Bisoke and Karisimbi Mountain Hike in Rwanda
For an adventure in Rwanda, a one day Bisoke hike is here for you. Also known as Visoke, this volcano is one of the active volcanoes within the Virunga Massif. It lies between the borders of Rwanda and Democratic Republic of Congo standing at 12175 feet high. Its peak and greater part of it is in Rwanda’s Volcanoes National Park. It is one of the easiest Mountains to hike in Rwanda, feasible even for novice hikers. The trekking up to the summit takes about 6 – 7 hours. Climbers who are short of time can do this even in three hours.
It is a less demand hike but hikers should be healthy, physically fit and with all hiking requirements ready to deal with the muddy trails, stinging insects and thorny plants. Bisoke hike is more than nature encounters to unmatched panoramic views of crater lakes, alpine vegetation, fog filled summit, rolling hills, and towering volcanoes along with stretching forests. During the hike, chances are high that you will behold one of the habituated Gorilla families in Volcanoes National Park. It starts in the morning after a briefing conducted at the Park offices. From the briefing point, visitors are transferred for about 40 minutes up to the starting point.
Porters are also available for hire at a cost $10 USD. Porter’s work is to help in carrying your luggage and passing the difficult sections through pulling you up. Reaching at the summit is every ones dream. After the excitements, descend back. The permit for this one day experience costs $75 per person.
Mount Karisimbi Hike
At a height of 4507 m, Mount Karisimbi ranks the highest volcano in Virunga region and eleventh in Africa. This inactive volcano lies between Rwanda and DR Congo borders surrounded by other volcanoes such as Nyiragongo, Bisoke and Mikeno. Its name Karisimbi is a Kinyarwanda word which means “White Shell”. It was named relating to the snow that covers the Volcano’s summit during the dry season. This volcano is renowned for its caldera and two crater lakes. Visitors to Volcanoes National Park usually combine this experience with the Gorilla trek. It may be strenuous but this is a life time adventure not to miss. All trails to the top winds through dense forests, steep slopes and lush vegetation’s that are worth beholding with your open eyes.
Trails are muddy during the rainy season, it’s recommended to do the hiking during dry seasons between January – March and July – October. It’s a two day experience and requires physical fitness, good shape such that you can navigate through the steep and difficult sections. You can hire porters for additional help at a cost of $20 USD per person. From the top, hikers are impressed by stunning views of inland vegetation, other towering Virunga volcanoes like Nyamulagira, Muhabura and Nyiragongo. The all expedition which includes ascending and descending takes about thirteen hours. The permit costs $400 USD per person.
Dian Fossey Hike
A visit to Volcanoes National Parks seems incomplete without a visit to Dian Fossey’s grave yard, a conservationist who started the campaigns towards saving lives of Gorillas. This grave yard is located near her established Karisoke Research center between Mountain Bisoke and Karisimbi. The experience can be done a day before your Mountain Gorilla trekking or after. Being part of the hike is one of the best ways to commemorate Dian Fossey, a great Wildlife Conservationist in Africa. At her research center, you will learn about her works and also contribute towards the project she started in 1967.
On the way to the grave yard, you can come across unique plant species, wild animals like elephants, antelopes, primates like Golden monkeys and more. Ascending to and descending back takes about 4-5 hours and the permit costs $75 USD per person.