In the heart of Central Africa, so high up that you shiver more than you sweat," wrote the eminent primatologist Dian Fossey, "are great, old volcanoes towering up almost 15,000 feet, and nearly covered with rich, green rainforest - the Virungas".
The park is contiguous the border with Democratic Republic of Congo and Uganda is where the Virungas lie. They comprise of five volcanoes and the tallest is Karisimbi which is 15,000ft.
Not only is this park beautiful, the lush slopes of the volcanoes provide an appropriately dramatic natural setting for what is perhaps the most poignant and thrilling wildlife experience to be had anywhere to see the Mountain Gorilla in its natural habitat. Roughly half of the world wild population of Mountain Gorillas are resident on the Rwandan slopes of the Virungas. Seven habituated families of gorillas are visited, and these families have from seven to over thirty-five individuals in each.
Dianne Fossey who highlighted the poaching of these wonderful animals put them into the public eye in the 80's. She wrote 'Gorillas in the Mist' which was later made into a film.
An exhilarating trek through the cultivated foothills of the Virungas offers stirring views in all directions. Then, abruptly, the trail enters the national park, immersing trekkers in the mysterious intimacy of the rainforest, alive with the calls of colourful birds and chattering of the rare golden monkey, and littered with fresh spoor of the mountain's elusive populations of buffalo and elephant. Through gaps in the forest canopy, the magnificent peaks are glimpsed, easily accessible and among the highest in Africa, beckoning an ascent.