Mount Bisoke is an inactive volcano that lies within the Virunga ranges located in Rwanda, Uganda and part of DR Congo. It is 12,175 ft above sea level. The peak and most of the mountain area is found in Rwanda. You’ll find this mountain within Virunga National Park and Volcanoes National Park in DR Congo and Rwanda respectively.
Formation of this mountain was as a result of a rift steadily splitting parts of East Africa. During the formation two crater lakes were formed with one found at the peak and the other halfway as you climb, its known as Lake Ngezi. Mount Bisoke is said to be inactive because it last erupted in 1957.It also holds the largest Crater Lake amongst all the other mountains found within the Virunga ranges.
Due to the vegetation found on this mountain which comprises of bamboo forests, tall trees and thick bushes, it has been able to accommodate mountain gorillas that are currently the most treasured tourism product Rwanda is offering to tourists. And because of this most tourists who hike mount Bisoke also do carry out gorilla trekking along the way as they head towards the top.
Hiking Mount Bisoke.
For first time hikers, climbing Mount. Bisoke isn’t a hard task as you might only take about 6 hours in case you want to reach the peak and this involves both going up and coming down the mountain. If you’re to take longer rests in between, then the time taken is bound to change. You should be in good shape and ready before starting the hike as it involves many hurdles such as the steep terrain that will give you difficulty in climbing, muddy paths in-case it rains and likely to rain due to the nature of vegetation found on the mountain. You’re also bound to find insects that might sting you and also crawling animals. You should be determined to face all these hurdles.
However, apart from all the challenges you might meet on your way, hiking Mount Bisoke is thrilling, exciting and adventurous. The mountain’s relief is steep however manageable for most hikers and keep in mind that the temperatures and oxygen levels are to drop as you go higher and this might be tiring in-case you take limited rests. It gives you can unforgettably experience.
The mountain is steep but with the help of walking sticks you can go ahead and remember that the temperatures and oxygen levels are to drop as you go higher and this might be tiring in-case you take limited rests. As you climb make sure to take enough rests in between.
On a regular basis, hiking commences in the morning though you can start whatever time you come but morning hours are recommended such that you are able to climb and come down in time. So, you’ll have a little briefing from the designated ranger of the day and you’ll be asked to present your hiking permit alongside other documents required like the passport. Then you are transported to the starting point from the Volcanoes National Park offices, this is 40-minute ride. Upon arriving the starting point, you are given walking sticks and armed rangers to accompany you, these are basically in charge of protecting you against wild animal attacks and at times rebels who cross from DR Congo.
Porters are also available if you need help with carrying your luggage and they can also help you pass through some trails like the very steep ones where they can pull you up. You can trust them as most have done this for almost all their life. Hiring them comes at a cost of about $10.
You’ll notice that the foot of the mountain is gentle and hence farming is practiced like banana plantations cover most of the area. A stone wall is provided to protect plantations from being destroyed by animals that might cross over.
When you successfully and finally reach the top, you are welcomed by the amazing beauty viewed at the top. Not only do you get to see the Crater Lake but also get a glimpse of neighboring mountains such as Mt. Karisimbi and Mikeno. Due to the rocky top, you could set up a picnic though this might depend on the weather, if it’s sunny then why not?
You might be tempted to swim in the lake but it is not suitable for swimming. After enjoying the peak, your next step is coming down and I feel this is easier since you are sloping and according to my experience it’s the most fun for you get to feel as light as a feather.
What you need to hike Mount Bisoke
First and foremost, you should be physically fit and mentally ready to accomplish this task. You should have a ready mind to reach the peak against all challenges that you might come across though some people tend to give up along the way, I don’t think you would like to be them.
Get the right clothing such as a good heavy jacket/coat for the cold, hiking boots and long-sleeved shirt to protect you from the stinging insects. You could pack an umbrella too just incase
Pack some food to last you through the hike (I recommend energy foods) and don’t forget water too to keep you hydrated and refreshed.
How much does it cost?
Well, you need a hiking permit for this and you can get one at $75 per person. The permits can be bought on the day of the hike therefore no need to stress about booking.
Hope you make hiking Mount Bisoke part of your to-do list for it will be worth it.