Volcanoes National Park

Volcanoes National Park dubbed the safe haven for the mountain gorillas is situated in northwestern part of Rwanda and it’s bordered by national parks like Virunga National Park in the Democratic Republic of Congo and Mgahinga Gorilla National Park in Uganda. The park is home to five of the eight stunning volcanoes of the Virunga Mountains namely: Karisimb volcano, mountain Bisoke, Mountain Muhabura, Gahinga Volcano and mountain Sabyinyo which are covered in rainforest and bamboo vegetation that dominate Volcanoes national park.

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Spanning on a 160sqkm area in the northern part of Rwanda, Volcanoes national park is the oldest national park in Africa. It was initially a small area around Karisimbi, Mikeno and Visoke volcanoes which was gazetted in the year 1925 to protect the world’s Mountain gorillas which were facing the threat of extinction as a result of poaching.

In 1929, the park was extended into Rwanda and the then Belgian Congo and was named Albert national park managed and run by the Belgian Colonial Authorities. After Congo gaining independence in 1960, the park was divided into two, and upon Rwandan independence in 1962 the new government agreed to maintain the park as a conservation and tourist area, despite the fact that the new republic was already suffering from overpopulation problems. The park was halved in area in 1969.Between 1969 and 1973; 1050 hectares of the park were cleared to grow pyrethrum.

In the year 1967, American naturalist Dian Fossey arrived in Volcanoes and hence the park became the base for her to carry out her Gorilla research and conservation activities. From then she established Karisoke Research Centre where she spent most of her time in the park working hard to save the gorillas from extinction by bringing their plight to the attention of the international community. She was later killed in the year 1985 by the unknown assailants who attacked her at her base in Volcanoes national park.

The park continued to suffer at the mercies of poachers though conservation efforts were also under way. In early 1990s, the park became a battle field for the Rwanda’s civil war which paralyzed tourism activities until 1999. In 2005, in a bid to boost conservation and gorilla tours in Volcanoes national park, Rwanda introduced the annual baby naming ceremony for baby gorillas known as ‘Kwita Iziina’ which has seen great results in as far as gorilla population in volcanoes is concerned.

With the help of dedicated wildlife rangers, comprehensive monitoring, and community education programs, the endangered gorilla population in the Virungas experienced a nearly 20 percent increase in the early 2000s. But in 2007, at least ten gorillas in Virunga National Park were lost to murder and chaos. Gorillas in other Virunga parks are faring a bit better, as is the other half of the world’s remaining mountain gorilla population, which lives in Uganda’s Bwindi Impenetrable National Park, just 24 kilometers north of the Virunga Mountains.

Many conservation initiatives in Volcanoes national park are meant to aid mountain gorillas, and it is believed that their numbers may be steady or slowly increasing. Still they continue to face major threats from habitat loss and poaching. Efforts to change attitudes towards the mighty animals have seen them become an important source of income for the local economy through the tourists they bring, and turned poachers into vocal advocates for conservation.

Strategically located in the land of thousand hills, Volcanoes national park is an exceptional national park endowed with different Vegetation types. The lower slopes of the park are covered with montane forests which are under extinction due to increasing Agricultural activities carried out by the local communities around the park. Between 2400 and 2500 m, there is Neoboutonia forest. From 2500 to 3200 m above sea level, bamboo forest occurs, covering about 30% of the park area. From 2600 to 3600 m, mainly on the more humid slopes in the south and west, is Hagenia-Hypericum forest, which covers about 30% of the park. This is one of the largest forests of Hagenia abyssinica. The vegetation from 3500 to 4200 m is characterized by Lobelia wollastonii, L. lanurensis, and Senecio erici-rosenii and covers about 25% of the park. From 4300 to 4500 m grassland occurs. Secondary thicket, meadows, marshes, swamps and small lakes also occur, but their total area is relatively small.

