Wildlife in Volcanoes National Park Rwanda
DDiversity in species of wildlife in Volcanoes National Park regardless of its small size is one reason why this park is considered one of Africa’s premier safari destinations in Africa. On a safari in Volcanoes National Park, the different wildlife species you can encounter range from unique flora to fauna which co-exist in this pristine protected area. Distinct wildlife species can be spotted in different altitudes-lowland and highland.
Volcanoes National Park is situated in the Northern Province of Rwanda, about 2-3 hours’ drive from Kigali capital city. Its establishment in 1925 makes it one of the oldest parks in Africa and it occupies an area of 160sq.kms. It was founded primarily to host a section of the endangered mountain gorillas however, today, visitors on Rwanda safari in this park have a lot more to see. And aside from viewing distinct wildlife, visitors on Rwanda safari in Volcanoes National Park also have a chance to explore the distinct Virunga Volcanoes like Karisimbi Volcano, Bisoke Volcano, Sabyinyo, Muhabura and Gahinga which also make up part of the Virunga Conservation Area.
In terms of flora, over 30 percent of Volcanoes National Park is made of bamboo forest that range between elevation 2500 and 3200 meters. Bamboo forest makes up part of the gorillas’ diet in the park. From 2400 to 2500 meters, you can find Neoboutonia Forest, 2600-3600 meters features Hagenia-Hypericum Forest, 3500-4200 meters is comprised of Lobelia and 4300-4500 meters is composed of secondary thickets, marshes, swamps, lakes and many more.
Fauna – Wildlife in Volcanoes National Park
Volcanoes National Park is popular for mountain gorillas which makes this park a premier gorilla trekking safari destination in Rwanda. Trekking to see mountain gorillas in Volcanoes National Park requires you to have a valid gorilla permit and you can obtain one at $1500. Currently, there are 10 habituated gorilla families to track on Rwanda gorilla safari in Volcanoes National Park and they include Kwitonda, Sabyinyo, Agashya, Amahoro, Bwenge, Susa A, Karisimbi (Susa B), Hirwa (although this moved to Mgahinga Gorilla National Park in Southwestern Uganda), Umubano and Uganda.
Golden monkeys – Wildlife in Volcanoes National Park
Golden monkeys are some of the unique species of wildlife in Volcanoes National Park. These strikingly stunning primates are exceptional and tracking to see them on Rwanda safari in Volcanoes National Park is such a magical experience not to be missed. Golden monkeys exist within the Virunga Area and they can be tracked in Volcanoes National Park.
Forest elephants – Wildlife in Volcanoes National Park
Forest elephants are some of the amazing species of wildlife in Volcanoes National Park. They can be spotted while on forest walk or Dian Fossey tomb hike. You may also come across buffaloes, antelopes such as bushbucks, black-fronted duikers; primates like red-tailed monkeys, baboons, black and white colobus monkeys; spotted hyenas, bush pigs.
Birds – Wildlife in Volcanoes National Park
Volcanoes National Park ranks among Rwanda’s premier birding destinations given its diverse bird species. Over 200 bird species are confined within this park and on Rwanda safari, expect to identify the red-faced woodland warblers, paradise flycatcher, common moorhen, long-crested eagle, archer’s ground robin, Rwenzori double collared sunbird, handsome francolin, Rwenzori batis to mention but a few.
Best time to visit Volcanoes National Park
Volcanoes National Park is open to visitors on Rwanda safari all-year-round. However, golden monkey tracking and gorilla trekking is best done during the dry months of the years; June, July, August, September, and December, January, February. Bird watching in Volcanoes National Park is ideal in March, April, May, and October, November. Birding can be done even while on gorilla or golden monkey trekking.
How to get to Volcanoes National Park
Volcanoes National Park lies in northwestern Rwanda. It is reachable by road, about 2-3 hours’ drive from Kigali capital city and one needs a comfortable 4×4 drive safari vehicle to help navigate through the hilly side of Rwanda-the Land of a Thousand Hills.
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