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VOLCANOES NATIONAL PARK

ABOUT

Volcanoes National Park is located along the northwestern border of Rwanda in the Virunga Mountains. It is is a two- to three-hour drive from Rwanda’s capital, Kigali. Rwanda’s Volcanoes NP is home to five of eight volcanoes that extend into Uganda and the Democratic Republic of Congo. The lush slopes of this subtropical rainforest are a refuge for the mountain gorilla, and the location where researcher and naturalist Dian Fossey arrived in 1967 to start the Karisoke Research Center. Gorilla trekking is one of the most dramatic, exhilarating, and humbling wildlife experiences Africa has to offer. Embark on an unforgettable adventure as you follow in the footsteps of Dian Fossey and trek on foot to share the forest floor with a family of mountain gorillas.

An important consideration when taking a trip to see the gorillas is the physical challenge involved in trekking through the subtropical forests. As the gorillas move up and down the mountain slopes, there is no way of knowing how long the journey will take. The difficult trek can last minutes or hours depending on where the gorillas decide to rest.

SEASONS

Volcanoes National Park’s tropical highland climate remains pleasant throughout the year and varies with elevation changes. Temperatures typically average around 75 degrees Fahrenheit but can fall to 50–60 degrees on its tallest peaks. Rwanda typically experiences two rainy seasons, but there is always a chance of light showers throughout the year. Rwanda’s long rainy season typically lasts from March to May, when the rains are heavy and persistent. From June to mid-September, Rwanda typically experiences a long dry season. This time of year is considered the best and busiest time to visit, as the drier landscape and cloud cover creates more favorable trekking conditions. Mid-September to November is Rwanda’s short rainy season, typically followed by a slight break in the rains from December to February.

Although mountain gorilla treks can be conducted year round, most travelers visit between June and September, and December to February. July and August tend to be the busiest time of year, so it is best to plan as far in advance as possible if traveling during this time of year.

JAN FEB MAR APR MAY JUN JUL AUG SEP OCT NOV DEC
HIGH (F°) 76° 76° 74° 74° 72° 72° 74° 74° 74° 74° 74° 74°
LOW (F°) 48° 50° 50° 52° 52° 48° 46° 48° 48° 50° 50° 50°
RAINFALL (mm) 72 88 135 171 119 40 32 64 114 133 151 96
ACCOMMODATIONS
SABYINYO SILVERBACK LODGE


VIRUNGA LODGE
WILDLIFE

In addition to families of mountain gorillas, Volcanoes National Park is home to a fascinating diversity of wildlife. Its subtropical forests are a mixture of bamboo and montane forest habitats that support an amazing array of rare and endangered flora and fauna. The park is also home to other primate species, including the endemic golden monkeys. Other mammals found in Bwindi include forest elephants, buffalo, giant forest hogs, bushpigs, bushbucks, black-fronted duikers, spotted hyenas, and around 200 species of birds!

ACTIVITIES
  • Embark on a wildlife experience of a lifetime and trek along the slopes of Virunga’s volcanoes behind your expert guide and tracker in search of a family of mountain gorillas.

  • Trek through the rainforest to see endemic golden monkeys. The golden monkey is a local subspecies of the widespread Sykes monkey, also known as the blue monkey.

  • Discover Volcanoes National Park’s birdlife that includes over 40 species of birds endemic to the Albertine Rift Forests.

  • Trek through the forest, following in the footsteps of the inspirational naturalist and primatologist Dian Fossey. Visit her original research base, Karisoke, and the grave where she and her favorite gorilla, Digit, are buried.

  • Visit Iby’Iwacu cultural village where locals have abandoned poaching and invite visitors to enjoy cultural dances and drumming.