Luxury Safaris in Volcanoes National Park
Tucked into the far north-west corner of the country, the Volcanoes National Park (Parc National des Volcans) is one of the few remaining havens of the the mountain gorilla, with its landscape’s gentler slopes and more open bush allows for some of the most effortless tracking and observation of these animals than other parks.
Home to five of the eight volcanoes in the Virunga mountains massif and with hills richly blanketed with rainforest, bamboo forests as well as open grassland, swamps, marshes and small lakes – this is also a prolific sanctuary for the likes of the golden monkey, bushbuck, spotted hyena and prolific birdlife. There are 10 habituated gorilla groups in Rwanda, all within this national park.
You may also have heard of this park thanks to the famous American primatologist Dian Fossey who based most of her research here, founding a centre to bring worldwide attention to the gorillas endangered status and possible extinction by poachers (made later into the film “Gorillas in the Mist”).
All our guided treks to track gorillas and golden monkeys are led by expert naturalist guides and always in a conscientious way for minimal impact on the lives and habitat of these creatures. There is a maximum of eight tracking permits per day allowed in the park.
When to go
All year round. Please bear in mind that the altitude of the park can range from 2,500m-3,000m (8,200-9,800ft), so a good level of fitness is required for tracking.
What to do
- Tracking mountain gorillas
- Tracking golden monkeys
- Visit to the twin crater lakes Bulera and Ruhondo
- Cultural tour
- Dian Fossey Hike
Itineraries including Volcanoes National Park
Whatever you want your luxury tour or safari itinerary to include, we’ll create something fully bespoke for you… and only you.
Accommodation in Volcanoes National Park
Here are some of our travel designers' favourite options
Wilderness Bisate LodgeUtterly unique in its design, six sumptuous forest villas are luxurious while retaining environmental principles and reflecting the culture of the surrounding country. Each has a generous yet intimate combination of bedroom, reception space and bathroom, heated by a central fireplace and a private deck looking out to Mount Bisoke. The spherical stone and thatch architecture, said to be inspired by the Royal Palace of traditional monarchs, continues through to the communal areas such as the dining room, bar and spa, detailed with a variety of woven materials, local crafts and more modern touches. Wilderness Bisate is a short drive to the national park’s headquarters, from where gorilla treks depart daily, and you can also embark upon forest hikes to see rare Golden Monkeys and other wildlife. Visit the site of Dian Fossey’s research camp and grave, meet the community on guided village walks, plant a tree as part of the Wilderness Bisate’s reforestation project or perhaps tag along with the chef to the local market to buy ingredients for dinner.
Virunga LodgeThe lodge sits atop a 2,300-metre hilltop with panoramas of the ‘twin lakes’ of Ruhondo and Bulera and the string of Virunga volcanoes laid out in front of you. Eight ‘naturally’ stylish banda cottages (4 double, 4 twin) are set out in this property’s beautiful terraced gardens, affording each a share of the superb views and a good helping of privacy too. En suite bathrooms and running solar hot water allow you to enjoy luxurious comfort with always a minimal environmental impact too. Paved pathways converge on the property’s main lodge for dining, massages, the curio shop, bar and lounge, and all with stunning views. Apart from the truly personable level of luxury and staff hospitality here at Virunga the lodge also excels in a wonderfully diverse and extensive menu of daily activities and local cultural excursions.
One&Only Gorilla’s NestEmbraced by a warren of eucalyptus trees and resting at the base of the Virunga Volcano Range, this secluded pocket of exceptional bliss and natural beauty is set in the depths of a protected haven – one where the majestic mountain gorilla still resides. An outstanding addition to One&Only’s collection, this cradle of meticulously curated design blends into the ethereal backcloth of mist-laden jungle and blue-hued peaks, presenting 21 lodges and suites. The luxurious accommodation, balanced on wooden poles above the botanical garden, places you in the midst of the Virunga rainforest, with sprawling viewing decks, outdoor tubs and floor-to-ceiling windows. Tasteful interiors draw on varied wooden features, warm colour schemes, patterned materials, and some options offer fire-pits and private pools. Maintaining the same soothing theme and merging the peripheral environment with the internal, the on-site restaurant, Nest, draws on seasonal, local produce from the surrounding organic gardens to create Rwandan-inspired dishes. The connected bar features a charming lounge, looking out onto the grounds, complete with a fireplace for the cooler months. Witnessing an endangered Rwandan mountain gorilla during your stay is the ultimate highlight, and Gorilla’s Nest can arrange permits and guided treks to see them amidst bamboo forests along with endemic golden monkeys and an affluence of bird species. Additionally, you can gain insight into the local culture, with visits to nearby villages, sample coffee from the region and dabble in a restoring treatment, yoga class or meditation session at the sublime spa and wellness centre.