+256 704 538 374 info@4x4rwandacarrental.com
+256 704 538 374 info@4x4rwandacarrental.com

Volcanoes National Park

Unleash the full potential of your Volcanoes National Park journey with our premium 4×4 Rwanda car rental services. Volcanoes National Park is situated in the far northwestern part of Rwanda, spanning an area of about 160 km2. It is part of the great Virunga mountain ranges, a region spanning to cover Volcanoes National Park of Rwanda, Virunga National Park of the Congo, and Mgahinga Gorilla National Park of Uganda. Volcanoes National Park was initially a small area around the dormant volcanoes of Karisimbi, Mikeno, and Visoke, which was gazetted to protect the steep slopes of this magnificent mountain range and the mountain gorillas, which were facing the threat of extinction as a result of poaching. Other than the endangered mountain gorillas, it is home to a rich mosaic of montane ecosystems, which embrace evergreen and bamboo forests, swamps, open grassland, and heath.


As the name suggests, Volcanoes National Park is named after the chain of dormant volcanoes that make up the Virunga Massif: Karisimbi, the highest at 4,507m; Bisoke, with a verdant Crater Lake; Sabinyo; Gahinga; and Muhabura.

The park’s strategic location, with a roughly 2-hour drive from Kigali International Airport, makes it the most accessible gorilla national park in the world. Volcanoes National Park is home to a population of endangered mountain gorillas, golden monkeys, a prolific birdlife, reptiles, amphibians, and insects, among other creatures.

Activities in Volcanoes National Park

Gorilla trekking

Volcanoes National Park is a stop-center for all gorilla trekking excursions in Rwanda. It is home to half the population of the endangered mountain gorillas in the Virunga Conservation Area. It is one of the four national parks where mountain gorilla trekking is possible, with the most accessible trails. Others include Virunga National Park in the Congo, Mgahinga Gorilla National Park, and Bwindi Impenetrable National Park in Uganda. Ten habituated gorilla families are available for visitors to track each day under the guidance of experienced and motivated rangers or expert trackers. You will need a gorilla permit in order to have access to track these gentle giants in their natural habitat. Each permit in Rwanda costs USD 1,500.00 per person, is valid for only a day, and can be accessed through the Rwanda Development Board, your tour operator, or a car rental company. Gorilla trekking can be demanding and will require you to be in good shape before embarking on the activity.

Golden monkey tracking

Tracking golden monkeys in Volcanoes National Park has gained popularity in recent years and is now second only to trekking the gorillas. Observing these beautiful monkeys feed, groom, and swing from one bamboo tree to another costs $100 per person, valid for a day. A group of golden monkeys consists of nearly 100 individuals, usually led by a dominant male. You can combine your gorilla trekking tour with golden monkeys for an awesome experience. Tracking the golden monkeys is less strenuous as compared to gorillas because they don’t go to higher altitudes in search of fresh food like gorillas. They prefer to feed on the bamboo shoots that grow at the foot of the mountain.

Visiting the tomb of Dian Fossey

Dian Fossey is one of the greatest primatologists of all time as a result of her selflessness in conserving and protecting these primates in the wild. Because of her courage and determination, poaching these animals, particularly mountain gorillas, was greatly kept in check in the Volcanoes National Park. Without her tireless efforts, these primates would probably be extinct by now. She is also credited with having invented new ways of making gorillas comfortable in the presence of humans by imitating their sounds and gaining the acceptance and trust of the dominant male. Today, hundreds of visitors pay homage to this great conservationist by taking a brief excursion to her grave and the former Karisoke Research Center located between Mount Karisimbi and Mount Bisoke. The guided hike costs $75 and lasts about 3 hours.

Hiking Mount Karisimbi

Mount Karisimbi is an extinct volcano that reaches an altitude of about 4,507m. Hiking Mount Karisimbi is one of the popular activities to indulge in at Musanze. It is the fifth-highest mountain peak in Africa and thus requires both mental and physical preparation in order to ensure a successful two-day hike. The hike involves navigating through lush forests at the foothills before taking an initial break at an altitude of 3700m for rest and overnight. Hikers then resume the trek through the last steep section early in the morning, finally reaching the top of the summit. This summit rewards hikers with amazing views of the Volcanoes National Park, the whitened snow-capped Rwenzori Mountains, Mount Nyiragongo, and the entire Virunga region.


A variety of accommodation options are clustered in and around Volcanoes National Park, ranging from luxury, upmarket, mid-range, and basic establishments, many of which focus on setting. The most dramatic of these is the Virunga Lodge, which is established into the hillside with breath-taking views out to the Virunga volcanoes and Lakes Ruhondo and Bulera. Other lodges are strategically located and close to the park, with enviable settings and comfortable accommodations. We recommend you get accommodation that is as close as possible to the wildlife without sacrificing your comfort, and we have a number of lodges that will do just that. Depending on your interests, most accommodations are found in Kinigi, Musanze, and some as far as an hour from the park headquarters. Below are some of the accommodations to consider.

  • Bisate Lodge
  • Kwitonda Lodge
  • Virunga lodge
  • Sabyinyo silverback lodge
  • One and Only Gorilla Nest
  • Le Bambou Gorilla Lodge
  • Mountain Gorilla View Lodge
  • Kinigi guesthouse
  • Muhabura hotel
  • Garden Place hotel