Mount Bisoke Hiking in Rwanda: Difficulty, How to Climb, Facts & Weather
Do you want to go Mount Bisoke Hiking in Rwanda? We bring you all the information you need to know, facts, how to prepare, costs and more.
Standing at 3700 meters above sea level, Mount Bisoke is characterized by a conical shape of an ideal Volcano while on its peak lies an incredibly deep Crater Lake. This Volcano is nestled within the Rwanda-Democratic Republic of Congo border in two magnificent Protected Areas (Volcanoes national Park and Virunga National Parks). Bisoke is one of the eight Virunga Mountains found in East and Central Africa (Uganda, Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of Congo) and surprisingly features two Crater Lakes (one at its summit while the other-Lake Ngezi is midway (about 11 kilometers from the summit).
The lower slopes of Mount Bisoke are home to the endangered Mountain gorillas alongside other outstanding animals such as golden monkeys, bushbucks, elephants, forest buffaloes, giant forest hogs and many others in addition to several species of birds. The lush Bamboo forests and other lush vegetation types surrounding Mount Bisoke offer haven and food for these beautiful animals. Some lucky hikers will come across the mountain gorillas and only 10-15 minutes will be allowed for observation and photography.
Hiking Mount Bisoke in Rwanda
Hiking Mount Bisoke is one of the most adventurous activities in Volcanoes National Park, conducted by both novice and experienced hikers. Participants are expected at the Kinigi Park Headquarters by 7:00am for registration and briefing from allocated Park guides and you will be required to present a valid hiking permit and passport then visit the toilet, get a walking stick and hire a porter before embarking on this life-changing hike.
Get transferred from the Park Headquarters to the trailhead/starting point and this takes about 30-40 minutes through narrow and rough roads. It is here that armed rangers and porters will be found then immediately start the hike to the summits of Mount Bisoke. It takes between four and six hours to ascend depending on the pace of movement as well as frequency of stops but seasoned and experienced hikers take only 3-4 hours while it takes only 2-3 hours to descend the mountain. However, it is still important to expect a tough hike to take on the volcano and deal with stinging nettles, pricking thorny plants, muddy and slippery trails during the wet season.
During the Mount Bisoke ascent, participants can expect to come across a number of vegetation types/habitats beginning with the Bamboo forests at the lower slopes, followed by Hagenia-Hypericum forest and them transversing through the Senecio-Lobelia bush close to the summit of the Volcano. Different vegetation as well as breathtaking views of surrounding Volcanoes should be expected, and on a clear sunny day enjoy a picnic lunch and even take a dip into the Crater Lake at the summit. Post hikes, don’t forget to tip ranger guides and porters and relax at your booked places of stay.
Mount Bisoke hiking fees
The current fees for hiking Mount Bisoke are only $75 per person per trek, and this interestingly includes Ranger guides and Park entrance fees. These permits can be booked in advance or even on the day of the hike from Kinigi Park Headquarters. Hikes begin at 7:00am from the headquarters, from where participants are transferred to the trailhead/or starting point to the hike. Porters can be hired from Kinigi Park Headquarters to offer the much needed support during the hike.
Essentials for hiking Mount Bisoke
Besides hiking permits and passport that will be presented at the Park Headquarters during briefing, participants of mount Bisoke hike have to pack the right clothing (long-sleeved shirts, safari pants and cotton socks), gardening gloves, pair of binoculars, strong but light hiking boots, walking stick (can be acquired from the Park Headquarters), energy-giving snacks, bottled water, backpack, good camera, hat and sunglasses for protection against hot sunshine, rain jacket and many others.
Best time of the year to hike Mount Bisoke in Rwanda
Hikes to the summit of Mount Bisoke are conducted all year round but the wet season (March to May and November) offers unfavorable conditions such as muddy and slippery trails. This makes the dry season (June to September and December to February) the most ideal time to hike this Virunga Mountain.