Rwanda is a country filled with stunning natural beauty, and one of the best ways to experience it is through hiking. One of the most popular hiking trails in Rwanda is the Karisimbi trail, which leads to the summit of Mount Karisimbi. This challenging hike offers breathtaking views of the surrounding landscape and is a must-do for any serious hiker visiting Rwanda.
Where is Mount Karisimbi and How to Get There?
Mount Karisimbi is located in the Volcanoes National Park in northwestern Rwanda, along the border with the Democratic Republic of Congo. To get to the park, you can fly into Kigali International Airport, which is about a two-hour drive from the park. Once at the park, you will need to obtain a permit for the Karisimbi hike from the Rwanda Development Board.
When to Hike Karisimbi.
The best time to hike Karisimbi is during the dry season, which runs from June to September and December to February. During this time, the weather is cooler and the trails are drier and easier to navigate. However, it’s still important to be prepared for rain as the weather can be unpredictable.
Preparing for the Karisimbi Hike.
Hiking Mount Karisimbi is a challenging and physically demanding experience, and it’s important to be properly prepared. You should be in good physical condition and have experience hiking in high altitudes. It’s also important to bring appropriate clothing and gear, including sturdy hiking boots, warm and waterproof clothing, a backpack with plenty of water and snacks, and a headlamp for the overnight stay at the summit.
It’s also recommended to spend a few days acclimatizing to the altitude before starting the hike. This can be done by spending a few days in nearby towns at a lower altitude, such as Musanze.
The Karisimbi Hiking Experience.
The Karisimbi hike typically takes two days, with an overnight stay at the summit. The first day involves a steep and strenuous ascent through the lush rainforest, with occasional breaks to rest and take in the stunning scenery.
After about 6-8 hours of hiking, you will reach the first campsite, which is located at an elevation of about 3,700 meters. Here, you will set up camp and rest for the night, enjoying a warm meal and the incredible views of the surrounding landscape.
The second day involves an early start, with a steep and rocky climb to the summit. The final push to the summit can be challenging, but the reward is worth it – the views from the top are simply breathtaking. From the summit, you can see the entire Volcanoes National Park and beyond, with views stretching all the way to Lake Kivu in the distance.
After taking in the views and resting for a bit, you will begin the descent back down the mountain, which can take another 6-8 hours. Once back at the park headquarters, you can celebrate your achievement with a warm meal and a cold drink.
Hiking Mount Karisimbi is a challenging but incredibly rewarding experience that offers some of the most stunning views in all of Rwanda.