Climbing Mount Karisimbi : Mount Karisimbi is a dormant volcano in the Virunga Mountains on the border between Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of Congo. Mount Karisimbi is the highest volcano in the Virunga and it is the 5th tallest mountain in Africa consisting of 4,507 meters (14,787 feet’s) above the sea level. Mount Karisimbi is also bordered by Mikeno to the north, Bisoke to the east and Nyiragongo to the west, on the other side of the Rift Valley. The name Karisimbi is driven from a word in the local language, Kinyarwanda, which means “little white shell”. This is an allusion to the white snow cap that can sometimes be found on the top of the volcano.

Hikes to the summits of Karisimbi volcano can incorporate mountain gorilla trekking adventures and hiking safaris. Hiking of mount Karisimbi is quite different from other volcanoes where hiker can only hike for two days. This begins early in the morning and lasts for about 6 hours. The trek to 4507 meters includes hiking up to Bisoke 3700m and the last journey to the summits can be completed in two days. This means you require at least 2 days to trek through Karisimbi volcano. The hike begins early in the morning after briefing and on the first day, you cover an altitude of 3700m. The path to the summits of Karisimbi is rewarding, it gets you exposed to a number of features including the thick forest, vegetation and wildlife species.

Activities to do at Mount Karisimbi

Mountain gorilla trekking

While on a safari to hike Mountain Karisimbi, you can trek mountain gorillas that have found their home in volcanoes national park. To trek the mountain gorillas, you need to book the gorilla permit at a cost of 1,500 UD$ before coming for the hike because these permits are sold out quickly at the Rwanda Development Board so it’s better to tell your tour operator that you want to encounter mountain gorillas and they book a permit for you.

After hiking Mountain Karisimbi, you can trek mountain gorillas and the activity begins with a briefing at the park headquarters where you learn about the dos and don’ts of the trekking activity. The ranger guides you to meet at the commencing point leads you through different trekking trails looking for the primates with opportunities of meeting different park animals like the buffaloes, elephants, spotted hyenas, monkeys, and different bird species. When you meet the mountain gorillas you will have 1 hour being around them and this will give you an opportunity to learn about their habits, watch them do daily activities and take photos.

Golden Monkey trekking.

While on a Mountain Karisimbi hiking safari, you can as well  trek the golden monkeys that are only found in this park in the whole of Rwanda. You will be recommended to book the golden monkey trekking permits before arrival into the country in order to be rest assured of the activity. The Golden Monkey trekking permits   can be got from the Rwanda Development Board at a fee of $100 per person per trek.

Climbing Mount Karisimbi
Golden Monkey

Golden monkey trekking activity can be done a day before or after hiking Mountain Karisimbi and just like gorilla trekking.  The activity starts with a briefing from the wardens and thereafter the ranger guides lead the trekkers through different trials searching for them. Once the golden monkeys are found, the trekkers do get 1 hour to be around these primates as they watch them do daily activities, learn about their habits and take photos

Bird watching

Bird watching at Volcanoes National Park is one of the exciting activities done during Rwanda gorilla trekking safaris, and it provides tourists with an insight into the varied wildlife found in Rwanda’s famed lush rain forest .Volcanoes National Park is home to over 180 bird species, with 16 of them being Albertine endemics.  Some examples of birds found in the park that you may encounter while hiking Karisimbi Mountain include  Grey Heron, white-billed Crested Flycatcher, African Green Broadbill, Red-faced Woodland Warbler, Rwenzori Turaco, Rwenzori Double-collared Sunbird, Grauer’s Swamp Warbler, Handsome Francolin, Archer’s Robin Chat, African long- eared owl,  Scarlet-tufted Malachite Sunbird, Dusky Crimsonwing, Rwenzori Batis, Rwenzori Apalis, Dusky Turtle Dove,  Kivu Ground Thrush, African Greenbul, Pied Kingfisher, Tropical Boubou, Brown-necked Parrot, Doherty’s Bush Shrike, Lagden’s Bush Shrike, and Rwenzori Nightjar, among others.

What to carry for the Mount Karisimbi climb in Rwanda?

The essentials to consider on your hiking adventure in Volcanoes National Park particular at mount Karisimbi  include good hiking boots or shoes, waterproof heavy jackets, sleeping bags, snacks, safari hat, walking stick, camera, warm clothing or sweater, tents, garden gloves, bottled water, stockings, rain jacket, trousers, insect repellent, first aid kit or box, sunglasses, enough snacks among others .

Cost of mountain Karisimbi permits

Hiking mount Karisimbi comes at a cost and climbers pay 400US$ per person for foreign non-residents, 300US$ for East African residents, 250US$ for foreign residents and 200 US$ for Rwanda and East African residents. NOTE the 400 US$ fee includes the guide fee, accommodation at the mountain’s summit, and hiking fee. For those interested in gorilla trekking, the cost is 1500 US$ per person.

When to hike Mount Karisimbi.

Mountain Karisimbi hiking tours re open throughout the year, but the best time is during the dry season. There are two phases of dry month or season such as the long and short season. If you’re planning to hike the mountain in the long dry season then consider the month of June, July. August and September. Short dry month to consider undertaking Mount Karisimbi hike includes December, January and February. Unlike wetter months, the dry season experiences very low rainfall, and the trails is kept drier making it easier to navigate via the forest and steep slopes as you head to the summits of Karisimbi volcano 4507meters.

Accommodations facilities at Mount Karisimbi?

While on the Rwanda hiking safari adventure to mount Karisimbi, travelers can spend a night at the available accommodation choices at Volcanoes National Park. All categories of accommodation are here, budget, moderate or moderate, and luxury such as Mountain Gorilla Nest Lodge, Mountain Gorilla View Lodge, Hotel Muhabura, Sabyinyo Silverback Lodge, Villa Gorilla among others.

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