Mountain Hiking

Volcanoe Hike in RwandaThere are 5 volcanic mountains which are part of the famous Virunga mountain ranges. The existence of these mountain ranges instigates hiking as another tourism activity. There are so many hikers that find it interesting to hiking any of these volcanoes. However, the choice as to which one to hike largely depends on the time and physical fitness of the hiker.

This is because hiking the higher mountains is not that easy especially for the high ones  like Karisimbi . Karisimbi which is the highest standing tall at  4507 meters,. This is then followed by  Mt. Muhabura and then Mt. Bisoke . Standing at 4127 meters and 3711 meters high respectively. Sabyinyo is at 3674 meters and the shortest is Gahinga which stands tall at  3474m. Therefore the two last volcanoes require less time to hike them.  

All these mountains are amazing features however most tourists are interested in hiking Mt. Bisoke probably. Their interest is attributed to the existence of a beautiful Crater Lake at the top and may be the price too and time. 

However, if you have more time, you can hike up the great Mt. Karisimbi hike and have more fun. 

The mountain hiking experience

Hiking Karisimbi is more strenuous compared to hiking any other mountain within the range. It is usually a 2/3 days activity and has to begin early in the morning and from the bottom.  You will hike from the Eastern side of the mountain and then have a stopover when you get to about 3700 meters high. Here you will setup your camp, have dinner, spend the night and then continue to the top the next day. You will be able watch that morning sunlight if you start hiking early enough.

Sabinyo Volcano (3645m) seen from near the Mgahinga Gorilla National Park headquarters in Ntebeko (2360m), Uganda
Sabinyo Volcano (3645m) seen from near the Mgahinga Gorilla National Park headquarters in Ntebeko (2360m), Uganda

What to expect at the top;

While at the top, you will be amazed by the beautiful views from both the Congo and Rwanda side. On a very clear day, you will also be able to see in a distance Congo’s Nyiragongo and Nyamulagira which are active volcanoes. When you are done enjoying the view, you can then start on your journey back to the bottom.  However, you should always remember that descending is just as dangerous as ascending. This is because the trails are usually slippery, so you are susceptible to falling and get injured. It will take you only 6 hours to get to the bottom and then drive back the hotels or to Kigali if you have to leave on that very days.

Hiking Karisimbi is very strenuous therefore it’s only the experienced hikers and the physically fit people that are encouraged to attempt hiking Karisimbi because the trails will be almost impassable especially during the rainy season. You will realize that this hike is not an ordinary hike because you will be able to see lots of wildlife more so the primates. You will also see different bird species as you hike to the summit.

Different primate species and gorillas should be expected since the mountain is within Volcanoes national park. Volcanoes park is a home to hundreds of primates. For those that are interested in vegetation covers will be amazed the variety ranging from the dense forest the bottom of through the bamboo to the mountain to the top.

Items to carry with you during you mountain hike

While preparing for your Karismbi hike, there items that should not be forgotten otherwise the hike wont got well for you. Your back pack should include items like;

  • the sleeping bag because you will not find beds at your stopover point
  • warm cloths is a must carry as it will keep getting more cold as you go hiker
  • Also carry food and drinking water because you will definitely need it
  • You will need dress up appropriately for example trousers and long sleeved shirts to protect your legs and arms from the cold as you push through the creeping plants are recommended together with the jungle/hiking boots will make your trekking a bit easier.   

You can always hire a porter to help you carry your luggage if you think you will need help. Porters are paid per day and they will walk along with you during the hike.  They are also helpful during accidents or any emergence that requires carrying back a hiker to the bottom.