Climbing & Hiking Mount Bisoke Volcano – Permit Cost, Guide, When to book and more
Bisoke Volcano Crater Lake hike is that one most thrilling adventure worth taking part while on safari in Rwanda. Bisoke Volcano is also called Visoke, a dormant volcano within the Virunga Mountain ranges. It stands at altitude 3711 meters just at the border between Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). Bisoke is a Swahili word that denotes soaked with water referring to the two scenic Crater Lakes that are on this remarkable volcano. One of Bisoke’s Crater Lakes is set at the peak and has a depth of 100m and diameter of 400m. The second Crater Lake (Lake Ngezi) sits at the sides of the Bisoke and over views the beautiful slopes of Mount Sabyinyo.
Bisoke Volcano Crater Lake trail takes you through distinct vegetation zones that range from Hagenia forest to alpine. Besides, there are many incredible wildlife species that thrive around this volcano including forest elephants, buffaloes, golden monkeys, mountain gorillas and others.
A hike through Bisoke Crater Lake trail is adventurous but accommodates even the inexperienced hikers. You need about six hours to have a complete hike through Bisoke Volcano with four hours to the summit and two hours back to where your hike started. Hikes to Bisoke Volcano Crater Lake are led by a park ranger guide and hikers start their adventures at Kinigi which is Volcanoes National Park headquarters. At 7:00am, hikers are briefed on this adventure and at 8:00am, they can embark on actual hike.
Your hike gets you a chance to view the magical Crater Lakes, vegetation as well as possibility of catching a glimpse at buffaloes, mountain gorillas, golden monkeys, bird species, forest elephants to mention but a few. Whereas hiking through Bisoke Crater Lake trail gets you a chance to view mountain gorillas or golden monkeys, on the other hand photography is not allowed and only reserved for tourists with gorilla trekking permit (each gorilla permit in Rwanda costs $1500).
At Kinigi park headquarters, you will be allocated to one professional park ranger guide who will take you through a hike along Bisoke Crater Lakes trail. You will also be required to present your hiking permit, valid passport and other relevant travel documents. To get to Bisoke Crater Lake trail and starting point, you need about 40 minutes. However, don’t forget to come along with a walking stick, energy giving snacks, water or hire a porter at $10 in case of heavy luggage.
Packing for Bisoke Crater Lake hike
In your packing list, you need long trouser, sweater, long sleeved shirt or t-shirt, headgear, waterproof hiking boots, hand/gardening gloves, hiking permit ($75), energy giving snacks, water and many others.
You need to be well-prepared and preferably visit Volcanoes National Park to hike to Bisoke Crater Lake trail in the months of June, July, August, September and December, January and February.
Where to stay in Volcanoes National Park
There are many accommodation options for visitor overnight stay in Volcanoes National Park. They range from budget to luxury and they include Mount Gorilla View Lodge/Bisate Lodge (Luxury), Da Vinci Lodge (Midrange) or Kinigi Guesthouse/Muhabura Hotel (Basic).
Getting to Volcanoes National Park
Bisoke Crater Lakes trail is found within Volcanoes National Park which is 2-3 hours’ drive away from Kigali capital city. Volcanoes National Park is located in northwestern Rwanda.