Mount Karisimbi

Mount Karisimbi is one of the inactive volcanoes and forms part of the Virunga Volcanoes/Massifs. The Virunga volcanoes are 8 chain mountains shared by 3 African states that is Rwanda, Uganda and The Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). Mt. Karisimbi is the tallest of all the 8 Virunga mountain ranges.

Mt. Karisimbi lies on the Rwanda border with D.R. Congo and rises on an elevation of 4507m. To the North, Karisimbi volcano is bordered by Mt. Mikeno, to the East there is Bisoke volcano while to the west, and there is a powerful Nyiragongo volcano. In Africa, Karisimbi is in the 11th position as the highest mountain.

Mt. Karisimbi derives its name from Kinyarwanda word “amasimbi” meaning snow. Snow on Karisimbi summits usually occurs during the dry months of the year from June, July to August.

In between Bisoke and Karisimbi volcanoes, there is Karisoke Research Center- the Dian Fossey research establishment that was founded primarily to aid research activities on mountain gorillas thriving within the Virunga volcanoes/region.

karisimbi  moutain

Karisimbi is strategically located in the gorilla habitat and interestingly, it features exotic plant life, 4 belts of vegetation ranging from the thick forest at the base to the barren volcanic core. On the summits of Karisimbi, there exist 2 beautiful craters that is Mutango crater considered to be the biggest.

Hiking Mount. Karisimbi.

Karisimbi volcano hiking is one of the prime activities that any enthusiastic hiker or climber should expect while in Rwanda. Hikes to Karisimbi summits are conducted in Volcanoes National Park, also one of the top mountain gorilla trekking destinations.

Hiking Mt. Karisimbi has a lot of opportunities including encountering diverse wildlife species, birds, monkey species and more. Karisimbi is known to offer challenging hikes and to engage in this adventure, interested climbers need to be physically fit to conquer its craters on the summit – 4,507m.

All hikes on Mt. Karisimbi are conducted with lead of a professional park guide. Hikes are done while considering every hikers’ speed and in case of heavy luggage, climbers can hire porter (s) to assist. Hiring porters is possible at USD20 per person.

Hiking Karisimbi volcano starts as early as 7:00am and treks begin after briefing by the park official. Climbers require at least 2 days to hike up and descend back with 7 hours’ ascent up to 3700m where you will have a stopover. You will camp at 3700m, enjoy dinner and overnight sleep.

The following morning will be mainly to complete the trek to Karisimbi summit and later descend back. Descending from Karisimbi summits to briefing point takes up to 6 hours and at the summits, expect to enjoy the breathtaking view of peaks and surrounding areas.

Other Virunga volcanoes/mountains also known as Mufumbiro Mountains. 6 of Virunga volcanoes are extinct and besides Karisimbi, the others include Sabyinyo, Gahinga, Bisoke/Visoke, Muhabura and Mikeno. The active volcanoes include Mt. Nyiragongo and Nyamuragira in the D.R. Congo.

How much is mount. Karisimbi hiking tour?

Each hiker or climber need to acquire Karisimbi volcano hiking permit and it costs USD400 per pax per trek/hike. It is possible to secure a permit on the day of hiking or even earlier through Rwanda Development Board or tour operator/agent.

What to pack for mount. Karisimbi hike?

Essentials for your Karisimbi volcano hiking safaris include gardening gloves, rain jacket, long pants or trousers, sunglasses, waterproof hiking boots or shoes and preferably, find the one that provide support on the ankles; bottled water, walking stick, insect repellents, tents and more.

When to visit Mount. Karisimbi.

Karisimbi hiking safaris can be done at any time of the year. But for excellent hikes free of disturbance, the dry season from June, July, August/December, January to February is amazingly the best to consider visiting Rwanda for Karisimbi hiking adventures.

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