Has your dream always been to participate in mountain climbing during a safari? The invigorating mount Karisimbi hike is definitely your perfect choice for excitement and memorable experiences.

This delectable strato Volcano stands at an elevation of 4507 meters above sea level, making it the highest of the eight Volcanoes in the Virunga Massif and apparently the fifth highest in the African Continent. It is found within Volcanoes National Park along the Rwanda-Democratic Republic of Congo border on the western arm of the Great East African Rift Valley.

This Volcano derived its “Karisimbi” name from a Kinyarwanda word “Amasimbi” that means “white shell” due to its white-capped peak, which is actually not snow but actually hails and sleet as witnessed in some months such as June to August and December of March. Climbing up to the summit of this Mountain rewards hikers with the breathtaking views of Mikeno Volcano towards the North, Nyiragongo to the West and Mount Bisoke to the East as well as one wide of the Rift Valley.

The magnificent Peak of Mount Karisimbi, on its South-Muntango stretches until the shores of Lake Kivu and also features a two kilometer wide Caldera known as Branca that comprises a myriad of explosion breccias, tuff as well as pumice. Most importantly, it is characterized by a number of vegetation zones that include the thick equatorial rainforest at the bottom, followed by the afro-montane, bamboo forest then finally the white-capped summit.

You will discover or notice that the Equatorial rainforests offer shelter to Volcanoes National Park’s critically endangered mountain gorillas that you will encounter during gorilla trekking safaris. These primates are currently found in only four National Parks in three African countries including Mgahinga and Bwindi Impenetrable National Parks within Uganda as well as Virunga National Park in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

At 4507 meters above sea level, definitely hiking Mount Karisimbi takes 2 days and is very strenuous hence participants are required to possess some level of Physical fitness but above all; it is worthwhile and rewards one of the most unforgettable experiences of a lifetime. Day one of this adventurous activity takes about 6 hours to ascend while navigating different vegetation zones and places including one side of Mount Bisoke and the Dian Fossey Gravesite until the first stop at 3700 meters above sea level to rest and for overnight camping.

Day two starts with waking up by 6:30am for breakfast before continuing to the Peak of this breathtaking Volcano and lasts from 2-3 hours depending on your level of fitness and don’t forget that the higher you go, the steeper and more challenging it becomes.  Therefore hikers are always advised to move slowly to avoid panting. You will then reach the white-capped Peak and take photographs, relax and relish the phenomenal views of the other Virunga Volcanoes. Descending takes about 6 hours and will rest within the Camp at 3700 meters above sea level then proceed until the foothills of the Mountain.

Remember that climbing Mount Karisimbi is strenuous but extraordinary because it rewards tourists with numerous species of birds, several primate species including the Golden monkeys as well as the Mountain gorillas, exotic plants lying within four zones of Vegetation. However, depending on the season (rainy), the hiking trails tend to be muddy and slippery hence you will be required to wear waterproof hiking boots.

Just like most activities within Volcanoes National Park, tourists participating in Mount Karisimbi Hiking are expected to be at Kinigi Park Headquarters for briefing on the dos and don’ts then drive for 30 minutes to the trailhead. However, don’t forget to hire a porter at only $20 to carry your backpack and hiking equipment as well as supporting you during the hike. If you have never thought of hiring a porter during Rwanda safaris, this is the right time because with Mount Karisimbi hiking you have to do it for a memorable experience.

What to carry and wear during the Mount Karisimbi Hike

All hikers are expected to wear long sleeved shirt, long trousers, warm clothes (preferably sweaters), light rain jacket, a hat and sun glasses to protect the head and eyes from sunshine, long socks, waterproof hiking boots to maneuver through the muddy and slippery trails, garden gloves are handy, a sleeping bag for outdoor camping, carry a backpack for packing the drinking water and your gadgets, also carry enough food which will be prepared during camping (during overnight camping at 3700 meters above sea level), as well as a walking stick. As an emphasis, don’t forget to hire a porter and you will thank yourself later.

In conclusion, Mount Karisimbi Hiking is one of the interesting activities you cannot afford to miss during Rwanda safaris. Although strenuous, the adventurous activity is worthwhile because you will be rewarded with the magnificent views of its white-capped peaks as well as the jaw-dropping views of the other Virunga Volcanoes.