"Tracking mountain gorillas in Volcanoes National Park is one of the most engaging wildlife experiences Africa has to offer. Yet this breathtakingly scenic park, which protects the Rwandan portion of the Virungas, a string of massive forest-swathed volcanoes that rises to 4,507m on the border with Uganda and the Congo, offers a host of other worthwhile activities, ranging from tracking golden monkeys and birdwatching to hiking to the volcanos’ Afro-alpine summits. ”

- Philip Briggs

Volcanoes National Park

Staring into the liquid brown eyes of a mountain gorilla is at once truly humbling and thoroughly exhilarating. A barrel-chested silverback, though no taller than an average human, might be thrice as bulky, yet these gentle giants rank among the most peaceable of primates, spending the bulk of their time sitting Buddha-like on the forest floor, scratching their potbellies, and chewing contentedly on succulent bamboo sticks.

Home to almost half the world’s mountain gorillas, Volcanoes National Park, Rwanda is where Dian Fossey undertook her legendary study of these charismatic apes in the 1970s, and it later served as the location for the Oscar-nominated biographical movie Gorillas in the Mist. Today, the park is home to 10 habituated mountain groups, and a total of 80 tracking permits is issued daily. It can be a challenging day out, ascending muddy steep slopes through overhanging boughs and vicious nettle patches, but the as-good-as-certain reward – a thrilling face-to-face encounter with a gorilla group – is one you will never forget.

Although gorilla tracking is the park’s most popular activity, it is also possible to visit a habituated troop of bamboo-dwelling golden monkeys, or to hike to Karisoke Research Centre the former home, and now burial place, of Dian Fossey). More ambitious is the slippery but stunning day hike up Bisoke, a forest-swathed volcano with a beautiful crater lake nestled in its 3,711m-high peak, or the demanding overnight hike up 4,507m Mount Karisimbi.

When to go

Find out when is best to visit

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  • Good
  • Poor
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DRIER PERIOD

A slightly drier interlude before the more intense long rains arrive in March.

Rwanda is just two degrees south of the equator; this equatorial location means that temperatures throughout the year are very consistent, the variable in play is often altitude, which varies greatly across Rwanda, this, therefore, has a corresponding effect on temperature, which is surprisingly pleasant throughout the year.

Its equatorial location does, however, mean that rainfall is likely throughout the year. There are main two wet seasons in Rwanda; the first takes place between March and May, the second between September and November.

The best time to visit Rwanda is very much defined by the type of experience you are seeking. Many parks are good all year round, although you will find that one’s chances of a good sighting improve during the drier months of the year. Trekking Gorillas or Chimpanzee is not as influenced by the weather, although there is no doubt that the trekking is easier and more enjoyable during the drier times of the year.

DRIER PERIOD

A slightly drier interlude before the more intense long rains arrive in March.

Rwanda is just two degrees south of the equator; this equatorial location means that temperatures throughout the year are very consistent, the variable in play is often altitude, which varies greatly across Rwanda, this, therefore, has a corresponding effect on temperature, which is surprisingly pleasant throughout the year.

Its equatorial location does, however, mean that rainfall is likely throughout the year. There are main two wet seasons in Rwanda; the first takes place between March and May, the second between September and November.

The best time to visit Rwanda is very much defined by the type of experience you are seeking. Many parks are good all year round, although you will find that one’s chances of a good sighting improve during the drier months of the year. Trekking Gorillas or Chimpanzee is not as influenced by the weather, although there is no doubt that the trekking is easier and more enjoyable during the drier times of the year.

WET SEASON

Whilst rain is possible throughout the year, during this period rainfall tends to be more intense and prolonged.

Rwanda is just two degrees south of the equator; this equatorial location means that temperatures throughout the year are very consistent, the variable in play is often altitude, which varies greatly across Rwanda, this, therefore, has a corresponding effect on temperature, which is surprisingly pleasant throughout the year.

Its equatorial location does, however, mean that rainfall is likely throughout the year. There are main two wet seasons in Rwanda; the first takes place between March and May, the second between September and November.

The best time to visit Rwanda is very much defined by the type of experience you are seeking. Many parks are good all year round, although you will find that one’s chances of a good sighting improve during the drier months of the year. Trekking Gorillas or Chimpanzee is not as influenced by the weather, although there is no doubt that the trekking is easier and more enjoyable during the drier times of the year.

WET SEASON

Whilst rain is possible throughout the year, during this period rainfall tends to be more intense and prolonged.

Rwanda is just two degrees south of the equator; this equatorial location means that temperatures throughout the year are very consistent, the variable in play is often altitude, which varies greatly across Rwanda, this, therefore, has a corresponding effect on temperature, which is surprisingly pleasant throughout the year.

