Mount Karisimbi, Volcanoes hike in Rwanda and Gorilla trekkingSafaris
Mount Karisimbi – the name relates to the white-capped summit which is often seen. Mount Karisimbi is the highest of the eight volcanoes in the Virunga Mountains. Interestingly, the white cap shell like top of Mount Karisimbi results not from snow but from hail and sleet which accumulate in the higher elevations from its frequent storms.
Mount Karisimbi is located within the Volcanoes National Park, and many of the volcanoes are connected by good trails. The highest peak of Mount Karisimbi is at 14,787 feet [4,507 m] reached on a hike at the top of volcanoes national park in Virunga Mountains of east-central Africa. Mount Karisimbi lies on the border of the republics of Congo (Kinshasa) and Rwanda, 18 miles (29 km) northeast of Goma, Congo, in the Virunga National Park. Karisimbi is the habitat of gorillas and is known for its exotic plants; it also has four belts of vegetation, from the dense forest at its base to the barren volcanic core.
MOUNTAIN KARISIMBI HIKING IN RWANDA
Mount Karisimbi Hike & Climbing (An adventurous tour)
Mount Karisimbi involves a 2-day hike which sets off at 7 am, with the meeting of the ranger guides at the park headquarters at Kinigi, thereafter driving for approximately forty-five minutes to the starting point of the trek in the park and up the mountain. The hike to mount karisimbi has got different trails that all lead and connect to other hiking destinations in Volcanoes national park. The base of this mountain is covered with dense bamboo forests, Hagenia forests, giant lobelias, caldera, and the top has volcanic mud.
Climbing Mount Karisimbi is a strenuous yet very rewarding hike which is normally done as a complement to gorilla trekking and all done within Volcanoes National Park. The climb starts early in the morning taking 6 hours and involves navigating through the Bisoke side before reaching the first stopping place at an altitude of 3,700 metres for overnight camping before finishing off the journey the next day.
You will climb further via the Bisoke side, trekking through some very thick jungle surrounded by stunning scenery. You need to be in good shape with the right kit and you camp at 3700m overnight before the final summit push. After getting to camp, set up your tent, dinner and get organised for the next day. – Be ready for a bitterly cold night.
At about 2,067m ASL, you reach close to the Dian Fossey tomb and gorilla graveyards (but visiting would require you pay an extra fee). Your will then traverse different vegetation zones: bamboo and wild celery on the lower slopes, ideal food for gorillas. Then hagenia forest, with old man’s beard moss on the branches. Then above 3,000m, the marvelous giand groundsel and giant lobelia. Your first camp is at 3,700, a similar altitude to Bisoke, clearly visible behind the camp.
The next day you wake as early as 5:30AM for your breakfast and early departure. The trail gets steeper, much as the fog closes in and ground gets muddy. The terrain gets more tougher here. At about 4,000m, you are above the tree line, the slopes become more exposed and here you need to wear your gloves and hat. After about 2 hours ascent, you start on you last hundreds meters of climbing, walking on volcanic scree (more like grey gravel but not loose). The wind starts getting harder and visibility drops to 25m. Suddenly, you realize you cannot climb the anymore – you are at the summit! The Congolese border is just within a few feet from here. The descent back to the car park takes about 6 hours (including breaks at the camp and the others).
Going up becomes steeper and more challenging as the hike proceeds, at 4000m you feel the effect of higher altitudes and it is advisable to go slowly to avoid panting. Nonetheless, once you reach the summit of this mountain, the invigorating feeling of reaching the top makes you forget the challenges you faced reaching there.
Once you see a Radio/TV antenna, know you have reached the peak. While at the summit, you can relax, take photographs, and enjoy the cool breeze and the sensational views of various volcanoes including Nyamulagira, Muhabura and Nyiragongo. The descent is quite easier than its ascent though it takes about 6 hours. You will descend up to the camp which is at 3700m.After which you will proceed to the starting point.