Volcanoes National Park


  9 reviews
Male silverback gorilla. Volcanoes National Park
Male silverback gorilla. Volcanoes National Park
About Volcanoes National Park
Country found in:
Parks total area:
150 km² (58 mi²)
Year established:
1925
Anti-malarial:
Absolutely!
Park wildlife:
  • Mountain gorillas
  • Active volcanoes
  • Limited number of visitors to help ensure animal sustainability

Situated in the northwest corner of Rwanda, Volcanoes National Park, or Parc National des Volcans, is one of three parks that encompass the Virunga Mountains. The other two parks to include this chain of nine volcanoes, six of which are still active, are The Democratic Republic of Congo and Uganda, with DRC possessing the largest portion of land. While it is difficult to obtain exact figures on the size of the park due to historical border changes, it is estimated that Volcanoes National Park is roughly 150 km² (58 mi²) in size.

The star of Volcanoes National Park is undisputedly the mountain gorilla. It is estimated that approximately 350 gorillas live in the Volcanoes Park area, making Rwanda one of the top places for gorilla-viewing. Due to the primates’ susceptibility to human viruses, such as the common cold, gorilla tours are strictly regulated. Guests are permitted only one hour of viewing and are required to remain within a certain distance of them. Visitors who are ill or who are recovering from an illness must not go on safari and, in most cases, will be refunded 100% of their fees when they properly notify their tour operators. In addition to the mountain gorilla, the endangered Golden Monkey species can also been seen and heard in Volcanoes.

A gorilla safari requires a basic level of fitness from all travelers, as the only way to view these lovely creatures is on foot. The trek to see the gorillas can take several hours and consists of hiking uphill through dense rainforest foliage such as bamboo and wild celery. Due to the high levels of precipitation, the ground is often wet and slippery and sturdy hiking boots and full-length trousers are strongly recommended. There is currently no accommodation inside the park and visitors are required to lodge outside of the borders. This makes for early starts but all tour operators are accustomed to this and have well-established itineraries for getting guests to and from the park.

When is the best time to visit Volcanoes National Park?

Rwanda experiences four seasons and depending on your tolerance for precipitation, you may wish to plan your trip accordingly. The heavy rain season is mid-March to mid-May. During this time there are normally less visitors to the park but the trekking is also more strenuous and the gorillas may be harder to spot due to the misty conditions and dense foliage.

Dry season of Volcanoes National Park
Mid-May to mid-October is the dry season. This is the most popular time to visit Volcanoes as the trekking tends to be slightly easier and the gorillas may be easier to spot due to the reduced vegetation.

Rainy season of Volcanoes National Park
Mid-October through November is the short rain season, which makes for slightly more difficult trekking than in the dry season, but not as strenuous as in April or May. The short dry season runs from December through March and is another good time for trekking and gorilla viewing.

Safari tour packages (215)   See all tour packages

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(4/5 stars) Written on: Jan 29, 2016   |   Visited: Nov 2015.
I was fortunate to have the possibility to visit the park at the end of 2015. It was a totally amazing experience.
At first I was really impressed by the country of Rwanda. So different from what I expected. A well-organized country that still had managed to keep the origin.

We stayed at hotel in Musanze and the hotel helped with arranging transportation to th... read more

I saw

Mountain gorilla
Chameleon
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8 people gave this review kudus.
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(5/5 stars) Written on: Jan 15, 2016   |   Visited: Jan 2016.
Volcanoes National Park has 8 habituated groups of gorillas available for daily tracking and up to 8 visitors are allowed per day, for one hour only. Gorilla treks can be over and done with in less than 3 hours or, in adverse circumstances, take 8 or more hours. The guides are well-trained, fluent in English and it's best to make use of the blue uniformed porters, ... read more

I saw

Mountain gorilla
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11 people gave this review kudus.
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(5/5 stars) Written on: Dec 22, 2015   |   Visited: Nov 2015.
This is a really nice place to go. Theo have 12 different gorilla families in the mountains and we visited the amazing Sabyinyo group. Our guide was very good and knowledgeable. Usually they recommend a distance of at least 7 meters to the gorillas but this time the gorilla silver back came up to us very close as you can see on my profile pictures. The weather was ... read more

I saw

Mountain gorilla
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6 people gave this review kudus.

