Mountain Climbing In Volcanoes National Park
Besides gorilla trekking, golden monkey trekking and cultural tours, volcano climbing is a not miss for a complete safari package on your Rwanda safaris to volcanoes national park. Unfortunately, most travelers have on several occasions missed out this golden opportunity. Mountain climbing is one of the key features that make volcanoes national park an exceptional destination worth visiting. The park is a home to three of the Virunga volcanoes, which together with the other ones in Uganda and Democratic republic of Congo make up the chain of the Virunga volcanoes. A hike to the summit of any volcano reward travelers with excellent views of the national park, other volcanoes, local communities, wildlife and all other attraction in the neighboring countries. Also the slopes of these volcanoes shelter animals like mountain gorillas, colubus monkeys hence an added advantage for the travelers.
Standing at 4,507meters above sea level, Mt karisimbi is the highest volcano in the chain of Virunga volcanoes. Hiking to the summit of Mt karisimbi is an adventure, which expose travelers to the undiscovered treasures of Volcanoes national park. Due to its steep heights, travelers spend a night at the top of the mountain making your experience more memorable. Its high altitude range also offers the greatest vegetation diversity that traverse through clumped bamboo and aromatic hagenia forest to another vegetation zone of the Sub-Alpine and Afro-Alpine dominated by clumped moss and heather with stands of giant senecio and lobelia. Due to near freezing conditions at the summit of Karisimbi, hikers need to part with good camping gear and plenty of warm clothing and packing enough food and water.
Mount Bisoke Hiking
This is a very interesting day hike to the rugged rim of this 3,711m mountain topped by a beautiful crater lake. This hike shares the same trailhead with the one to Dian Fossey’s grave at Bisate and the same route is followed up the resting point to the tomb. From this point the rim is just 2km away though hikers should be ready to overcome the steep slopes that may be associated with unfriendly underfoot muddy conditions during rainy seasons. However, upon reaching the rim, hikers are offered a relief with a fantastic and relaxed view of the atmospheric vegetation of giant lobelias and hagenia woodland.
Dian Fossey’s Tomb
This is a very popular hike alongside the adjacent gorilla cemetery at the former Karisoke Research Camp. The hike to Dian Fossey Tomb starts from the park headquarters to the trailhead at the village of Bisate close to the forest boundary and this drive takes about 30 minutes. A short hike of about 1.7km from the village leads to the forest where the entry point and a gently climbing path leads to 2,970m where Fossey used to take a break while on the route to her camp. A hike to the camp itself commences from here, which takes about 45 to 60 minutes. The ruined Fossey’s old living quarters which she nicknamed the mausoleum is reached alongside other several other landmarks in the camp that are signposted. Various forest birds and other Virungas related creatures are well viewed while on this hike to this significant site in the Park.
To ensure safe and enjoyable hiking experience, travelers are reminded to dress appropriately. The recommended attire for volcano climbing includes hiking boots, which ease movements hiking boots or walking shoes, thick trousers, gaiters with a long-sleeved shirt to guard you against vicious stinging nettles. The sweatshirt or jersey protects you in the coldness and also against the nettles. You can put on your pre-muddied clothes if you have them since you will get very dirty as you slip and slither in the mud. A pair of old gardening gloves will protect you when you are grabbing for handholds in thorny vegetation. A wooden walking stick is offered at the start of the hike therefore feel free to ask for one. A raincoat or poncho in a rainy season will be very important where as sunscreen, sunglasses and a hat can be used at any time of the year. Snacks and enough drinking water are vital during the long hike. Protect your camera gear in a waterproof bag or seal it in a plastic bag during the rainy season.
In case you have a heavy luggage for gear or food and water, you may need to hire one of the porters who hang about the car park waiting for work. It is highly emphasized by the locals that it is not demeaning or exploitative to hire a use a porter rather those who refuse to hire them due to ethical considerations are simply denying them a chance to earn income to improve their standards of living. Finally don’t forget come along with your passport because you will need to show it at the Park for identification.
In addition to the above hikes, its now also possible to summit Mount Gahinga and Muhabura though relatively few visitors attempt to hike them compared to Bisoke and Karisimbi.