Mount Bisoke Volcano Rwanda

mountain bisoke rwanda

Mount Bisoke (also called Visoke), standing at 3711 meters/12175ft above sea level, is a dormant volcano in Rwanda with part of it in the Democratic Republic of Congo where it is called Mt. Visoke. The peak of Mount Bisoke lies in Rwanda. It is one of the 8 volcanoes that make up the beautiful Virunga Mountains that are spread along the borders of Rwanda, Uganda and the Democratic Republic of Congo. And Mt. Bisoke is one of the 5 Virunga volcanoes that straddle into Rwanda and make up the Volcanoes National Park – Rwanda’s most popular national park.

bisoke crater lake

Mt. Bisoke is the most popular volcano for hikes in Rwanda mostly because of its large crater lake at the summit which is also the largest Crater Lake in the Virungas measuring 400m in diameter and about 100 meters in depth. Mt. Bisoke has another crater lake named Ngezi on the side about 11km from the peak. It is little wonder the volcano was named “Bisoke” by the locals, which is a term meaning “soaked with water” because of the lakes.

Mount Bisoke has a perfect conic shape, covered in green from the base to the peak with varying vegetation zones that range from a little bamboo at the bottom that ends at 2800m, through Hagenia Hypericum (2800m – 3200m), to Sub-alpine zone at the top.

The slopes of Mount Bisoke which are largely covered by forest harbor a variety of wildlife. The most popular are the endangered mountain gorillas, with several groups occupying territories on the mountain. There are a number of habituated groups which are used for the famous gorilla trekking tours. The other primate on Mt. Bisoke is the golden monkeys which live in the forests at the base of the volcano. Both the mountain gorillas and golden monkeys are endemic to the Albertine rift valley in which the Virungas are located. Other animals include the forest elephants, buffaloes and duikers.

Mount Bisoke hikes

There are two hiking trails on Mount Bisoke as follows:

Bisoke Crater Lake hike


The Mount Bisoke Crater Lake hike involves hiking to the peak of the Bisoke volcano where you are rewarded with the breathtaking scenery and views of the largest crater lake of the Virunga mountains. This is the most popular hiking trail in Volcanoes National Park and arguably in Rwanda.
The hike takes about 6 hours in total, with 4 hours of climbing to the top and 2 hours climbing back down. The crater lake hike will also offer sightings of the wildlife along the way such as the various species of the trees, plants and shrubs many of which are unique to the Virungas or Albertine rift valley. You also stand a chance of sighting the gorillas along the trails however you allowed only a glance and no taking pictures which are exclusive for the travelers doing the gorilla trek. The hike is also intended to be quicker so that you get to the peak earlier to enjoy the lake for a short time and begin the descend as the weather can change any time.

Lake Ngezi hike

The Lake Ngezi hike is a shorter adventure than the crater lake hike, taking about 4 hours in total depending ones pace. Lake Ngezi lies about 11km from the summit and was formed after an eruption in 1957. The lake overlooks Mount Gahinga. The Lake Ngezi trail can also be used for a nature walk or a birding trail where one can spend a full day recording many species of birds and other wildlife. And unlike the crater lake hike, on this trail you can go on a slow pace hence allowing you enough time to observe wildlife. However the gorillas cannot be viewed for long neither can you photograph them.

Mount Bisoke hike tours

2 day mount Bisoke crater lake hike

4 days volcanoes national park Rwanda tour without the gorilla trek


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