Volcanoes National park Rwanda

Volcanoes National park Rwanda                                     

Volcanoes national park Rwanda is found in north western Rwanda and it borders Virunga national park in the Democratic republic of Congo, Mgahinga gorilla national park in Uganda.  The park offers a spectacular scenery and diverse vegetation where the Virunga conservation area covers the park including the five extinct volcanoes which include; Sabyinyo, Muhabura, Gahinga, Bisoke and Karisimbi.  This park offers you a chance to catch a glimpse of the gorillas when you hike through the forest.

Volcanoes national park has also golden monkeys, buffalo, bush duiker and spotted hyenas. Within the boundaries of the park there is Buhanga Eco Park an ancient forest holding Rwanda’s most intriguing folklore and Musanze caves. The park is 2 hours away from Kigali.

What to do

Hiking volcanoes

Rwanda has five volcanoes which are very enjoyable with the exception of Mt. Sabyinyo which is said to be not so very safe because of the so many craters around it but Mt. Gahinga, Mt. Muhabura, Mt. Bisoke and Mt. Karisimbi offer a memorable experience to the Hikers

Hike all the way up the hills with many chances of meeting the mountain gorilla families with a chance of spotting the golden monkeys. The following are some of the hikes offered.

Mountain Kalisimbi hike which is the highest of all the volcanoes and the most demanding. The hike offers a great view at the top of all the volcanoes with some crater lakes and it only takes two days to hike

Musanze caves hike which is a trail that goes downwards through the enormous openings of musanze caves which were formed volcanic eruptions centuries ago. The caves have stairs and walk ways that take you through different channels. Bat roosts are a important feature of the caves with massive roof openings that form many patterns of light spectrum beams.

Mountain Bisoke hike which is the most frequented summit and takes only 6hours roughly to get to the Crater Lake peak.  It’s the most popular hike which is in the Dian Fossey hike named after she fought to rescue mountain gorillas from the extinction and it also leads to her tomb.

Twin lakes hike which is the simplest of the four with a hiking trail that leads you to the wonderful view of the two lakes that are almost intersecting in a beautiful atmosphere

Tracking golden monkeys

Tracking golden monkeys is amazing where you get to observe the rare monkeys in their beautiful natural setting when they are playing, climbing trees and feed on bamboo shoots. Golden monkeys have stunning golden bodies and cheeks that contrast their black limbs, tails and crown.

The kabatwa group in volcanoes national park offers a unique opportunity to spot on some on the 40 monkeys that live on the slopes of mountain Sabyinyo and also the Musongo group which lives in the higher slopes of mountain Karisimbi for advanced hikers.


Mountain Gorilla tracking

Gorilla tracking is a thrilling experience of being in a close range with these magnificent apes which involves walking through the trails to where the gorillas are settling with professional tour guide. The trek begins as you ascend to the mountain gorilla’s natural environments and the shadowy bamboo forest provides breathtaking vistas.

Gorilla tracking in Rwanda takes 1to 4 hours depending on the gorilla group you’re visiting. Visiting the mountain gorillas in Rwanda entails booking a gorilla permit beforehand Gorilla trekking in Rwanda.

There are other activities that can be done which include bird watching and cultural encounters in the neighborhood and take the iby’iwacu cultural tour where the locals give you an experience about their way of life.

Rwanda’s volcanoes national park today has a number of 10 habituated gorilla groups and the following are the different families that are in this park.

Titus family

The Titus group is the original family that was named after the silverback Titus during the days of Dian Fossey’ research at Karisoke which was the group that Dian was studying.  Titus got to grow up with gorillas that are not related after losing his family.

Karisimbi group

This group is sometimes known as Susa B because it split from the original Susa. The group has 16 members including 2 silverbacks and it’s the hardest group to track in the slopes of Mountain Karisimbi where they established their home

Susa group

This group is sometimes known as Susa A the most popular family which had 42 members before the split, when the Karisimbi group separated from them they now remained 33 members including the 2 silverbacks and they are settling in the lower slopes of mountain Karisimbi. The Susa group is known for its playful twins of Impano and Byishimo who are very entertaining. It was named after Susa River that drains through their home range.

Agashya group

This group is sometimes known as group 13 which was led a silver back named Nyakarima initially who was overthrown by Agashya the family got be after him. The family now grew from 13 to 27 members including 1 silverback Agashya who always protects the family if he senses danger deep into the mountains but it occupies the same territory with the Sabyinyo group.

Sabyinyo group

The Sabyinyo group is the easiest gorilla family to track and it’s the nearest  with a group of 13 members including one silver back and the Sabyinyo members are found in the gentle slopes of Mountain Sabyinyo and Mountain Gahinga. This group is also famous for Guhonda the giant silverback and the largest in the park which has kept Ryango the challenger out of the family.

Kwitonda group

The Kwitonda group is a migrant group from Democratic republic of Congo and the group was named after its ruling silverback Kwitonda which is a composed group of 23 members including 4 silverbacks. This group is in the lower slopes of Mountain Muhabura and they are very crushing to track because sometimes they move to the upper slopes.

Hirwa group

The Hirwa group is composed of 16 members including one silver back and it inhabits in the foothills of mountain Sabyinyo to the side of mountain Gahinga. Some of the members of this group were from Sabyinyo and others were from Agashya group they made their own family.

Amahoro group

This group is composed of 18 members including 2 silverbacks and it’s famous for being peaceful and social which has led to the cause of Ubumwe the ruling silverback to lose its members to Umubano group. Tracking these members is a bit strenuous because one has to endure hiking up to mountain Bisoke slopes where the group established their home.

Umubano group

This group is composed of 13 members including 2 silverbacks and its name means means living together. Umubano group was formed after the battles of Charles and Umubano the two head silver backs and Charles later managed to succees and went away with some members.

Bwenge group

The group was formed by Bwenge their leader who had left his group and was joined by females from other groups. The group has 11 members including one silverback the group occupies slopes of Karisoke volcano between Karisimbi and Bisoke mountains which witnessed in the past the dark times when the 6 infants died

Ugenda group

This group consists of 11 members including 2 silverbacks with a unique behavior of roaming from place to place. The group wonders around Karisimbi area which makes them very difficult to track since they have no particular home.

Gorilla naming ceremony – Kwita Izina

Kwita Izina is a Rwandan naming ceremony of giving a name to a newborn baby gorilla which Rwanda created to celebrate and show the importance of mountain gorillas by protecting them and their habitants in Volcanoes national park and the Virunga Mountains in the north of the country. The new born gorilla is usually named after the ancestral baby naming ceremony that happened.

Accommodations for both budget and luxury tourists is all available

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