The Park contains a flora and fauna of exceptional diversity, making it one of the most vital protected areas in Rwanda and the whole of East African Region. It is also one of the ecologically richest regions of Africa and worldwide. In particular, the most important world endangered populations of the Mountain gorillas that use the diversified natural habitat found in the areas covered by Volcanoes national park.

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Volcanoes national park is natural home to unique mammal species and the commonly known being the species of Mountain Gorilla (Gorilla beringei beringei). Other mammals include the threatened species of golden monkey, black-fronted duiker, buffalo, Spotted Hyena and bushbuck. Though not easily seen, there are also some species of elephants in the park.  In terms of Avi-flora, the park houses 178 unique bird species, with at least 13 species and 16 subspecies being endemic to the Virunga in Congo and Ruwenzori Mountains in Uganda.

  • Birds in Parc National des Volcans

    Volcanoes National Park has a sum total of 180 bird species.  Close to 15 formerly recorded bird species were eminent during a biodiversity survey conducted in 2004, however it is probable that a number of additional forest specialists have actually gone off track since the year 1980.  the Grauer’s rush  warbler a vulnerable local bird species living in the swamp, whereas at least sixteen Albertine Rift endemic are also present, among which are the handsome francolin, Archer’s ground robin, dusky crimson-wing, Rwenzori turaco, red-faced woodland warbler , Rwenzori double collared sunbird, collared apalis, Rwenzori batis and the strange weaver.

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    Dian Fossey Grave Site

    Dian Fossey was an American zoologist, primatologist and anthropologist who committed her life to the conservation of the Mountain Gorilla by conducting an 18 year comprehensive study about the fateful ape.

    Having been raised with dejection and lack of parental love from the step father following her mother’s divorce with her father, Dian found love and comfort with the animals. At the age of six, Dian started horse raiding before she worked on a farm with of her hospital friend after graduating with a bachelor’s degree in Occupational Therapy from San Jose State College in 1954.

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    With the support and funding from Louis and Mary Leakey who were operating anthropological research in Oldvai Gorge in Tanzania, Dian found her way into Democratic Republic of Congo where she established her camp at Kabara to begin her study about the mountain gorillas in 1967.

    On July 9, 1967, soldiers arrived at the camp to escort her and her research workers down, and she was locked up at Rumangabo for two weeks. Fossey eventually escaped through bribery to Walter Baumgärtel’s Travelers Rest Hotel in Kisoro, where her escort was arrested by the Ugandan military.

    With the advice from Leakey, Dian gave up going back to Congo and started her research on the Rwandan side of the Virungas where she established her camp at a place between Mt. Karisimbi and Visoke, which was to later be known as Karisoke after combining the two names, Karisimbi and Visoke.

    On September 24, 1967, Fossey founded the Karisoke Research Center, a remote rainforest camp nestled in Ruhengeri province in the saddle of two volcanoes (Visoke and Karisimbi) at an elevation of about 3,000 meters (9,800 ft) up Mount Visoke and covering an area of 25 square kilometers (9.7 sq mi).

    Unlike the mountain gorillas in Congo, the Rwandan mountain gorillas had never been habituated and only knew humans for poaching which made them fearful to human presence hence making it had for Dian to study them at close range.

    She started anti-poaching campaigns with a team of her staff, who would carry out patrols rescuing some of the gorillas whose parents were killed during the raids. The gorillas in her study range soon got protection as those in the western side of the park where she was not reaching continued to suffer the plight. Elephants were also hunted from the same forest for their ivory until when they were almost no more.

    Dian was later known by locals as Nyirmachabelli, or Nyiramacibiri, that was directly translated as “the woman who lives alone on the mountain’. Her work went on well and she soon found favor and friendship with the mountain gorillas where she befriended a silver back known as digit. The death of Digit in 1978 was a big blow in Dian’s heart after digit was short as he was trying to protect a baby gorilla known as Kweli from poachers.

