Mount Bisoke also known as “Visoke” locally is situated between Rwanda and borders of Dr Congo. It is an active volcano located in the ranges of Virunga. The mountains are located in both East and Central Africa with its highest peak in Rwanda.
It has a height of 3,696 m. Mount Bisoke is found within Rwandan border at Volcanoes National park and stretches to DR Congo which lies with in Virunga National Park. Its greatest part and summit is in Rwanda.
Mount Bisoke, similary to other peaks in the Virunga Mountain Range is a volcano formed by rift action of the divergent boundary of the East African Rift that is dividing the African continent. Mount Bisoke has erupted twice in the years of 1891 and 1957. The most recent eruption took place 11 km north of the summit. There is also evidence that suggests that the area where eruption occurred is still geologically active meaning that in the future Mount Bisoke Could erupt again. The Mount Bisoke volcano has two crater lakes Ngezi and Bisoke lake that means getting soaked into water in the local dialect
Mount Bisoke is also home to endangered Rwanda mountain gorillas which are an important tourism product you can do on your Rwanda Safari. The bamboo zone of the mount Bisoke is source of food and shelter to the gorillas in the wild.
Hiking Mount Bisoke
Hiking Mount Bisoke is a fun and exciting activity that can be done hikers of all level regardless of their experience. Hiking up to the summit normally takes 6 hours depending on ones speed and fitness level and walking down will also depend one speed. Experienced mountain climbers can climb the mountain in 3 to 4 hours. To many, Mount Bisoke climb is considered less challenging even if its steep but we encourage hikers to be in good form and be ready to navigate through thorny bushes, annoying insects and muddy paths during the rainy season of March to May. The temperature and oxygen levels drop drastically on hikes .
Bisoke mountain hiking is popular activity for visitors who come to Volcanoes National park for Rwanda Safari since you have the chance of viewing the mist summit, beautiful crater lakes, rare stunning views and vegetation.
Mount Bisoke Wildlife also known for its rare forest elephants, mountain gorillas, golden monkeys and pristine bird life. It is possible to meet one of the gorilla families or golden monkey troops along the trail which would make for an even more fulfilling experience.
Though visitors are only allowed at most 10 minutes to see the gorillas from a distance. Taking photos of the gorillas during the hike is not allowed. This opportunity is only reserved for visitors who have come for gorilla tracking.
The mountain gorillas and golden monkeys you view on the way may be wild (not habituated) hence keep a distance.
We encourage you to book in advance for Hiking Mount Bisoke. Hikes start usually in the morning at 7am after briefing at the park headquarters where hikers are also given guides to escort them. The same park headquarters offices can get filled with tourists because it’s the same place guests come a few other Rwanda safari activities like gorilla trekking, golden monkey tracking and visiting the Diane Fossey.
The drive to the starting trail of hiking Mount Bisoke at an elevation of 2700m going through the local communities and farms hikers have a greater chance of encountering several wildlife species in Hagenia forest comprised of bamboo. Animals include Mountain Gorillas since the park is also home to wild gorilla families, troops of Golden monkeys will also be sighted though they aren’t habituated are tend to shy when they see humans, you wont miss black and white colobus monkey, olive baboons, red-tailed monkeys, several mammals including the forest elephants, buffalos, spotted hyenas, bushbucks, bush pigs and bird species that are found in the Rift valley such as Rwenzori Batis, long-crested eagle, red-faced woodland warbler, handsome francolin, grey throated tit, paradise flycatcher, Rwenzori turacos, ross turacos.
Upon arriving at the top of Bisoke Volcano, hikers have a 360 view of the Volcanoes national park from above, enjoy the cool breeze and have a chance to take some beautiful photos on a clear day and also enjoy the crator lake on the top.
The weather will dictate how long
What you need to pack for hiking Mount Bisoke
Mount Bisoke Hikers need to ensure proper packing and equiped for the hike. When well prepared, the hike will be easily possible as compared top when one is not ready. There is mud at the beginning of the trail which can be a huge turnoff for many unprepared hikers especially in the rainy season.
- Long trouser. Your bag should not miss a long trouser to protect you from a the annoying of biting insects and small thorns on tree branches.
- A warm sweater, a shirt preferably with long sleeves and protective headgear for purposes of keeping you warm as it gets colder towards the summit.
- You would also need Hand gloves which are preferably woollen or for gardening to protect your hands from sharp objects like sharp tree branches.
- You need also light hiking shoes (water-proof boots) and stockings which are sturdy and comfortable for hiking effectively in muddy areas more so during wet season. Ensure that stockings for hiking are tucked to your trouser to prevent any sting from insects or sharp vegetations.
- The Hiking Stick: This one is normally provided by the park guides for support when moving along steep parts of the trail.
How much do you need to hike mount Bisoke
The all tour cost 240$ that includes the $75 per person and this includes park rangers and a tour guide during the hike but it doesn’t include porters. This amount does include transport from Kigali to the park or meals.