"Impressions from Mt. Visoke" Rwanda Travelogue by Bonobo2005
Rwanda Travel Guide: 390 reviews and 1,448 photos
At 6AM Greg and I gathered at the ORTPN office in Ruhengeri. It had been raining all night, like the days before. Thunder and lightning made the volcanoes north of town look inaccessible and angry. Although the sun should have risen, it didn't get really light.
Squeezed on the frontseat of the Parks' Toyota pick up, we enjoyed the rough ride as we passed several pittoresk villages hidden in the beautiful green fields and hills.
Due to some huge delays it was close to 10AM when we finally reached the base of Visoke and could go off for the ascent. Four soldiers (to protect us from the "buffalos") and a ranger were waiting for us. The latter communicated with the gorilla tracking group and cared for that we weren't to encounter any gorillas on our way, since we didn't pay for that.
Luckily in the meantime it was not raining anymore and we could even see the summit.
We set off in a sturdy pace, initially along well used but muddy trails through dense rainforest.
Soon the trails became more tight and more steep. The scenery was simply awesome, exceptional green, beautiful mosses, untouched wilderness.
The higher we reached more open spots appeared. Although it was a cloudy day, the views were still great through the mist and darkness.
As we approached the rim we entered the Afro-Alpine zone, low green vegetation, swampy soil where you sink in a bit and beautiful mountainflowers such as giant lobelia.
We reached the crater rim just after 2,5 hours of steady hiking. After a short rest we continued to complete the circuit around the crater, that marks the border with DR Congo.
It's a gorgeous walk around the craterlake with a large variety of mountainflowers and even some birds! The views are great although we were not so lucky with the weather.
We spend an 1 hour around the crater, including a small picnic of chapatti and bananas while observing the peaks around us.
On the extremely slippery way down I amused myself watching others sliding down, while it happened to me a couple of times as well.
The roundtrip had taken 5 hours + transportation, a not too difficult but rewarding activity!
Tip: bring a raincoat or poncho...
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