Volcanoes National Park (French: Parc National des Volcans lies in northwestern Rwanda, Spanning on 160-sq-Kms in the Northern part of Rwanda, Volcanoes National Park is part of the great Virunga Volcano Conservation region covering it borders Virunga National Park in the Democratic Republic of Congo and Mgahinga Gorilla National Park in Uganda.
The National Park is known as a haven for the rare endangered Mountain Gorilla and the Golden Monkeys. It is the home to the 5 (five) of the eight volcanoes of the Virunga Mountains (Karisimbi, Bisoke, Muhabura and Sabyinyo). The Park spans 160 sq. Kms and covers rainforests and bamboo
In 1967, the American zoologist Dian Fossey who had been doing research on mountain Gorillas in the forests of Congo fled from insecurity and established her research base at a place between Visoke and Karisimbi volcanoes that was yet to be known as Karisoke research center. She spearheaded the conservation campaign of the mountain gorillas and mobilized resources to fight against poaching in this area, a fight she put up until her murder in 1985. She was buried at the research center next to the grave of her favorite gorilla called Digit.
The park continued to suffer at the mercies of poachers though conservation efforts were also under way. In early 1990s, the park became a battle field for the Rwanda’s civil war which paralyzed tourism activities until 1999. In 2005, in a bid to boost conservation and gorilla tourism in Volcanoes national park, Rwanda introduced the annual baby naming ceremony for baby gorillas known as ‘Kwita Iziina’ which has seen great results in as far as gorilla population in volcanoes is concerned.
Volcanoes national park is home to Mountain Gorilla (Gorilla beringei beringei); golden monkeys (Cercopithecus mitis kandti), Spotted Hyena (Crocuta crocuta), buffaloes (Syncerus caffer), elephants, black-fronted duiker (Cephalophus niger), and bushbuck (Tragelaphus scriptus). The park also harbors 178 bird species including at least 29 endemics to Rwenzori Mountains and the Virungas.
Activities in the park include:-
Gorilla trekking, Hiking Karisimbi volcano (3,800 m), One day Mount Bisoke volcano hike, Visiting Dian Fossey, Visiting the twin lakes of Ruhondo and Bulera