The magnificent Virunga Mountains, situated in the Northern Province of Rwanda, on the border of Rwanda, DRC and Uganda. These mountains consist of six Volcanoes, 125 km2 of mountain forest, and are home to the famous gorilla families.
The Volcanoes National Park was first gazetted in 192 5, as a small area bounded by Karisimbi, Bisoke and Mikeno Volcanoes, intended to protect the gorillas from poaching. It was the very first National Park to be created in Africa.
There are many activities to be enjoyed in this area apart from Gorillas Trekking in the Volcanoes National Park. This area is home to numerous caves, a number of Cultural and Community Tourism initiates as well as being an excellent location for bird watching.
For the sport enthusiast there are a number of hiki ng trails in the magestic Virunga Mountains or you can enjoy cycl ing the area, boating on the Twin lakes or even try your hand at fishing .
Development is proposed of further extreme sports in the area, such as mountain climbing.
The Sabyinyo group frequently inhabits the closest territory to the park's edge, between Mount Sabyinyo, from which the group takes its name, and Mount Gahinga. They can usually be reached within a two-hour walk. The group is led by Guhonda, the largest silverback measured to date, at 220kg.
The Amahoro, meaning Peaceful, is lead by Ubumwe, who lives up to his name. There is a steep climb to reach the tranquil Amahoro group, however the climb is well worth it once in contact with this tranquil group.
Umubano Group lead by Charles the Silverback who took part of the Amahoro group to create its own when he matured into the same rank as Ubumwe. The two Silverbacks have met since, but Ubumwe seems to respect Charles and the two groups live peacefully alongside. Indeed, Umubano means "Live Together."
The Susa group is currently the largest group of gorillas in the world and the one originally studied by Dr. Dian Fossey. In this group you will also find the oldest known habituated gorilla, Poppy, who was born in 1976. The group takes its name from the Susa River which has its source in the Virunga mountains.
The Kwitonda group includes three Silverbacks. This group came across to Rwanda from Uganda and the DRC to establish itself on the slopes of Mount Muhabura.
The Agashya group was named after it's commanding Silverback, who's name means "the News". Agashya's takeover was unprecedented: he won the group over by first studying the former leader, Nyakarima and then challenging him. Agashya group is known to spend most of its time on the forested saddle between Mount Sabyinyo and Mount Gahinga.
The Hirwa group is an emerging group of members from the other groups. It is the newest group, residing mainly on the foothills of Mount Sabyinyo on the Gahinga side. It's name means "Lucky one".
The Karisimbi mountain name in Kinyarwanda means "white shell", which refers to the white-capped summit which is often seen. Karisimbi is the fifth highest mountain of Africa. This is a strenuous 2 day hike. The climb will start early in the morning and takes 6 hours. You will climb further via the Bisoke side, before reaching the first stopping place at an altitude of 3.700 m for overnight (camping).
Bisoke Volcano, 3,711 m above sea level is located on the DRC and Rwanda border. An eruption in 1957 formed two small cones on the north flank of the volcano, 11 km from the summit, which supports a beautiful crater lake, Lake Ngezi. Hiking to the crater lake requires four hours up a steep trail from the Bisoke departure point, to reach the summit. The walk around the crater lake rim is highly recommended. Allow seven hours for the entire trip. Lake Ngezi a small, shallow crater lake, is the easiest hike in the park; it takes only three to four hours round-trip from the Bisoke departure point.