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    Digit was buried at the camp at the Karisoke Research center but Dian’s patrol efforts were strengthened as she attracted public sympathy and started getting support from international society through international bodies like African Wildlife foundation, the World Wildlife Fund, Fauna Preservation Society and the Mountain Gorilla Project, which Dian blamed for not actively engaging in conservation through anti-poaching patrols.

    Dian Fossey’s anti-poaching patrols led to the arrest of many poachers who were sentenced to jail and some are still serving their sentences. Dian was murdered in 1985 in her tent at her research institute by unknown murders where she was found lying in a pool of blood in the early morning of December 27, 1985.

    Fossey is buried at Karisoke, in a site that she herself had constructed for her deceased gorilla friends. She was buried in the gorilla graveyard next to Digit, and near many gorillas killed by poachers. Memorial services were also held in New York, Washington, and California.

    Mount Karisimbi

    Rising at an elevation of about 4507m above sea level, Karisimbi is Africa’s fifth highest mountain and the highest stratovolcano among the eight major volcanoes of the Virunga massifs of the central Africa. It strides along the border between Democratic Republic of Congo and Rwanda on the western branch of the Eat African Rift valley. Karisimbi lavas have been dated from 0.24 Ma to 0.010 Ma indicating that the volcano is very young.

    The name Karisimbi is derived from the word ‘amasimbi’ in Kinyarwanda which literally means “white shell”, referring to the white-capped summit which is often seen on top of this volcano. It is bordered by Mikeno Volcano on the north, Bisoke on the east and Nyiragongo on the western side of the Rift Valley. The mountain is situated in Volcanoes national park, popularly known for the mountain gorillas and hence can be hiked by any traveller on Rwanda mountain gorilla trekking safaris.

    Karisimbi is also close to the Karisoke research center where the grave of the re-known mountain gorilla conservationist and American zoologist; Dian Fossey lies. This means that one has a chance to visit the grave as well as trek the golden monkeys in addition to the Mountain gorillas.

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    Mountain Gorillas

    The mountain gorillas (Gorilla Gorilla Berengie), the world’s most endangered ape, are found only in small portions of protected afro Montane forests in Volcanoes national park situated in northwest Rwanda, southwest Uganda in Bwindi, Mgahinga and eastern DRC in the Virunga National Park. The mountain gorilla is one of many species unique to these forests. The forests are also home to many wonderful birds, primates, large mammals, reptiles, insects, plants and also ensure continued water and medical plant resources for the local communities.

    Hidden high among the forested, hilly areas of volcanoes national park in Rwanda, the mountain gorilla was not well-known to science until 1902, when two were first confronted by a German explorer who was on his hiking safari to Rwanda’s Karimbi and Visoke Mountain housed in Volcanoes national Park. It set the starting point for the relationship. For much of the time since, due to deforestation and poaching, it has seemed that the mountain gorilla was swiftly destined to be lost to the world again. Not long after the species’ greatest champion, the American zoologist Dian Fossey was killed in Rwanda in 1985-there were fewer than 300 of the giant primates left in the wild.

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    Today nearly 440 representing half of remaining 840 mountain gorillas live in the Virunga Mountains of central Africa –distributed in three national parks of Volcanoes in Rwanda, Virunga in Congo and Mgahinga in Uganda.

    Mountain gorillas in Volcanoes national park can climb trees, but most of times they are found on the ground moving in social communities of 25- 30 individuals. These groups are organized according to engrossing social structures. Gorilla Troops are led by one dominant male gorilla called a silverback because of the swath of silver hair that adorns his otherwise dark fur. Troops also include several other young males, some females, and their offspring. The leader organizes troop activities like eating, nesting in leaves, and moving about the group’s 0.75-to-16-square-mile (2-to-40-square-kilometer) home range. Mountain gorillas have longer hair and shorter arms than their lowland cousins. They also tend to be a bit larger than other gorillas.

    While planning your Rwanda safari, one should not miss out on the magnificent opportunity to visit Rwanda’s Volcanoes National Park consisting of 125Sqaure Kilometres of mountain forest and home to the six Virunga Volcanoes and the world famous mountain gorillas. The lushly forested slopes of the mountains form an appropriately dramatic natural setting for what is arguably the most poignant and memorable wildlife experience in the world: gorilla trekking.

