Parc National Des Volcans
Located in the Northwestern Rwanda, PNV has steep slopes of the spectacular volcanic mountain range in the centre of the Virungas- which is habitat to the endangered Mountain Gorillas. Inhabiting an abundant variety of Afro-montane ecosystem found in the albertine rift with a blend of neoboutonia forest plus bamboo forest, separated by Hagenia woodland moving higher you will find the hypericum zone, the senecio-lobelias zone and the alpine prairie having a great cover of grass sedges to the mountains of Muhabura (at 4,127 meters), Gahinga (at 3.474 meters), Sabyibyo (at 3,634 meters), Bisoke (at 3,711 meters), while the highest is the Karisimbi (at 4.507 meters).
Covering an expanse of 16,000 hectares, this park is home to 10 groups of the endangered mountain gorillas, of which 7 groups are habituated (meaning they can be visited by tourists) and these are: the Susa group (38 individuals having a set of twins which is uncommon among mountain gorillas), the Sabyinyo group (8 individuals), Group 13 (20 individuals), the Amahoro group (15 individuals), the Umubano group (8 individuals), the Hirwa group (9 individuals) and the Kwitonda (17 individuals). The other three groups are not habituated for tourism however preserved for research. Among the additional animals found in the Volcanoes Naitonal Park are; elephants, bush bucks, buffalos, spotted hyenas as well as black-fronted duikers.
Mountain Gorilla Trekking: Trekking of mountain gorillas in Rwanda is the most exciting and unforgettable wildlife experience that is very rewarding. It includes climbing into the verdamt gorilla territory comprised of bamboo plus so many other wild activities and beautiful scenery in addition to the echoes of birds and the stunning golden monkeys. The verdant forested slopes create a dramatic natural background which is very breathtaking.
Coming face to face with the mountain gorillas is a very thrilling experience, and also trekking them in the damp misty vegetation offers you an amazing experience that will remain forever memorable and bring you close to the reality of these great apes.
The opportunity to meet the mountain gorillas in their natural damp habitat is something one should never miss in life. Just as David Attenborough stated “there is much more meaning plus understanding in exchanging a glance with a mountain gorilla than any of the other animals I know”, while George Schaller said “there isn’t a person that looks into a gorillas large, intelligent and gentle eyes, that remains unchanged, as the space between apes and humans disappears, we are aware that the gorilla still exists inside us”.
Golden Monkey: Parc National Des Volcans is not only home to the mountain gorillas but the uncommon as well as IUCN listed in danger of extinction Golden Monkeys. These monkeys are beautiful with orange bodies plus sleek back heads plus legs. Actually they spend most of their time within the bamboo zone feeding on bamboo shoots, stay in groups of utmost 40 individuals, they squeak and tweet all the time while they feed on the vegetation of the park.
Birding safaris: this park hosts over 90 bird species among which are 13 species endemic to these Virungas plus the Rwenzori mountains; like the Rwenzori turaco which is among the most beautiful birds within these montane forests, and the handsome francolin among others.
Dian Fosey Tomb: this is where the brave American primatologist – Dian Fossey conducted his life time dedicated work concerning the survival of the Mountain Gorillas which actually resulted into a movie titled “Gorillas in the Mist”, which opened the world’s eyes to these gentle giant creatures and worked hard to the protection of this species which was at the edge of being extinct and whose habitat was being destroyed.
She (Dian Fossey ) set up her research station just between Bisoke and Karisimbi and its from here that Karisoke research center got its name, she stayed within this jungle among the mountain gorillas which she dearly loved and cared for and even died for within her cabin back at her own research station. after the death of her dearly loved friend DIGIT – a gorilla, Dian Fossey requested to be buried right next to her friend, which request that was well honored and today her grave is next to her friend. this journey to her work research station u was finally laid to rest offers you a feel of her great Kindness, compassion and outstanding dedication too the survival and well being of Dian Fossey which was a great contribution to the continuity of this specie.
Mountain hiking and Nature walks: the best way to explore and experience this park is by taking a Mountain hiking or nature walks offering you a better glance of these virunga mountain chain as well as learn the ancient stories about them. These high mountains offer some of the finest views within Rwanda.
*a chance to visit the Ruhengeri Market, offering you a chance to see as well as buy some of the local Rwandese’ fabric as well as marvel at how well these local markets are structured.
*a chance to visit a number of local projects, see how your contribution towards the local communities is best put to use to better the lives of the local. Also have an opportunity to interact with the local project members and even share ideas.
*a chance to learn some of the traditional dances offering you a better way to experience the intriguing local culture.
*a chance to taste some of the local food and locally brewed beer.
*visit some local households and have hands on lifestyle experiences, to actually learn more about the day to day lifestyle of the locals.
*Visiting the twin lakes of Lake Ruhondo and Lake Burera to view the Virunga mountain chain.
The region is properly protected and there isn’t need to worry about security. The forest rangers are kind and very willing to ensure that you have the very best of your trip to this part of the country. This is the best place to see the tranquil mountain gorillas, and it offers great opportunities for photography. Gorilla trekking here is less tiring compared to that in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park but the altitude could cause difficulties for a number of visitors and also in the dry season, the mountain gorillas usually climb to greater heights; therefore requiring some level of physical fitness of the trekkers.