Located in the nortwestern part of Rwanda, Volcanoes National Park happens to be the first national park created in Africa. Initially covering an astounding area of 8,090 km², the park today is left with an area of only 125 km² due to rapid growth in population and agricultural needs. The park shares its border with two other national parks: Virunga National Park (Democratic Republic of Congo) and Mgahinga Gorilla National Park (Uganda). It contains six Virunga Volcanoes out of the total eight that lie in the Virunga Mountain range and near the town of Musanze you could find a mesmerising natural bridge which was created by the lava flow. The main attraction in the park is elusive mountain gorillas that are generally found in the bamboo forest at an altitude of 2500-3200M.
Volcanoes National Park is quite famous for the riveting mountain gorillas which are critically endangered and found in only three countries in Africa. The cost of a gorilla permit in this park is USD $750 for non-nationals and USD $ 375 for foreign residents. Gorilla safaris in this scenic park of Rwanda start at 7:00 am by which you are needed to report at the RDB Tourism and Conversation office in Kinigi for briefing. In the park there are seven gorilla families where the largest group has 41 gorillas. Tourists are divided in the groups of eight each and the maximum time allotted to observe a group of mountain gorillas is one hour. Being at an altitude of around 1,700 m, the weather here gets quite cold especially after dusk. Hence, it is recommended to bring warm clothing with you.
Due to the large variations in altitudes within the park, different types of vegetation could be seen here. At lower altitudes montane forest and as you go further up bamboo forest is found. If you move further up to 4,300-4,500 m range, captivating grassland is seen. Apart from gorilla safaris, this national park also offers birding safaris that will introduce you to around 180 distinct bird species some of which are endemic to this type of ecosystem.