Mount karisimbi is an inactive volcano among the Virunga Mountains bordering Rwanda and DR Congo. The Mounatain is the 11th tallest mountain in Africa on the side of western rift valley at 4,507 metres (14,787 ft).
It’s located in Rwanda and regarded as the tallest and toughest Volcano to hike out of the eight Volcanoes within the Virunga ranges. Mt. Karisimbi climbing requires at least 2 days and Karisimbi trekking is done in Volcanoes Park Rwanda. Other Volcanoes in the Virunga include; Mt. Bisoke, Mt. Mikeno and Nyiragongo active Volcano are some of the most hiked Volcanoes in the Virunga massif.
The name was derived from the local word “amasimbi which means snow since it can quoted by snow on its top during the dry season of June, July and August. The famous Karisoke research Center which was founded by Dian Fossey is located between Karisoke and Bisoke volcanic mountains. This research Center was built mainly to care and protect the mountain gorillas found in Volcanoes National park.
Mt Karisimbi hike is a fantastic experience but should only be tackled by experienced and fit hikers. The climb does not require any mountaineering skills and will typically take two days.
Hikers can opt to use either the Caldera route or the Route at the foot of Mt Bisoke. If the hikers opt for the caldera route then the hikers will start from the edge of Volcanoes National Park to the ridge of the huge caldera that extends at the base of the actual cone of Mt Karisimbi. The trek takes climbers to cross the Bamboo forest and the Hagenia – Hypericum forests. This hike continues through the caldera, across a bush of giant Lobelia and Senecio which has another worldly fee about it!
We end the first day by retiring at the very basic mountain camp set up by your guides and porters.
Second day, early in the morning the trek resumes as climbers get excited to reach the summit. On reaching the summit the climbers will enjoy spectacular views so the sunlight if it is a sunny morning. This will reward you with views of both Nyiragongo and Nyamulagira active volcanoes. The return hike will the take the second half of the day arriving the park in the evening.
Note: Temperatures up the mountain can be below freezing point especially during the early hours of the day. That is why we recommend the Months of June to September the best time to hike Mt Karisimbi. These months are favourable as the early hours of days during these months are clear. Despite the fact that the hike is organized all year round, other months are not favorable.
Climbers need to carry all the necessary equipment’s for hiking like: sleeping bags, food, and the necessary clothing’s
The drive from the park office to the trail head is 16 km and takes about 30 minutes to the car park where the road ends