Located in the Virunga Mountains, magnificent chain of dormant volcanoes in the North of Rwanda, the Volcanoes National Park forms part of the extension of the Congo-Nile divide, separating two of Africa´s most important watersheds. They´re also home to the world´s last surviving mountain Gorilla populations, currently a mere 800 individuals. This stunning backdrop is host to over half the world’s wild mountain gorillas.
The exhilarating climb to the gorilla’s natural habitat of shady bamboo foresters fantastic views in all directions and explores the rich ecosystems of blending evergreen and bamboo forests, open grass-lands, swamps and health. Hiking in Virunga takes one through an ecosystem composed of four major vegetation zones: bamboo, Hagenia and Hypericum forest, sub-alpine and Afro-alpine. There is nothing more joyful than encountering a fully grown silverback gorilla, up to three times the size of an average man, yet remarkably peaceable, playful and tolerant of human visitors.
The Virunga Conservation Area, on the upper slopes of the dramatic Virunga volcanoes, comprises three contiguous national parks – Mgahinga National Park in Uganda , Parc National des Volcans (PNV) in Rwanda, and Parc des Virungas, commonly called Djomba, in the Democratic Republic of Congo. “In the heart of Central Africa, so high up that you shiver more than you sweat,” wrote the eminent primatologist Dian Fossey, “are great, old volcanoes towering up almost 15,000 feet above sea level, and nearly covered with rich, green rainforest – the Virungas”. The Parc national des Volcans (Rwanda), situated in the far northwest of Rwanda protects the steep slopes of this magnificent mountain range – home of the rare mountain gorilla – and the rich mosaic of montane ecosystems, which embrace evergreen and bamboo forest, open grassland, swamp and heath.