Mount Bisoke Climbing Tours

Searching for authentic Mount Bisoke climbing tours? Mount Bisoke, also known as Bisoke, is among the eight volcanoes of the Virunga range shared by Uganda, Rwanda, and the Democratic Republic of Congo. It is located on the border of Rwanda and Congo, with its peak situated in Rwanda. Hiking on Mount Bisoke is primarily done in Rwanda.

The slopes of Mount Bisoke are home to endangered mountain gorillas, golden monkeys, and several other primates and birds. Tourists might have a chance encounter with a gorilla family or a golden monkey troop along the way, but they will only be given 10 minutes to observe from a distance because the family or troop they encounter might not be habituated. See some of our Mount Bisoke hiking tours below.

Top Mount Bisoke Hiking Tours

Ultimate Guide for Hiking Bisoke Mountain

If hiking is your activity or your dream adventure experience, then a visit to Mount Bisoke for volcano climbing is worthy of your Rwanda trip.

Also well-known as Mt. Visoke, Mt. Bisoke is among the 8 spectacular Virunga Mountain ranges.

It forms part of the Virunga region which extends across Uganda, Rwanda, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

Bisoke Volcano (3,711m) is a dormant volcano, and while it is shared between D.R. Congo and Rwanda, the largest portion of it lies on the Rwanda side.

This includes its scenic Crater Lakes and summits.

The Visoke Mountain features the alpine vegetation, including the Hagenia Forest, hence defining its scenic beauty.

Its vegetation also shelters incredible species of wildlife, including the world’s rare mountain gorillas, over 30 bird species, golden monkeys, buffaloes, and elephants.

Mt. Bisoke derives its name from the Swahili word ‘Bisoke,’ meaning water, specifically referring to the 2 Crater Lakes on its summits.

One of the Crater Lakes has a diameter of 400m and a depth of 100m, lying exactly on the Bisoke’s summit.

The other Crater Lake, which is Lake Ngezi, lies halfway to Visoke’s summit.

Geology of Mount Bisoke

2 Days Mount Bisoke Climbing Safari

Mount. Bisoke, just like other peaks within the Virunga Massifs, is a beautiful volcano formed as a result of rift action.

This can be traced during the formation of the divergent boundary of the East African rift that is gradually bisecting the African plate.

So far, it has had 2 eruptions that have occurred between 1891 and 1957.

The recent eruption on Bisoke volcano occurred 11kms North of its summit and led to the formation of 2 magnificent small cones on the Northern side.

This dormant volcano also features 2 scenic Crater Lakes, with one occupying the larger area.

Location of Bisoke Mountain

1 Day Mount Bisoke Hiking Safari

Rising at an elevation of up to 3711m, Bisoke Volcano is a dormant volcano within the chain of Virunga Mountains along the Albertine rift.

It is set on the Western branch of the East African Rift Valley, occupying the border area between Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC).

However, Visoke Volcano’s summit is largely on the Rwanda side.

From Goma on the North-East and just close to Lake Kivu, Bisoke Volcano is about 35kms away.

This volcano lies within the Volcanoes National Park Rwanda, Northwestern part of the country, and just adjacent to the Congo Virunga National Park, which forms part of the Virunga Conservation Area (VCA).

Along the steep slopes of Bisoke Volcano, the dense Equatorial rain-forest and alpine meadows can easily be spotted, which makes this volcano one of the scenic places.

Its summit doesn’t collect snow, although it is usually covered in some fog.

Unlike other volcanoes, Bisoke Volcano is one of the unique features, notably known to host a section of the world’s endangered mountain gorillas.

It also lies in an area where the Karisoke Research Center is found, which Dian Fossey established along the valley to the West.

History of Mountain Bisoke

Mount Bisoke
The Mount Bisoke Volcano Mountain

Mount Bisoke formed as a result of rift action, which is gradually dividing East African boundaries and the African plate.

Since its formation, Bisoke Volcano has had 2 eruptions, with the first ever recorded in 1891 and the second eruption occurring in 1957, resulting in the formation of its largest Crater Lake on its summits.

The recently recorded eruption took place 11kms north of Bisoke Volcano, and it resulted in the formation of 2 distinct cones.

Bisoke Volcano is among the 5 beautiful Virunga Volcanoes worth exploring while on a Rwanda safari in the Volcanoes National Park.

The other 4 include Sabyinyo, Karisimbi, Gahinga, and Muhabura Volcanoes.

These form part of the 8 Virunga Massifs that straddle the 3 East African states; Uganda, Rwanda, and the D.R. Congo.

Hiking Bisoke Volcano

History of Mount Bisoke

When it comes to volcano hiking experiences, there is no better place to experience such exhilarating adventure that leaves you thrilled forever than Mount Bisoke.

Climbing to the summits of Mount Bisoke involves exploring its magnificent Crater Lakes and beautiful surrounding areas.

A normal hike to the top of Mt. Bisoke lasts for about half a day, and this includes 2 hours for you to make a return journey to the briefing point.

How long you spend hiking may depend on your speed of hiking, and usually, seasoned climbers spend 3 hours.

Hiking Bisoke isn’t as demanding as climbing Mount Kilimanjaro, Rwenzori, or Karisimbi Volcano, but you should be fit enough.

Your hike to the summits comes with a magnificent view of the lush surrounding vegetation, and you have the opportunity to sight some other species along the way.

All treks to Bisoke Volcano summits commence with a briefing at Kinigi, and an experienced park guide is assigned to a group of hikers.

It is during the briefing that your valid biking permit is required, plus a passport for verification purposes.