(4/5 stars) Written on: Nov 17, 2015   |   Visited: Jul 2013.
For a number of years now we've wanted to see the silver back gorilla. It's KAE that allowed us to realize this dream. Our guide was extraordinarily kind and patient. His knowledge of the fauna helped us discover some remarkable animals that others wouldn't have had seen.
As for the mountain gorilla, to see these animals get up close to us is a rare and moving ex... read more
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6 people gave this review kudus.
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(5/5 stars) Written on: Jul 24, 2014   |   Visited: Jun 2014.
Nothing can prepare you for your first sighting of a silverback gorilla. He is HUGE! He could easily rip you limb from limb and you immediately respect and admire this docile creature and wish man were more like his primate cousin.
The trek was tough, and there were leeches and mosquitoes to deal with, but I would do it again in a second, even with the increased p... read more

I saw

Mountain gorilla
Vervet monkey
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12 people gave this review kudus.
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(5/5 stars) Written on: Mar 15, 2014   |   Visited: Apr 2012.
The existence of gorillas in Africa's rain forests has been known for centuries not only in Africa but the whole world. 2000 years back,early records were taken by the sailors that landed from the North African province as they tried to capture some apes in the western lowland and the eastern lowland. in the early 1900, the other specie of the mountain gorillas was... read more

I saw

Mountain gorilla
Vervet monkey
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11 people gave this review kudus.
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(4/5 stars) Written on: Jan 24, 2014   |   Visited: Apr 2013.
Deciding the gorilla trekking was just too expensive for mid-twenties budgets, my travel partner and I decided to do a volcano hike. We chose Bisoke based on our guidebooks review and the tour operator's recommendation. It's the second-easiest hike, but don't let that deceive you because man, is it challenging! The total hike takes about six hours and climbs in ele... read more

I saw

Mountain gorilla
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10 people gave this review kudus.
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(4/5 stars) Written on: Dec 27, 2013   |   Visited: Dec 2013.
Volcanoes National Park (Parc National des Volcans) is situated in northwestern Rwanda bordering Virunga National Park in the Democratic Republic of Congo and Mgahinga Gorilla National Park in Uganda.

Volcanoes National Park’s main attraction is the mountain gorilla (Gorilla beringei beringei) living in the lush hills within the park.

There are about 10 go... read more

I saw

Mountain gorilla
African buffalo
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14 people gave this review kudus.
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** Safari guru **

(5/5 stars) Written on: May 17, 2013   |   Visited: Feb 2011.
If it’s mountain gorillas you want to see, then the Volcanoes Park in Rwanda is where you need to be! I’ll try and keep this brief...even though that’s not usually my forte.

We based ourselves in Ruhengeri (sleeping in a converted convent which was rather sombre) and headed out to the park at first light. Apparently many moons ago one had to hike for hours on en... read more

I saw

Mountain gorilla
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13 people gave this review kudus.
Safari suitability: 6 / 10
Excellent opportunity for gorilla-viewing. Due to the physical demands of a gorilla trekking safari, Volcanoes is recommended for those who are physically capable of trekking in rough conditions.
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Articles about the Volcanoes

Nearby parks and game reserves

Animals you can find

Mountain gorilla
Mountain gorilla
Hyena
Hyena
African buffalo
African buffalo
See a complete list

Getting to Volcanoes

Activities you can do

Bird watching
Bird watching
Cultural / Tribal visits
Cultural / Tribal visits
Photography
Photography
Shopping/markets
Shopping/markets
Trekking
Trekking
Farm visits
Farm visits

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