    The exhilarating climb to the gorilla’s natural habitat of shady bamboo forest offers fantastic views in all directions, before the trackers are immersed in the mysterious intimacy of the rainforest, alive with the calls of colorful birds and the chattering of rare golden monkeys. Nothing can prepare one for the impact of encountering a fully-grown silverback gorilla, up to three times the size of an average man, yet remarkably peaceable and tolerant of human visitors.

    Musanze Caves

    A cave is a natural underground space large enough for a human to enter. While visiting Volcanoes national park, have the chance to tour the Musanze Caves two kilometers long underneath that were recently unveiled to be visited by tourist in 2013 by the Rwanda Development Board together with the Rwanda Defense Forces.

    The caves can be sited north of the country in Musanze District; the site has had a major facelift with establishment of tourist walkways, trails and stairs that take you to the dark interior of the caves that illustrates a picture of a house with several rooms and corridors. The floor is paved and there are some stairs to ease movement.
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    Visit the volcanic region of Rwanda to sight the Caves believed to be as a result of volcanic eruption decades ago that offer an in-depth understanding of the geological and geographical historical development of the globe. Musanze cave can be explored after gorilla tracking in Volcanoes national park in case you will have time. The place is located on the foothills of Volcanoes national park, meaning that you can easily visit this place after gorilla tracking.

    Adventure other spectacular sites and views of the nearby areas including the Buhanga Eco-park known for coronation of Rwandan former kings, the panoramic view of the twin lakes namely Burera and Ruhondo, Karisimbi Volcano climbing, Bisoke Volcano climbing, trek to Dian Fossey grave, golden monkeys trekking and the famous mountain gorillas trekking.

    Twin Lakes Burera & Ruhondo

    Lake Burera and Lake Ruhondo are the two most neglected lakes of Rwanda. These are beautiful lakes located at the base of volcano Muhabura and close to the border with Uganda. They are surrounded by steep hills and large waterfalls with a backdrop of the Virunga volcanic mountains. These twin lakes are great spots to be visited after watching the gorillas in the Rwandan mountains. Lakes Burera and Ruhondo are close to the gorilla-tracking Centre of Ruhengeri and used to be referred to as neglected gems but things have changed and Burera and Ruhondo are popular with tourists. Their deep blue waters ringed by steep hills and tall waterfalls with the outlines of the nearby Virunga Volcanoes provide a spectacular backdrop, particular as seen from the comfortable Foyer de Charité guesthouse on Lake Ruhondo.

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  • Mountain Gorilla Trekking

    It’s the most popular and the highly rewarding activity which is carried out at the forested hills of volcanoes national park. Volcanoes national park has an estimated total of 440 mountain Gorillas representing half of the world’s endangered species of the apes. In the park, 10 gorilla families have been habituated for tourism and research purposes. Hence 10 groups of 8 people each are the allowed to trek on a particular day.  Gorilla Trekking activity through the forest starts with a quick briefing from the park rangers about the etiquettes of gorilla trekking, visitors are then grouped in groups of 8 people maximum and each group is assigned one gorilla family to trek. Assigning of the groups highly depends on the fitness and age of the trekkers. For example, those above 45 years and the ones with less fitness are assigned gorilla families which do not wander far away from the trail heads. Hence there is need for those visitors with special interests about specific groups to inform their guides to help them negotiate with rangers before assigning the groups such that they may be assigned those specific groups too.
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    Being wild animals in their natural habitat, what may be regarded as easy to find may not necessarily be, as the animals may wander far as they search for food .Therefore, it is not a guarantee that they may be near or easy to find. Even those which are allocated to the physically fit and energetic tourists and considered to be strenuous to trek, may be easily encountered within few hours of trek which makes the total experience interesting and un predictable.

