History of Volcanoes National Park: Rwanda’s Volcanoes National Park is a relatively small landlocked African country. The national park is currently a popular tourist attraction, thanks in large part to the fact that it is home to the gentle giants known as mountain gorillas. The Volcanoes National Park is one of only three national parks in the world where visitors may see mountain gorillas in the wild, and as a result, large numbers of tourists seeking this experience have flocked to the country.
Volcanoes National Park is really close to Akagera National Park which makes it easy for visitors to combine a gorilla safari and wildlife safari in Rwanda. This makes for a great travel experience for first time travellers in the country.
The main activity at the Volcanoes National Park is gorilla trekking, however there are many other activities available during a stay. Aside from the present facts, there are a few historical facts associated with this Rwandan park.
The Volcanoes National Park, as it is presently known, was once known as the Parc National des Volcans, which is a French term that refers to the park’s current English name. The Volcanoes National Park is located in the northwestern section of Rwanda, in the Ruhengeri district, and is just a 2-hour and 45-minute drive from Kigali, the country’s capital.
Rwanda’s Volcanoes National Park borders the other two mountain gorilla habitats, the Democratic Republic of the Congo’s Virunga National Park in the west and Uganda’s Mgahinga Gorilla National Park in the north. Aside from mountain gorillas, the Volcanoes National Park is home to a diverse range of flora and fauna, as well as volcanic mountains.
Five of the eight Virunga volcanic mountains are located inside the Volcanoes National Park limits; nevertheless, these were formerly active volcanoes but are now classified extinct and dormant volcanoes. Mount Bisoke, Mount Karisimbi, Mount Gahinga, Mount Muhabura, and Mount Sabyinyo are the five Virunga volcanoes inside the Volcanoes National Park. This Rwandan national park was founded in 1925, making it Africa’s oldest national park on the whole continent.
The Volcanoes National Park was established in 1925 in order to safeguard the park’s mountain gorillas and other natural resources from poachers. Previously, the Volcanoes National Park’s limits extended all the way to the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and it was known as the Albert National Park, named after then-King Albert 1. The Albert national park was controlled and supervised by the Belgian colonialists, who were the reigning government at the time.
It wasn’t until much later, in the 1960s that the Volcanoes national park was reduced to about half its original area following the country’s independence, giving rise to the other mountain gorilla habitat, the Virunga national park of the Democratic Republic of the Congo. The Volcanoes National Park now covers an area of 160 square kilometers and is considering expansion.
The volcanoes national park was originally home to the renowned primatologist Dian Fossey, and it also served as the base for her mountain gorilla research in 1967. She conducted studies while simultaneously emphasizing the necessity of gorilla conservation.
Dian Fossey’s research has been traced back to 1966, the year she began the study. This is also the year she died, allegedly killed in her simple home by the poachers whose actions she was so outraged by. Her grave is located within the park, and people may climb to it for $75 USD.
Rwanda’s Volcanoes National Park has also been a battleground for regional civil conflicts, as well as a safe haven for Rwandans during the 1994 Rwanda genocide commemoration, and this volatility has undoubtedly harmed the park’s tourism. Rwanda has restored its stability throughout the years, and operations have continued to run smoothly and safely.
Volcanoes National Park was the first and still the only gorilla sanctuary to hold an annual infant naming ritual known as Kwita Izina, which began in 2005. The new arrivals in the park were named in a ceremony on a specific date each year. This ceremony was held to monitor the park’s gorillas and to present proof of conservation efforts as their numbers increased year after year.
A mountain gorilla permit at Volcanoes National Park costs $1,500 USD per person, and this is the ultimate gorilla experience since tourists enjoy a better view of the mountain gorillas due to the park’s greenery. Unlike the other dense gorilla habitats, the Volcanoes National Park is heavily planted with bamboo land. Get in contact and let us help you organize a Rwanda safari that includes a visit to Volcanoes National Park.