Bisoke Hike – Volcanoes National Park

Bisoke Hike is such a fascinating activity carried out by visitors on a tour to Rwanda, Uganda or the Democratic Republic of Congo. However, the best way to have a maximum exploration of mount Bisoke is by taking the hike through the Rwanda side as the most attractive part of it lies in Rwanda’s side in Volcanoes national park.  Mount Bisoke is a dormant volcanic mountain and its last eruption occurred in August 1957. 

Bisoke volcano is Located in Virunga mountain ranges and is one of the eight mountains that make up Virunga mountain ranges with in Volcanoes national park in Rwanda bordering both Rwanda and Democratic Republic of Congo in Virunga national park with in the rift valley region. Mount Bisoke is elevated at a height of 3,711 m high above the sea level.

Several guests prefer to hike mount Bisoke due to the nature of the Craters Lake that exist on top of the mountain making it one of the best attractions that encourage several Hikers to tirelessly hike to the top and even have an overnight there. One of the crater lake is situated at just in the mid of the mountain and can easily be explored during the Hike while the other crater lake is at the top of the mountain with a depth of 100m and a diameter of 400m.

During the Hike which starts at a an elevation of 2700m passing through the farmlands at the base of Bisoke volcanoes,  hikers have a greater opportunity of encountering several wildlife species include the primates which are found in the Hagenia bamboo forest at the base of the mountain such as Mountain Gorillas since the park harbors some habituated gorilla families, and several Golden monkeys will also be sighted though they aren’t habituated are tend to shy away from human presence, meet other primates such as black colobus monkeys, white colobus monkey, baboons, red-tailed monkeys, encounter several mammals including the forest elephant, buffalos, spotted hyenas, Duikers, bushbucks, bush pigs, and several bird species including those endemic to Rift valley such as Rwenzori Batis, African marsh harrier, long-crested eagle, red-faced woodland warbler, handsome francolin,  grey throated tit, paradise flycatcher, Rwenzori double collared sunbird, and several beautiful butterflies and the green vegetation cover and also meeting the local community members. 

In the middle of Bisoke Mountain during the hike, hikers have a clear view of the slopes of other mountain ranges including Sabyinyo which is close to Bisoke situated just adjacent to Lake Ngezi Crater Lake which was formed as a result of eruption that occurred in 1957. This Crater Lake is situated at least 11 km midway along the way towards the top  

On reaching the top of Bisoke Volcano, hikers have a clear view of the entire Volcanoes national park from above, enjoy the cool breath from down the valley and capture beautiful photographs of the Crater Lake on top. Hikers also are in a position to view the cloudy top of Mount Karisimbi and the neighboring Virunga national park in the Democratic Republic of Congo.  

Bisoke hike is such an adventurous tour that can be done just in one day within 5-7 hours to make a round trip considering 3-4 hours of ascending and 2-3 hours of descending according to hiker’s fitness. Actually some experienced hikers can take 3-4 hours to make a round trip 

Important things to note

There several things that hikers need to know in advance in order to enjoy the hike and these include;

  • Like any other park activities, Bisoke Hike starts on Park headquarters with a briefing at Kinigi where the offices are situated and it begins at exactly 7.00 am implying that hikers should be at the briefing point by that time and then by 8:00am the briefing is done, specific rangers assigned to the respective hikers and off to a vehicle they drive for about 45 minutes to the starting point  for the hike begins 
  • The cost of the Bisoke hiking permit costs $75 per person and is picked from the park headquarters upon the hiking day. The permit includes the rangers fee but excludes the porter fee 
  • Hiking Bisoke volcano to summit the crater lake is a tiresome activity thus hikers are encouraged to hire the porters from the headquarters to assist in carrying the backpacks as it’s not easy to ascend and descend with it. Also the porters help in pushing and pulling the hikers in case its needed especially when the trails become slippery or steeply 
  • Remember to pack enough drinking water to avoid dehydration, very good water proof but light hiking boots, a hiking stick which is normally provided at the office during the briefing, sun glasses to protect your eyes from direct sunlight , long sleeved attire to protect the skin from itchy and thorny plants, a cap to prevent direct sun light , insect repellant, a warm sweater to wear in case there is coldness especially at the top of the mountain since “ the higher you go the cooler it becomes”.
Bisoke Hike
Bisoke Hike

Access to Bisoke Volcano

Bisoke is situated within volcanoes national park and can easily be accessed by landing onto Kigali International airport and then take a drive to Kiningi park headquarters where the offices are situated. 

Accommodation facilities close to Bisoke Mountain

Hikers have a variety of accommodations to chill in before or after the Hike and these range from Budget, midrange and luxury facilities depending on the visitor’s interest and these include; Kinigi Guest House, Le Bambou Lodge, Mountain Gorilla View Lodge and many more 

Other things to do alongside Bisoke Hike in volcanoes national park 

Apart from Bisoke hike, visitors in volcanoes national have plenty of other activities to do including primate trekking since volcanoes national park is home to some habituated primates such as mountain gorillas and golden monkey that are worth a visit, then gorilla trekking and golden monkey tracking can easily be included on Bisoke hike bucket. So book your gorilla or golden monkey permit and have maximum time with the primates in the wild. Also hiker have an opportunity of visiting the Dian Fossey tombs, musanze caves, visiting the Iby’Iwacu for the basic entertainment of traditional songs and an entire Kigali city tour and Achieve Global Safaris is readily available to organize the entire trip for you at your own budget and comfort”.