Volcanoes National Park/ Virunga
Found in the Northwest of Rwanda, a visit to the Volcanoes National Park is a must and in many cases, the very reason one visits Rwanda. The park is home to around 10 Gorilla families (8 permits are given per family so a total of 80 permits per day). It is an area of thickly vegetated rainforest and bamboo. It is where the legendary Dian Fossey, made her home for over 18 years. She spend the years studying the life of Africa’s gorillas and there habitual ways and becoming a force against the poachers seeking out gorillas for meat and trade. She left a legacy behind and began the process of conserving our Gorillas.
The Volcanoes National park is a part of the Virunga Conservation area. The Virunga Conservation area traverses over 3 countries, (Democratic Republic of Congo, Uganda and Rwanda), covers 2 national parks (Virunga NP in DRC, Volcanoes NP in Rwanda and Mgahinga in Uganda) and houses eight volcanoes (5 of which sit in Rwanda) and forms the borders - these are Mount Karismibi, Mount Sabinyo, Mount Muhabura, Mount Bisoke and Mount Gahinga). Mount Nyiragongo and Mount Nyamulagira, which sit in DRC, are the only active volcanoes. This incredible formation is all part of the Albertine Rift .
This is the terrain, the endangered gorillas call home. The eco-system and fertile volcanic soil is what makes the region so attractive for the gorillas. The eco-system is divided into 4 vegetation zones and also provides habitat for the golden monkeys, as well as many bird species. Thanks so all conservation efforts and rules, gorillas have increased in numbers and continue to contribute hugely to the economy of Rwanda which in turn finances the anti-poaching team and creates jobs for the locals, which minimises the need for poaching and black market gorilla sales.
Further to gorilla trekking in the Volcanoes National Park, hiking tours are a must. There is no better way to appreciate the parks rich flora and fauna.