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Volcanoes National Park

Visit Volcanoes National Park

Introduction

Volcanoes National Park – or Parc National des Volcans as it's called in French - is, for many, the main reason to visit Rwanda. The volcanoes in question are those belonging to the Virunga Mountain range, shared with the neighbouring Democratic Republic of Congo. And, five of the eight volcanoes in the range are located in this national park. The highest of them being the 4,507-metre-tall Mount Karisimbi.

These rainforest-covered mountains are one of the few remaining habitats of the mountain gorilla. There are believed to be no more than 700 in the world, around a third of them living in Rwanda. The volcanic mountain region is known as the place where American primatologist Dian Fossey undertook her pioneering studies of mountain gorilla behaviour. The fact that there are any gorillas left at all is largely down to her dedication to curtail poaching, prior to her brutal and still unsolved murder. Her life was recounted in the Hollywood classic – Gorillas in the Mist, filmed in the park.

Gorilla trekking enables travellers to get up close to the mountain gorillas, which move in defined troops led by a silverback male weighing over 200 kilos. Harems of females, other males and infant gorillas make up the family groups. Seeing them among the trees, foraging for insects, chewing on leaves or playing around is an exhilarating travel moment. There are ten habituated gorilla troops in the park, among them the 30-strong Susa group originally studied by Fossey and named after the Susa River.

Top itineraries in Volcanoes National Park

Highlights of Rwanda: Gorillas and Chimpanzees

9-day itinerary from £4,595 pp incl. flights

This spectacular itinerary sees you experience the once-in-a-lifetime event of gorilla trekking deep in the jungle. You'll start in Kigali before heading to Nyungwe National Park where you'll track chimpanzee. Then, relax on Lake Kivu before trekking with gorillas in Volcanoes National Park.

Best of Uganda and Rwanda

14-day tailor-made journey from £9,725 pp incl. flights

This in-depth 14-day safari takes in the best that Uganda and Rwanda have to offer with several chances to track mountain gorillas in their natural habitat.

Top places to stay in Volcanoes National Park

Virunga Lodge, Volcanoes National Park

Traditional lodge

The magnificent Virunga Safari Lodge, set on a stunning hillside, has eight bandas with a panoramic view of the Virunga volcanoes and the lakes Ruhondo and Bulera. The terraced gardens on this high ridge are now well established, with a magical sunken paradise garden as their focal point. Aside fro…

Five Volcanoes Boutique Hotel

Contemporary lodge

In the centre of the Volcanoes National Park, the Five Volcanoes Boutique Hotel is beautifully set in landscaped gardens looking over the undulating mounds of the stunning Virunga volcano range, and just moments from jungles dense with mountain gorillas.

Sabyinyo Silverback Lodge

Contemporary lodge

This stunning hotel is the first ever community-owned lodge in Rwanda, perched on the edge of the stunning Parc National Volcanoes, the gateway for the once-in-a-lifetime experience of tracking mountain gorillas.

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Volcanoes National Park articles

Just back from: Rwanda

Wexas product manager Katrin Rummer has just returned from a week in Rwanda, tracking gorillas, chimpanzees and exploring Rwanda's lush green landscapes. Read her review for tips and an in-depth insight into this extraordinary country.

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