How to get to the Volcanoes national park : The Volcanoes national park is one of the national parks of Rwanda, the land of a thousand hills. The Volcanoes national park formerly known as the Parc National Des Volcans (PNV) is the most sought after destination in Rwanda. The major attraction of this national park is the last remaining mountain gorillas of the world topped up with being a home to four of the eight Virunga volcanic mountains. The Volcanoes national park offers all the visitors an enjoyable and yet very thrilling experience worth the visit.
The Volcanoes national park is however the smallest of the national parks of Rwanda as it is sitted on an area of 160 square kilometers that are looking at an expansion. This is approximately 16,000 hectares of national park land located in the north western part of the country. The Volcanoes national park is found in the Ruhengeri, Musanze district which is in the Northern province of Rwanda.
The Volcanoes national park was previously part of the Virunga Massif which covers the Virunga national park of the Democratic republic of Congo, another home of the mountain gorillas. This Virunga Massif covers the Mgahinga gorilla national park of Uganda as well. The Volcanoes national park was fully recognized as a national park in 1929 just after the neighboring Virunga national park that was established in 1925 making them Africa’s oldest national parks.
The Volcanoes national park office headquarters are located in Kinigi and this is the beginning point for most of the activities in the park. The mountain gorillas are an endangered species, previously critically endangered species on the IUCN species list, and the establishment of these parks was to protect the population and to conserve them for the future. The numbers of the mountain gorillas have since grown to over 1,063 individuals as of the last census in 2019.
Besides the mountain gorillas, the Volcanoes national park is a home to the golden monkeys, a number of bird species such as the Rwenzori turaco, red faced woodland handsome francolin to mention but a few. There are other forest animals that guests can spot when in the forest on their activities such as the forest elephants, forest hogs, buffaloes, spotted hyenas, black fronted duikers to mention but a few. The bamboo vegetation of this national park gives guests clear views of the wildlife within the park topping the experience in the Volcanoes national park.
A few of the activities that guests visiting the Volcanoes national park can engage in include the Dian Fossey tomb hike, hike one of the Virunga volcanoes, golden monkey trekking, take on a nature walk, cultural tour, hike the tropical waterfall or just do some camping in the forest. Get to enjoy the bamboo forest blending with the montane forest and grassland area of the park.
How to get there
The Volcanoes national park is one of the most accessible if not the most accessible gorilla home and national park of Rwanda. It is located only 105 kilometers approximately 65 miles from the Kigali city and the Kigali International airport. It can be accessed by both road and air if you opt for less time on ground. Once a guest has landed at the Kigali International airport, you can get in touch with Kagera aviation for a 30 minute chartered flight landing at the Musanze airstrip only 5 minutes away from the park.
Guests looking at using land can drive only 2 hours and 40 minutes’ drive on a traffic clear day. Once in Ruhengeri, there are a number of accommodations that guests can opt to use for the nights to be spent in the Volcanoes national park. A 1 day gorilla trekking in Volcanoes national park from Kigali is possible as long as you are at the park headquarters by 7 am for the morning briefing pre trekking.
You can access the Volcanoes national park from Uganda after exploring the pearl of Africa via the Cyanika border and this is a 1-hour road connection from the border to this park. If you are coming from the DR Congo’s Virunga national park, you may connect via the Grande Barrier Goma-Gisenyi border and take on a 1 hour road transfer. This is the reason this park is considered the most accessible. Get in touch and let us start planning your visit to the Volcanoes national park from whatever destination you maybe.