Magical Volcano Hiking in Rwanda : Engaging in a magical volcano hiking in Rwanda; Rwanda is a magnificent destination for mountain climbing and walking trips. The Virunga Mountains are a chain of eight Volcanoes which sprawl along the borders off Rwanda, Uganda and democratic republic of Congo. Among the eight Volcanoes, 5 are shared along the Rwanda’s borders such as mount Bisoke, mount Karisimbi, mount Gahinga, mount Muhavura and mount Sabyinyo. These five Volcano mountains make up the Volcanoes national park which is the Rwanda’s famous national park , popular known for its Mountain Gorilla trekking and its major destination for hiking safaris in Rwanda.

The Virungas Mountains are a nature lover’s dreamland, owning astonishing natural beauty including verdant forest and different vegetation covers, attractive crater lakes, spectacular landscape and unique mountain life. The Virunga mountains gangs plenty of wildlife , a lot which is endemic to the Virungas or the Albertine rift valley in which the mountains lies, and such wild animals include mountain gorillas, golden monkeys, cape buffaloes, forest elephants among others and also protects vast number of  endemic birds which are on many bird watching wish lists .

 in Rwanda, hiking adventures are done in only 4 of the Virunga volcanoes but not on mount Sabyinyo since its consists enormous craters and sharp ridges . Mount Sabyinyo was therefore declared dangerous for hiking in Rwanda until a safe trail is identified, currently the mountain can only be hiked on its Ugandan side and it offers one of the most rewarding hikes in the Virunga due to its location at the center of Virunga’s cable and at the meeting point of the three country boundaries

apart from the major trials which require hiking to the peak of the 4 Volcanoes , there are attractive and amazing trails along the mountains and none experienced  hikers may find these less challenging, one may also experience the Volcanoes by doing the famous gorilla trekking or even golden monkeys trekking adventure.

Hiking trails in Volcanoes national park Rwanda

Mount Karisimbi

Mount Karisimbi is the highest volcano in the Virungas and is the 5th highest mountain in Africa consisting of 4507meters above the sea level. The mountain receives snow during some months in the year because it is located near the equator. For experienced hikers that may prefer a longer and a more challenging hike in the Virungas this is possibly the finest volcano to hike in Volcanoes National Park. Hiking of mount Karisimbi is quite different from other volcanoes where hiker can only hike for one day, Mount Karisimbi hike is a 2 day adventure with camping on the mountain for one night at elevation 3700 meters above the sea level or 12139 feet.

Mount Bisoke Crater Lake hike

Mount Bisoke sit at elevation of 3711 meters or 12175 feet above the sea level, is located on the border with the Democratic Republic of Congo. It is inactive volcano with an enormous crater lake at in the peak calculating about 400m in diameter and fully lies in Rwanda. Mount Bisoke Crater Lake is the most popular trail for hiking tours in Volcanoes as hikers aim to reach to the amazing Crater Lake at the peak. Mountain Bisoke is also located nearer to the center of the Virungas and thus offers astonishing views of the chain. It’s a scenic walk with a relatively easy hike that usually takes about three hours round trip During the hike , travelers can get an opportunity even catch view of the sharp peak of Mt. Mikeno in the Congo and also have great chance to see gorillas and golden monkeys along the hike. The difficulty level of this hike can be put at challenging to difficult but can be done even by none experienced hikers, however good fitness is very important for one to enjoy the trek. The round trip is about 6 hours, with 4 hours climbing up and 2 climbing down.

Lake Ngezi trail on Mount Bisoke

Lake Ngezi is an attractive crater lake on the side of Mt. Bisoke, neighboring to Mount Gahinga. This is a relatively easier hike on Mount Bisoke that one can do instead of trekking to the peak.  Hiking here takes roughly 4-5 hours to complete the trek depending on the fitness level of a hiker.

The Dian Fossey trail

The Dian Fossey trail is located in the valley between Mount Bisoke and Mount Karisimbi. It starts from the base of Mt. Bisoke and goes to the interment place and the research station, Karisoke, of famous researcher Dian Fossey who devoted her life to studying and advocating for the protection of the mountain gorillas and their habitat in Rwanda and the neighboring countries. The Dian Fossey trail offers a wonderful trek with astonishing views of the mountains and exclusive mountain vegetation such as orchids and an opportunity to encounter the mountain gorillas. The Dian Fossey trail offers a less energetic hike. Hiking the entire trail takes abbot 3-4 hours to complete the trek.

Mount. Muhavura

Mount Bisoke sits at an elevation of about 4127metres or 13540 feet, is shared between Rwanda and Uganda. It is located on the end or start of the volcano chain. The hike on Mount Muhavura offers magnificent views of the mountainous scenery. While on the hike, you will also get an opportunity to view the beautiful twin lakes Burera and Ruhondo below, at the peak of the Mt. Muhavura is also get chance to see beautiful Crater Lake.  Hiking mount Muhavura is quite challenging and difficult but manageable and can only take 6-8 hours for once to complete the entire trek.

Mount Gahinga

Magical Volcano Hiking in Rwanda
Mount Gahinga

Mount Gahinga sits at about 3474 meters or 11398 feet, the mountain is the shortest mountain in Volcanoes . It is the least hiked in the park. For none seasoned hikers this may be a good one to start with before taking on the more challenging mountains in the chain.

Best time for volcano hiking in Rwanda

You can hike either during the dry season or the wet season. The dry seasons are when there is less rainfall and more sunshine and this is during the months from June to August and December to February. The dry season is the best time because the trails are dry and climbing is therefore easier. The other months  like March, April, May and  September, October, November make up the wet seasons and during this time there are frequent rains which render the trails very muddy and the hike is difficult. However the landscape is best during the wet season and can turn out to be the best time to hike if you are ready for the challenge of a difficult hike.

What to prepare for the hike

Hiking shoes

Long pants and long sleeved shirt to protect from stinging nettles

Rain jacket

Garden gloves

Camping equipment such as tent, sleeping bag, sleeping mat for Mount Karisimbi hike

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