    Each gorilla tracking group consists of a main guide and two scouts who carry AK-47 guns, one walking in front and another behind the group. The reason for armed scouts is for protection and safety of the tourists in the forest against wild elephants or angry, wild gorillas. The scouts are trained to fire shot into the air first in order to scare away the animals but this is only done on rarest occasions when all other options like hiding away from such dangerous animals have been done. mountain gorillas in Rwanda’s Volcanoes national park has never heard of any case where such animals attacked the tourists and the scouts had to fire bullets though on many occasions, they advise to hide or remain still until the animals go away. However the policy of the National Park is to be safe rather than sorry.

    Tourist group will also have a pair of trekkers who are sent out early morning (prior to visitor’s arrival in the park) to find out the location of the specific gorilla family and to assess their movements. Trackers communicate the gorilla’s movements to the guide so that he can decide on the best approach to meet the gorilla family.

    If you do not trust your fitness, please endeavor to let your guide know such that he may help you to hire a porter at the park gate. A porter is hired between $15 to $20 depending on what he is going to carry.

    The Bisoke Crater Lake Hike

    Mt. Bisoke is a dormant volcano, located within Volcanoes National Park, and it also forms part of the Virunga mountain range bordering Rwanda and DRC. It is about 3 hour’ drive from Kigali capital city of Rwanda.

    Starting off the Bisoke cater hike requires you first to meet your guide and group at the park reception. At the station also expect to have a briefing about the hike from one of the Park rangers. They will then guide you and your vehicle to the parking area to begin the hike. Note that the road from the reception to the parking area is very rocky and muddy depending on recent rains; you may require a 4×4 to access the starting point for the hike.

    the-bisoke-crater-lake-hike

    The Bisoke hike is guided. This hike leads you to the top of Mt. Bisoke. It is a strenuous and challenging as gorilla trekking in Volcanoes National Park therefore if your going for it, it’s advisable for you  to set aside a full day to do only the hike as it requires you to have energy. Do not attempt this hike if you are unfit because you may stop halfway and turn back. There are porters that can be hired to help you carry the hiking equipment’s to the top, it’s very beautiful and totally worth the effort, you are rewarded with magnificent views of the forest and the Crater Lake.

    Some tips when going for this hike: Be sure to book the hike in the dry season, otherwise be prepared to contend with mud and more volcanic mud that literally sucks you down. While hiking, you are heartened to keep your eyes and ears open because you may come across a group of mountain gorillas on the hike.

    Mount Karisimbi Hike

    Climbing Mt Karisimbi is a strenuous but very rewarding 2 days hike. The climb starts early in the morning taking 6 hours and involves navigating through the Bisoke side before reaching the first stopping place at an altitude of 3,700 meters for overnight camping before finishing off the journey the next day.

    A hike to Karisimbi’s summit is not an ordinary one, but also affords sights and views of various bird varieties, primates like monkeys and Gorillas since the volcano lies in the primates’ park of Volcanoes national park. It is also known for its exotic plants in its four belts of vegetation, from the dense forest at its base to the barren volcanic core at the summit.

    The hike up the summit is characterized of muddy trails especially during rainy season, though due to the altitude, it can rain at any time of the day.

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    You need relatively good health and stamina to hike through the slippery slopes to reach the summit which is white capped as a result of hail and sleet which accumulate in the higher elevations from its frequent storms. This implies that one may have to incur an extra cost of hiring a porter ($20 per day) to help in carrying your luggage and hiking equipment.

    Karisimbi is also close to the Karisoke research center where the grave of the re-known mountain gorilla conservationist and American zoologist; Dian Fossey lies. This means that one have a chance to visit the grave as well as trek the golden monkeys in addition to the Mountain gorillas.

    Iby’Iwacu Cultural Encounter-

    Iby’Iwacu village is suitaed around Volcanoes national park in Nyabigoma, Kinigi, Musanze district, Northern Province- Tourists can have a visit to Iby’Iwacu to share with local people home and heritage treasures including lifestyles, cultural activities, artifacts and ways of living of local people.

