Parc National De Volcans – PNV
Situated in the far northwest of Rwanda, Volcanoes National Park (PNV) protects the steep slopes of this magnificent mountain range – home of the endangered mountain gorilla and a rich mosaic of montane ecosystems, which embrace evergreen and bamboo forest, open grassland, swamp and heath.
Volcanoes National Park is named after the chain of dormant volcanoes making up the Virunga Massif: Karisimbi – the highest at 4,507m, Bisoke with its verdant crater lake, Sabinyo, Gahinga and Muhabura. The amazing Virunga Mountains that straddles the borders of Rwanda, Uganda and the DRC, covering a huge area of over 8,000km², encompassing six active and three extinct volcanoes is home to the rare Mountain Gorillas.
Activities in and around Volcanoes National Park (PNV);
Well famous for mountain gorillas, PNV harbours a spectacular array of rare and endangered animals and plants. There is a variety of other primates, including the endemic golden monkeys, plus other big creatures that may not be easily seen. These include among others, the forest elephants, buffalo, giant forest hogs (Africa’s largest swine), bushpigs, bushbucks, black-fronted duikers, and spotted hyenas. The park is home to around 200 species of birds.
The dramatic landscapeof PNV, offers thrilling hiking and visits to the fascinating golden monkeys. The park is also one of Rwanda’s conservation epicenters, where many non-profit organizations base their operations. Visitors can pay homage to the legendary scientist and gorilla advocate Dian Fossey with a hike to her tomb or a visit to the Dian Fosse Gorilla Fund that continues her legacy of research and advocacy to this day.
Near the park, the bustling and vibrant markets of Musanze are a place to immerse yourself into everyday Rwandan culture. Go deep into the earth with Musanze’s caves – one of the area’s newest attractions.
Gorilla tracking in Rwanda:
The unique opportunity to see gorillas in their natural habitat is unforgettable, some guests who have been on Gorilla tracking Safari with Adventure Consult say, “the experience is life changing”. Encounters with gorillas as they go about their daily lives are carefully managed, with expert trackers and guides leading small groups of tourists up bamboo-covered slopes to spend a precious and awe-inspiring hour just a few feet away from the gentle creatures.
The troops are somewhat fluid in composition, but tend to stick to a preferred area. They are constantly monitored and protected by park rangers, with each group coming into contact with tourists for a strict maximum of one hour per day.
That precious hour spent in the company of the Gorillas, watching the family playing, sulking, teasing each other, eating, or dozing just like humans do, is extraordinary.
A limited number of permits is issued each day which makes the encounter very intimate and unremarkable. Gorilla permits are booked with payment on a first come, first served basis, so we encourage you to get in touch – firstname.lastname@example.org well in advance for permit availability status and professional guidance on arranging your All inclusive Rwanda Gorilla experience.
While Gorilla tracking, hikes up to their different locations can last anything from 30 minutes to four or more hours, reaching an altitude of between 2,500m and 4,000m. We encourage you to make use of the available porters to carry backpacks and cameras, as well as to offer a helping hand along the route.
Gorilla tracking also provides employment for many locals, from rangers and trackers to porters, drivers and staff at tourist lodges. So when you book a gorilla trip with Adventure Consults, you are directly supporting conservation efforts.
Golden monkey tracking.
Golden Monkeys are very fast-moving little creatures, and overly entertaining as they constantly swing through the bamboo or chase each other in circles all around you. They are pretty, with shiny reddish-gold backs that blend in perfectly with the golden bamboo.
Volcanoes National Park has got two groups of Golden Monkeys that can be tracked, one on the slopes of Mount Karisimbi and the other in the bamboo forest on Mount Sabyinyo. The standalone excursion departs from Kinigi headquarters once each day and can be part of your Rwanda primate adventure. Limited permits are available, so you need to book with your consultant well in time or get in touch with our sales team – email@example.com
Hiking in Rwanda.
Rwanda’s epic scenery, pleasant climate and magnificent wildlife make the land a remarkable place to explore on foot.
A range of six extinct and three active volcanoes form the Virunga Massif, spanning altitudes from 2,400m to 4,507m.
Lake Ngezi hike.
The shortest hike is to Lake Ngezi, a scenic little lake nestled in a volcanic depression at the foot of Mount Bisoke. It takes about three hours in total and is relatively easy going, with the possibility of encountering wildlife along the way as well as gaze across to the Congolese forests.
Dian Fossey hike/ Karisoke Research Centre.
Volcanoes National Park has a historic connection with gorilla conservation. It was the base for the ground-breaking work of primatologist Dian Fossey which started in 1967 and is evocatively portrayed in the book and film Gorillas in the Mist.
As part of Adventure Consults’ Rwanda safari experience, we encourage our travellers to spend more days in the country and trace the footsteps of Dian Fossey. You will visit Dian’s tomb together with those of her favorite Gorillas that were killed by poachers and buried in the same area.
Adventure Consults’ guide will pick you from the lodge/hotel/residence, go to the park headquarters for briefing, head out for a 30 minutes’ drive and start a two to three hours hike through the forest. The hike goes up to above 3,000m altitude. Visit to Dian Fossey grave can be part of the main Gorilla tracking adventure. The activity is carried out once a day and starts in the morning.