Its equatorial location does, however, mean that rainfall is likely throughout the year. There are main two wet seasons in Rwanda; the first takes place between March and May, the second between September and November.

The best time to visit Rwanda is very much defined by the type of experience you are seeking. Many parks are good all year round, although you will find that one’s chances of a good sighting improve during the drier months of the year. Trekking Gorillas or Chimpanzee is not as influenced by the weather, although there is no doubt that the trekking is easier and more enjoyable during the drier times of the year.

WET SEASON

Whilst rain is possible throughout the year, during this period rainfall tends to be more intense and prolonged.

Rwanda is just two degrees south of the equator; this equatorial location means that temperatures throughout the year are very consistent, the variable in play is often altitude, which varies greatly across Rwanda, this, therefore, has a corresponding effect on temperature, which is surprisingly pleasant throughout the year.

Its equatorial location does, however, mean that rainfall is likely throughout the year. There are main two wet seasons in Rwanda; the first takes place between March and May, the second between September and November.

The best time to visit Rwanda is very much defined by the type of experience you are seeking. Many parks are good all year round, although you will find that one’s chances of a good sighting improve during the drier months of the year. Trekking Gorillas or Chimpanzee is not as influenced by the weather, although there is no doubt that the trekking is easier and more enjoyable during the drier times of the year.

DRY SEASON

A brief drier interlude before the more consistent rains arrive in October.

Rwanda is just two degrees south of the equator; this equatorial location means that temperatures throughout the year are very consistent, the variable in play is often altitude, which varies greatly across Rwanda, this, therefore, has a corresponding effect on temperature, which is surprisingly pleasant throughout the year.

Its equatorial location does, however, mean that rainfall is likely throughout the year. There are main two wet seasons in Rwanda; the first takes place between March and May, the second between September and November.

The best time to visit Rwanda is very much defined by the type of experience you are seeking. Many parks are good all year round, although you will find that one’s chances of a good sighting improve during the drier months of the year. Trekking Gorillas or Chimpanzee is not as influenced by the weather, although there is no doubt that the trekking is easier and more enjoyable during the drier times of the year.

DRY SEASON

A brief drier interlude before the more consistent rains arrive in October.

Rwanda is just two degrees south of the equator; this equatorial location means that temperatures throughout the year are very consistent, the variable in play is often altitude, which varies greatly across Rwanda, this, therefore, has a corresponding effect on temperature, which is surprisingly pleasant throughout the year.

Its equatorial location does, however, mean that rainfall is likely throughout the year. There are main two wet seasons in Rwanda; the first takes place between March and May, the second between September and November.

The best time to visit Rwanda is very much defined by the type of experience you are seeking. Many parks are good all year round, although you will find that one’s chances of a good sighting improve during the drier months of the year. Trekking Gorillas or Chimpanzee is not as influenced by the weather, although there is no doubt that the trekking is easier and more enjoyable during the drier times of the year.

DRY SEASON

A brief drier interlude before the more consistent rains arrive in October.

Rwanda is just two degrees south of the equator; this equatorial location means that temperatures throughout the year are very consistent, the variable in play is often altitude, which varies greatly across Rwanda, this, therefore, has a corresponding effect on temperature, which is surprisingly pleasant throughout the year.

Its equatorial location does, however, mean that rainfall is likely throughout the year. There are main two wet seasons in Rwanda; the first takes place between March and May, the second between September and November.

The best time to visit Rwanda is very much defined by the type of experience you are seeking. Many parks are good all year round, although you will find that one’s chances of a good sighting improve during the drier months of the year. Trekking Gorillas or Chimpanzee is not as influenced by the weather, although there is no doubt that the trekking is easier and more enjoyable during the drier times of the year.

DRIER PERIOD

A slightly drier interlude before the more intense long rains arrive in October.

Rwanda is just two degrees south of the equator; this equatorial location means that temperatures throughout the year are very consistent, the variable in play is often altitude, which varies greatly across Rwanda, this, therefore, has a corresponding effect on temperature, which is surprisingly pleasant throughout the year.

Its equatorial location does, however, mean that rainfall is likely throughout the year. There are main two wet seasons in Rwanda; the first takes place between March and May, the second between September and November.

The best time to visit Rwanda is very much defined by the type of experience you are seeking. Many parks are good all year round, although you will find that one’s chances of a good sighting improve during the drier months of the year. Trekking Gorillas or Chimpanzee is not as influenced by the weather, although there is no doubt that the trekking is easier and more enjoyable during the drier times of the year.

WET SEASON

Whilst rain is possible throughout the year, during this period rainfall tends to be more intense and prolonged.