    Iby’Iwacu Cultural Village gives visitors a rare opportunity to interact with the local people, in their environment, with a taste of their unique culture and traditions. Visitors are genuinely welcomed by the community as special guests while they proudly present to visitors aspects of their traditions and beliefs. The only way to get to know people, is getting close and interacting with local people, and taking part in their daily activities and most of all with them.

    The encounter exposes visitors to have a guided community walk to visit different sites and experience the everyday lives of the local people.

    ibyichu-cultural-encounter

    Culture guide will take visitors to see the king’s house replica with all the houses interpretation of all parts and stories attached to this cultural treasure. Be enthroned and become a king for some time while exercising king’s powers as presented to you by a village elder through a village ceremony. Visitors can also enjoy different types of traditional dances like Intore dance and famous songs of the gorillas sang by the famous Ngayabatema while listening to the melody produced by traditional musical instruments including African drums.

    Visitors can also enjoy listening to interesting stories about traditional medicine from a local traditional healer and get to know how medicinal trees, shrubs, grass are used to cure local patients.

    The cultural memorable encounter creates an opportunity one can have taste of Rwanda’s local foods by having a local lunch or dinner with local people. Attend a local banana brewery process and have a taste on local banana beer. Explore the Batwa pottery making experience, lessons and engagement. Take part in daily life activities to get to know the local people, their culture, and their ways of living since the village is fascinating with a variety of cultural experience.

    Golden Monkeys Trekking

    The prominent activity also takes place in Volcanoes national park and it starts at the same time 7:00AM just like gorillas. These rare species are also listed as world endangered species and Volcanoes national park currently has two habituated golden monkeys’ troops that are available to be visited by tourists on their gorilla safaris in Volcanoes national park. Golden monkeys in Rwanda live in the bamboo vegetation towards the base of the volcanoes and habituation has helped them to overcome their initial shyness to accept their daily visit by researchers and tourists.

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    Trekking golden monkeys and gorillas is almost the same experience and only a small group of not more than eight people are allowed to visit one specific habituated group of golden monkeys and after meeting the golden monkeys, tourists are allowed to spend one hour with the monkeys.

    Golden monkeys are very active creatures, and jump from tree to tree which is really interesting and a little difficult to photograph. The golden monkey trek is worth going for while in Volcanoes National Park and if you’re interested in wildlife, this is a rare and delightful experience not to be missed.

    Dian Fossey Tomb Tour

    Trekking to the Dian Fossey Tomb is one of the most sought after safari activities carried out while visiting Volcanoes national park for a gorilla trip. The trek involves a 30 minutes’ drive from the park headquarters to the trail head to access the Karisoke research camp where visitors walk for 10 minutes to the park boundary.

    The walk from the park boundary to the research center where the Dian’s grave is, takes about an hour to 1 hour and a half hour and affords good views of forest hogs, forest elephants, a variety of primates and bird species.

    This hike is an incredible experience physically, emotionally and intellectually. It is so inspiring to learn about someone who was so dedicated and left a legacy that exists even today. The hike involves moving through the forests and hiking up the slopes and therefore requires some relative degree of fitness and patience.

    At the site you will find the house from where Dian Fossey was mysteriously murdered in 1985 but the more peaceful is the place where she was buried just next to her favorite gorilla friend, Digit and about 20 other mountain gorillas either killed by poachers or suffered death for other reasons.

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  • Volcanoes National Park is located in a small village called Musanze previously well-known as Ruhengeri, which is very accessible by public transport from Gisenyi or Kigali or from the airport. The drive to Volcanoes national park is 80kms about 1- 2 hours and hence one can do gorilla tracking on the same day and drive back to Kigali after the trek.

