Rwanda is a compact landlocked country found in East Africa, with only a total size of 26,338 km2. Most of the sections of the country are covered with mountain ranges and hills hence becoming nick dubbed the country of thousand hills. Mt Karisimbi is the tallest peak in Rwanda, with a summit elevation of 4,507 meters. Rwanda has been bestowed by nature, and it is one of the most scenic countries in East Africa, where some people refer to it as a tourism paradise, especially for those who prefer Mountain climbing.
Rwanda Hiking safaris do not require any hiking expertise, but a certain level of fitness is required. Before contemplating this safari adventure, one should assess his or her health situation. Laba Africa provides complete free information to any prospective clients who wish to participate in this activity. We organize hiking safaris throughout the country, ranging from a one-day Bisoke trip to a multi-day Rwanda hiking safaris.
Rwanda has four key hiking sectors, which are as follows: Volcanoes National Park, though best renowned for gorilla trekking, is also one of Rwanda’s greatest hiking destinations. Most clients love hiking to Dian Fossey’s grave, where the famed primatologist was buried; this takes about two to three hours while hiking.
Rwanda, which has a big portion of the majestic Virunga Mountains, is an excellent destination for mountain hiking and trekking vacations. The Virunga Mountains are a range of eight volcanoes that stretch through Rwanda, Uganda, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). Mount Karisimbi, Mount Bisoke, Mount Sabyinyo, Mount Gahinga, and Mount Muhavura are five of the eight volcanoes that share Rwanda’s border. The Volcanoes National Park, which includes the five mountains, is Rwanda’s most popular national park, best known for its gorilla trekking adventure, and is a popular destination for hiking excursions in Rwanda.
The Virungas are a nature lover’s paradise, with rich forests and diverse plant zones, gorgeous crater lakes, breathtaking landscapes, and unique mountain life. The mountains are home to a variety of wildlife, much of which is endemic to the Virungas or the Albertine rift valley in which the mountains are located. This wildlife includes mountain gorillas, golden monkeys, buffaloes, forest elephants, and a number of endemic birds that are on the wish lists of many birdwatchers.
Hiking is permitted on four of Rwanda’s Virunga volcanoes, but not on Mt. Sabyinyo due to its massive craters and high ridges. As a result, Mt. Sabyinyo has been classified unsafe for climbing in Rwanda until a safer trail is found. The mountain can currently only be hiked on its Ugandan side, and it offers one of the most rewarding walks in the Virungas due to its placement at the heart of the Virunga chain and the meeting point of all three country borders.
Apart from the major paths that involve climbing to the peaks of the four volcanoes, there are additional attractive trails throughout the mountains that novice hikers may find less difficult. The volcanoes can also be experienced by participating in the popular gorilla trekking and golden monkey tracking experiences.
Mount Bisoke (3711m/12175ft) borders the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Rwanda. It is a dormant volcano with a big crater lake at the summit that is around 400m in diameter and is entirely located in Rwanda. Mount Bisoke crater lake is the most popular hiking trail in Volcanoes National Park, with hikers aiming to reach the peak’s magnificent crater lake. Mountain Bisoke is also closer to the core of the Virungas, providing excellent views of the chain. In the Congo, you can even see the steep peak of Mt. Mikeno. Along the way, there’s a decent possibility you’ll spot gorillas and golden monkeys.
Mt Bisoke’s Lake Ngezi trail
The difficulty level of this trip ranges from demanding to difficult, but it is doable even by inexperienced hikers. Nonetheless, high fitness is required to appreciate the trek. The round trip takes roughly 6 hours, with 4 hours spent ascending up and 2 hours spent climbing down.
Lake Ngezi is a lovely crater lake on the side of Mt. Bisoke, near Mount Gahinga. This is a shorter hike on Mount Bisoke that can be done instead of walking to the summit. The round-trip trek takes 4 to 5 hours, depending on your physical level.
