Activities in Volcanoes National Park Rwanda (Things to Do)
Activities in Volcanoes National Park Rwanda – Things To Do In Volcanoes National Park · Mountain gorilla trekking · Golden Monkey trekking · Hike a volcano · Take on a cultural tour. Activities in Volcanoes National Park Rwanda are very exciting to do by all travelers from all over the globe interested in exploring Rwanda.
With 0ver 20 habituated gorilla families in the Volcanoes National Park alone, Gorilla trekking is a must-do activity while on a safari in Rwanda. The world’s dwindling and endangered gorilla population is found in only three countries in world; the Democratic Republic of Congo, Uganda, and Rwanda. Almost all of the gorilla population in Rwanda can be found in the Volcanoes National Park. The families to visit include Amahoro, Muhoza, Kwitonda, Kwisanga, Umubano, Karisimbi, Sabinyo, Susa, and Hirwa among others.
The trek begins with a briefing at the park’s headquarters and is followed by a hike up the bamboo terrain of the mountain. There are guides for each group of trekkers to lead you to the habitats of the gorilla families and the maximum number per group of trekkers is 8 people only. Once you have sighted a family of gorillas, you can only spend an hour with them in which you can take photos, make videos and see these grand primates.
Golden monkey tracking
Mountain gorillas are not the only primates at Volcanoes national park. Golden monkeys have long been the park’s overlooked attractions despite their stunning natural beauty. Treat your eyes with a rare and delightful experience of golden monkeys while on safari at the park. Trekking golden monkeys at the park begins at 7:00 am and can be as short as 30 minutes or longer depending on the movement of the monkeys.
Exploring the Musanze Caves
These age-old caves were once used to store food supplies for the kings of Rwanda in times of war. Today, they are quite a scene to behold when visiting the Volcanoes National Park. The cave ceilings are studded with lots of bats whose eyes sparkle when you shine your flashlight on the ceiling. As you move towards the end of the cave and into the daylight, all you will have heard in the midst of the cave’s silence are your footsteps and the thick dew drops hitting the cave’s floor. A walk through these caves is literally a walk down memory lane.
Experience Rwanda’s culture at Iby’Iwacu Village/ Gorilla Guardians Village
Iby’Iwacu Village now known as Gorilla Guardians Village is close to the park making it a perfect sendoff place to visit as you leave Volcanoes National Park. The activities here can be done whether you opt to stay a few hours or overnight. Are you searching for a new menu? Try preparing or even eating traditional meals and drinks such as banana juice or brewing banana beer. For the botanist or medical personnel, try the local herbal medicine grown and brewed fresh from the garden. After your curiosity has been quenched, unwind to the traditional music, dance, and folklore of the local people and dancer troop
The Volcano Hike
If you love to hike and find yourself at the Volcanoes National Park Rwanda, you will have two hiking options to choose from; the Day and Overnight Hike. The Dian Fossey Day Hike leads you to Mount Bisoke one of the volcanoes in the Virunga ranges. It stands at 37,000 meters with a crater lake at the top.
The Overnight Hike is along Mount Karisimbi the second-highest volcanic peak in the Virunga Ranges. Along this trail are diverse vegetation zones from bamboo, and Afro-Montane to savannah. This hike is also known to be one of the most challenging hikes in the Volcanoes National with a snow-capped peak, especially in the dry season of June, July, and August.
Visiting the Tomb of Dian Fossey
Dian Fossey is one of the greatest primatologists of all time. Because of her courage and determination, poaching of animals and particularly mountain gorillas was greatly reduced in the Volcanoes National Park. Without her efforts, mountain gorillas would probably be extinct by now. She is also credited for introducing new ways of making gorillas comfortable around human presence by imitating their sounds and gaining the acceptance/trust of the dominant male. Today hundreds of visitors go to pay homage to this great conservationist by visiting her grave and the former Karisoke Research Center located between Mount Karisimbi and Mount Bisoke. The guided hike lasts about 3 hours. As one climbs the volcanoes to her former base, one will get to experience what she had to go through, her determination, and the passion she had for the gorillas.
Visiting the Twin Lakes Ruhondo and Burera
After carrying out one of the major activities like gorilla trekking, one way to relax is to visit the twin Lakes of Ruhondo and Burera. A boat cruise through the deep waters of these two lakes will reward you with beautiful sights of birds and the vast hilly landscape with waterfalls. Visiting the lake islands gives you time to mingle with the locals to learn about their rich heritage and culture that defines them and makes them different from the other tribes in Rwanda.
Take on a unique adventure through the park other than gorilla tracking. The park has unspoiled wonders- Mount Karisimbi and Mount Bisoke whose stunning views from the peaks are natural escapes and a must-see. Enjoy the privilege of standing as high as 4507m above sea level. Whether yours is a hike to Dian Fossey tomb site or of the volcanoes, there is surely something for everyone to enjoy.
Although not popular, Volcanoes National park is a birding destination with about 178 bird species recorded and twenty nine endemic to the Albertine rift. Keen birders can enjoy the sight of; Grauer’s rush warbler, Rwenzori turaco, Archer’s ground robin, Red- faced woodland warbler, Rwenzori double- collared sunbird, the dusky crimson- wing, collared batis, strange weaver, the African marsh harrier, common moorhen, long-crested eagle, gray throated tit, and handsome Francolin. Combine this experience with a visit to Lake Burera and Lake Ruhondo for breathtaking views of the Virunga mountains.
Explore the park’s loveliest features other than wildlife. Forest trails lead to the big spectacle Musanze caves, scenic viewpoints for the breathtaking views of Lake Burera and Lake Ruhondo and Virunga volcanoes. Opportunities for guided walks are available from short trails which are convenient for speleologists to longer hikes which are ideal for birders.
Very few places in Africa capture both old-world charm and elegant modernity like Volcanoes National Park. A cultural tour to Iby’Iwacu cultural village is a magical experience to explore at dusk. Iby’Iwacu offers a rare opportunity to meet the local people, formerly mountain gorilla poachers, but currently reformed mountain gorilla ‘protectors’. Iby’Iwacu village is located around Volcanoes national park in Nyabigoma, Musanze district. Visitors to the village get to interact with the local people, learn their traditions and unveil the realities of rural life.