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Hiking Mount Karisimbi Volcano from Rwanda
Mount Karisimbi 4506m is found in volcanoes national park and lies on the border with the Democratic Republic of Congo. It is the highest of the volcanoes that form the magnificent Virunga Mountain range, and it is the fifth highest mountain in Africa. The name “Karisimbi” in Kinyarwanda means “white shell”, referring to the snow on the summit of the volcano which is seen during the months of June, July, and August.
Hiking Mount Karisimbi Volcano
Mt Karisimbi involves a two-day hike client will usually start the trek at about 7 am at the park headquarters at Kinigi, thereafter driving for approximately forty-five minutes to the starting point of the trek in the park and up the mountain. After 6 hours trek, you will set up camp at 3700 for the overnight. The following day you hike up to the summit before embarking on the return trek back to the starting point and end of the Mt. Karisimbi Hike.
What to expect on Mount Karisimbi Volcano Hike Rwanda
Being a strenuous activity, to hike Mount Karisimbi, a hiker is advised to first ensure himself/herself that he/she is in a better position to face this challenging yet memorable activity. If you are feeling any ill or having any sickness you are advised not to go hiking on Mount Karisimbi. You also need to prepare mentally for the high altitude conditions which can be distressing hence slowing you down. However, porters are always available for hire at a very lower price of not more than US$ 20; porters will do for you a very tremendous job of carrying your backpack hence enabling you to hike without any difficulty – when you’re not heavy loaded with the backpack.
A hike to the summits of Mount Karisimbi and descending back is always completed in two days. Hikes to this beautiful mountain usually start very early in the morning; at 7:00 am. Hikers need to first go to the park headquarters to register and get a briefing from the park warden and guides. After the briefing, hikers are driven to the starting point at the foot of Mount Bisoke.
Hiking to the top may take like 6 to 7 hours but hikers need to stop midway at an altitude of 3,700 meters for the night. A camp is set where dinner is prepared as everyone takes a rest while preparing for the final climb the next day. After enduring the cold night and taking an early morning breakfast, hikers should be fresh and ready to start hiking to the summit which takes an hour.
The trail from the camp to the summit is steeper and more difficult to navigate as the mud gets thicker, winds stronger and fog reduces visibility. Once on top of the volcano, the scenery is spectacular and beautiful to behold. Atop Mount Karisimbi, hikers are ensured of stunning views of the Muhabura volcano, the Nyamulagira volcano, the Nyiragongo, the vast and great forests, and vegetation within the Virunga ranges, and the Congolese border. After getting enough of the spectacular views, hikers will then descend back to the starting point for your next destination – this can take less than 6 hours.
What to pack for Mount Karisimbi Volcano Hike Rwanda
- Good hiking shoes
- A sweater/warm clothing
- A waterproof heavy jacket
- A hat and walking stick.
- A tent for camping overnight.
- A sleeping bag.
- Packed food for the overnight stay before reaching the summit.
- Porters to help carry your backpack, tents, cameras, and other equipment.
- Enough drinking water
- Small and portable first aid kit
- Spear batteries for your phone and camera
- Walking or hiking poles
Best time to Hike Mount Karisimbi volcano in Rwanda
Mount Karisimbi is one of the highest mountain ranges in the Virunga massif and the best time to hike the volcano is during the two dry seasons from January to March and from June to October.