WHAT TO KNOW ABOUT VOLCANOES NATIONAL PARK RWANDA
Volcanoes National Park is located to the north west of the destination Rwanda, Volcanoes National Park shares borders with Uganda’s Mgahinga Gorilla National Park and Congo’s Virunga National Park. It is the most popular park in destination Rwanda because it is the only National Park in the country with Mountain Gorillas which are listed as critically endangered world over.
Besides the Mountain Gorillas, the other outstanding features of Volcanoes National Park are the five (5) breathtaking scenic volcanoes that include; Rwanda’s highest Mountain Karisimbi (4,507m), Mount Bisoke (3,711m), Mount Muhabura (4,127m), Mount Sabyinyo (3,669m) and Mount Gahinga (3,474m) with the last three having their peaks in the neighbouring destination Uganda.
Established in 1925, Volcanoes National Park ranks among the oldest National Parks of Africa and the aim of its gazzettion was to conserve the Mountain Gorillas from poachers. The borders were further increased in the year 1929 by the Belgian colonial Masters to cover more parts of Rwanda and Congo and it was named Albert National Park covering 8,090km2. However, 700ha were later cleared for human settlement in the year 1958.
Following the independence of Democratic Republic of Congo in the year 1960, the National Park was divided into two and after Rwanda gained independence in 1962, still the new government resolved to keep the park though the population was already dense. However, the National Park was reduced between 1969 and 1973 with 1,050ha cleared for pyrethrum growing.
The arrival of Dian Fossey in 1967 in Volcanoes National Park saw its popularity rise all over the world as a centre for Mountain Gorilla research and conservation. Dian Fossey established a research station at Karisoke between Mount Bisoke and Mount Karisimbi and spent great deal of her time researching about Mountain Gorillas and devising means for conserving them before she succumbed to unclear death in the year 1985.
The Movie Gorillas in the Mist was showcased in her commemoration and she is buried at her research station along with her most admirable Silverback Digit. During the Rwandan Civil War, Volcanoes National Park was turned into a battle field and the park headquarters were attacked in the year 1992 but the park resumed operations including receiving visitors in 1999 when it was believed to be safe and under complete control.
Volcanoes National Park positioned in Ruhengeri, Musaze District can be accessed by both Public and Private Transport. Volcanoes National Park is 116km about 2 ½ – 3 hours from Kigali which makes it possible to even do transfer from Kigali and catch up with Mountain Gorilla Trekking encounter in Volcanoes on the same day and transfer back. From Musaze, it is 30 – 40 minutes drive to Kinigi Headquarters which is the main starting point for the activities in Volcanoes National Park including Mountain Gorilla trekking, Golden Monkey tracking, Dian Fossey hike, Volcano climbing among others. Public transport is available from Kigali to Musaze but you will have to arrange a private transfer from Musaze to the Volcanoes Park headquarters as there is no public transfers there. Boda bodas are commonly used but you can as well hire a saloon car for the transfer.
DIRECTIONS TO VOLCANOES NATIONAL PARK RWANDA ENTEBBE INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT
DIRECTION TO VOLCANOES NATIONAL PARK FROM KIGALI INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT RWANDA
Key Features in Volcanoes National Park Rwanda
Besides Mountain Gorillas and other wildlife, the destination Rwanda is endowed with rich culture and heritage…
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Rwanda Safari Attractions in Volcanoes National Park
Due to the extended altitudinal spread, the Volcanoes National Park features various vegetation zones. There is lower montane forest which has been majorly lost to agriculture, Neoboutonia forest at the range of 2400 – 2500m, Arundinaria alpina also known as Bamboo forest at the range of 2500 to 3200m covering around 30% of the park area and Hagenia Hypericum forest thriving at more humid slopes ranging from 2600 – 3600m which is actually one of the largest Hagenica abyssinica forests.