Mount Karisimbi, is a dormant stratovolcano found in Rwanda, the mountain derives its name from the Kinyarwanda word “Amasimbi” to mean what shell referring to its white capped summit, it’s the highest of the eight virunga volcano mountains. Mount Karisimbi was created by volcanic eruptions of the Albertine rift valley.
Mount Karisimbi summit is up to 4,705 meters high, it’s also one of the highest summits in Africa striding along the border of Rwanda and Democratic republic of Congo bordered by Nyirangongo to West, mountain Bisoke to the east and mount Mikeno to the north. The mountains snow cape is always seen in the dry seasons.
Mount Karisimbi mountain hike has got many trails that connect to other Volcanoes in Volcanoes national park. The mountain base is covered with dense bamboo forests, Hagenia forests, giant lobelias, caldera and the top has volcanic mud.
Mount Karisimbi hiking takes about two days depending on the tourist’s fitness, the jungle sceneries are breathtaking and really stunning. Tourists spend an overnight before reaching the highest peak climbing from Bisoke side taking about one to two hours.
Mount Karisimbi summit is characterized by volcanic Ash and loose rock; while on top tourists can see mount Muhabira that borders Ugandaand Rwanda. The mountain was first climbed in 1903 by Barthelme. Surprisingly, the white shell known as snow results from the hail and sleet due to regular storms.
The best months for climbing mount Karisimbi is from January to March and July to October, the mountain girth dominates the range more than in height. The research that was carried out shows that the volcano is very young dating from 0.24 ma to 0.010 ma.
Mount Karisimbi has also been ranked as the sixth highest mountain in Africa, tourists hiking to the top will camp the first night at a camp 3700 meters high the second day leads you to a real wilderness experience with very thick jungle.
Mount Karisimbi is endowed with over 170 species of birds that will welcome you with chattering from the slopes to the summit, when climbing mount Karisimbi expect to come along muddy places and tourists hiking this peak should be for and experienced hikers as it gets so muddy sometimes.
Mount Karisimbihikers will start their hike at the edge of Volcanoes national park or at the foot of Mount Bisoke, the mountain top views are very outstanding with sights of Nyamuragira active Volcanoes at a distance this can be seen from both Congo and Rwanda side.
Tourists on a hiking safari should first consult with the parks headquarters and get all the requirements this can be done with the help of a tour guide or a tour operator who will help you with clearance, the parks headquarters is at Kanigi and tourists can hire Porter’s to carry their belongings while hiking at a very cheap and affordable price.
Tourists can make their safari more memorable by going for gorilla trekking at Volcanoes national park before or after hiking, this park is renowned for its famous mountain gorilla but all in all there are higher chances of viewing gorilla while on a hiking safari with lots of other primates mostly monkeys.
Apart from enjoying the hiking experience, tourists who are botanists can see various plant species at mount Karisimbi. In honor of the great American zoologist Dian Fossey, tourists can visit the Karisoke research center where the grave of this gorilla conservationist is found.
When descending mount Karisimbi after trekking tourists who would love to spend a night at Volcanoes national park because of late afternoon arrival and tiredness can lodge in any of the accommodation units some of the lodges within the park are; Kanigi guest house, villa gorilla, La Palme hotel, Garr hotel and virunga lodge to mention a few.
Mount Karisimbi can be accessed from either Rwanda or Congo as it’s located at the border of the two countries.