We rise very early this morning for breakfast (approx. 6:00am), and at approx. 6:30am we drive approx. 30 minutes to the National Park headquarters for a short briefing from your designated Bisoke trek guide-ranger from the Volcanoes National Park authority. Then it's a bumpy ride out to the starting point of the trail (approx 1 hour), through rural villages that are putting the rich soil found at the base of the Virungas to good use. Once we’re on foot, we leave their terraced fields behind, and begin climbing Bisoke in earnest.
This trek is not to be taken lightly. The track is very steep and muddy and often the route is shrouded in thick fog. But for those who can’t resist a good adventure, this is all par for the course – an atmospheric bonus reminiscent of many scenes in the movie Gorillas in the Mist. There is a chance you may see a wild silverback while you’re walking today so keep pace with your group at all times and follow your guides instructions to the letter, should such a sighting occur. Unlike the gorillas in the more frequently visited parts of this park, these magnificent animals have not been habituated and care should be taken.
As we gain altitude, the vegetation changes. Moss-drenched forests give way to bamboo, then higher up lobelias and groundsels feature. There is something utterly primordial about this landscape - especially when glimpsed through the swirling mist. Onward and upward the trail ventures, and finally we reach the top. Not the highest point on the crater’s rim, but at 3,711m, it is enough! Certainly the view – not to mention the altitude – will simply take your breath away. The lake inside the crater is sublime. The trek back down will take a lot out of you, in terms of concentration, so be sure you have left plenty of stamina ‘in reserve’. On return to Musanze (previously named Ruhengeri) you will most likely feel exhausted but elated by all you've achieved! We return from the trek around 3:00pm - 4:00pm and drive back to our lodge for a late lunch and have the rest of the day at your leisure.