Best Things To Do In Volcanoes National Park

Things to do in Volcanoes National Park: Top attractions to visit in Volcanoes National Park: Mountain Gorillas, Birds, Golden Monkeys,  Dian Fossey Tomb, Twin Lakes, Mount Bisoke, Mount Karisimbi.

Mountain Gorillas in volcanoes National Park & Things To Do

Besides the endangered Mountain Gorillas, Other creatures to encounter in Volcanoes National Park are Golden Monkeys, spotted hyenas, Buffaloes, elephants,  Bushbucks, Duikers…Not forgetting  more than 200 recorded species of birds like Turaco & Francolins.

Volcanoes National Park’s prime attraction is Mountain Gorillas, and the main activity is Gorilla trekking. Nonetheless, other activities among others are: Golden monkey tracking, Dian Fossey Tomb Hike/Visit, Iby’lwachu Cultural village visit, Visiting  Twin Lakes Rubondo & Burera. Let us further breakdown these activities

List of Top Things/Activities To Do In Volcanoes National Park

Gorilla Trekking:

Volcanoes National Park   is home to the endangered mountain gorillas, whose gorilla trekking experience is Top Notch ,  bringing  travelers from around the world. To go gorilla trekking in the park requires a gorilla trekking permit from Rwanda Development Board at $1500, that can be obtained directly or through a reliable tour Operator.

Rwanda’s Volcanoes National park, according to some travelers  is the best place to go gorilla trekking in Africa, thanks to its shortest driving distance from Kigali, less challenging landscapes, and best infrastructure, despite being expensive.

Apart from Gorilla trekking permits,  one is required to be mentally & physically strong, with the right cloting/gear before gorilla trekking. Weatherproof jackets,, water resistant  shoes, long sleeved shirts, long trousers, rain coats,  breathable thick socks, hand gloves for a memorable trekking experience.

Mountain hiking

Mount Bisoke & Mount Karisimbi are  Rwanda’s most climbed mountains, while mount Muhabura, Sabyinyo and Gahinga  can only be accessed from Ugandan side. Mount Karisimbi being the highest among other Volcano ranges, and 5th highest in Africa at 4507m, takes 2 days to climb. Its peak offers impressive views of the mystical Rwenzori Mountains, Mount Nyiragongo and the breathtaking view of the entire Volcanoes National Park

While Mount Bisoke is very popular, and mostly hiked mount in Rwanda, because it’s less strenuous and easy. Mount Bisoke is a 1 day hike to the peak from the foothills and back.

Climbing Mount Bisoke
Above all it is always a long drive from the park headquarters through the rugged roads, to the foothills of the mountain. Climbing both mountains requires a great level of fitness. Therefore, with the right climbing gear, one needs to be physically & mentally prepared to climb any among the 2 mountains of Bisoke or Karismbi. Hover, porters are also available for hire.

Visiting the Dian Fossey Grave/tomb :

Dian Fossey grave is the most popular hike after Mountain Gorilla trekking. The grave can also visited while trekking gorillas in the pristine jungle  of Volcanoes National Park.

Famed for her brave fight against Gorilla poaching, The greatest primatologist-Dian Fossey is still remembered for  her fight against poachers, and the effort to drive in more fundings to protect the Gorillas.

Dian Fossey’s research about: how to mimic their voice, and the confidence to acquire trust from a silverback gorillas, has until today helped in the field of gorilla Habituation.

Visiting her tomb as well as the Karisoke research center is a  1 day activity, which costs $75, which serves to be an appreciation of what she did to secure the last remaining gorillas in Volcanoes National Park

Touring the Twin Lakes of Ruhondo and Burera:

Both Lake  Ruhondo & Bulera are famous for their deep waters,  breathtaking scenery, a variety of birds flocking the lake and the nearby waterfalls. Visiting the twin Lakes is always a relaxing activity, done after a day ‘s Gorilla trekking, or morning golden monkey tracking, or  Dian Fossey hike, among others, because it involves a relaxing canoe ride, interacting the communities around, Photography and the spectacular scenery

Golden Monkey Tracking:

Golden Monkey tracking in Volcanoes National Park ranks among the top Notch activities Rwanda has to offer. Golden Monkeys are a category of blue monkeys, which are mostly found in Virunga region, Kahuzi Biega National Park and Nyungwe forest.  They usually feed on Bamboo shoots or storm  human farms.

Golden Monkey tracking require golden monkey tracking permit, which costs $100, and can be obtained either directly from Rwanda Development board or through a trusted tour Operator.

Iby’iwacu cultural village encounter:

Safaris in Volcanoes National Park, without visiting the gorilla guardians, formerly  Iby’Iwachu cultural village, is incomplete .  The gorilla guardians’ major motive is to conserve & protect gorillas.

This community  joins together all Rwanda  cultures to showcase the amazing  cultural activities, which include visiting the kings hut, Visiting the batwa community,  cultural dance performance, visiting the local medicine man, cooking local food or beer, where tourists can select what to do and enjoy.

Bird Watching:

Volcanoes National Park is home to over 200 species of birds recorded, which lists it at the top of Rwanda’s best birding destination. The bird species are endemic to the Albertine rift.

Bird Watching in Volcanoes National Park, introduces you to  unique species like: the handsome fracolin, Grauer’s rush warbler, red-faced woodland warbler, handsome francolin, strange weaver and Rwenzori double collared crimson wing.

Musanze Caves

The 2 km Musanze caves is another captivating activity, that every traveler coming to volcanoes National Park can include in their Rwanda bucket list. The tourist attraction in Musanze -Musanze caves is placed 2km away from Volcanoes National Park, and is an ideal additional activity to be done after gorilla trekking. One can drive to the foothills of Volcanoes National Park, for an enroute visit to Musanze caves, before reaching the Hotel for lunch.

Dating back, Musanze caves were a pleasant place where the native Kinyarwada locals  crowned their new kings. The also provide impressive views of the divers  Virunga ranges  of: Muhabura. Karismbi, Gahinga. Besides the scenic views, Musanze caves are  usually cold and serene, with streams of water flowing slowly out of the rocky walls down the cave floor.

It only takes 2 hours to  finish touring the Musanze caves, as it consists of various tunnels, which are renown homes of  several bats, seen hanging on walls that were darkened by smoke thousands of years past.

For a successful hike, one requires a strong torch, sturdy boots, helmet gloves,  to traverse through the tunnels during the 2 hour trail walk

Apart from 2km trail walk through the caves, one can  also visit the nearbylocal communities, so as to learn some art of making hunting tools, like bows and arrows, weaving hand-made “Agaseke” baskets, brewing local beer (known as “Ugwagwa”) from bananas, using  local materials to make beehives, harvesting & producing honey.

Other activities within the park include hiking, canoeing, mountain biking, and Kwita Izina-the gorilla naming ceremony in Rwanda