The park was gazetted in 1925 in order to help protect these rare apes and is Africa’s oldest national park. Dian Fossey made the then Parc National des Volcans her base in the 1970s and 1980s and her research changed the way this great ape species was viewed and protected. Volcanoes National Park is thus considered the best place in East Africa to track gorillas, thanks to its easy access to twelve habituated gorilla groups.
Boasting breathtaking views of the Sabyinyo, Gahinga and Muhabura volcanoes and surrounded by high-altitude forests, Singita Kwitonda Lodge offers an experience unlike any of Singita’s other destinations. With its exceptional natural beauty, environmentally conscious luxury and transformative, purpose-driven experiences, the lodge was designed in response to this remarkable location, and the eight contemporary suites (as well as the private four-bedroom villa – Kataza House) are linked by volcanic rock pathways to the central lodge.
The interiors emphasise local design and handcrafted details adorn the carefully planned spaces. Layered textures and colours enhance the reflective quality of this tranquil haven and an experiential enclave offers free-flowing indoor and outdoor areas. A convivial fire pit, interactive kitchen, bar-deli and wine cellar complete the picture.
Bisate Lodge has dramatic views of the Bisoke and Karisimbi volcano peaks rising through the forests of nearby Volcanoes National Park. It is within easy driving distance of Park Headquarters, from where once-in-a-lifetime gorilla treks depart daily. Exploring around Bisate includes community visits, birding, golden monkey tracking, and helping reforest the area, Gorilla Guardian Village, the Twin Lakes of Ruhondo and Burera, as well as Dian Fossey’s burial site. Six opulent en-suite Forest Villas are warmed by a central fireplace and have breathtaking views from the deck.
The main area comprises a lounge, dining and bar area, wine cellar and viewing deck. Both the architecture and interiors are rooted in Rwandan cultural traditions. The aim of Bisate is to be a model of sustainable ecotourism in Rwanda.
Set on the edge of the Parc National des Volcans in a lush green property of 11 hectares, Sabyinyo Silverback Lodge enjoys fabulous and dramatic views of the surrounding volcanoes.
All guest cottages are discretely situated in the folds of the hills and amongst the verdant vegetation of the Sabyinyo property. Each beautifully appointed ensuite cottage, with its country-chic style and open log fires, is a perfect haven of warmth and luxury. The main lodge building is designed with the guest in mind. Assorted seating areas in the main lounge, reception and entertainment room provide for intimate privacy, or the opportunity to meet other guests, and open-log fires throughout create a luxuriously warm and inviting atmosphere. Sabyinyo Silverback Lodge is an exciting combination of a world-class lodge and a financial source driving socio-economic development and conservation initiatives in the areas adjacent to the Parc National des Volcans.
The magnificent Virunga Lodge is the premier luxury gorilla lodge of Rwanda and one of Africa’s finest and most renowned lodges.
The lodge is perched high on a ridge with stunning views of the Virunga Volcanoes and the Musanze valley to the west and Lake Bulera and Ruhondo to the east. Following the celebrations of the 15th anniversary in 2019, plans to re-imagine the lodge have been unveiled.
It offers the finest views in Africa, uniquely decorated rooms in the Rwandese style, fantastic food and exceptional and personalised service by our carefully trained staff. It is the first accommodation choice for the luxury traveller tracking the endangered mountain gorilla.
Each of our ten luxurious bandas has a private terrace from which our guests can watch the sunrise over the dramatic landscape of mountains and lakes. Luxuriously appointed, with the accent on vibrant Rwandese fabrics and stylish locally inspired furniture.
GORILLA VIEWING PROTOCOL
Twelve habituated groups can be tracked and observed in the Volcanoes National Park. While tracking expeditions do not necessarily cover enormous distances, they can range in length from 1-8 km (0.5-5 miles) over very steep country at high altitudes. The undergrowth can be thick, the ground beneath muddy, and, including the time spent with a gorilla group, excursions can last between 2 and 8 hours.
Gorilla viewing protocol is based on the guidelines issued by the IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature) for great ape viewing. Such protocols are designed specifically to limit stress and behavioural impact and also potential disease transmission from humans to gorillas. They are critical for gorilla conservation.
Volcanoes National Park is part of the Virunga Massif that straddles three countries – Rwanda, Democratic Republic of Congo and Uganda – and home to six towering, extinct volcanoes that penetrate the clouds (Karisimbi, Bisoke, Muhabura, Gahinga. Mikeno and Sabyinyo).
Its lower slopes are covered in bamboo forest, with a rich, otherworldly woodland of hagenia and hypericum trees, festooned with lichens and old man’s beard on the midslopes.
Above this is the alpine zone with its bizarre lobelia and senecio plants and seasonal snow on the top of Mount Karisimbi.
Together with Uganda’s Mgahinga National Park (3 800 hectares / 9 390 acres), and the Democratic Republic of Congo’s Virunga National Park (Mikeno Sector, 25 000 hectares / 61 000 acres), Volcanoes National Park (16 000 hectares / 40 000 acres) makes up a 44 800-hectare (110 000-acre) conservation area that is a World Heritage Site and home to over 480 mountain gorillas.
Aside from this great ape, other mammals that call the park home include golden monkey, serval, black-fronted duiker, buffalo, elephant, tree hyrax, Egyptian mongoose and bushbuck. Some 178 bird species are found here too, including at least 13 endemic to the Virunga area, such as the Rwenzori turaco, Rwenzori batis, Archer’s robin-chat, red-faced woodland-warbler and Rwenzori apalis.