Areas of interest you shouldn’t miss on a hike to Bisoke Volcano summit include its Crater Lakes, which also let you enjoy an excellent view of Sabyinyo Volcano and other surrounding areas.

Hiking permit fees

Best Time to Climb Bisoke Mountain

A valid hiking permit is a must-have for anyone who is interested in exploring Bisoke Volcano on a Rwanda safari holiday.

Bisoke volcano climbing permits are available for purchase at $75.

The cost of your hiking permit is exclusive of hikers’ accommodation, meals, the cost of transportation, plus other additional activities.

Entry fees

Entry fees to Volcanoes National Park differ according to visitor categories.

Foreign non-residents on Bisoke hiking tours pay US Dollars 75 to obtain a permit; foreign residents pay US Dollars 60, Rwandans pay US Dollars 55 to hike Bisoke.

Hiking permits for Bisoke can be obtained at Kinigi where Volcanoes National Park offices are located.

The fees for hiking permit exclude porter fees, snacks, water, and hiking stick, among other items.

Bisoke Hiking Tips

Tips for Bisoke hiking experience as a first-time traveler.

  • As a first-time hiker on a Bisoke hiking safari holiday, hiring a porter is of great help. The porters do assist hikers in carrying luggage, and you have ample time to enjoy your hike with no stress of a heavy load.
  • Porters are available for hire at Kinigi where briefing will be conducted.
  • A hiking stick should be a must-have to ensure you get support while hiking to the summits or while sloping down to where you started your trek.
  • Dress appropriately, considering waterproof hiking boots/shoes, lightweight clothes, carry a waterproof daypack, gardening gloves, a rain jacket, headgear, and other items.
  • A trek to the summit of Bisoke Volcano takes a good amount of time, and you need to have some level of physical fitness. To boost your energy, don’t forget to carry some energy-giving snacks and a bottle of drinking water.
  • Bisoke hiking experience can be combined with other interesting activities in Volcanoes National Park, a home to the world’s endangered mountain gorillas and golden monkeys.
  • Some of the interesting activities to include on your Bisoke hiking tour package include gorilla trekking, birding, golden monkey tracking, nature walk, trek to Dian Fossey’s tomb site, visit to Gorilla Guardians Village, visit to the Twin Lakes (Lake Ruhondo and Burera), climbing Mount Karisimbi, and others.

What to carry – Packing List

Essential Gear and Equipment for Gorilla Trekking - The Ultimate Packing List

Preparing for your Mount Bisoke hiking safari is essential, whether as a first-time hiker or a repeat climber.

When packing for Bisoke hiking adventure, you should be selective and consider essential items first.

They should include, among others, a walking stick, a bottle of drinking water, headgear, lightweight long-sleeved shirts, hand gloves, camera, socks, hiking books (waterproof and lightweight), a rain jacket, a first aid kit, and insect repellent.

Best time to hike Bisoke Mountain

Backpacking Essentials for Gorilla Trekking | The Complete Guide

The dry months are considerably the best if you plan to go explore and experience Mount Bisoke on a Rwanda safari.

There are 2 phases of the dry season to consider for your hiking safari on Mt. Bisoke.

The first phase, which begins in June, July, August, September, and the second phase to mark on your calendar begins in December, January, and February.

They are the best months considering the fact that it is the period when Volcanoes National Park generally records less or completely no rain.

As a result, the hiking trails remain drier, unlike if you traveled during the wet/rainy season when heavy rains are recorded (from March to May and October to November).

Getting to Mount Bisoke

Accessing Mount. Bisoke for volcano climbing involves traveling from Kigali to Volcanoes National Park.

This park lies in the Northwest, Ruhengeri area of Rwanda, and from Kigali, you need 2-3 hours of driving.

There is also an option of connecting from Kabale/Kisoro Southwestern Uganda, and this includes crossing through Katuna or Cyanika border to Rwanda’s Volcanoes National Park.

Your journey may cover approximately 3-4 hours if you are using a well-serviced rental car for your road trip.


Where to Stay - Accommodation Options for Rwanda
Bisate Lodge, Rwanda

The available accommodation options in and around Volcanoes National Park range from Budget, Mid-range to Luxury.

Choosing the right one that suits your budget matters a lot while on a Bisoke hiking tour.

The lodges you may have a night before or after your adventure on Mount Bisoke include Sabyinyo Silverback Lodge, Virunga Lodge, and Mountain Gorilla View Lodge for hikers who are interested in luxury accommodation.

Hotel La Palme, Da Vinci Lodge, and Le Bambou Gorilla Lodge if you need mid-range lodging options, and budget holidaymakers can book Kinigi Guesthouse & Muhabura Hotel.

You can see the: Budget lodges in Volcanoes National Park, Mid-range lodges in Volcanoes National Park, and Luxury lodges in Volcanoes National Park

Mount Bisoke Climbing Video by Passport Inspired

Credit: Passport Inspired

Useful links:

How we work

To offer a more rewarding way to travel, we do stuff the right way; right from the planning process.

We pay attention

We will spend time and pay attention to your expectations, then propose an experience that you might like.

We complement

Next we will discuss our selected options, point out the best safaris for you and make awesome recommendations.

We hold your booking

We will tentatively hold your booking and make reservations while we talk through the safari details or make changes.

Speak to an expert to start planning your African safari holiday...

Give a call to one of our specialists or arrange a video meeting/session for awesome ideas and safari advice.

+256 787 23 0575
Eddie Safari Guide
Ronnie Safari Guide