Volcano Hiking in Rwanda

volcano hiking

Rwanda takes the biggest share of the Virunga mountain volcanoes which is 5 out of the main 8, that span the three neighboring countries of Uganda, Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of Congo. The 5 volcanoes are Muhavura, Gahinga, Sabinyo, Bisoke, and Karisimbi, all of which lie in the Volcanoes National Park, Rwanda’s prime tourist destination and the home of the endangered Mountain Gorillas.

Hiking adventures are available on each of these volcanoes apart from Mt. Sabinyo which has so many craters and thus has been declared dangerous to climb, for now. It is however available for hiking from the Ugandan side and presents arguably the best views of the Virunga volcanoes chain.

panoramic views

For the nature enthusiasts, the Virunga mountains are a true paradise filled with lush green forest, rare mountain vegetation, crater lakes, plenty of wildlife such as forest elephants and buffaloes, golden monkeys and mountain gorillas, endemic birds of the Albertine rift, breathtaking views of Rwanda’s mist shrouded mountainous landscape and sprawling volcanoes. They offer an unrivaled African jungle experience and one of the best scenery on the African continent!

During the hikes, you are chanced with encountering the habituated Mountain Gorillas, for which you shall be permitted only a minute to view them minus taking any pictures to keep it fair for those that paid for the pricey Gorilla trek tour permit. Golden Monkeys are also a high possibility encounter during the hike.

Below are available hiking trails in the Virunga mountains of Volcanoes National Park, Rwanda:

Mountain Bisoke Volcano Crater Lake hike

Bisoke Crater LakeMountain Bisoke (3711m) lies on the border with the Democratic Republic of Congo. A dormant volcano, the mountain has a massive crater lake at the summit measuring about 400m in diameter and lies on the Rwandan side. This is the most popular of the trails and a must do for hiking enthusiasts. It is relatively strenuous but absolutely doable even for inexperienced hikers or climbers, requiring some basic fitness. There is a good number of habituated Mountain Gorillas in Mt. Bisoke and you stand a good chance of encountering these on your way up. You should encounter the Golden Monkeys as well. At the summit, the view of the crater lake is simply amazing! You also view the peak of Mt. Mikeno in the Democratic Republic of Congo. On average the hike takes a total of 6 hours, 4 hours going up and 2 hours coming down.

Read more about Mount Bisoke and the 2 Day Bisoke Crater Lake Hike

Lake Ngezi trek – Mt. Bisoke Volcano

Lake Ngezi is a beautiful crater lake on the side of Mt. Bisoke, adjacent to Mountain Gahinga. This is a much shorter and easier hike that takes about 3 hours, 2 to the lake and 1 to make it back.

Dian Fossey grave site (tomb) trail hike

trekking the trail to dian fossey tomb and karisoke research centerDian Fossey is a renown wildlife researcher and primatologist that dedicated her life to conserving the Mountain Gorillas. She paid the ultimate price for these gentle giants and was buried with them, at the her research center, Karisoke Research Center, along Mt. Bisoke – adjacent Mt. Karisimbi. The trail leading to the research center is beautiful yet challenging too. It requires up to 2 hours, and will reward you with a possible encounter with the Mountain Gorillas, golden monkeys, birds and orchids.

Read more about the Dian Fossey tomb trail trek

Mountain Karisimbi

Karisimbi, 4507m, is Africa’s 5th highest mountain that receives snow during some months of the year. This is a strenuous 2 day hike, camping at 3700 m at the end of the first day’s ascend.

Read more about hiking Mt. Karisimbi and the tour

One day hikes are available on mountains Muhabura (4127m) and Gahinga (3474m)


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