This is an inactive Volcano located in Virunga Mountains between the borders of Rwanda and Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). Karisimbi is at a height of 4,507 meters and one of the highest of the mountain ranges in the east African Rift valley. Karisimbi Mountain is bordered by Bisoke in the east, Mikeno in the North and Nyiragongo in the far west. This mountain is considered to be the 11th highest mountain in the whole of Africa.
Its name is derived from the word “amasimbi which means snow since it can quoted by snow on its top during the dry season of June, July and August. The famous Karisoke research Centre which was founded by Dian Fossey is located between Karisoke and Bisoke volcanic mountains. This research Centre was built mainly to care and protect the mountain gorillas found in Volcanoes National park.
Karisimbi has got a pit crater called “Muntango” which is located south of the summit and over 100 cones which extend towards the shores of Lake Kivu, one of the famous lakes of Rwanda. This volcano also contains a caldera by names of Branca with lots of explosion breccias, tuffs as well as Pumices which are located near the Karisimbi Mountain.
Its largest lava flow is 12kms long and covers an area of about 23 square Kilometers to the Far East side of the volcano. This lava has got an average thickness of 40 to 60 m yet the maximum thickness is over 140m. The main components of this volcano include; the pit crater which is located on the southern side of the summit cone which has a diameter of 1170 x945 meters. The crater is covered with blocks and has a flat crater, the summit cone which is steeper than the volcano with slopes of a 25 to 30 degrees and has a regular shape of a strato volcano, the lava plain of this volcano also covers an area of 400 square kilo meters and does not contain water courses since most of the lava is erupted from the pit crater and caldera, this volcano also contains adentive cones with a density higher than Mauna Kea Volcanoes, Kilimanjaro as well as Etna.
A hike to Mount Karisimbi
This can be done in one or two days and it’s really rewarding due to its unique experience. This hike starts early in the morning by 7:00 am and lasts between 6 to 7 hours as you navigate through Bisoke before stopping at an high altitude of about 3,700 m to have an aver night at the camp before endeavoring to finish the hike the next day.
As you hike to the top, you will enjoy many bird species, primates like the mountain gorillas and the monkeys since the volcano is located within volcanoes national park in Rwanda. This volcano is known for its super exotic plants and vegetation of dense forest and the barren volcanic cores at the top of the summit. This hike is also characterized by muddy trails especially in the rainy season, this is due to the altitude of the area.
The hike needs good health and stamina to be able to go through the slippery passes of the slopes to reach the summit which has some snow on its top. This snow was as a result of sleet and hail which accumulated at the higher elevations from the storms. Visitors are therefore advised to hire a porter at only $20 per day to help with carrying the luggage as well as the hiking equipment’s to the top of the summit. This hike can also be accompanied by a gorilla trek which can be organized by buying a permit from Rwanda Development board and it costs only $750 per person.