Gorilla trekking and Mount Karisimbi trek safari, this is indeed one of the best short Rwanda safaris done in Volcanoes National Park. A hike on Mt. Karisimbi is considered as one of the leading tourist activities in Rwanda. A hike to the peak of Mount Karisimbi is commonly combined with a gorilla trekking Safari in volcanoes National Park. By taking this amazing adventure you will be able to encounter various types of wildlife along the way among which are different types of birds, different monkey species like the golden monkey, and if you are lucky the mountain gorillas you will also get a chance to see but Dian Fossey grave (who was a well-known researcher that dedicated several areas of her life when conducting research on the mountain gorillas in this area.
Mount Karisimbi Hike
Hiking to the top of Mt Karismbi is one of the key tourism activities you should not miss on your Rwanda safari to Volcanoes National Park. Rising at an elevation of about 4507m above sea level is MT. Karisimbi, a strato volcano which is the highest of the eight major volcanoes of the Virunga field and the 5th highest in Africa. It strides along the border between Democratic Republic of Congo and Rwanda on the western branch of the African Rift valley.
2 Day Mount Karisimbi hike Rwanda
Day 1: Hike to the summit
Today morning you will begin the day early at around 5 a.m. and then transfer to the park headquarters found at Kinigi where you will be briefed about this amazing adventure. After this the hike will begin led by a professional guide and accompanied by two armed ranges one heading at the front while the other at the back. During the hike which may take approximately 7 hours your hiking pace will depend on the physical fitness of the slower hiker on the hiking team. You will traverse the amazing landscapes on the slopes of this mountain during which you will encounter a variety of wildlife including birds, golden monkeys and if lucky you may be able to encounter the Karisimbi mountain gorilla family that lives within the lower slopes of this mountain. Eventually you will arrive at the camping area where you will pitch tent and spend the night. Because it is very cold up on the mountain you are highly advised to bring with you enough warm clothing and bedding.
Day 2: Descend Mt. Karisimbi
After an early breakfast today you will enjoy the breathtaking sunrise as well as the views of the great lakes from up the summit. In addition you will enjoy views of the other mountains that make up the Virunga Volcanoes, see the cultivated farmlands below and local settlements in a distance away. The views here are very breathtaking so don’t forget your camera on this adventure. Later you will descend back to the bottom and be received by your Safari guide-driver who will then transfer you to the Kigali International Airport for your departure flight.
Packing List and tips for Hiking Mount Karisimbi
The Rwandan Office for Tourism and National Parks usually provides guides to help with navigating the different trails but trekkers should come with:-
- Good hiking shoes, a sweater/warm clothing, a waterproof heavy jacket, a hat and walking stick
- A tent for camping overnight
- A sleeping bag
- Packed food for the overnight stay before reaching the summit
- Porters to help carry your backpack, tents, cameras and other equipment
Karisimbi Hiking Permits
Hiking permits for Karisimbi are usually acquired from the park headquarters. It is possible to acquire the permit on the day of the hike but it’s highly recommended that you book in advance just to make sure they are expecting you. Hiking Mount Karisimbi costs 400USD per person.
Gorilla Trekking in Volcanoes National Park
In Rwanda, gorilla trekking happens in Volcanoes national park. The park is the setting for the famous ‘Gorillas in the Mist’ a movie about Dian Fossey’s work in conservation of gorillas. Rwanda has 12 families available for gorilla trekking. Gorilla trekking starts with a briefing from the ranger guides at the park headquarters where you join all the people looking to do a gorilla trek. After this experience you are allocated different a gorilla family to trek and a ranger guide to lead you. Some of the families are near the briefing area and other groups require driving a distance before the start of the hike. Regardless of the gorilla group allocated to you, you will all be able to sight the gorilla often found enjoying their breakfast and the little ones playing about.
Permits for gorilla trekking
Securing permits for trekking gorillas, especially during the popular periods, can be difficult at short notice, so you should plan well ahead. We will make all the arrangements for buying your permits.
No more than 96 gorilla-trekking permits are available each day, each costing US$1,500 per person for a one-hour visit.
Gorilla trekking safari preparation tips
- Carry along rain gear
- Insect repellent
- Recommended clothing – long trousers and long sleeved sweaters or shirts while in the forest to avoid insect and plant stings.
- Sturdy hiking boots are essential, especially ones you have used before.
- Drinking Water, however eating, drinking and smoking near the gorillas is strictly forbidden – your guide will communicate designated time and place.
- Photography is permitted, although you must not use flash
- Porters are available to help you carry your day-pack for a small charge.
- You will not be allowed to trek gorillas if you have communicable disease like flu or cough
Mountain gorillas live at high altitude and this may cause difficulties in hiking up for some visitors. You should pace yourself, walk slowly, drink plenty of water and prepare adequately for this experience. Kagera safaris will purchase your gorilla trekking permits for you in advance for proper planning.
The unique opportunity to hike Mount Karisimbi and see gorillas in their natural habitat is unforgettable, some even say life changing.