Volcanoes National Park is famous for gorilla tracking. The park is in the North West of Rwanda. It is made of 4 dormant volcanoes and is forest-covered. The Park is 2 hours from Kigali city and offers several activities from gorilla tracking, golden monkey tracking, volcano climbing, visiting the Dian Fossey Tomb, among others that happen inside the park.
Within the boundaries of Volcanoes National Park is some places that you can combine with either gorilla or golden monkey tracking or any other activity. The activities around Volcanoes National Park include:-
- Visit the Musanze Caves
The Musanze caves were opened to tourists in 2013 and they have not gained so much popularity because they are in the shadows of the giant apes. They are located at the foothills of Volcanoes national park and have a lot of history on the geology of the area and the 1994 genocide. The intensive volcanic activity that formed the Albertine Rift Valley about 65 million years ago creates this 2km long cave. The cave displays the rocks of the earth. Walkways and stairs have been built inside the cave to support tourism. Before being developed for tourism, the inside was always dark as night, but now lights have been put up to make it safe for visitors.
- Visit Iby’Iwachu Cultural Village
Iby’Iwachu cultural village in Kinigi, exhibits and demonstrates Rwanda’s rich culture. Iby’Iwachu translating from the local dialect to “our heritage” or “what is ours” is where a traveler to Rwanda will ever witness the culture and lifestyle of the people of Rwanda who inhabited the land from dawn time. Despite the limited ethnic diversity like the neighbors Uganda (with over 54 tribes) Rwanda has only three that have bonded as one after the pre-colonial times and 1994 genocide. This has created a comprehensive culture making it rich with various values, customs, norms, and traditions.
The cultural village is about 20 minutes drive from Volcanoes National park and it was started to respond and give options to the now-former poachers. After it was discovered that the death of gorillas by snares wasn’t necessarily meant to kill gorillas but other edible animals in the park and also the pressure on land, the option to earn directly from tourism was created and the cultural village was birthed. This was to conserve wildlife and also improve the lives of these reformed poachers through the presentation of the unique culture and history of Rwanda.
- Visit the Twin lakes
Lake Bulera and Ruhondo, are on the base of Mt. Muhabura just a walk away from the park. The lakes are physically connected and together they cover 2800 hectares. After the eruption, here, it is believed that the lava flow caused the blocking of River Nyabarongo that was flowing northwards to form the two lakes. Visitors can do canoe rides on the lake, tick some water birds, and photography.
- Visit Buhanga Eco Park
Buhanga Eco Park is a big deal of cultural and biological importance despite its small size. The forest has great trails that go through the towering trees and is home to a variety of birds and butterflies. It was formerly a site that used to host the coronation rituals of the former Kings of Rwanda.
- Community tours.
To learn about and benefit the community, we encourage community tours on our safaris. A walk through the homes, farmyards, school visits, among others exposes travelers to the lifestyle of the people, the culture, economic activities, and the impact of tourism on the communities.
If you are in Rwanda for gorillas, know beyond the park and your hotel. Include any of the above activities on your gorilla safari.