Rwanda, internationally renown for its diverse scenery and endangered mountain gorillas, is a country full of hidden gems and spectacular hikes. Due to the country’s mountainous landscape, there are plenty of hikes ranging in difficulty that all feature some of the region’s most epic views. Get out those hiking boots, and get ready to hit Rwanda’s many trails.
Lying between the border of Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of Congo, Mt. Karisimbi is Rwanda’s tallest volcano. At over 4,500 metres, Karisimbi takes two days to hike. Trekkers can stay in rustic cabins midway up the mountain, while enjoying unbelievable views of both Rwanda and Congo.
Mt. Bisoke, an extinct volcano in northwest Rwanda, features a stupendous crater lake at the summit. This is one of Rwanda’s most celebrated hikes, and takes a full morning. The volcano borders the Democratic Republic of Congo, rendering the lake as international waters. No swimming allowed, but the view is reason enough to undertake this day long trek.
For residents and visitors of Rwanda’s capital city, Mt. Kigali is the area’s best day hike. Situated far up the road in the bustling Nyamirambo neighbourhood, it varies in difficulty depending on the starting point, and is rarely undertaken alone. Expect several panoramic views of the city below, accompanied by hordes of schoolchildren.
Mt. Muhabura, one of Rwanda’s most impressive volcanoes, marks the border between Rwanda and Uganda. Views from the top produce gorgeous sights of the other volcanoes in the country, as well as the sparkling twin lakes. Although the hike is one of Rwanda’s toughest, it takes only a day. No advanced booking is required, and porters are available for hire at the hike’s base.
Nyungwe Forest canopy walk
Located in the depths of Nyungwe National Forest, the country’s only canopy walk hangs fifty metres off the jungle floor. Though the hike there is fairly short, the intensive uphill trek is enough to make anyone wheeze. However, the multitude of bird sightings, primate encounters, and misty mountaintop sights are spectacular.
The views of the twin lakes, Lake Burera and Lake Ruhondo, from Virunga Lodge are some of the best in the country. Though not only reachable by hiking, the stomach churning motorcycle rides on steep hillside cliffs are undoubtedly precarious, and four-wheel drive trips are outrageously expensive. Take a few hours to hike up the trail, enjoying Rwanda’s spectacular countryside, before coming face to face with one of the most gorgeous lakeside views in East Africa.
As one of the eight Virunga volcanoes, Sabinyo is possibly the range’s most fascinating hike. Its summit is shared between Rwanda, Uganda, and the Democratic Republic of Congo, and the hike is beyond strenuous. Narrow trails, deep drop offs, and jagged cliff faces define this mountain’s appearance, as the vegetation continues to change depending on the elevation. From bamboo groves to thick rainforests, this volcano never ceases to delight.