The Volcanoes National Park (Virunga Mountains) is the home of the mountain gorilla.
Kinigi Guesthouse: Our full report
The great volcanic massif of the Virunga Mountains straddles the borders of Rwanda, Uganda and the Democratic Republic of Congo, covering a huge area of over 8,000km², and encompassing six active and three extinct volcanoes. See our Map of Rwanda.
Much of this is protected by national parks, including the Volcanoes National Park (Parc National des Volcans) on the Rwandan side, which was made famous by Dian Fossey's work and the film 'Gorillas in the Mist'. More than half of the world's mountain gorillas live here – about 350 of them. At present it's probably the best place in Africa to see them.
It is here adjacent to the Volcanoes National Park that the Kinigi Guest House is found. While there are several possible places to stay in the area, the Kinigi Guesthouse is the closest to the meeting point for many of the gorillas treks.
Known locally as the Village Touristique de Kinigi, it has fairly basic accommodation for up to 40 guests. It is run by a local women's cooperative, and so is a worthwhile place to stay, even if its comforts are limited.
Following its recent renovation, all 20 rooms have electricity and hot water and while are basic and sparsely furnished, they are warm and comfortable. There is a laundry service at the hotel which, while it is not charged, they do however, ask for a donation. There is also a bar and lounge area where you can swap stories about the gorillas and other animals seen throughout the day.
The Volcanoes National Park, even without the gorillas, is fascinating due to its spectacular scenery. Its altitude ranges from about 2,500m to the peak of Karisimbi, at 4,500m, resulting in extensive bamboo forests, and some of the last remaining Afromontane forest habitat on the planet.
Apart from the mountain gorillas, Volcanoes National Park harbours a spectacular array of rare and endangered animals and plants. There is a variety of other primates, including endemic golden monkeys, forest elephants, buffalo, giant forest hogs (Africa's largest swine), bushpigs, bushbucks, black-fronted duikers, spotted hyenas and around 200 species of birds. On the higher slopes you'll find an almost otherworldly habitat of thick moors with endemic giant lobelia and groundsel.
Food & drink
Usual board basis: Full Board
Wildlife safaris: The Kinigi Guesthouse is a convenient base for gorilla trekking, only a 5-minute walk to the park headquarters. The Volcanoes National Park is Africa's best area for gorilla tracking, with more than half of the world's mountain gorillas.See more ideas for Wildlife safaris in Rwanda
Attitude towards children: Children are welcome
Generally recommended for children: No
Health & safety
Malarial area: No
Dangerous animals: Low Risk
Laundry facilities: Extra charge