One of the most fascinating places in Rwanda to visit would no doubt be the Parc Des Volcanoes, which is French for Volcanoes Park. How close do you think you’d dare to stand next to a volcano? Would you wish to stand this close to a volcano? If you’re an adventurer at heart then you’ll have all the volcanic excitements you’ll wish for in this park.
The Parc Des Volcanoes is home to the six extinct volcanoes as well as a trio of active ones that make up the Rwandan portion of East Africa’s Virunga Mountains. Some may also recognize the area, which is officially named as the Volcanoes National Park, as the site where Dian Fossey, an American primatologist or one who professionally studies the life of primates, spent twenty years researching, interacting, and caring for gorillas. It is all thanks to her passionate efforts that gorilla poaching is highly restricted in the area as well as other parts of the world. Although she was ultimately murdered by a still unknown assailant in 1985 at the Karisoke Research Centre, her legacy lives on today and you can experience even just a small part of it once you visit Parc Des Volcanoes and encounter some of the descendants or the very primates that Fossey had nurtured and protected.
In 1990, the park was known as the most popular and most effective gorilla sanctuary on the continent as well as being the top tourist attraction of the country. A few years, however, the research center that Fossey built as well as the entire park had to be closed down due to another case of unsolved murders as well as the 1994 genocide incidents. Thankfully, this had all been relegated to the past and since 1999, the Parc des Volcanoes had resumed its protection of gorillas as well as offering gorilla tracking adventures for tourists.
Besides golden monkeys, gorillas, and other primates, the Volcanoes National Park is also home to numerous large species that you would no doubt enjoy sighting – some of which would have to be observed at a safe distance. Besides the usual herd of buffalos and elephants, there are also spotted hyenas, black-fronted duikers, bushbucks, bush pigs, and giant forest hogs.
Birdwatchers are even more blessed since the park is home to at least 180 avian species, which had been tallied in 1980. At least sixteen endemic species of Albertine birds in the area, which include Archer’s ground robin, dusky crimson-wing, Ruwenzori batis and double-collared sunbird as well as the Grauer’s rush warbler, which you’ll mostly likely find near swamps.