RWANDA - PARC NATIONAL DES VOLCANS
depth guide to the seasons, animals, birds and wildlife
habitats of Parc National des Volcans, Rwanda
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National des Volcans, Rwandai, click
This park contains
the 'gorillas in the mist' that Dian Fossey
lost her life for while trying to protect.
Only about 355 mountain gorillas remain alive
on the damp forested slopes of these volcanic
mountains (not all of which are dormant),
and eco-tourism is one way to assist in their
survival. The slippery slopes of the Virunga
Mountains lie in the north east of Rwanda.
The mountain range with peaks up to 14,648
feet (4,507metres), spills over into the neighbouring
countries of DRC (Congo - formally Zaire),
and Uganda - where mountain gorillas may also
be visited. The park contains several vegetation
zones from lowland forest to Afro alpine and
tall primary rainforest whose low branches
are covered in lichen and occasional parasitic
the 1990's, dreadful genocide occurred in Rwanda
in a civil war costing more than a million lives.
Thousands fled across neighbouring borders and
found themselves existing on food aid in squalid
refugee camps controlled by an emerging militia.
Dispossessed people travelled through the Virunga
Mountains and with little to eat they set snares
to catch animals like antelopes. Unfortunately
the mountain gorillas also fell prey to the
traps and to the occasional poacher.
Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund International research
station, who have been monitoring and researching
the gorillas since Dian Fossey began in 1967,
are now re-established after their base was
abandoned after it was ransacked. The official
park permit system for visiting the three habituated
gorilla groups is also running smoothly. Rwanda
is arguably experiencing its most stable period
in the past 10 years.
Having a close
encounter with mountain gorillas is a heart-warming
experience that you will never forget, neither
is trudging through the
damp loamy undergrowth,
often heavy with mist. None of the hardships
enter your head once you make eye contact with
your first gorilla and the sensation of kinship
is almost overwhelming. David Attenborough can
attest to this said, "There is more meaning
and understanding in exchanging a glance with
a gorilla than with any other animal I know."
There are strict protocols in place and each
of the habituated gorilla groups receives a
maximum of eight people in one visit a day.
Meeting these distant cousins of ours is a real
park contains fourteen species of primates including
chimpanzee, red colobus monkey and crested mangabey.
Other wildlife include the rarely seen forest
elephant - smaller than its savannah counterpart,
giant forest hog, little duiker antelopes and
climate is constantly damp with daytime temperatures
averaging 50°F (10°C).
Dry Season: June to September
and January and February are the driest months
and best for gorilla trekking, but be prepared
for afternoon thunderstorms at any time.
Rainy Season: long rains are
from mid-march to mid-May when many roads become
impassible. It also usually rains in October
Spending precious moments with the last of the
world's mountain gorillas
park covers 46 miles² (120 km²) and
receives an average of 40 inches (1,020 mm)
of rain per year.
Follow the link below to Rwanda's premier wildlife region
and game reserve
Reserve Index | Wildlife