Diverse wildlife is one of the key features that make Volcanoes national park an exceptional destination. Wildlife in volcanoes national park comprises of flora and fauna which co-exist in the national park. Different wildlife is found in different altitudinal ranges both in highland and others in lowland areas. Volcanoes national park is Rwanda’s largest national park situated in northwestern Rwanda covering Rwanda’s portion of the Virunga conservation area. Besides wildlife, volcanoes national park is home to Mt karisoke, karisimbi, Bisoke that are part of the eight volcanoes, which together form a chain of Virunga volcanoes.
About vegetation cover, volcanoes national park is 30% covered by a bamboo forest (Arundinaria alpine), which spread from 2500m to 3200m above the sea level. Bamboos contain hollow and woody stems, which form the main diet for the critically endangered mountain gorillas and other animals in the park. Also, 30% of the humid slopes in south and west are covered by hagenia-hypericum forest. Other vegetation in the park includes grasslands, ferns, lichens, giant lobelia, Hagenia-hypericum, swamps, thickets, shrubs, and meadows among others. The variety of vegetation provides food and habitation for animals and birds in the national park hence enhancing tourism in the area. The most seen animals in volcanoes national park include among others:
These are the key attraction in volcanoes national park which attract the highest number of travelers from all parts of the world. Gorilla trekking is the best wildlife experience every travel should not miss on his/her safari to Africa.
Volcanoes national park shelters over 340 mountain gorillas, which have been habituated into 10 families available for trekking. A gorilla permit in Rwanda costs 1500usd, a must have for each traveler to see these endangered species. The high cost of a gorilla permit is one of the reasons why Rwanda’s is known as a luxury gorilla trekking destination. Gorilla families in volcanoes national park include Titus family, Kwitonda family, Susa group, karisimbi family, Amahoro family, Umubano family, Sabyinyo family, Agashya family, Hirwa family, and Ugenda family all available for trekking every day. Each family is visited by a group of eight people for an hour.
Not only is volcanoes national park home to mountain gorillas but also the endangered the golden monkeys. The national park is one of the two destinations to wee these endangered golden monkeys the other destination being Mgahinga gorilla national park in southwestern Uganda. Fortunately, golden monkeys are seen at a relatively low cost (100usd) which is an added advantage for travelers. Golden monkeys are exceptional species which are distinguished from other monkey species by a golden fur on their back. Golden monkeys are lively creatures, which continuously peep and tweet all the time. Unlike gorillas, which spend most of their time on the ground, golden monkeys spend most of their time up in the trees. The species are vegetarians, which entirely feed on vegetation, fruits, and shoots.
Volcanoes national park is also home to forest elephants. These are mostly seen during forest walk and hike to Dian Fossey grave. Much as no travelers go to the park intentionally to see forest elephants, a look at these giants is an opportunity, which adds on the final experience. Other animals to see in volcanoes national park include buffalos, black fronted duikers, bushbucks, bush pigs, spotted hyenas, black and white colobus, white colobus, baboons, and red-tailed monkeys among others.
Birds in Volcanoes national park
Volcanoes national park is home to over 300 bird species, which has made birding safaris a success. The commonly seen animals include African marsh harrier, common moorhen, long-crested eagle, grey throated tit, paradise flycatcher, red-faced woodland warbler, archer’s ground robin, Rwenzori Batis, Rwenzori double collared sunbird, and handsome francolin among others. Experienced guides help to spot these birds and explain the unique features of each bird species.
Therefore, the volcanoes national park is rich in diversity. A variety of animals, birds, and vegetation together with the Virunga volcanoes make your Rwanda safari complete. Book a safari to Volcanoes national park, trek mountain gorillas, hike the volcanoes and enjoy stay in this peaceful area rewarding you with a life-changing experience.