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Hiking mount Karisimbi

Hiking mount Karisimbi

Hiking mount Karisimbi

Hiking mount Karisimbi- Mountain Karisimbi is one of the most hiked mountains in the Virunga area and it’s situated in volcanoes national park. Hikers can hike Mountain Karisimbi at any time of the year although the drier months are the best for the hike because the trails are dry. Volcanoes national park does not only host Mountain Karismbi but also Gahinga, Bisoke, Sabyinyo, and Muhabura.

Mountain Karisimbi has its highest peak at an elevation of 14,787 feet and its lies at the borders of DR Congo and Rwanda. Volcanoes national park does host mountains alone but also mountain gorillas that have made it famous, the golden monkeys, birds, and other wildlife. It’s also where Doan Fossey an American primatologist was buried after being found in her cabin on 26th December 1985.

Hiking Mount Karisimbi

The hike is done by those people that possess hiking permits and these will wake up early in the morning, gather at Kinigi headquarters for a briefing, and later the driver guides will transfer them to the starting point of the mountain. You need to be in good shape to make it to the summit of Karisimbi and it’s the ranger guides you meet at the starting point that does lead you throughout the hike.

As you hike you will meet different park animals like the mountain gorillas, golden monkeys, buffaloes, elephants, spotted hyenas, duikers, several monkeys, and different bird species. Hiking Mountain Karisimbi requires 7 hours but hikers have to stop for a night at 3,700 meters. On day 2 the hikers start again on the journey to the summit passing through different vegetation zones, and rocks. At the summit of Mountain Karisimbi, the hikers get stunning views of Mountain Muhabura, Nyiragongo, surrounding vegetation, the national parks, and much more before descending.

How much are Mount Karisimbi hiking permits?

The hiking permits for Mountain Karisimbi do cost $400 per person per hike and they are acquired from the park headquarters. Yes, you can book the hiking permits for Mountain Karisimbi in advance but it’s also possible to acquire them on the day of the hike.

Activities you can combine with hiking Mount Karisimbi

Mountain gorilla trekking

While on a safari to hike Mountain Karisimbi, you can trek mountain gorillas that have found their home in volcanoes national park. To trek the mountain gorillas, you need to book the gorilla permit before coming for the hike because these permits are sold out quickly at the Rwanda Development Board so it’s better to tell your tour operator that you want to encounter mountain gorillas and they book a permit for you.

A day before or after hiking Mountain Karisimbi, you can trek mountain gorillas and the activity starts with a briefing at the park headquarters where you learn about the dos and don’ts of the trekking activity. The ranger guides you to meet at the starting point the leads you through different trekking trails searching for the apes with opportunities of meeting different park animals like the buffaloes, elephants, spotted hyenas, monkeys, and different bird species. When you meet the mountain gorillas you will have 1 hour being around them and this will give you an opportunity to learn about their habits, watch them do daily activities and take photos.

Golden monkey trekking

On a Mountain Karisimbi hiking safari, you can trek the golden monkeys that are only found in this park in the whole of Rwanda. You will need to book the golden monkey trekking permits before arrival into the country in order to be rest assured of the activity. The golden monkey trekking permits can be got from the Rwanda Development Board at a fee of $100 per person per trek.

Golden monkey trekking activity can be done a day before or after hiking Mountain Karisimbi and just like gorilla trekking the activity starts with a briefing from the wardens and thereafter the ranger guides lead the trekkers through different trials tracing for where they might have slept the previous night. Once the golden monkeys are found, the trekkers do get 1 hour to be around these apes as they watch them do daily activities, learn about their habits and take photos


Birding in volcanoes national park is an activity you can do before or after the hiking of Mountain Karisimbi. You will spot some of the birds while hiking Mountain Karisimbi but you can still do birding from the best spots in order to see over 178 bird species that have been so far recorded in the park. The rangers do lead you to these birding spots all you need to carry is a birding book and a pair of binoculars.

Some of the birds you are likely to spot in volcanoes national park Rwanda include Ruwenzori batis, African long-eared owl, Ruwenzori turaco, archer’s robin-chat, strange weaver, brown woodland warbler, Ruwenzori double-collared sunbird, dusky turtle dove, lagden’s bush-shrike, African green broadbill, grey-backed fiscal, African goshawk, bronzy sunbird, crested barbet, palm nut vulture, and red chested sunbird among others.

Requirements needed when hiking Mountain Karisimbi

Tourists who are intending to hike Mountain Karisimbi have to know how far the mountain is, the remoteness of the location, and the weather in the area. Hiking Mountain Karisimbi needs 2 days which means you will need more clothing, drinking water, food, and gear. Some of the things that need to be on the Mountain Karisimbi hiking checklist include a hiking backpack, waterproof hiking shoes, a camera, a pair of binoculars, long-sleeved clothes, a rain jacket, sunscreen, a hat, gardening gloves, insect repellents, first aid kit, drinking water bottle, energy-giving snacks, face mask, and sanitizer.

Best time to visit Mount Karisimbi hiking tour

Mountain Karisimbi being the highest and steepest mountain among the Virunga volcanoes, it’s better you hike it in the dry season. We recommend the dry season which occurs in June to September and December to February because it’s during these months that the rainfall is little or not there at all, hiking trails are dry and this does not affect the speed of hikers, the vegetation on the slopes of the mountains is short and this gives clear views of the park’s wildlife and lastly, the roads leading to the park are passable.

Hikers can still climb Mountain Karisimbi in the rainy season that occurs in March to May and October to November but during this season there is plenty of rainfall, the hiking trails are muddy and slippery and this reduces the speed of hikers, the vegetation is tall hence unclear views of the park animals, and the roads leading to the destination is impassable. Tourists that hike Mountain Karisimbi in the rainy season only benefit from huge discounts on accommodation facilities.

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