Are you looking for an adventure that will take your breath away? Then, let me tell you about my experience hiking the Karisimbi Volcano in Rwanda, something I did in January 2023.
Located in the Virunga Mountains, Karisimbi stands tall at 4,507 meters (14,787 feet) and is the highest volcano in Rwanda. The hike takes two days and one night, and it is not for the faint-hearted. However, the reward is priceless - the feeling of accomplishment, stunning views, and a close encounter with nature.
Our hike started in the early morning from the park headquarters in Kinigi, doing the registration, having free coffee, and meeting our guide for briefing then we left the park headquarters to the Karisimbi starting point. The first day is all about getting used to the altitude and terrain. The trail goes through bamboo forests and thick vegetation, and the guides are very knowledgeable about the flora and fauna. Keep your eyes peeled for golden monkeys, buffaloes, and colorful birds. We had lunch in the park with our guides and porters, which was so beautiful.
Around 4 in the afternoon, we arrived at the end of day one hiking, as we arrived at our campsite. The camping site is located at an altitude of 3,700 meters (12,139 feet), and it is where we spent the night. The guides set up our sleeping mats and sleeping bags because there is a constructed empty house that waits for hikers to spend the night inside, which I think is due to the coldness that would make it otherwise difficult with normal camping tents. We had an amazing cook and a group of porters, who set our campfire and prepared our dinner. We had a delicious meal under the stars, and we cracked jokes and stories until it was late, and we had to go to sleep. The temperature drops significantly at night, so make sure you bring warm clothes and a good sleeping bag.
The second day is the toughest part of the hike. Waking up at 5 to take breakfast and start the hike was also one of the difficult parts of the story but at the same time interesting. The trail is steep and rocky, and the altitude makes breathing even harder, but we kept encouraging one another, and we knew that we are about to see our dream come true, so we kept going regardless. The feeling of reaching the summit is indescribable. The views are breathtaking, and you can see the neighboring volcanoes, lakes, and the vast expanse of Rwanda.
The descent is much easier and faster, we stopped at the camp to have lunch and take our bags, then after an hour we continued our journey back. We made it to the starting point around 5 pm. The experience was unforgettable, and I highly recommend it to anyone who loves adventure, nature, and challenges.
In conclusion, hiking the Karisimbi volcano in Rwanda is a once-in-a-lifetime experience. The trail is challenging, but the rewards are worth it. You will see stunning views, learn about the local flora and fauna, and experience a sense of accomplishment that will stay with you forever. Don't hesitate, to wear your hiking boots and prepare for an adventure of a lifetime!