Mountain gorilla, Volcanoes National Park, Rwanda

Volcanoes National Park

The forested slopes of the Volcanoes National Park, the very first national park to be created in Africa, are spectacular and full of drama.

A chain of free-standing volcanoes are home to local snake spirits, active volcanoes and the place where Dian Fossey lived – and died – for mountain gorillas. With peaks reaching nearly 4,500 metres, rare forest elephants and a network of rugged trails, this is a park that is as spectacular as it is thrilling and despite its popularity, it is still the best place to see mountain gorillas.

Straddling the borders of Rwanda, Uganda and the DRC, the massif itself includes six active and three extinct volcanoes so wherever you look there is a photograph waiting to be taken. Whilst the gorillas are the draw, an extra day or so spent at one of the lodges will allow you to explore the rural villages dotted around the region, taking in a few lively markets and traditional Intore dancing – something which the region is also famous for.

Volcanic Views, Volcanoes National Park, Rwanda
Volcanoes National Park

Why visit Volcanoes National Park

  • Release your inner Attenborough and come face to face with mountain gorillas
  • Take in the breath-taking views of mist-shrouded mountains and volcanic lakes
  • Pay your respects at Karisoke – the final resting place of Dian Fossey
  • Try and keep up with the endemic and nimble golden monkeys
Young wet gorilla, Volcanoes National Park, Rwanda

Highlights of Rwanda

Rwanda has become synonymous with gorilla trekking, but this holiday also showcases the diverse wildlife and landscapes elsewhere in this fascinating country. As well as trekking for endangered mountain gorillas in Rwanda’s Virunga Massif, explore the lakes, savannah and hills of Akagera in the east, and the chimpanzee inhabited forests of western Nyungwe.

11 days

from £14,595 pp

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View from interior of rocky cave lined with moss towards cave entrance with silhouette of woman at entrance.

Musanza Caves

Formed as a result of volcanic activity, Musanze caves in Volcanoes National Park, stretch for over two kilometres with 31 entry points.  Home to thousands of bats and coloured shafts of light punctuating the darkness, explore the caves and passages with a guide.

Gorilla Tracking, Volcanoes National Park, Rwanda

Volcanic Trails

Explore Volcanoes National Park on foot, hiking across other worldly landscapes, from lava lakes to crater rims.

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Lake View, Volcanoes National Park, Rwanda

Volcanic Landscapes

Take in the breath-taking views of mist-shrouded mountains and shimmering crater lakes at Volcanoes National Park.

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Golden Monkey, Volcanoes National Park, Rwanda

Golden Monkey Trekking

Try and keep up with the nimble golden monkeys, endemic to the Virunga Mountains in Volcanoes National Park.

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Diane Fosseys Grave, Volcanoes National Park, Rwanda

Karisoke Trek

Pay your respects to one of the greatest mountain gorilla researchers at Karisoke, home to the research centre and final resting place of Dian Fossey.

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Silverback gorillas, Volcanoes National Park, Rwanda

Track Mountain Gorillas

Set out on foot into the dense cloud forest of Volcanoes National Park and come face to face with mountain gorillas, spending a magical hour in their company.

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Mountain gorilla, Volcanoes National Park, Rwanda
Baby mountain gorilla, Volcanoes National Park, Rwanda

Gorillas of Volcanoes National Park

Spend time at the Mountain Gorilla Veterinary Project, with whom Steppes has worked closely over the years, to gain a privileged insight into gorilla conservation. Alternatively, join the great and the good at the annual Kwita Izina ceremony in Ruhengeri, where each June, gorillas born in the last year are officially named.

Meet our experts

A passion for travel runs right through every one of our experts - meaning they're always ready with first-hand insight about their specialist countries.

Illona Cross

Born in a small South African town, I have always followed my passion for nature and discovery. After studying Nature Conservation in Pretoria, I was one of the first women to complete a very tough cadetship in the Natal Parks Board. It was here where I cut my teeth in African wildlife management.

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  • 01285 880 980

Chris Johnston

Chris is the Conde Nast Traveller chosen Specialist for Africa.

25 years ago, my first trip to Africa took on a life of its own. I planned for three months, I stayed for two years. Whilst there, I was mistaken for a priest, attacked by sharks and arrested. Yet the countless, clattering journeys opened my eyes to the beauty of the landscapes and the grace of the people. My recent trips are undoubtedly more comfortable, but the welcome is as warm as ever and the best experiences are still those I never see coming.

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  • 01285 880 980

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