Located in the Virunga Mountains, a magnificent chain of dormant volcanoes in the north of the country, the park forms part of the extension of the Congo-Nile Divide, separating two of Africa’s most important watersheds. They are also home to the world’s last surviving mountain gorilla population, currently a mere 700 individuals. The Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund International now runs its research on the gorillas in the forest from the Karisoke Centre in Musanze town. Gazetted: 1925 to protect the Mountain Gorillas. It was the first National Park in Africa. Size: 12,500 Hac. Location: Musanze 1 hour 30 minutes drive from Kigali. Special Features:
- The Virgunas with five peaks – Karisimbi (4507M), Bisoke (3711M), Sabyinyo (3634M), Gahinga (3474M) and Muhabura (4127M).
- The last families of mountain Gorillas on earth.
- Other animals including – the rare golden monkeys (Cercopithecus mitis kandti), Cape buffalo, black fronted duiker; a profusion of bird life including the Ruwenzori turaco and beautiful francolins.
- In the vicinity the beautiful lakes Burera and Ruhundo.
- The Viunga ecosystem is composed of 4 major vegetation zones: Bamboo (base altitude), Hagenia and Hypericum forest (2600-3300m), Sub-alpine (3300-4000m) and Afro-alpine (4000+m).
- Between Bisoke and Sabyinyo volcanoes lie lakes Ngezi, Nyirambubu, Gasindikira and Muraro. Crater Lake is at the peak of Bisoke. Visit to the lakes can be organized.
High altitude makes it generally cold, especially during the evenings. Gorilla viewing is possible all the year round. Eight families of gorillas are habituated for tourist. Apart from Gorilla tracking other activities in the vicinity of Musanze and Volcanoes include:
- Visit to the grave of Dian Fossey and her gorilla Digit
- Climbing Karisimbi 2 days
- Climbing Bisoke 1 day
- Tour of the lakes Burera and Ruhondo
- Cave exploration – visit Musanze cave and natural bridge
- Tracking the Golden Monkey