Virunga Volcanoes

The Birunga massif in the north of Rwanda, with five magnificent volcanoes, including Karisimbi with the highest peak of 4,507 meters. The ‘ Volcano National Park’ is located on the common border of Rwanda, Congo and Uganda where Diana Fossey studied 600 gorillas in Rwanda for many years.

The National Volcano Park is a primary forest lying on a chain of 5 volcanoes that encourage you do an excursion. The chain is extended to the Congo-Nile Crete separating two important large basins of Africa. Created in 1925 with the aim of protecting mountain gorillas, it was the first National Park in Africa and covers an area of 12,500 hectares. The five volcanoes situated in Rwanda are:

  •     Karisimbi : 4 507 m
  •     Muhabura : 4 127 m
  •     Bisoke : 3 711 m
  •     Sabyinyo : 3 634 m
  •     Gahinga : 3 474 m
  •     Mikeno : 4 437 m
  •     Nyiragongo : 3 470 m
  •     Nyamuragira : 3 058 m

The volcano park is characterized by the oldest mountain gorilla families living in a very splendid world and very attractive to the visitors. There are ten gorilla groups that are habituated for gorilla treks in Volcanoes National Park:

  • Groupe Sabyinyo
  • Groupe Amahoro
  • Groupe Susa
  • Groupe 13
  • Groupe Kwitonda
  • Groupe umubano
  • Groupe Hirwa

You can visit mountain gorillas or go on the following excursions:

  • Visiting the tomb of the researcher DIAN FOSSEY TOMB’s RESEARCH CENTER.
  • Climbing Volcano Karisimbi and Bisoke
  • Visiting Musanze cave
  • Lakes Burera-Ruhondo tour
  • Visiting monkeys
  • Discovering the ecosystem of four types of vegetation including low altitude bamboos.

Several tour companies organizes tours to the National Volcano Park. The request for visit is generally simple. But visiting mountain gorillas depends on whether you have the authorization issued by ORTNP, which demand is very high. The booking is normally done in advance, and payment must be made at least six month earlier. For the tour, you need take the following items with you:

  • shoes appropriate to a long excursion
  • a rain coat, a hat and gloves.
  • long-sleeved clothes and long trousers.
  • enough drinking water
  • a camera and films but a flash is not allowed
  • a light bag