Hiking in Volcanoes National Park
The Bisoke Crater Lake Hike
Mt. Bisoke is a dormant volcano, located within Volcanoes National Park, and it also forms part of the Virunga mountain range bordering Rwanda and DRC. It is about 3 hour’ drive from Kigali capital city of Rwanda.
Starting off the Bisoke cater hike requires you first to meet your guide and group at the park reception. At the station also expect to have a briefing about the hike from one of the Park rangers. They will then guide you and your vehicle to the parking area to begin the hike. Note that the road from the reception to the parking area is very rocky and muddy depending on recent rains; you may require a 4×4 to access the starting point for the hike.
The Bisoke hike is guided. This hike leads you to the top of Mt. Bisoke. It is a strenuous and challenging as gorilla trekking in Volcanoes National Park therefore if your going for it, it’s advisable for you to set aside a full day to do only the hike as it requires you to have energy. Do not attempt this hike if you are unfit because you may stop halfway and turn back. There are porters that can be hired to help you carry the hiking equipment’s to the top, it’s very beautiful and totally worth the effort, you are rewarded with magnificent views of the forest and the Crater Lake.
Some tips when going for this hike: Be sure to book the hike in the dry season, otherwise be prepared to contend with mud and more volcanic mud that literally sucks you down. While hiking, you are heartened to keep your eyes and ears open because you may come across a group of mountain gorillas on the hike.
Mount Karisimbi Hike
Climbing Mt Karisimbi is a strenuous but very rewarding 2 days hike. The climb starts early in the morning taking 6 hours and involves navigating through the Bisoke side before reaching the first stopping place at an altitude of 3,700 meters for overnight camping before finishing off the journey the next day.
A hike to Karisimbi’s summit is not an ordinary one, but also affords sights and views of various bird varieties, primates like monkeys and Gorillas since the volcano lies in the primates’ park of Volcanoes national park. It is also known for its exotic plants in its four belts of vegetation, from the dense forest at its base to the barren volcanic core at the summit.
The hike up the summit is characterized of muddy trails especially during rainy season, though due to the altitude, it can rain at any time of the day.
You need relatively good health and stamina to hike through the slippery slopes to reach the summit which is white capped as a result of hail and sleet which accumulate in the higher elevations from its frequent storms. This implies that one may have to incur an extra cost of hiring a porter ($20 per day) to help in carrying your luggage and hiking equipment.
Karisimbi is also close to the Karisoke research center where the grave of the re-known mountain gorilla conservationist and American zoologist; Dian Fossey lies. This means that one have a chance to visit the grave as well as trek the golden monkeys in addition to the Mountain gorillas.
More Information about the Park
- Mountain Gorillas
- Birds in Volcanoes National Park
- Twin Lakes Burera & Ruhondo
- Mount Karisimbi
- Musanze Caves
- Mountain Gorilla Trekking
- Hiking in the Volcanoes
- Iby'ichu cultural center
- Golden monkey trekking
- Dian Fossey Tomb Tour