Mount Bisoke hike
Explore Mount Bisoke summit where a crater lake awaits at the top. You will go up to 3,700m above sea level. This trail takes anything from five hours to a whole day. It’s a standalone activity and worth doing!
Explore the highest peak in Rwanda! Mount Karisimbi which translates as white shell, referring to the frequently white-capped cloud cover at the summit. At 4,507m it is a strenuous yet rewarding hike, which takes two days, camping along the way. As this is the territory of gorillas, other primates and many bird species, hikers could be blessed with an opportunity meeting along the way.
Dedicate a full day for Mount Muhubura hike. You will climb up to 4,127m above sea level, and the activity is conducted once a day. You will be amazed by the scenic twin lakes of Burera and Ruhondo when you get on the top of the mountain.
The Buhanga Eco-Park offers more of a wander than a hike but is nevertheless worth considering. Paths crafted from lava stones form an interconnecting network between observation platforms, sometimes running between ancient ficus trees with creepers clinging to their trunks.
Rwandan kings of olden days were crowned in the Buhanga sacred forest, which translates as creation. Alongside its cultural significance, it is quite beautiful with rare orchids and butterflies.
The Congo Nile Trail.
Alongside Lake Kivu, the Congo Nile Trail is popular with both cyclists and hikers, traversing rainforests, bracken fields and bamboo forests. At 227km from one end to the other, it takes 10 days to complete on foot, although it is possible to do in single sections.
The trail is a wonderful way to soak up daily life in traditional villages, tour a historic church, swim and paddle on the lake shore or sip coffee where it’s made.
With twelve coffee-washing stations, three tea plantations, three cities, dozens of villages, and innumerable beaches, coves, waterfalls, valleys and vistas, the winding path of the Congo Nile Trail offers some of the finest hiking to be had anywhere in east and central Africa.
Winding its way along the fringes of the lake via the peaks of Rwanda’s green hills, the Congo Nile Trail is as challenging as it is rewarding. With a peak elevation of 2630m, it’s a serious workout to boot.
Kwita Izina (Gorilla-naming ceremony)
Adventure consults can plan your Rwanda Safari to suite the Gorilla naming event that takes place every year. You will get an opportunity to watch one of Africa’s most important celebrations of nature and meet Rwanda’s newborn baby gorillas.
Kwita Izina (giving a name) is modeled off a centuries old tradition in which Rwandans name their children in the presence of family and friends. In 2005, Rwanda began officially naming mountain gorillas in what has become a global celebration of nature. By giving a name to these majestic animals, they are given we a value they undoubtedly deserve.
The ceremony is an opportunity to thank the communities that live around Volcanoes National Park, research partners, vets and the dedicated conservationists, rangers and trackers who protect the gorillas. Over the last 15 years, more than 300 mountain gorillas have been named.
The date for Gorilla naming ceremony is determined by government and is always part of the annual tourism calendar. Get in touch for more up-to-date information so that we are in position to craft your trip along the same time.
Community visits/Cultural experiences.
Adventure Consults values people around the parks in the same we do to Wildlife. The home to animals now, used to be home and farm land for the communities. The tourist destinations are actually homes to many, so there must be a link!
We encourage visits to one of the cultural centres near the park and to get an insight into local life and traditions. This is not only interesting but benefits the local communities and deters them from engaging in negative activities like poaching. Check out some of our cultural tours below.
Ibyiwacu cultural village
Located near Parc National des Volcans in Musanze district is Iby’Iwacu cultural village. During your visit, you will get an insight to Rwanda’s culture, traditions and history. As a special visitor, you will be welcomed by the community leaders.
Adventure consults’ guide will hand you over to the site Culture guide for a thrilling experiences. The highlights of the visit is going to the king’s house replica with all the houses interpretation of all parts and stories attached to this cultural treasure. You will e enthroned and become a king for a short time while exercising king’s powers as presented to you by a village elder through a village ceremony.
You will enjoy traditional dances, the drumming, listen to folktales, and meet the traditional medicine man / local traditional healer
If on a full day tour or half day (time and interest permitting), attend a local banana brewery process and enjoy the local banana beer. You can as well explore the Batwa pottery making experience, have a meal with the locals for a true taste of Rwanda’s traditional food.
Sabyinyo Community Livelihood Association (SACOLA) COMMUNITY PROJECT VISITS.
SACOLA funds numerous projects in the local community, all designed to provide safe housing, protect the environment, improve education, and preserve Rwanda’s culture. Any of these projects can be visited but strictly on request and need advance reservations.
Adventure Consults believes in uplifting local community lives through offering lifetime experiences to travellers. During the tour, you will be entertained with the traditional dances which are full of color and life. Supporting local traditional dancers is an important way SACOLA protects and conserves traditional culture.
Among other projects that can be visited include the local textile and handicrafts businesses, that does mat weaving, arts & crafts, and tailoring. Visit SACOLA villages, schools, conservation projects and lots more! Get in touch for more info and interesting idea on how to spend your day with the local communities – firstname.lastname@example.org