Hiking Mount Karisimbi

Hiking Mount Karisimbi is almost an extreme sport that travelers love to engage in as they explore the great Virunga Mountains and the different species. Most visitors on a Rwanda safari enjoy the best experience of hiking up to the summit of the dormant volcano (stratovolcano) Mount Karisimbi which is elevated at 4,507m (14,787feet) high above the sea level. Mount Karisimbi is the highest of the 8 Virunga mountain ranges in Volcanoes national park and giving the hikers a great opportunity of viewing all other peaks of Virunga mountain ranges. The name Karisimbi means a white shell in Kinyarwanda and came as a result of the white snow that is on top of the mountain

Hiking mount Karisimbi is a very hectic safari due to the fact that visitor has to trail through muddy and slippery roads to hike to the top. Once on top, the best moments and excitement of viewing the entire park from the top is such a breathe taking experience and worth the hike. 

Hiking mount Karisimbi starts at 7:00 am with a briefing at Kinigi where the park headquarters are situated. The armed rangers are provided to the visitors for security purposes and visitors with extra or heavy luggage are advised to hire the potters to assist in carrying the luggage before the hike begins. However, these potters have to be aid according to the weight of the bags normally $15 per 25 kg. Since mount Karisimbi is the highest in the park, hiking to the top takes two days with the first stopover at 3,700m where camps are set up for dinner and overnight. Proceed to reach the top the following day and return down.

Sloping down is easy and less tiresome as visitors just slide in the muddy trails while watching birds singing beautiful melodies thus making the safari an interesting one.

What to prepare for mount Karisimbi hiking 

Compared to any other hike, hiking mount Karisimbi is an extraordinary experience that needs proper preparation and good packing before setting off from the lodge.

  • First and foremost, the permit for hiking mount Karisimbi costs $400 and can be obtained from the headquarters of Volcanoes National park two days plier to the hiking day. 
  • Hiking needs physical fitness and good health 
  • Light but waterproof hiking boots are best preferred especially during the rainy season when the trekking trails are very slippery, a raincoat as its most likely to rain at any time, light hiking clothes, a sweater, stocking and warm gloves keeping in mind that the higher you go the cooler it becomes.
  • Enough snacks should not miss in your backpack to crunch on while hiking, enough bottled drinking water at least a liter to avoid dehydration while on safari.
  • A tent for camping at 3,700m during the hike. However, visitors who cannot carry their own camps can hire them from the offices during the briefing session.

Apart from hiking mount Karisimbi, visitors can also take a one day hike in any of the other mountains including mount Muhabura, mount Bisoke, Mount Sabyinyo, and Mount Nyiragongo. However, some visitors tend to have an overnight on top of mount Nyiragongo for the best viewing of the lava lake under the dark sky making it a 2 day’s hike.

What is the best season to hike mount Karisimbi?

The dry season between December – March, June – October is always the best time for visitors who wish to have an everlasting safari in volcanoes national park due to the fact that the park becomes a bit dry and less bushy for easy hiking on less slippery trails, easy camping and the best time for game driving. However, the hike to the top of mount Karisimbi is conducted at any time throughout the year according to the visitors’ interest. All in all dry seasons are the best seasons for hikers compared to the rainy seasons.

Other activities apart from hiking mount Karisimbi 

Generally, Volcanoes National Park is known for being the destination to several visitors due to the several attractions found in it including the primates such as monkeys which are seen shying away from people at the foot of the mountain, Gorillas, several bird species.

In conjunction with hiking mount Karisimbi, visitors have a golden opportunity of visiting the Dian Fossey grave at a cost of $100 on Karisoke Research Centre.

There is also gorilla trekking in Volcanoes National park with a Gorilla Trekking permit costing $1500 and golden monkey trekking whose permit costs $100 per person

The visitor also can do a cultural encounter at a cost of $30 where they meet the Iby’Iwacu cultural villages for the warm traditional dances

Hiking Mount Karisimbi
Hiking Mount Karisimbi


Another interesting activity to do alongside mount Karisimbi hiking is visiting the coffee farms and learning all the process right from planting, harvesting, grinding, packing and having a taste of the locally made coffee which is belied to be the best coffee ever in the world. This experience costs $50 per person.

How best can I access mount Karisimbi?

Mount Karisimbi is situated at the border of two countries that is Democratic Republic of Congo and Rwanda, therefore it can be reached by either of the two with the best being Rwanda by the visitors.