Overview - Volcanoes National Park

Since reopening in 1999, it has experienced a growing number of visitors each day, thanks in large part to its role as the world’s most popular mountain gorilla sanctuary. With fewer than 700 of this species left, tourists can catch a rare glimpse of the gorillas as they can nowhere else in the world. Be-yond gorillas, however, the park is also able to offer some of the country’s most spectacular scenery and diverse vegetation. It is part of the Virunga Conservation Area and covers more than 125km2, including five extinct volcanoes: Muhabura, Sabyinyo, Gahinga, Karisimbi and Bisoke. The latter two can be climbed during one or two-day treks.

Against this backdrop, tourists can hike through the lush bamboo and Hygenia rainforest, open grassland and swamp of Volcanoes National Park to discover golden monkeys, bush duiker, buffalo and spotted hyenas. You will not have to listen too hard before you hear one of the 178 recorded bird species in the park. Look through the gaps in the dense forest canopy and you will also see the breathtaking peaks of the volcanoes standing tall at over 4,500m.

  • Best Time To Go June to September
  • High Season June to September
  • Size 160 Sq KMs

Pros & Cons

Pros:

  • Best mountain gorilla trekking in Africa
  • Many habituated groups with different size and family structure
  • Birders’ paradise with several Albertine Rift endemics
  • Several other activities are available, making a longer stay attractive

Cons

  • Rain can make forest trails challenging
  • It might rain for days at a time
  • Very expensive gorilla trekking permit with limited availability
  • Up to 64 tourists track daily, making registration cumbersome & chaotic

Best Time to Visit

Volcanoes National Park is open for gorilla trekking and hiking throughout the year. Sightings of gorillas are almost guaranteed and don’t depend on the weather. However, the trails become very slippery in heavy rain and hiking is definitely easier in the Dry season months, from June to August, and to a lesser extent in early September, December and January.

Wildlife

Tracking Mountain Gorillas is one of Africa’s top wildlife experiences and Volcanoes National Park is arguably the best place for it.There are more habituated troops here than in the other parks that offer this activity. If their budget allows, some people book two gorilla treks on two different days. Each troop has its own family structure and offers a different experience. The troops each have different territories, making some of them more accessible and easier to find than others. Difficulty of access and the relative fitness of visitors is generally considered when allocating tourists to the different troops.In addition to a troop of habituated golden mokeys,endemic to the Albertine Rift, can also be tracked. 

Weather & Climate

Volcanoes National Park receives a steady stream of rain and mist. Combined with the high altitude, this means that the climate is wet and cold. Temperatures don’t change much throughout the year because of the region’s close proximity to the equator. Temperatures are around 16°C/61°F during the day. At night, it cools off to about 6°C/43°F. The park's wide range of altitudes also means a range of climatic conditions. The temperature drops by about 6.5°C for every 1,000m climbed (or 3.5°F per 1,000ft).

No Record available.

Best time to Visit- Volcanoes National Park

  • Jan
  • Feb
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  • May
  • Jun
  • Jul
  • Aug
  • Sep
  • Oct
  • Nov
  • Dec
  •   Excellent
  •   Good
  •   Fair
  •   Poor

Against this backdrop, tourists can hike through the lush bamboo and Hygenia rainforest, open grassland and swamp of Volcanoes National Park to discover golden monkeys, bush duiker, buffalo and spotted hyenas. You will not have to listen too hard before you hear one of the 178 recorded bird species in the park. Look through the gaps in the dense forest canopy and you will also see the breathtaking peaks of the volcanoes standing tall at over 4,500m.

  • Best Time June to September
  • High Season June to September
  • Low Season March,April,October & November
  • Best Weather June to August (Minimal rainfall)
  • Worst Weather March and April (Wet Season)

Best time to Visit - Volcanoes National Park

 

Volcanoes NP is open for gorilla trekking and hiking throughout the year. Sightings of gorillas are almost guaranteed and don’t depend on the weather. However, the trails become very slippery in heavy rain and hiking is definitely easier in the Dry season months, from June to August, and to a lesser extent in early September, December and January.

Dry Season

June to August

Volcanoes National Park receives rain throughout the year, but there is a short, drier season from June to August. We recommend that you pack waterproof clothing and good walking shoes for hiking. Don’t forget warm clothing, especially for the evenings and early mornings.

June & July – Although it can rain at any time, these are the driest months of the year. With drier trails on offer, it’s an excellent time for hiking. Daytime temperatures average 16°C/61°F, while the mercury hovers around 6°C/43°F at night.

August – The rains pick up noticeably in August. However, temperatures stay the same.

Wet Season

September to May

A lot of rain experienced around this time of the year. Don’t forget to pack waterproof clothing, sturdy shoes for hiking and warm clothing for the cold, damp conditions.

September – If the rains don’t arrive in August, they will definitely come in September. Temperatures are around 16°C/61°F during the day, depending on altitude. Nights are cold with an average of 6°C/43°F.

October & November – It rains a lot, with October a peak month for rainfall. Temperatures remain the same.

December, January & February – It rains a bit less than in October and November, but the rain can come at any time. Wet-weather gear is still a must.

March & April – These are the wettest months and it can rain for days. Hiking can be difficult as the trails get very slippery. Temperatures don’t really change.

May – Sometime in May, the rain diminishes and there are more sunny days. Daytime temperatures are a bit lower.

Malaria & Vaccines

The risk of contracting malaria in Volcanoes National Park is very low due to the altitude of the park. However, if you are traveling in other parts of the country, precautions against malaria, as well as other vaccinations as advised by your local doctor, are recommended. Protection against malaria includes taking antimalarial medication and using mosquito repellent.

Weather And Climate

 

Volcanoes NP receives a steady stream of rain and mist. Combined with the high altitude, this means that the climate is wet and cold. Temperatures don’t change much throughout the year because of the region’s close proximity to the equator. Temperatures are around 16°C/61°F during the day. At night, it cools off to about 6°C/43°F. The park's wide range of altitudes also means a range of climatic conditions. The temperature drops by about 6.5°C for every 1,000m climbed (or 3.5°F per 1,000ft).