Volcanoes national park, famous for gorilla tours in the Virunga Conservation Area and as the first African national park, was gazetted in 1925 surrounded by Mikeno ,Karisimbi and Visoke volcanic peaks as a mountain gorillas natural sanctuary. This park is mostly known after the famous primatologist Dr Dian Fossey who arrived in this park in 1967 setting up Karisoke Research Centre between Visoke and Karisimbi . Dian Fossey, later was assassinated by poachers she had vehemently fought all her life as portrayed in her autobiography – Gorillas in the Mist. Her graveyard at the research centre has to date become a great tourist attraction.
Volcanoes national park is home to Mountain Gorilla (Gorilla beringei beringei); golden monkeys (Cercopithecus mitis kandti), Spotted Hyena (Crocuta crocuta), buffaloes (Syncerus caffer), elephants , black-fronted duiker (Cephalophus niger), and bushbuck (Tragelaphus scriptus). The park also harbors 178 bird species including at least 29 endemics to Rwenzori mountains and the Virungas.
In Rwanda, Volcanoes National Park is the only destinatioin to see mountain gorillas, golden monkeys and other anaiamsl and birds to meet your travel expectations. Rwanda is locally known as “ the land of a thousand hills” is not worth visiting without a gorilla trek! The 125 sq.km montane forest is made more spectacular by the six volcanoes including Nyiragongo (3470m / 11,385ft), Mount Sabyinyo (3,634 metres /11,923 ft.); the highest peak, Karisimbi volcano at 4,507 metres /14,787 ft.; Bisoke – 12175 ft./3711 m; Gahinga – 11565 ft./3525 m; and Muhavura (4127m / 13,540ft)
The name “Virunga” is an English version of the Kinyarwanda word “ibirunga”, which means “volcanoes”. It is here in Volcanoes national park that Dian Fossey habituated mountain gorillas that have made Rwanda famous. The beautiful terrain and the lush equatorial rainforest whose bamboo section form the natural habitat for the celebrated mountain gorillas, the endangered golden monkeys and the colorful albertine Rift endemic birds are a magnet to the various visitors from all over the world.
As you get to Musanze, the stunning backdrop of Karisimbi, Mikeno, Sabyinyo, Mgahinga and Muhabura , Bisoke volcanoes are a big spectacle.
For the lovers of Mountain gorillas, Volcanoes national park is a place to go for gorilla tours. The national park is a home to 10 gorilla families which togehtrher makeup a qaueter of the world’s mountain gorillas. Its one of the four national parks which shelter mountain gorillas together with Virunga national park in Democratic Republic of Congo, Bwindi impenetrable forest national park and Mgahinga gorilla national parks in south western Uganda.