There are 5 volcanic mountains which are part of the famous Virunga mountain ranges and their existence instigates hiking as another tourism activity. There are so many hikers that find it interesting to hiking any of these mountains but the choice as to which one to hike largely depends on the time you have and the physical fitness of the hiker. This is so because hiking the higher mountains is not that easy especially for the high ones for example Karisimbi which is the highest going as high as 4507 meters, followed by mount Muhabura and then mount Bisoke lying at 4127 meters and 3711 meters high respectively. Sabyinyo is 3674 meters and the shortest is Gahinga going as high as 3474 which means this requires less time to get to the top and also less tiring compared to the rest of them. All these mountains are amazing features however most tourists are interested in hiking Bisoke probably because of the existing beautiful Crater Lake on top of mount Bisoke and yet this hike can be done in just a single day.
However, if you have more time, you can hike up the great Karisimbi hike and have more fun,
The 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.
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 but you should always remember that descending is just as dangerous as ascending 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 and different bird species as you hike to the summit. Different Monkey species and gorillas should be expected since the mountain is within Volcanoes national park which is a home to hundreds of primates and 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 with that. Porters are paid per day and they will walk along with you during the hike and often, it is the porters that help out in cases of accidents or any emergence that requires carrying back a hiker to the bottom.