Are you ready to go off the beaten track to enjoy one of Africa’s unbeaten mountain climbing experiences? This adventurous hike will offer that experience and interestingly surpass your expectations.

The conic-shaped Mount Bisoke lies within Volcanoes National Park at the border with Virunga National Park in the Democratic Republic of Congo and stands at an elevation of 3700 meters (12,139 feet) above sea level thus making it the fourth highest of the eight Virunga Volcanoes. Hiking this mountain also leads you to its stunning Crater Lake (known as Lake Ngezi) at the Summit.

However, unlike climbing Mount Karisimbi that is physically demanding, hiking Mount Bisoke is not very strenuous although you need to be physically fit for one of Rwanda’s best adventurous activities. The entire expedition will last for about 6 hours that includes 4 hours to ascend and 2 hours to descend depending on the speed of hiking and level of physical fitness. Nonetheless, experienced climbers can take just 4 hours (3 hours to climb and only one hour or less to descend) to the base of the Mountain.

Cost of permits for the Mount Bisoke Hike

Permits for Mount Bisoke hike cost only $75 per person including guide fees but exclude the porter fees and no advance booking is required. However, hiring a porter always costs between $20 and $30 depending on the amount of luggage. This doesn’t only benefit you but you will be putting a smile to someone’s face and family because their livelihoods mainly depend on the income earned from portering.

On the Day of Hiking

On this long awaited day, you will be required to converge at Kinigi Park Headquarters at 7:00am for pre-hiking briefing then be assigned to an armed ranger and tour guide. It is also at this point that trekkers have to hire a porter to carry the backpack and offer support during the interesting hike. Interestingly, the Rangers and guides are normally residents of areas around Volcanoes National Park, hence are very knowledgeable about the activity as well as the other attractions you are likely to encounter during the Mount Bisoke Hike.

Hikers then start the adventure at 8:00am but first have to drive for 30 to 45 minutes to the trailhead/starting point at the base of the Mountain. Along the way, tourists encounter different wildlife species and transverse several vegetation zones including the rainforests, bamboo forests, Hagenia-Hypericum forest and the Senecio-Lobelia bush lands before finally reaching the summit and if there is no fog visitors are rewarded with the breathtaking views of the Crater Lake as well as relish the awe-inspiring views of other Volcanoes especially Karisimbi. Participants are always sweating during the process of trekking but by the time they reach the Peak, they may start shivering due to the fog and coldness at the top.

What to Carry and Wear during the Mount Bisoke Hike

Hikers have to wear long sleeved shirts and long trousers to protect the arms and legs from getting scratched or injured, strong waterproof hiking boots are handy to save your feet from the muck of the hiking trails, to be able to maneuver through the jungles and hike through steep places, wear gardening gloves to protect your hands when using tree branches or grasses for support, carry a backpack for the drinking water, the sweater, snacks or packed lunch, cameras and binoculars, carry a rain jacket whether it is a rainy or dry season because the showers within Volcanoes National Park are sometimes unpredictable hence the rains come anytime, carry a walking stick and don’t forget to hire the porter who will help to carry your daypack and support you to hike through steep areas.