I left Kigali at 5 in the morning. My destination was Kinigi Sector, Musanze District. Upon arrival, I joined a group of foreign tourists and pursued a trail that led our steps to the summit of Mount Bisoke.
We took our first steps towards Mount Bisoke from a parking lot known as Kwa mukecuru and warmed up along a narrow walkway sandwiched by farms belonging to members of the local community.
Kwa mukecuru is a starting point for both Bisoke and Karisimbi hikers. Those who visit Dian Fossey’s tomb, a number of gorilla families and golden monkeys also commence their hikes from this spot.
There used to be a fence separating the park from its surrounding areas but it was destroyed by buffaloes. Apparently, these wild and free animals don’t like to be caged. The decision to enclose their habitat was made without their approval.
My group was composed of friendly visitors from Germany, Britain and the USA. They were experienced mountaineers who had climbed much higher elevations before. Several other groups were indulging in gorilla trekking.
The uphill parade wasn’t as challenging as I thought. We took several breaks on the way and spent some time admiring nature. The famous mountain gorillas were in the vicinity but we hadn’t paid to meet them.
I wish all mountains in the world would be compensating their climbers the way Bisoke does. Those who reach the summit are rewarded by the discovery of one of the most fascinating geographical features I know — Bisoke Crater Lake.
Last time I checked, Wikipedia claimed the lake was formed by an eruption that occurred in 1957 but our guide strongly disagreed. He is not the only one who dismisses this piece of misleading information. Fidele, an old man residing in Kinigi Sector, recalls seeing this lake for the first time in 1953.
I am writing this piece from The Peakspot Lodge in the shadow of the volcanoes. After a good night’s sleep, I nursed my sore muscles in the camp’s eucalyptus sauna.
I have crossed one volcano off the bucket list but my craving for more hiking experiences is stronger than ever. Next week, I will climb the neighboring Karisimbi. This challenge will be more taxing, from a physical standpoint, but I am ready to take the bull by the horns.