Karisimbi Mountain which is notably the highest among the eight (8) Mountains that forms the Virunga chain viewed on gorilla trekking safaris in Rwanda. The Mountain appears a huge dome apparently dormant dominating the range extensively in girth other than actually the height.
The Karisimbi Mountain derives its name from the local Kinyarwanda
language which literally translates to white shell that denotes the
white-capped summit. Amazingly, this white cap does not arise from snow
but arise from sleet and hail that accumulates at the raised elevations
from the storms. This glowing tower is positioned in the National Park
of Volcanoes where the gorilla safaris in Rwanda are carried out.
The going to the top of the Karisimbi Mountain is steep enough to
require careful navigation both at the slopes and also the mountain
itself. The mountain features secondary vegetation and it greatly offers
a sanctuary experience. The site of historical Dian Fossey a re-known
gorilla conservationist who is highly paid tribute by travelers on Rwanda gorilla safaris is also perched on the ridges of the mount Karisimbi where it adjoins with the Bisoke Mountain.
The climb to the Karisimbi Mountain which towers to 4,507m presenting
itself as the sixth (6th) tallest on the continent of Africa following
the Mountains of Kilimanjaro, Kenya, Rwenzori, Meru and Ras Dashen
ranked in order of their height beginning with the highest takes a count
of two (2) days and would require a two (2) days notification of the
Park Management to plan for your climb. The Mount Karisimbi which is one
of the famous adventure Rwanda safari
activities requires a sum of $400 and this incorporates the guide to
the mountain. In case one wishes to hire the tent, they are available at
The trail head to the mountain is accessed following 16km from
the Park Headquarters and takes around 30 minutes to the point where
the cars are left. At this point, you secure the porters who are not
part of the mountaineering cost and they are usually paid Rfr5, 000
after which you embark on the mountain climbing adventure commencing at
an altitude of around 2,600m above sea level.
The encounter takes
you close to the site of Dian Fossey at around 2,067m above sea level
which you can opt to explore at an additional cost. This is followed by
exploration of a range of zones of vegetation including Bamboo and the
famous wild celery at lower slopes which is liked by gorillas – the icon
of gorilla safaris to Rwanda
followed by the hagenia forest featuring old man’s beard moss on its
branches. Appearing beyond 3,000m, the impressive giant groundsel and
remarkable giant lobelia is explored before settling for day one camping
at 3, 700m with magical views of Mount Bisoke.
The following day
involves waking up at 5:30am and you summit the historical volcano. But,
there is a price to pay in form of negotiating steeper trail section
which at times gets muddy as the fog appears. At 4,000m altitude, the
terrain get more challenging and becomes more exposed and as a result,
you need to put on a hat and gloves and following two (2) hours of trek,
you embark on the last meters walking past volcanic screem and as the
wind becomes hard with visibility drop to about 25m, you ascertain that
you have summited the Karisimbi Mountain.
The border of Congo is few
meters away and the descend takes around 6 hours inclusive of en-route
breaks. It is that magical encounter to explore the Karisimbi Mountain
as part of the gorilla safari in Rwanda.