We’ll tell you lots of places in Africa are special- they just are– but at least with this one we’ve got some hard facts on our side to back us up. The discovery of mountain gorillas living in the lush forests that cover the Virunga Volcanoes mean that this was Africa’s very first national park, an area deemed worthy of protection (and visiting) since 1925. Today gorilla trekking in Volcanoes National Park one of the main reasons to take a holiday in Rwanda. There are ten habituated gorilla families living in the “islands in the sky”, named in honour of the rocky mountain peaks peeking through the clouds. It’ll almost certainly be wet when you visit here – not for nothing did Dian Fossey call her book “Gorillas in the Mist”- but the experience of seeing a wild mountain gorilla up close remains one of the all time greatest wildlife experiences.
What do people do in Virunga National Park?
Of course, gorilla trekking is the main draw. As gorilla trekking’s rather different to most of the holidays we organise in Africa, we’ve put together a short guide to gorilla trekking to get you started off. And if you have time for a longer read, here’s our detailed personal account of a gorilla trek in Rwanda. If you have more than a day or two to stay in Volcanoes National Park, we can arrange some great walks in the area which can be a good way to acclimatise to the altitude before your gorilla trek, and a visit to the Dian Fossey memorial. For those with a serious interest in the gorillas we can even arrange for you to spend the day with the “Gorilla Doctors” learning about the amazing work done by these vets. In the area around the park there are also some phenomenal community projects, many sponsored by particular lodges, which we can include as part of your stay.
Where to stay in Virunga National Park?
A few choice picks from our on the ground reviewer: