Visit Volcanoes National Park and experience the mountain gorilla trekking safaris the major activity done in Volcanoes National Park in Rwanda. The gorilla trekking experience has two distinct phases. The first is the hike from the closest car park to the forest and national park boundary, which usually takes 30-60 minutes depending on the speed and the group they are visiting. The second is trek into the forest in search of gorillas, which will usually have been located by the advance trackers by the time reach the forest edge.
A once-in-a-life-time experience through the refined foothills of the Virunga’s provides inspiring views in all directions. Through gaps in the forest canopy, the marvelous peaks are sighted, easily easy to get to and among the uppermost in Africa, indicating an ascent. Gorilla trekking is quite strenuous but a worthwhile on encounter of these gentle giants. The excitement of your coming across with these apes will wipe away your intricacy of the strenuous trek. Spend time watching gorillas, watch the adults feeding their young ones, brushing and resting as the youngsters play from vines in a pleasurably playful display.
Dian Fossey Hike
Dian Fossey was an America primatologist who took up a broad study and keen interest in studying and protecting mountain gorillas in Rwanda for a period of 18 years but was unfortunately murdered by gorilla poachers. Dian Fossey while doing her research set up a Karisoke Research camp between Mt. Visoke and Mt. Karisimbi in the Volcanoes national park. This is where the Karisoke name was derived basing on the two volcanoes.
The mountain gorillas survive thanks to Dian Fossey, a researcher who was buried at her research Centre alongside these mountain gorillas to which she dedicated her life. The trail leading to her tomb and Karisoke Research Centre is a beautiful yet challenging 1 hour 45 minute hike up steep slopes where orchids, birdlife and even occasional mountain gorillas can be seen.
Golden Monkey Trekking
Golden monkey trekking is another activity one can after trekking mountains. Trekking the golden monkey through the bamboo forest they live in, is another unique experience. The Golden monkey is endangered species. There are two habituated groups of Golden Monkey, one group comprises around 80 – 100 members and has its home at the foot of Mt Sabyinyo. As with treks to see the Mountain Gorillas, treks to see the Golden Monkeys take place in the mornings and visitors are permitted to stay for 1 hour with the monkeys just like the mountain gorillas.
Twin Lakes: Burera and Ruhondo
These are beautiful lakes located at the base of volcano Muhabura and close to the border with Uganda. They are surrounded by steep hills and large waterfalls with a backdrop of the Virunga volcanic mountains. These twin lakes are great spots to be visited after watching the gorillas in the Rwandan mountains. Lakes Burera and Ruhondo are close to the gorilla-tracking Centre of Ruhengeri and used to be referred to as neglected gems but things have changed and Burera and Ruhondo are popular with tourists.
Iby’Iwacu Cultural Village Tour
The village is located just outside the national park; this living museum highlights aspects of traditional Rwanda society. Visitors can expect to be greeted by thunderous drumming, joyful dancing, and the kind of hospitality that has permeated Rwandan society for centuries. The village features hands-on activities related to the rituals and ways of life in the ancient Rwandan kingdom. Some of Iby’Iwacu presenters and performers were previous poachers who’ve now been able to make a new livelihood through this memorable, interactive stop designed for visitors of all ages. The village also offers extended trips into the countryside as well as overnight lodging that can be arranged in advance.
Bisoke Volcano Hike
Bisoke is 3,711m above sea level is located on the DRC and Rwanda border. An eruption in 1957 formed two small cones on the north flank of the volcano, 11km from the summit, which supports a beautiful crater lake, lake Ngezi. Hiking to Crater Lake requires four hours up a steep trail from the Bisoke departure point to reach the summit. The walk around the Crater Lake rim is highly recommended. Allow seven hours for the entire trip. Lake Ngezi, a small, shallow crater lake, is the easiest hike in the park; it takes only a 3-4 hour around- trip from the Bisoke departure point.
Karisimbi volcano hike
The Karisimbi mountain name in Kinyarwanda means ‘white shell’, which refers to the white crapped summit which is often seen. Karisimbi is the fifth highest mountain in Africa. This is strenuous 2 day hike. The climb will start early in the morning and takes 6 hours. You will climb further via the Bisoke side, before reaching the first stopping place at an altitude of 3,700m for overnight (camping)