This hike is a great full day activity to expose you to the beauty of Volcanoes National Park ascending through farmlands of local communities, bamboo, Hagenia Hypericum & sub-alpine forests, ending with the spectacular crater lake at the summit. The densely covered steep slopes of this peak, by equatorial rainforest and alpine meadows, provide a natural habitat for Mountain Gorilla; golden monkeys; Spotted Hyena; buffaloes; elephants; black-fronted duiker; and bushbuck. The park also boasts 178 bird species including at least 29 endemics to Rwenzori mountains and the Virungas.
You will transfer from your lodge/hotel to the Volcanoes National Park headquarters, where there is a checkin at 7:00am for a short briefing, thereafter you will be assigned to park rangers. At 8:00am you then drive (30-45 minutes) to the start of your trek. The hike is 6 - 7 hours (3 -4 hours to ascend, 30mins - 1 hour at the top, 2 hours to descend).
The start of the trek involves thicker vegetation and therefore is the muddiest section - where you will need to watch out for the stinging nettles, preparing for the higher sections which become alot more rocky and slippery. You will rise above the clouds and fog to reach the crater lake which has an estimated depth of around 100m and a diameter of around 400m. The last eruption was in 1957 and formed two small cones which now support the scenic lake Ngezi. Temperatures here can drop dramatically so make sure you have a warm sweater packed for your hike.
It is recommended to use a walking sticks provided and to hire a porter to help guide you along the trickier parts of the trail. With the hike starting above 2,000m, expect to find less oxygen in the air, particularly as you ascend passed the 3,000m mark so you will really appreciate their help carrying your gear. A reasonable level of fitness is required due to the steep terrain and high altitudes of 3,711m.