Volcanoes national park is known as a haven for the rare and endangered mountain gorillas and golden monkeys. It’s composed of 5 of the 8 volcanoes of the Virunga Mountains including Kirisimbi, Bisoke, Muhabura, Gahinga and Sabyinyo. The 160 square km area of the park is covered in rainforest and bamboo. The park was also the home of the zoologist Dian Fossey
Volcanoes national park is one of the oldest national park in Africa. It was initially a small area around Karisimbi, Mikeno and Visoke volcanoes which was gazetted to protect the Mountain gorillas which were facing the threat of extinction as a result of poaching. In 1929, it was extended into Rwanda and Belgian Congo and was named Albert national park managed and run by the Belgian Colonial Authorities. During early 1960s, the park was divided and both Rwanda and Congo gained independence. However the park suffered greatly at the mercies of poachers though conservation efforts were also under way including Dian Fossey, an American zoologist efforts in 1967 before she encountered her death during her research. 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 safaris in the 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 best known for the mountain Gorilla however there are other primate species that have been seen in the forest including the endangered golden monkeys and monkeys. The park is also mentioned hosting mammals like the buffaloes, elephants, black-fronted duiker, and bushbuck though rarely spotted. The park is also a birding site having 178 bird species and at least 29 endemics to Rwenzori Mountains and the Virunga. Activities found include Gorilla visits, Golden monkey visits, hiking to Karisimbi and Bisoke volcanoes, Dian Fossey tom visit, community tours, and lakes and caves visits
Volcanoes national park is located in a small town called Musanze previously well-known as Ruhengeri. The park lies in the northwestern park of Rwanda bordering Virunga national park of Congo and Mgahinga national park in Uganda. It can accessible through Gisenyi or Kigali city. The drive to the park is usually 2 hours from Kigali, making it possible to view mountain gorillas and drive back to Kigali after the trek.