The Park covers the Rwandan section of the magnificent Virunga Mountains, a range of six extinct and three active volcanoes that also straddles Uganda, and the Congo (DRC).
Bamboo forest, hagenia woodland,grassland, heath and swamp are contained within its boundaries, inhabited by rare Golden monkey, African buffalo, African elephant, Bushbuck, Duikers and various small predators. There are many rare plants and more than 200 bird species - any keen birders would thoroughly enjoy the birding walks on offer here.
Watching the gorillas
Visitors meet at the park HQ in the early morning. People are split into groups to seek the resident habituated Gorilla families. Tracking is usually not very arduous - it can be quick, or it can take a few hours to find the group. The Susa group of 37 gorillas is usually the furthest away and we suggest you visit them if you make a second trek. You are allowed to spend just one hour actually with the Gorillas.
Although permits are very expensive at US$ 1,500 a visit, the money raised protects the park and these endangered animals. This is one of the world’s most endangered apes – there are only 1,064-odd surviving, around half of which live in PNV. The whole park is patrolled by the army to prevent poaching.
There are several lodges near the park. One& Only Gorillas Nest is a modern lodge at the tracking trail-head. Singita also recently opened the impressive Kwitonda Lodge. Further away, Virunga Lodge has a stunning position atop a hillside with a splendid view over the twin volcanic lakes.
There are several other activities at PNV apart from Gorilla tracking – visiting the Golden monkeys, and the Dian Fossey memorial, climbing one of the volcanoes such as Mt Bisoke, or visiting the Twin Lakes. We can arrange any of these if you spend another day at PNV.