Mount Karisimbi hike

Mount Karisimbi hike

Mount Karisimbi hike : Mount Karisimbi is one of the eight Virunga volcanic mountains and is the highest one. Mount Karisimbi is one of the volcanoes that are found in all the three countries that is Uganda, Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of Congo. Mount Karisimbi is an inactive volcano as it has not had any recent eruption in many years or even showed any signs of eruption. The Mount Karisimbi on the African continent is the 11th highest mountain and it stands at an elevation of 4,507 meters high.

The Mount Karisimbi is situated in Rwanda in the Volcanoes national park that is near the border of the Democratic republic of Congo and that of Uganda. The Volcanoes national park is also a home for other Virunga mountains like Mount Bisoke, Mount Mikeno and Mount Nyiragongo.

The Mount Karisimbi highest peak is usually covered by snow even in the dry months and this is where Mount Karisimbi got its name from as it means “white shell” in the local language Kinyarwanda. Mount Karisimbi has two craters at the top that is the Mutango crater that is a 2 kilometer wide crater and another much smaller one.

Hikes up to Mount Karisimbi are much sought after but also very strenuous hikes so be ready mentally and physically. You can top up your mountain gorilla trekking safari in Volcanoes national park with a hike up mount Karisimbi. Please note that this is an overnight hike.

Hiking up the Mount Karisimbi comes with a treat of wildlife that you may meet on your way, also get to see a number of primates like monkeys of different species and also get to spot a number of unique bird species along the hike. This hike up the Mount Karisimbi also gives you a chance to see the grave of the late primatologist Dian Fossey. Dina Fossey dedicated most of her time in the park studying and protecting the mountain gorillas from poachers to an extent of losing her life to poachers allegedly.

This overnight hike up the Mount Karisimbi is a rewarding but yet challenging activity and if you are booked for this hike, you need to be physically fit and able to take on this challenging activity with experience of hiking such terrains as an added advantage. All hikes up mount Karisimbi will be guided with a knowledgeable and skilled ranger guide as you hike up hill and also as you return downhill.

You can also be accompanied by a porter in case you have heavy luggage and need help with it. The porters are available for hire at the park reception where the briefings before the hike takes place and these porters can be hired at 20 USD per 15 kilograms so plan for this too as you pack for this hike.

However slow you may be, the rest of the group will hike at your pace so this should not be such a scare to take on this hike. The Mount Karisimbi hike starts with an early morning briefing before 7:00 am by the park guides as by 7 am the climb will have started. You will need to stay near the park the night before so as to make it in time to the reception for briefing. You will need 2 days dedicated for this hike as you will start this hike on day 1, spend a night enroute and complete the hike the next day.

Mount Karisimbi hike
Mount Karisimbi hike

The Mount Karisimbi hike starts from the bottom of the Mount Bisoke, another dormant Virunga volcano. You will hike up hill for approximately 7 hours before you reach the ending point of day one. There is a camping site at an altitude of 3,700 meters which is almost half way where you will set up your camp for the night.

There is no permanent structure so you will need to be having camping equipment such as camping tents, sleeping bags and warm clothing as it can get very cold at this altitude. You will have a BBQ dinner and rest for the night.

The next day, you will wake up energetic to conquer the highest peak of the Virunga ranges. You will be served a hot cup of tea or coffee for breakfast with a small snack and pack up to continue the hike up and descend. This is the tricky part of the hike as fog is involved and it will tend to interrupt the views and sights of what is ahead, the terrain is also steep with strong winds topping it up with the muddy ground especially in the rainy season. You will spend some time at the snow peak and set out to descent on the dissension trail that will take you about 6 hours to conquer back to the trailhead.

A permit to hike the Mount Karisimbi in Rwanda goes for 400 USD per person and is only offered as an activity by the Volcanoes national park. The best time to hike the Karisimbi is in the dry months of June, July and August and also at the end of year in December where you will get to see the snow peak which is not a common sighting in the wet months.

Essentials to pack on a hiking safari to Mount Karisimbi

  • Hiking shoes preferably ones you have used before to avoid surprises
  • A tent, sleeping bag and warm clothes and beddings for the night uphill
  • Socks to protect your skin from irritations from the grass and shrubs
  • A hiking stick
  • First aid kit with any medicines you may need
  • A hat to protect your head from the sun rays
  • Insect repellants
  • Snacks and water for your overnight hike

We look forward to hearing from you when you are ready to book your safari to Rwanda for a hike up Mount Karisimbi.

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