Perched in the East African Rift Valley Virunga Volcanoes is a chain of about 8 volcanoes which harbour the critically endangered mountain gorillas. Deriving its name from “ibirunga”(comes from Kinyarwanda dialect) which literally means “Mountains”, the range of mountains straddle Northwestern Rwanda covering Volcanoes national park, southwestern Uganda covering Mgahinga gorilla national park and eastern Congo covering part of Virunga national park and is famed for it spectacular biodiversity that has earned it the recognition of a UNESCO Heritage site. A protected area the park is home to some exceptional wildlife such as 250 habituated mountain gorillas, over 120 mammal and 350 bird species- nestled amidst the dense canopy of forests and some uncharacteristically cone-shaped volcanoes of which five are dormant while three remain active. Volcanoes National Park in Rwanda is home to five of the eight volcanoes of the Virunga Mountains which are: Mount Gahinga, Mount Nyamuragira, Mount Nyiragongo, Mount Mikeno, Mount Sabinyo, Mount Muhabura, Mount Bisoke and Mountain Karisimbi which is the highest among them standing tall at 4,507m above sea level, followed by Mt. Mikeno 4,437m. All the volcanoes are open to tourists and for those who enjoy adventure amidst nature, there is plenty to immerse in the park. You can enjoy mountain/volcano hiking, soak in the aura of the mountainous forests in nature/forest walks, indulge in some gorilla and golden monkey tracking, try out birding and even visit the Batwa communities and get a feel of their traditional life and culture.
Virunga Mountains is a tropical rainforest, so the best time is the dry season from June to September. There is also a shorter dry season that is between mid-December and mid-February. But being rainforest rains are a possibility any time of the year. Around this time the sun is out, the trails are dry and bugs and mosquito menace is low. Tracking the chimpanzees, birding, nature walks, and hikes can be best enjoyed in the dry season but you will have to be prepared to trek higher into the mountains as the gorillas move to a higher altitude during this time. November, October, and March are the wet months through the trails get muddy it isn't that the challenging if you have rain gear. The scenery around this time is beautiful and lush and primate viewing is easy as most are out foraging for food.
A protected area the park is home to some exceptional wildlife such as 250 habituated mountain gorillas, over 120 mammal and 350 bird species- nestled amidst the dense canopy of forests and some uncharacteristically shaped volcanoes. You can enjoy mountain/volcano hiking, soak in the aura of the mountainous forests in nature/forest walks, indulge in some gorilla and golden monkey tracking, try out birding and even visit the Batwas, a pygmoid tribe and get a feel of their traditional life and culture. You can visit the grave of American primatologist Dian Fossey who was murdered by poachers in 1985.
It’s just a two hour drive and accessible by public transport from Gisenyi or the capital Kigali. The easy point to getting there is through Musanze. From the airport, you can use both public and private means. You can pre-organize with a tour operator or hire a cab at the airport.