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  • Sabyinyo Silverback Lodge-Luxury

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    Sabyinyo Silverback Lodge is located in Musanze district close to the Parc National des Volcan’s headquarters excellently located for gorilla trekking. The lodge is situated at the foothill of the Virunga ranges comprising of a beautiful views of the Volcanoes rolling hills and the surrounding countryside. The lodge is built and operated by Governors’ Camp. The lodge is owned by a Community Trust, SACOLA, which uses rentals and community fees from the lodge to drive socio-economic and conservation initiatives in the communities adjacent to the National Park.

    The lodge comprises of 8 cottages all having a stunning views of the Virunga Volcanoes, and are well spaced offering good privacy. The cottages are spacious comprising of a sitting room area with a fireplace, bedroom, dressing room, 24 hour electricity and a large bathroom with bath and shower with hot and cold running water.

    The cottages also have a sheltered balcony where visitor can relax, have breakfast, and read a book or marvel at the views. Other facilities at the lodge include a library and games room in the main lodge, bar and restaurant and staff on standby to help you.

    Guest cottages and the main lodge building have been beautifully constructed and appointed and the lodge is the perfect base from which tourist can base to explore this unique and fascinating corner of Africa. In the local area around Sabyinyo Silverback Lodge there are some interesting cultural and social projects to visit. These include the Iby’iwacu Cultural Village where ex poachers have turned their lives around and now work to celebrate local Rwandese culture, the bustling and colourful Musanze Market, Kinigi Cultural Village and Community Walk created by the Sabyinyo Community Lodge Association, the Sonrise High School and the beautiful and enchanting Buhanga sacred forest.

    If you would like to explore a little further, there is plenty to see and do in the larger Northern Province area of Rwanda. There is the tropical Rubavu Lakeside resort, hiking in the ecologically important Gishwati Forest, trips to the scenic Twin Lakes, cruises on Lake Bulera and treks to the Russumo falls.

    The rates showed in the table are for Mid-Season Rates and for high season you add US$150 to the Mid-Season rates.

    Number of people Mid-Season Rates
    2 adults sharing US$750
    1 adult per night US$970
    children under 12 US$470
    Tour Guide per night US$297

    Mountain Gorilla View Lodge- Mid-Range/Standard.

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    The Mountain Gorilla View Lodge is a new, mid-range lodge, perfectly located near Volcanoes national park and hence making it the best place to base while on gorilla tracking safaris in Rwanda. The 30 individual stone and thatch cottages have been built on 4 acres of land on the slopes of Mt Sabinyo and each have en-suite facilities, a small lounge with a fire place and a private veranda. The bungalows are large, with plain plastered walls and are simply but comfortably furnished. The cottages are of a good size and are well positioned to give visitors privacy from one another.

    There is a separate restaurant and bar area where meals both local and international meals are served to the guests.

    Mountain Gorilla View Lodge provides good value for money at the same time as great views and easy access to Volcanoes National Park.

    The lodge grounds are very well maintained and from here there are beautiful views of the volcanoes. Electricity and hot water are currently supplied by a generator which does not run all day but this may be changed to mains power very soon. The central area has a basic bar and a restaurant. We would advise you to you to dress warmly for dinners during the winter months. Stay here for the great location and super views without the need to breaking the bank.

    The activities organized in the lodge mainly involves Gorilla tracking, golden monkey tracking and local village/cultural.

    Gorillas Volcanoes Hotel-Mid-Range

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    Gorilla Volcanoes Hotel is a modern hotel with a unique character and a pleasant ambience strategically situated in Musanze north of Kigali. The hotel comprises of 31 spacious comfortable rooms with an ensuite bathtub and shower. An impressive bar is attached with the restaurant.

    A hearty breakfast is served from 06:30 AM to 10:30 AM. For guests who get up early morning for gorilla trekking in the volcanoes park. Trekkers are requested to inform the hotel management in advance to prepare breakfast at which time they wish to have it. Each day, from noon to late evening, one can place his or her order from the “à la carte” menu.

    The Spacious hotel also provides an outdoor terrace which is very enjoyable and sociable place. The place is the best to relax and refresh and also meet to share the highlights of the daily excursions, or even discuss your business.

