Hiking & Climbing Mount Karisimbi in Rwanda – Costs, Guide, Weather & best time to Visit
Hiking Mount Karisimbi in Rwanda is one of the best tour adventure one should consider while planning a trip to Rwanda. We bring you all the travel guide, costs/fees, weather and best time to go Mount Karisimbi climbing in Rwanda.
Towering for over 4507 meters above sea level, Mount Karisimbi is the highest of the eight Virunga Mountains in addition to being the 11th highest Mountain within the African Continent. Hiking this phenomenal mountain lasts two days and participants are in for a real adventure although involves transversing through a lush Tropical rainforest, Camping on the stunning slopes of the Volcano and reaching its peak by sunrise the next day.
This Mountain is surrounded by other beautiful Volcanoes that include Mikeno and Nyiragongo in the Democratic Republic of Congo as well as Mount Bisoke on the Rwanda-Democratic Republic of Congo border. Its name “Karisimbi” means “white shell” for its snow-covered summit during the dry season. This spectacular Mountain features a caldera Branca as well as two Craters within its summit, with the largest being Mutango.
Mount Karisimbi Hiking Guide and Tips
How Mount Karisimbi Hiking is conducted
Intending trekkers head out in the morning from their place of stay near or in the outskirts of Volcanoes National Park to meet the hiking team at Kinigi Park Headquarters. Arrival at the Park Headquarters is followed by registration and briefing from the Park guides on what to expect during the adventure and any other necessary preparations. Briefing at the Park Headquarters is followed by 30 minutes to one hour drive to the trailhead (starting point) at about 2600 meters above sea level where porters will be found for the start of the hike.
While climbing, participants are sure of coming across a number of vegetation zones, beginning with a verdant Bamboo forest on the lower slopes where the Dian Fossey Gravesite will be found while on the higher slopes are hagenia-hypericum forest then the open hillside dotted with giant lobelia and Senecio on the high areas towards the peak. The slopes of Virunga Mountains are haven to wide array of wildlife including mountain gorillas, bushbucks, golden monkeys, leopards as well as plethora of bird species especially the Albertine Rift endemics, and always look-out for the different birds as you ascend.
The Overnight Camp is at 3700 meters above sea level and is marked by a budget Mountain Camp with small backpacking-style Tents. Here trekkers enjoy the well-deserved rest, hefty meal and relaxation prior to settling into the sleeping bag for overnight stay. Continue the next morning by rising as early as 5:30am to arrive the peak before sunrise.
Hiking Mount Karisimbi doesn’t require any special skills but the second day of the hike requires some level of physical fitness. It takes only 2-3 hours to get to the peak (depending on the pace of movement) and is characterized by views of the Crater below as well as the Congolese border on a clear day. The age limit for hiking Mount Karisimbi is 15 years.
Best time for hiking Mount Karisimbi in Rwanda
Hiking the spectacular Mount Karisimbi is greatly dependent on prevailing weather conditions, hence the best time to hike it is the dry season between the months of June and September as well as between December and February. However, you can still take on the mountain during poor weather conditions (wet season between the months of March and May and October to November).
What to pack for the adventure Mount Karisimbi Hike
The best preparation for Hiking Mount Karisimbi involves packing sturdy walking boots with enough ankle support, a small backpack for carrying items needed during the hike, warm sweater to keep you warm in the upper slopes where temperatures sometimes drop below freezing point, rain jacket, camping equipment (sleeping bags, tent, food and drinks) hired from the Park Headquarters, first aid kit gardening gloves, bottled water, insect repellant, good camera, warm socks, hat, sunglasses, camera, trousers, energy-giving snacks, long-sleeved shirts/blouses and walking poles/sticks provided at the briefing point.