Mount Bisoke is one of the favourite attractions encountered on a Safari to Rwanda. It takes a typical cone shape of of a complete Volcano as it stands at 3700 metres and is characterized by a deep crater lake, that lies in its craters.
The mountain presents a simple hike for Rwanda Safari visitors interested in climbing it, though its still a kind tough hike. Though not hard to summit, it will always get tough with the highest points of elevation, and will demand extra strength from the climbers.
A complete excursion can take a time lag of between 5 hours, going up to the whole day, depending on the speed of the walk and whether or not there will be different stops during the climb. The ascent on the other hand will typically take around 3 hours.
A series of various vegetations will be crossed during the climb, ranging from bamboo forests, then moving on to Hagenia – Hypericum forest and finally moving through Senecio – Lobelia bush near the summit.
The fees for the climb are faired at USD$ 75 per person, and this will include the summit guide and can be got on the same exact day of the trek/hike from the parks headquarters, thus no advance booking is necessary.
The mountain hike always starts as early as 07 in the morning, from the Park’s headquarters in Kinigi from where visitors will be driven / or will drive (for those interested in Self Drive Safaris in Rwanda) to the starting point of the trek. Porters/luggage carriers can always be hired from Kinigi – the park headquarters.
About Mount Bisoke:
The Full Height of the mountain is 12,175 ft / 3711 metres, making it the 3rd highest Mountain in Rwanda. It is considered as a Dormant Volcano, and hiking ranges through different ecological zones (rainforest, alpine, bamboo). There is a deep Crater lake and views at the summit of Virunga ranges and DRC.
There is a wide range of animal Life there, including Mountain Gorillas, Golden Monkey, Buffaloes and many birds (good for Gorilla Tracking in Rwanda), Picnic lunch is at the Crater lake summit, and the Time frame – From the starting point its approximately 3-4 hours climb up and 2-3 hours down.
The hike is a little bit steep as it goes up, and starting at approximately 2,700m one will start to feel the altitude in the final ascent to the summit. The hike is always accompanied by park rangers, porters and a English speaking guide.
The most favourable season for the hike would be the dry season, that is June to mid September, or even December to February.
NB: If there is any encounter with the Mountain gorillas during the hike, one will not be allowed to take photos, and the Gorillas observations will only be restricted to a maximum of only 10 minutes at the Park Rangers discretion, as this is different from Gorilla Safari in Rwanda.