Mount Karisimbi (4507m/14787ft) is the highest volcano in the Virungas and Africa’s fifth-highest peak. Because to its proximity to the equator, the mountain receives snow during certain months of the year. For experienced hikers who prefer a longer and more difficult journey in the Virungas, this is possibly the best volcano to climb in Volcanoes National Park. Unlike the other volcano treks, the Mount Karisimbi hike is a two-day excursion that includes one night of camping on the summit at an elevation of 3700m/12139ft.
Mount Muhavura (4127 meters/13540 feet) is shared between Rwanda and Uganda. It is situated at the end/beginning of the volcano chain. The Mount Muhavura climb provides spectacular views of the rugged terrain. Below, one may see the twin lakes Burera and Ruhondo. A lovely crater lake can also be found near the crest of Mt. Muhavura. The round trip time is around 6 to 8 hours. Because it is relatively high, it necessitates good fitness and endurance.
Mount Gahinga (3474m/11398ft) is Volcanoes National Park’s shortest mountain. It is the least visited trail in the park. For inexperienced hikers, this may be an excellent place to start before tackling the more difficult summits in the series.
The Trail of Dian Fossey’s Tomb
The Dian Fossey route is located between Mount Bisoke and Mount Karisimbi in the valley. It begins at the base of Mt. Bisoke and proceeds to Dian Fossey’s burial site and research station, Karisoke, where she dedicated her life to studying and lobbying for the protection of mountain gorillas and their habitat in Rwanda and surrounding countries. The Dian Fossey trail is a magnificent trip with beautiful views of the highlands and unique mountain plants like as orchids, as well as the potential to see mountain gorillas. The Dian Fossey trek is a less difficult hike. The round trip time is around 3 – 4 hours.
Hiking can be done during either the dry or wet seasons. The dry seasons, which last from June to August and from December to February, have less rainfall and more sunshine. The dry season is ideal since the trails are dry and ascending is thus easy. The other months (March, April, May & September, October, November) are the wet seasons, with regular rains making the routes exceedingly muddy and the hike arduous. However, the landscape is finest during the wet season, which can also be the best time to trek if you are up for a challenging hike.
Gorilla Trekking adventure
While most visitors may consider a gorilla-trekking safari to be a once-in-a-lifetime experience, the staff at Volcanoes National Park have years of expertise behind them, so treks to see the mountain gorillas are well-organized and clearly arranged. You’ll travel in groups of no more than eight individuals, with the distance and terrain dictated by the location of “your” group of “habituated” mountain gorillas. The pace is leisurely, but keep in mind that the slopes are frequently steep and the altitude, at over 2,500m, can be exhausting.
Any fear you have will likely dissipate when you observe the gorillas going about their daily routines, feeding, interacting with one another, and even watching you with interest.
Chimpanzee Trekking in Rwanda
Chimp trekking in Rwanda takes place in Nyungwe national park in the country’s south. Cyamudongo and Uwinka are the two sites in Nyungwe where you can go chimp trekking. Your guide will direct you to the starting point of your journey and will provide you with a briefing before you begin. Chimpanzee trekking begins early in the morning, with tourists requested to arrive at the briefing site in Uwinka at 5:00 a.m. to begin walking. After discovering the chimps with the assistance of your ranger guide, you are permitted to spend one hour with them.
The Nyungwe forest is home to 13 primate species, including about 500 chimps. L’Hoest’s monkey, Angola colobus – delightfully acrobatic monkeys that move in large groups of over 400 individuals, Rwenzori colobus, silver monkey, golden monkey, owl-faced monkey, red-tailed monkey,
Rwanda’s diverse environments support a wide range of species, including mountain gorillas, chimps, golden monkeys, hippo giraffes, zebras, leopards, crocodiles, and over 600 bird species. 10% of Rwanda’s wildlife is classified as an Important Birding Species. The mountain gorilla dwells in Volcanoes National Park, along with 12 other primates. Tourists can visit ten habituated gorilla groups for one hour every day, with a maximum of eight guests per group. The park also contains about 200 Rwandan bird species, including 29 endemics, as well as the giant forest hog, warthog, bush pig, forest elephant, buffalo, bushbuck, waterbuck, black-fronted duiker, spotted hyena, civet, genet, mongoose, and tree hyrax.
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