Rwanda is just two degrees south of the equator; this equatorial location means that temperatures throughout the year are very consistent, the variable in play is often altitude, which varies greatly across Rwanda, this, therefore, has a corresponding effect on temperature, which is surprisingly pleasant throughout the year.

Its equatorial location does, however, mean that rainfall is likely throughout the year. There are main two wet seasons in Rwanda; the first takes place between March and May, the second between September and November.

The best time to visit Rwanda is very much defined by the type of experience you are seeking. Many parks are good all year round, although you will find that one’s chances of a good sighting improve during the drier months of the year. Trekking Gorillas or Chimpanzee is not as influenced by the weather, although there is no doubt that the trekking is easier and more enjoyable during the drier times of the year.

WET SEASON

Whilst rain is possible throughout the year, during this period rainfall tends to be more intense and prolonged.

Rwanda is just two degrees south of the equator; this equatorial location means that temperatures throughout the year are very consistent, the variable in play is often altitude, which varies greatly across Rwanda, this, therefore, has a corresponding effect on temperature, which is surprisingly pleasant throughout the year.

Its equatorial location does, however, mean that rainfall is likely throughout the year. There are main two wet seasons in Rwanda; the first takes place between March and May, the second between September and November.

The best time to visit Rwanda is very much defined by the type of experience you are seeking. Many parks are good all year round, although you will find that one’s chances of a good sighting improve during the drier months of the year. Trekking Gorillas or Chimpanzee is not as influenced by the weather, although there is no doubt that the trekking is easier and more enjoyable during the drier times of the year.

WET SEASON

Whilst rain is possible throughout the year, during this period rainfall tends to be more intense and prolonged.

Rwanda is just two degrees south of the equator; this equatorial location means that temperatures throughout the year are very consistent, the variable in play is often altitude, which varies greatly across Rwanda, this, therefore, has a corresponding effect on temperature, which is surprisingly pleasant throughout the year.

Its equatorial location does, however, mean that rainfall is likely throughout the year. There are main two wet seasons in Rwanda; the first takes place between March and May, the second between September and November.

The best time to visit Rwanda is very much defined by the type of experience you are seeking. Many parks are good all year round, although you will find that one’s chances of a good sighting improve during the drier months of the year. Trekking Gorillas or Chimpanzee is not as influenced by the weather, although there is no doubt that the trekking is easier and more enjoyable during the drier times of the year.

Experiences

Mountain Gorilla Tracking

Tracking mountain gorillas through the dense African forests is a magical experience. Only eight visitors are allowed per gorilla group each day. Typically, tracking can take from 3 to 8 hours and requires some agility and fitness; however, all fitness levels can be accommodated and no one should feel deterred from missing this once in a lifetime experience.

Revisit the scenes of Gorillas in the Mist

Reached by a three to four-hour hike through picturesque stretches of forest, the former base is set at a scenic altitude of 3 000 metres (over 9 000 feet) and is tucked between the steep summits of two volcanoes, Mount Visoke and Mount Karisimbi

Golden Monkey Trek

Discover the playful and inquisitive nature of the golden monkey, a beautiful little creature found only in the high-altitude forests of the Volcanoes National Park. Characterized by its bright golden body, cheeks and tail, with contrasting black limbs, crown and tail end, these playful primates are a pleasure to watch. Whether you choose to do this on the Rwandan or Ugandan side, the walk will take you from the bamboo stands and forested gorge on the lower levels of the volcanoes, to the elevated heath and moorland higher up.

A Birders Paradise

Rwanda offers some of the world’s best bird watching, with a vast diversity of bird species. Rwanda has over 700 bird species and is home to the second-highest number of Albertine endemics in the Albertine region. Each location offers the chance to see a number of different birds, with the vast majority endemic to the Region.

Enjoy a traditional dance from the SACOLA

The SACOLA represent a community Trust, which was set up ultimately drive socio-economic development and conservation initiatives in the Kinigi area, which is adjacent to the Volcanoes National Park in North-Western Rwanda.

Spend the day hiking one of Volcanoes National Parks spectacular summits

With this experience, you can choose to climb Mount Bisoke, Mount M'Gahinga or Mount Muhabura. Each summit offers a very different experience. Mt Bisoke stands at 3700m, it has the typical conic shape of a “perfect” volcano and in its crater lies a deep crater lake. At around 3400m, Mt M’gahinga is the smallest of the six volcanoes in the Virunga Range. Standing tall as the second highest peak in the Volcanoes National Park, Mt Muhabura is also the most easterly volcano in the Virunga range, and marks the border between Rwanda and Uganda.    

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