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Parc National des Volcans
Parc National des Volcans (Volcanoes National Park) Rwanda is a small park, covering just 120 km². It stretches along the border with Uganda and the Democratic Republic of Congo.
Also known as PNV or Volcanoes National Park is one of 3 contiguous National Parks in Uganda, Rwanda and DRC making up the Virunga Trinational Conservation Area.
There are five volcanoes in the park including the inactive Karisimbi (4,507m), the active Visoke (or Bisoke) (3,711m) and Sabyinyo (3,534m) which is extinct.
Considered as one of the most exciting parks in Africa, the Parc National des Volcans is home to the mountain gorilla. The primates thrive on the steeps slopes and the vegetation provides the perfect habitat in a landscape of rich bamboo forests, open grassland and heath.
Entrance gate Parc National des Volcans
The views from the slopes of the volcanoes are magnificent in all directions, although it’s worth dressing warmly because 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 also live in the park. The beautiful lakes of Buhera, Ruhondo and Karago are near to the Park but are rarely visited.
You can go gorilla trekking year round in the Parc National des Volcans and there are daily gorilla treks from the Park HQ but permits are limited so you’ll need to book well in advance.
- June to Mid-September is the best time to go gorilla trekking because the weather is dry and the hiking is easier. December to February is also dry. Good for birding, flora and fauna
- March to May is the rainy season so the trekking is more challenging. October to November is also wet
American primatologist Diane Fossey’s dedicated her life to studying the mountain gorillas. During her work she befriended Digit one of the gorillas. She’s buried at a site at Karisoke, a graveyard she made for gorillas. Diane’s grave is next to Digit who was shot trying to protect one of the babies from poachers. Diane was known by the locals as “the woman who lives alone on the mountains” or “Nyirmachabelli”. It’s possible to visit her grave and learn more about her work with the gorillas.
Village dancers performing for guests at Virunga Lodge