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Virunga National Park>Parc National des Volcans Rwanda

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Parc National des Volcans - PNV protects the Rwandan side of the Virunga volcanoes, a range of six extinct and 3 live volcanoes which border Uganda, Rwanda and DRC. The highest peak ,Karisimbi reaches 4,507m. The volcanoes shelter some of the last remaining mountain gorillas of the world and are renowned for the work of the famous American primatologist Dian Fossey.

With some of the most breathtaking scenery of Africa, Parc National des Volcans now hosts a range of activities including a number of different levels of trekking through the extinct volcanoes, a visit to Dian Fossey's grave and the graves of the gorillas with which she worked, tracking the golden monkey, and of course tracking the endangered mountain gorillas.
When visiting the ‘Land of a Thousand Hills’, one should not miss out on the magnificent opportunity to visit Rwanda's Parc National des Volcans (PNV) consisting of 125 Km2 of mountain forest and home to the six Virunga Volcanoes and the world famous mountain gorillas.

Protected within the PNV, 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 tracking. 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 colourful birds and the chattering of rare golden monkey.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.

Parc National des Volcans is managed and protected by the Rwandan Office for Tourism and National Parks (ORTPN). Access begins in the lively town of Ruhengeri, situated at the base of the entrance of the park. Ruhengeri has long been the base point for gorilla visits and entertains a stunning backdrop of Karisimbi, Visoke, Mikeno, Sabyinyo, Gahinga and Muhabura volcanoes.

Ruhengeri is a 90-minute drive from Rwanda’s capital city, Kigali. One can get to Ruhengeri from Kigali either by private vehicle or by public taxi minibus. If you intend to make a gorilla visit, you will need to organise your own transport from Ruhengeri town to the park boundaries, where you will continue your trip on foot. Vehicles can be hired for this purpose in Ruhengeri town. Ruhengeri is also only a 45-minute drive away from Gisenyi and the stunning Lake Kivu.
The Kinigi Guest House on the foot of Mount Sabyinyo was recently fully refurbished, and is now open. It offers very comfortable accommodation in cottages for two, four or eight people. It also offers a good restaurant and bar. Hotel Muhabura in Ruhengeri town also offers comfortable accommodation in reasonably priced single and double rooms. The hotel also features a reasonable restaurant and bar and fax and telephone facilities.

A gorilla visit can entail anything from a 1 to 4-hour trek through the forest, led by experienced trackers who have spent their entire lives living in or close to the forest. Your trek through the forest will be enchanting as you weave through overhanging vines, moss covered Hagenia trees and giant Lobelias that thrive in the tropical climate of the forest. You will spot golden monkeys swinging from the bamboo, or see wild buffalo, bush duiker and a wide variety of bird life.
The Virunga ecosystem is composed of 4 major vegetation zones: bamboo (base altitude), Hagenia and Hypericum forest (2600-3300m),Sub-alpine (3300-4000m), and Afro-alpine (4000m+)

Then of course, nothing could be more of a privilege than to spend an hour watching the gorillas as they go about their daily routine, feeding, playing and resting, as you question your primeval existence and relive the wonder that kept Dian Fossey living in the forest for almost 18 years.

source: rwandatourism.com
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habari@habariafrica.com

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