Bisoke Volcano Hike (hiking) Route Details

Route Description

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Introduction

Mt Bisoke (Visoke) is an extinct volcano belonging to the Virunga Mountain Range.

Conditions

The path is very slippery in the rainy season, thus sturdy hiking shoes are recommened (but not necessary). Also long pants are suggested to prevent stinging nettles, as might be rain-gear.

Hazards and warnings

Slippery when wet - and the altitude is very noticeable. Other possible threats are wild buffalos and armed rebels (both extremely unlikey but ask before starting), thus we were accompanied by two armed soldiers.

Detailed description

Mt Bisoke can only be hiked with an official ORTPN guide, which must be arranged at 7am at the ORTPN Kinigi Headquarter (www.rwandatourism.com) and costs 50$ plus 25$ park fee (as of July 2008). This does not include the jeep required to take you (and the guide) from the park HQ to the trailhead - but some other tourists going the same truck might have a jeep (not guaranteed - unfortunately the park rangers seem to get a share of the jeep rental (60$/day) so they will not tell you if others are going the following day)...
At the trailhead its possible to rent a porter, also our two guarding soldiers (against buffalos and unlikely rebels) waited for us here.
The hike takes some 7hours, with about an hour rest at the crater lake.
 
The hike first goes through some fields until reaching the national park boundary. The path was in decent shape (no climbing required), but most likely gets very slippery when wet - thus be careful in the rainy season.
One of the beautiful things of this hike are the different vegetation zones visible while going up - rainforest, bamboo, Hagenia-Hypericum...

Near the top the altitude gets noticeable, making everybody tired but we all made it (with not everybody being physically very fit). 
The crater at the top has a nearly perfectly round crater lake, but its not possible to go around (or swim) as the other side belongs to the DRC, which is (at the time of writing) not safe to visit..
While we saw both gorilla and buffalo droppings, we did not see very many animals, only one chameleon and some birds - but heard lots of birds and golden monkeys.

More details on Mt Bisoke can be found here:
www.summitpost.org/mountain/rock/338603/mt-bisoke.html

Route Map

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