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Parc National des Volcans

Parc national des Volcans or the Virunga National Park of Rwanda is a small park, covering just 120 km² and includes the peaks of Karisimbi (4,507m), Visoke (3,711m), Sabyinyo (3,534m).

The eight great, old volcanoes are mostly dormant and form the country’s northwest border. Here a lush home exists for the mountain gorilla, the only place in the world they are able to survive. The steep slopes are covered with rich bamboo forests, and evergreen glades with open grassland and heath. The slopes are perfect terrain for the gentle giants of the primate world.

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Entrance gate Parc National des Volcans

The views from the slopes of the volcanoes are magnificent in all directions, although one needs to dress warmly as it can be quite chilly! Habituated golden monkeys live in the same forests and this is one of the few places they can be seen for relatively long periods at a time. Buffalo and elephant do inhabit the park but are not easily seen. Gorilla treks are run on a daily basis from the park headquarters but as there are a limited amount of permits available, these need to be booked well in advance.

Diane Fossey’s memorial, laboratory and grave are nearby with a full history of her life and works with the gorillas.

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Village dancers performing for guests at Virunga Lodge

The town of Ruhengeri is a busy market centre with traders coming from far and wide and boda boda’s transporting shoppers here and there. The stunning lakes of Buhera, Ruhondo and Karago are near to the Park but are rarely visited.

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