Parc National Des Volcans
The park consists of the Rwandese side of the Virunga volcanoes. There are five volcanoes that can be accessed from the Rwandese side, a number of which have specific attractions. In addition to Gorilla tracking, the following activities are available in the Park.
Tracking the Golden Monkey
An Elusive Treasure in the Virunga Mountains This little known monkey is one of the most endangered primates in Africa and it is now thought that the only viable population of these monkeys is in the Virunga Volcanoes. A smaller population may exist in the Nyungwe Forest in Southern Rwanda but this has yet to be verified.
The golden monkey is a distinct species of guenon - Cercopithecus Kandti and is endemic to the Albertine Rift. Seeing the Golden Monkey makes a fantastic short excursion into the misty Virunga forest and it is a great addition to the activities clients can do in the magical afro-montane forest. As with the gorillas, only one hour is allowed with the Golden Monkeys and six visitors are allowed per visit. There is one visit a day, which starts at 7.30am from the park office at Kinigi.
Climbing the Volcanoes
It is possible to climb two volcanoes on the Rwandese side.
The climb to the peak of Karisimbi requires two days, with clients sleeping in a tent on the mountain. This is a wonderful walk to the highest mountain in the Virungas (4507m). It does not require technical skills, but clients have to be fit and healthy as the walk is quite arduous and conditions can be wet, cold and muddy.
ii. Visoke (sometimes Bisoke)
Visoke is a day’s walk and although less steep than Karisimbi still requires walkers to be fit. The paths go through afromontane forest, bamboo, and woodland. Higher up there is Afro-alpine moorland, grassland and marsh, giant lobelia and senecio. About 200 bird species have been recorded in the park, with 13 species endemic to the Albertine Rift, including the Rwenzori turaco.
The remains of Dian Fossey’s Karisoke Research Centre – “Old Karisoke”
Dian Fossey set up a research centre in the Virungas in the early sixties and began the well documented habituation of the gorillas there. She became well known internationally through the film “Gorillas in the Mist”. The walk takes about 6-8 hours in all and is a fascinating way to explore the park and get a glimpse of the remains of this historic place. Prior booking is required and should be done when booking a safari.