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Mount Karisimbi

Mount Karisimbi is one of the eight Virunga range volcanoes which are home to the endangered mountain gorillas, the volcanoes are found within Volcanoes national park in Rwanda, Virunga national park in Congo and Mgahinga gorilla national park in Uganda. Two of the Virunga volcanoes are still active that is mount Nyamuragira and mount Nyirangongo found in Congo.

Mount Karisimbi        

Mount Karisimbi is the highest mountain of the Virunga range volcanoes rising at 4507 meters above sea level and the 6th highest mountain in Africa, this strata volcano is currently dormant and its at the boarder of Rwanda and Democratic Republic of Congo. the mountain lies in Volcanoes national park in Rwanda.

The name Karisimbi is derived from a local word “amasimbi” referred to mean “white shell” because of its snow capped peaks almost throughout the year. Mount Karisimbi lava has been dated from 0.24 Ma to 0.010 Ma indicating that the volcano is very young.

Mount Karisimbi is close to Karisoke research institute and its the mountain where Dian Fossey derived the name of the institute from with a combination of Mount Bisoke. The average thickness of its lava is 40-60 meters and maximum thickness is over 140 meters with long lava flow of 12 kilometres covering an area of 24 kilometres squared.

Mount Karisimbi is known for its exotic vegetation in four  belts from dense forests at the base to barren volcanic core at the summit. The snow at the top of mount Karisimbi resulted from sleet and hail resulting from high elevations due to storms.

Hiking mount Karisimbi

The hike to mount Karisimbi starts early morning taking two days and involves traversing through mount Bisoke side before reaching the first camp at 3700 meters for an overnight before hiking to the top next day. The top of mount Karisimbi provides spectacular views of the great Mount Nyirangongo, you will spot various bird species, primates, wildlife and so much more on the way.

Gorilla trekking

Adding gorilla trekking to your mountain climbing experience will be a compliment, mountain gorillas are endangered species of primates and share 98 percent DNA with humans and can only be found in three countries in Africa. The trek to see mountain gorillas always starts early morning and takes several hours depending on the location of the gorilla family, after finding the family then visitors are given an hour to observe and take photos.

What to bring

Temperatures at mount Karisimbi can freeze to zero degrees especially in the mornings and night time so you should come along with hiking boots, warm clothes, jackets, garden gloves, plenty of drinking water, energy snacks and so much more.

Best time to visit

Mount Karisimbi can be visited all year round but the best time is in the dry season of June to August and December to February when the hiking trails are in good condition not muddy and slippery. During this season, you will also have elegant views as the sky is clear and excellent photography.

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