Situated on the steep volcanic slopes of the Virunga mountain range bordering Uganda and the Congo, the park was first established in 1925 and expanded further into Rwanda in 1929 to protect an area of 8,090 sq km as part of the Albert National Park. Following the independence of all three countries, the park was divided into three different areas: the Virungas National Park in the Democratic Republic of Congo, the Mgahinga National Park in Uganda and the Volcanoes National Park in Rwanda, however, these still form a contiguous conservation area stretched across the three borders.
With an altitude ranging between 2,400 metres and 4,507 metres above sea level, the Volcanoes National Park is dominated by the string of volcanoes that give the park its name. The Afro-montane forest that once existed below 2,500 metres has given way to farming, however, above this altitude the vegetation consists of bamboo and hagenia forest and, over 3,500 metres, of alpine moorland and marshes.
Renowned as the home of mountain gorillas, the Volcanoes National Park in Rwanda is one of the most beautiful areas of Africa and today is home to half the world’s remaining population of these fascinating creatures. First studied by George Schaller and famously later by the American primatologist Diane Fossey, today the park offers the opportunity to track one of eight habituated family groups, which must rank as one of the most unique and awe-inspiring wildlife encounters in the world.