists keen on Gorilla trekking, the dry season minimizes the chance of rain during the trek and provides favorable hiking conditions in the rainforest. Waterproof clothing is recommended even during these drier months, as Rwanda’s Equatorial climate can be unpredictable. Keep in mind that the dry season corresponds with the peak tourist season, resulting in higher prices for accommodations, car rentals, and related services.
On the other hand, budget-conscious travelers may opt for the wet season. During this time, hotels experience lower occupancy rates, offering travelers discounted rates for food and accommodations. Additionally, the reduced demand for Gorilla permits increases the likelihood of securing permits to see these endangered species without competition. Contact Trek Africa Tours to book your Rwanda Gorilla permits well in advance for 2021-2022.
Upon your arrival at Kigali International Airport, our driver/guide will warmly welcome you to Rwanda. Your journey commences with a complimentary tour of Kigali City, known as the “land of a thousand hills.” Explore intriguing spots such as the craft market, Gisozi Genocide Memorial site, and Kigali museum. Afterward, depart for Ruhengeri, the second-largest town in Rwanda, offering a breathtaking backdrop of five volcanic mountains, the Virungas. You’ll arrive at your hotel in the late afternoon for a delightful dinner and a comfortable overnight stay.
Drive time: 2-3 hours
Rise and shine for an early breakfast before heading to the National Park headquarters to meet your ranger guides for the day. After completing the necessary park formalities, embark on a once-in-a-lifetime experience: tracking Mountain Gorillas. As you spot these magnificent creatures, you’ll have the incredible opportunity to spend an hour in their presence. This remarkable wildlife encounter is one of the most breathtaking experiences on Earth, bringing you within seven meters of these awe-inspiring giant primates. Tracking through the light mountain forest on the slopes of the Virunga Mountains creates a magical and unforgettable memory. Mountain Gorillas are extremely rare, with fewer than 900 individuals alive today. The trek may be moderately strenuous, lasting up to six hours or more at relatively high altitudes. We recommend being in good health and fitness for your enjoyment. After your Gorilla trek, return to your hotel for a scrumptious lunch and later indulge in a delectable dinner. If time permits, you can visit the Iby I’wacu cultural village to enjoy the entertaining performances of former poachers and immerse yourself in the diverse cultural traditions of Rwanda.
Start your day with an early breakfast, and then head to the National Park headquarters to meet your ranger guides for your second Gorilla tracking day. Just like the day before, once you spot the Gorillas, you’ll be granted an hour to observe and photograph these magnificent creatures in their natural habitat. This encounter will leave you spellbound as you share a silent connection with these incredible primates. Tracking Mountain Gorillas in the light mountain forest is a truly enchanting experience. These colossal primates are exceptionally rare, with fewer than 900 remaining in the wild. You’ll have the privilege of approaching them from within seven meters. The trek may be moderately strenuous, lasting up to six hours or more at relatively high altitudes. We encourage you to ensure you are in excellent physical condition for your comfort and enjoyment. After another memorable day of Gorilla tracking, return to your hotel for a revitalizing lunch. Later in the evening, savor a sumptuous dinner and retire for the night. If time allows, you can further explore the local culture and traditions.
After enjoying a hearty breakfast, bid farewell to your gracious hosts and depart for Kigali. Engage in some last-minute shopping in this welcoming African capital before heading to the airport for your international departure flight. Your Gorilla tracking holidays in Volcanoes National Park have undoubtedly left you with cherished memories and a deep appreciation for the natural wonders of Rwanda. Contact Trek Africa Tours to book your Gorilla tracking holidays in Volcanoes National Park, Rwanda, and embark on an unforgettable African adventure.