Mount Bisoke which at times is called visoke is among the 8 volcanoes within the Virunga Mountains of the Albertine rift within the western part of East African rift. The Mount sits on the border of Rwanda and Democratic Republic of Congo as well as borders two national parks that is volcanoes national park of Rwanda and Virunga national park of Democratic republic of Congo. However the largest part of Mount Bisoke as well as its summit are found within Rwanda and it last erupted in 1957 thus leaving a massive crater lake in its wake. The name Bisoke came from the two rater lakes that the locals named the mountain which means `soaked with water’.
The summit of mount Bisoke has an amazing crater lake of about 400m of diameter, and other crater lake of Ngezi of about 11km from the summit and these crater lakes and height of mount Bisoke is 3,711m formed after its last eruption. The summit is covered with fog and it doesn’t gather snow. Just like all other peaks within the virunga mountain range, Bisoke is a volcano which was formed by the rift action thus forming a divergent boundary of the east African rift which slowly cuts across the African crust.
Besides the crater lakes which is the main reason for the trek, mount Bisoke is a home to a number of magnificent tourist attraction such as primates like mountain gorillas which are Rwanda’s popular tourist attractions.
The volcano has 2 major hiking trails each leading to one Crater Lake. The most popular trail is the one leading to the Crater Lake at the peak. This takes 6 hours hike depending on the speed of climbers and it takes 4 hours to ascend the summit as well as 2 hours to descend from the summit. The second trail is the one leading to the second crater lake of Ngezi and its shorter compared to the first one. This takes only 3 hours to hike with 2 hours ascending and 1 hour coming back. Both of the hikes take 1 day and it is easier that even a starter can take on the hike but this depends on the strength and good health status of the person. The hike offers an opportunity of encountering mountain gorillas, tracking the golden monkey within their habitat.
The park fees for climbing mount Bisoke is $75 USD per person including the park guide taken from the volcanoes national park headquarters in kinigi. You can as well hire a porter from the parks headquarters for $20 USD, climbers can buy a wooden stick within the artistic shops. The trek starts at 7am from the park headquarters where the visitors pay for the climbing permits.
Within mount Bisoke there is Dian Fossey tomb site who was an American primatologist and researcher who dedicated her life for the conservation of the mountain gorillas against the poachers. She was known as Nyiramacibiri’ a name that was given to her by the locals. Mount bisoke consists of different vegetation habitat ranging from the bamboo forests, then Hagenia-hypericum forest and the senecio-lobelia bush near the summit.