Mount Bisoke hiking offers hikers visiting Rwanda a chance to explore Mount Bisoke, one of the 8 Virunga Volcanoes located in the Albertine Rift area. Also called Visoke, Mt. Bisoke is one of the best hiking spots for tourists on Rwanda safaris to take part. It is an active volcano in the Virunga Mountain range and located at the border between Rwanda and Congo creating a border between two parks: Volcanoes National Park and Congo gorilla tour Virunga National Park.
Bisoke Volcano formed due to a rift that gradually separated the East African sections. On its summits, there are 2 Craters Lakes with one located at the extreme top and midway- there is Lake Ngezi. Bisoke Volcano rises at an altitude of 3711m and it experienced its last eruption in 1957 creating the largest Crater Lake in the Virunga Mountain ranges.
Mt. Bisoke protects a significant population of mountain gorillas that range along its base foraging on the abundant vegetation. Hiking to Bisoke Volcano summits is a thrilling experience of its own and it is possible combining two adventures- gorilla trekking and a hike to the summits of Bisoke.
Hiking Bisoke volcano
Hiking Mt. Bisoke is an amazing adventure experience awaiting hikers visiting Volcanoes National Park for a holiday. Reaching the summits of Visoke requires 6 hours and for experienced hikers, they even spend 3 hours. It isn’t energy demanding like it is to hike the Kilimanjaro Mountain or Rwenzori Mountain ranges.
Bisoke hiking safaris are more preferred than others in Volcanoes National Park Rwanda because hikers can view the fog-filled summits, the spectacular view of the surrounding, lush alpine vegetation, and the Crater Lakes at the summits. Other wildlife species have also inhabited the slopes of Bisoke Volcano including buffaloes, forest elephants, birds, and more.
Hikes to the summits of Bisoke Volcano begin at Kinigi offices after briefing and the park guide will be allocated to lead you through your volcano hike. For hikers with heavy luggage, there are porters available for hire and during the briefing, you will be required to present valid hiking permits, passports plus other relevant documents.
After the briefing, leave Kinigi for an actual trek at the start point with the park guide and this may take 40 minutes. You may also have a walking stick to be used for support purposes while on your hike through the steep slopes and muddy ground. The treks to Visoke summits begin from the simple altitude, via the lush gardens or plantation and then you navigate to the summits while spotting other wildlife.
At the summits of Bisoke Volcano, expect an amazing view of the landscape and vegetation surrounding the Virunga area. Areas of interest while at the summits of Mt. Bisoke include the Crater Lakes, Mt Mikeno, Mt. Karisimbi, and more. Note, that Crater Lake isn’t ideal for swimming and after a good time at the summits, begin descending back to the briefing point or to your lodge.
What are the requirements for hiking Mt. Bisoke?
Early preparation is necessary for a successful Mount Bisoke hiking safari. For beginners or even repeat hikers, here are some of the must-have items for your Bisoke volcano hiking adventures in Volcanoes National Park;
- The right clothes- carry with you long trousers, long-sleeved shirts, headgear, and a sweater. Long-sleeved shirts are ideal for protecting you from any biting insects such as beetles.
- Hand gloves- get a good pair of woolen/gardening gloves to safeguard your hands from sharp tree branches.
- Lightweight and water-proof boots plus stocking- these will protect your legs from getting wet and they are the best for conquering tough terrains.
- Walking sticks- these will be provided at the park offices on the actual day of the briefing.
- Pack lunch/snacks and bottled water- to keep you fit through the trek in Bisoke Volcano, it is necessary to have bottled water and snacks.
- Insect repellent to scare away biting insects.
- Simple first aid kit to cater to all kinds of emergencies.
Bisoke Volcano hiking permits/fees
Hiking Bisoke Volcano costs USD75 per person for hiking permits. The fees exclude costs for transport, accommodation, extra activities, beverages, shopping, porter fees, and other expenses of personal nature. Hiking safaris to conquer Bisoke Volcano can be arranged via a local tour operator and we can incorporate other adventures such as mountain gorilla trekking. It is possible to arrange a 2-day Bisoke volcano hiking or 3 days hiking safari to Bisoke Volcano in Rwanda Volcanoes National Park.
What else can I do in Volcanoes National Park Rwanda?
Besides Bisoke Volcano hiking safaris, there are other multiple activities or experiences to consider including Dian Fossey tomb hike, mountain gorilla trekking, golden monkey tracking or trekking (lasting visitors 2-4 hours) birding safaris, nature walks, hiking Mount Karisimbi, cultural safaris in the Iby’Iwacu Cultural Village, etc.
When is the best time to go Mount Bisoke hiking?
Hiking Bisoke Volcano is possible at any time of the year, but the most ideal time is during the dry season and there is a long and short dry season. The long dry season to consider embarking on Bisoke Volcano hiking is from June to September, while the short dry months are from December, January to February.
Where to stay at Volcanoes NP Rwanda
There are several luxuries, budget, and standard lodges open for all tourists visiting Volcanoes National Park for Bisoke volcano hiking to have an overnight stay. The top lodges at the park include One and Only Gorilla’s Nest, Bisate Lodge, Five Volcanoes Boutique Hotel, Mountain Gorilla View Lodge, Faraja Hotel, Best View Hotel, Garden Palace Hotel;
Da Vinci Gorilla Lodge, Gorilla Solution Lodge, Hotel Muhabura, Garr Hotel, Virunga Lodge, Gorillas Volcanoes Hotel, La Palme Hotel, Villa Gorilla, Kinigi Guesthouse, Le Bambou Gorilla Hotel/Lodge, Sabyinyo Silverback Lodge, and many others.
Getting to Mt. Bisoke
Mount Bisoke is part of the attractions located in Volcanoes National Park Rwanda. The park is accessible from the Kigali Capital within 2-3 hours and a 4×4 vehicle is most preferable for all road trips to and fro.