AN EXTENSION OF THE VIRUNGAS VOLCANIC MOUNTAIN CHAIN
VOLCANOES NATIONAL PARK
Volcanoes National Park lies in northwestern Rwanda and borders Mgahinga Gorilla National Park in Uganda and Virunga National Park in the Democratic Republic of Congo into which the Virungas volcanic mountain chain extends. Volcanoes National Park protects the steep slopes of this magnificent mountain range with a rich mosaic of montane ecosystems which embrace evergreen bamboo rain forest, open grassland, swamp and heath. In combination with adjoining parks in the neighboring countries, it serves as the world’s only habitat of the endangered mountain gorillas, whose numbers have been increasing here over the past decade. It is the most heavily patrolled park in the world and the oldest in Africa. It is named after the chain of five of the eight dormant volcanoes of the Virunga Mountains making up the Virunga Massif: Karisimbi – the highest at 4,507m, Bisoke with its verdant crater lake, Sabinyo, Gahinga and Muhabura. These are old volcanoes towering almost 15,000 feet . Visitor numbers to the gorillas are strictly limited and passes must be purchased often well in advance from RDB. Golden monkeys also inhabit a separate portion of the park. Tracking endangered mountain gorillas through the mysterious intimacy of the rain forest, alive with the calls of 200 species of colorful birds and chattering of the rare golden monkey is only one of the truly unique experiences in the area. Within the boundaries of Volcanoes National Park are Buhanga Eco-Park an ancient forest, holding Rwanda’s most intriguing folklore and Musanze Caves formed 62 million years ago after the last estimated volcanic eruption. Hiking, canoeing, mountain biking and village experiences offer something for everyone to enjoy. The park was the base for the zoologist Dian Fossey.