Mount Bisoke is a dormant volcano located in the north eastern part of Rwanda. This Mount Bisoke is one out of the other seven Virunga volcanoes that are famous for their outline. The Virunga Mountains are spread out along the borders of Rwanda, Uganda and the Democratic republic of Congo. These Virunga Mountains are situated on the western arm of the East African rift valley and this is the Albertine Rift. This rift valley separates the Volcanoes national park of Rwanda and the Virunga national park of the Democratic republic of Congo.
The Mountain is situated in the Volcanoes national park and can be hiked from this side. The Bisoke Mountain is however shared by Rwanda and stretches out to the DR Congo but hikes on this side are not popular. This is majorly because the summit of the Bisoke volcano is located on the Rwandan side and you can take on a 1 day Bisoke hike to the summit and back.
The mount Bisoke derived its name from the two crater lakes of the mountain therefore the local people living around the volcanoes named it the mountain “soaked in water” Bisoke. There is a beautiful crater lake at the top of the Mount Bisoke that you can spot on your Rwanda safari. This Crater Lake at the top has a width of about 400 meters while the other crater lake known as the Ngezi lake is located just 11 kilometers from the summit.
The Mount Bisoke stands at an elevation of 3,711 meters which was determined as the final height after the last eruption that happened in 1957. The summit is covered by fog most days of the year. The Mount Bisoke as well as the other Virunga mountains, is a result of the rift action of the East African rift valley drifting apart.
The Virunga mountains are famous for being the home to the last remaining mountain gorillas of the world. The hike up to the Bisoke gives you a chance to meet the other wildlife living in the area like forest elephants, monkeys and this is a much sought after hike as it can be completed in 4 hours to the summit and back to the trailhead. This hike up the Mount Bisoke is offered by the Volcanoes national park authority known as the Rwanda Development board.
A hike up the Mount Bisoke will need you to have 2 days out of your schedule so that you spend a night near the volcanoes national park reception where you will have to check in by 7 am on the morning of the Bisoke hike up. The Mount Bisoke is just close to the Mount Karisimbi, the highest peak of the Virunga mountains standing at an elevation of 4,507 meters approximately 14,790 feet.
This hike up and back on the Mount Bisoke maybe short but you need to prepare for the steepness of the slopes of this volcano. You will get to enjoy the breathtaking scenery and take on two major hiking trails with each of these leading to one of the two crater lakes on Bisoke. The trail headed to the second crater lake Ngezi is a 3 hour walk depending on how fast or slow the hikers maybe. This hike is much shorter as it is only 2 hours to the Crater Lake and 1 hour back to the trailhead.
The trail to the Crater Lake at the summit of Mount Bisoke is a 6 hour hike if the trekkers are abit slow however even in 4 hours, the hike can be completed. You will spend 4 hours hiking up to the Crater Lake and 2 hours descending back to the trailhead. You can conquer the Bisoke hike in one day even if you are a first time hiker. You will however need to be strong and in great health to complete this hike.
The Mount Bisoke is the home for the mountain gorillas, golden monkeys and a number of wildlife that may stand a chance to spot on a good hike day. The Volcanoes national park charges 75 USD per permit for Bisoke. You will attend a morning briefing at 7 am from the park headquarters ahead of the trek, get to hire a porter at about 20 USD if you need one and set out to be back to the trailhead by 4 pm.
Get to explore the different vegetation on the Mount Bisoke hike starting with bamboo forest blending to hagenia-hypericum forested land to the senecio-lobelia bush almost at the summit of Mount Bisoke. Get in touch with us and let us arrange your hike to the Mount Bisoke.