Mount Bisoke or Visoke as often referred to by the Rwandans is one of the peaks of the Virunga mountain ranges located in the Albertine rift along the western side of East African Rift. It is an dormant volcano with a crater lake on its top and it’s located just adjacent to the Lake Kivu but inside Volcanoes National Park at the boarder of Rwanda and Congo therefore you can access it from Congo’s Virunga National Park. During your Safari in Rwanda, to hike this mountain, you will walk along steep slopes which are densely covered by the equatorial rainforest and also some alpine meadows. Around this place, you can find some endangered gorillas, there is the Karisoke Research Center which was founded by the late Dian Fossey within the valley on the western side.
HOW HIGH THE MOUNTAIN ELEVATES
Mount Visoke is about 3711m high, it is not snow capped but often covered by fog. It has that typical conic shape you can expect from a perfect volcano mountain and its crater is occupied by water forming a crater lake.
HIKING TO THE CRATER
This hikes takes like 4 hours to get to the top and 2 to slope down but the experienced hikers can even make it in just 3 hours and spend just an hour sloping down. This means, this is a one day activity which begins at 7:00 am after briefing at the Kinigi office, a park ranger is provided for the hikers and these are often the local people from around the area who know very well the routes and the different spots that should be missed. Actual hiking begins at 8 am, you can take along with you a porter if you need one and hiking gears are provided too.
Interested hikers should know the hike is not that tough though might be very hectic for the inexperienced hikers because this high elevation requires you to have a lot of strength to climb and also to walk through that whole excursion. This may be a whole day adventure depending on how frequent you are stopping and your speed but at the end of it, you will realize that it was worthwhile.
There are 2 cones on the northern side, just 11km away from the peak and these were formed by an eruption that happened in 1957. Also, no hiker should ever miss the walk along the crater edges, visit Lake Ngezi which is a small and shallow crater lake.
While hiking, you will go through different vegetation covers beginning with the bamboo forests, from there you will climb higher and go through the Hagenia – Hypericum forest and then at the top, you will find the Senecio – Lobelia bush, at this point you will be very close to the peak.
You can go for the Bisoke mountain hike after gorilla tracking in Volcanoes national park. Reservations should be made prior to your arrival like the day before so that necessary arrangements are made so if you are tracking gorillas before, payment should be done on that day. Every hiker should pay USD$ 75 and this fee includes a trained guide who is hired per day. Porters should be hired from the park headquarters but are paid by the hiker per hour.
Hiking Bisoke is one of the exciting mountain hiking adventures since it is not that tough but still fun especially once you get to the top and enjoy the view, it’s amazing. Include Bisoke mountain hiking in your gorilla watching safari in Rwanda.