Hiking in Volcanoes National Park
Volcanoes National Park is home to five of the eight volcanoes of the Virunga Mountains, a chain formed by the Albertine Rift that runs through the Democratic Republic of Congo, Rwanda, and Uganda. This chain is beloved by hikers for its beautiful scenery and unique landscape.
Most of the volcanoes in the park are now extinct, but Bisoke remains active, with its most recent eruption in 1957. Its chances of erupting in any given year are only one in 425, however. Next to gorilla viewing, hiking to the top of Bisoke to see its beautiful crater lake, Lake Ngezi, is one of the most popular activities in the park. Because Bisoke is located toward the center of the Virungas, a visit to its peak offers one of the best views of the mountain chain.
Volcanoes National Park has several other hiking trails that pass through diverse scenery, including bamboo forests, open grassland, swamp, and heath. In addition to the Lake Ngezi trail, hikers can explore:
- Mount Karisimbi Trail—This trail ascends Africa’s fifth tallest mountain (14,787 feet!). This two-day hike, with overnight camping at an elevation of 12,139 feet, is a fun way to prepare for ascending Mount Kilimanjaro.
- Mount Muhabura Trail—This is a full day hike that offers views of lakes Burero and Ruhondo when you reach the top.
- Mount Gahinga Trail—Mount Gahinga is the shortest mountain in the park. This trail is good for fit people who want to challenge but do not have much experience hiking.
All hikes require an inexpensive permit and an approved guide.