    The Facilities offered in the hotel include the accommodation facilities in the 31 spacious rooms which offer privacy and comfort.

    The precious one Restaurant also called The Urugano in the local language prepares both local and international dishes .The restaurant is near the lodge’s large bar which has both local and international drinks. Gorillas Volcanoes Hotel has one beautiful Swimming Pool where visitors can enjoy swimming in the cool, fresh waters of the pool. The hotels event room is wide enough to accommodate meetings, get together parties, and bird days among others.

    Kinigi Guest House-Budget

    The Guest House locally known as “Village Touristique de Kinigi” is situated in Eastern North of Rwanda, in Kinigi district, only 11 Km from Ruhengeri City. It is the comfy gateway to the majestic beauty of the volcanic mountain range, the natural habitat of the rare mountain gorillas.

    Kinigi Guesthouse was founded as an income generating project for the “Association de Solidarité des Femmes Rwandaises” (ASOFERWA), a non-profit making organisation of mainly widows and orphans). The income generated from the Kinigi guest house is used to pay school fees for local orphan children, purchase land for agricultural projects, support groups of widows, and provide a market for art pieces of the local artists
    The Guest house is constructed at the bottom of Sabyinyo volcanic mountain with an altitude of 4,480 m. Kinigi Guest House is a comfortable base to the panoramic commanding beauty of the volcanic mountain ranges of Virunga, the natural habitat of the rare mountain gorillas.
    Kinigi Guesthouse is ideally situated within very few minutes from the ORTPN head office and proximity and ideal location of Kinigi Guest House make the early morning gorilla trekking departures from the office much more convenient.

    The Guest House accommodates over 40 people and all rooms have electricity and warm water. For more discerning guests, there are four (4) VIP suites and an ideal hall with 400-seat capacity, for conferences, seminars, weddings and other social functions. Whoever wants to see wonderful gardens and enchanted areas, can always visit Kinigi Guest House. The rooms are spacious and furnished with hot showers, ensuite bathrooms and mosquito nets for the guests.
    The guesthouse offers guests four shared dormitories-popularly known as “dorms” (each with 4 beds). Guests have access to shared bathrooms and hot water showers in the building next-door.
    Kinigi Guest house is well maintained and the Virungas Mountains and volcanoes provide breathtaking magnificent views on a clear day.
    Kinigi local community members are employed at Kinigi guest house, food and other items are sourced from the local Kinigi community.
    The social responsibility concept behind Kinigi Guesthouse is investment in the local community and provision of responsible tourism accommodation

    Prices

       
    single rooms US$60.00
    double rooms US$70.00
    VIP room US$90.00

     

    Hotel Muhabura-Budget
    hotel-muhabura

    The hotel is located north of Kigali in Musanze province opposite the Musanze district headquarters. The hotel comprises of 30 rooms and apartments that offer a cozy environment to relax in after gorilla trekking or a day visit to the Northern area of Rwanda.

    The Services offered by the hotel include; self-contained rooms with warm shower and some with a bath, own access with a small individual balcony, equipped with satellite TV, free WIFI-internet access and laundry service is available.

    While at the hotel’s front office, you will be warmly welcomed by members of staff with the necessary knowledge to help you get necessary information about the region, bank exchange rates against hard currency, attraction areas, tour guide facilities and other information regarding the local market and accommodation prices in different regions of the country. For accommodation and related services, the hotel’s front office welcomes guests 24hours a day, but customers are advised to make anticipated bookings since they are located near a busiest town and tour destination. They have got three room categories made of doubles, twins and Singles, all self-contained with hot shower.

    When touring or passing by the Northern Province, never miss an occasion to experience food service and breakfast specialties in the hotel lying on the outskirts of the town alongside the road to Kivu Lake shores. Once sat in the dining, you can make whatever kind of order without worrying about timetables and schedules. Food service is always performed by professional members of staff with various cooking styles and delivered in a quick and accurate manner.

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