Virunga Mountains

These 8 mountains include the Nyamulagira, Nyiragongo, Gahinga, Sabinyo, Bisoke, Muhabura, Mikeno and karisimbi mountains.

The Virunga Mountains

Visit the Virunga Mountains when planning a tour safari to the Virunga conservation areas. There are 8 famous mountains in Virunga mountain ranges and they are situated in the southwestern part of Uganda and the northern border of Congo and Rwanda. Among these 8 Mountains, only mountain Nyiragongo of the Democratic Republic of Congo is an active mountain others are dormant. Virunga Mountains lies on a Western branch of the East Africa Rift valley and left hand of the Albertine Rift.  These 8 mountains include the Nyamulagira, Nyiragongo, Gahinga, Sabinyo, Bisoke, Muhabura, Mikeno and karisimbi mountains.

In Virunga Mountains is where you will find some of the remaining mountain gorillas which are staying there for a long time. All these mountains are shared by three destinations is DR. Congo, Uganda and Rwanda whereas some mountains are found in 3 countries and others are found in only 2 countries.

Mount Karisimbi

The highest mountain of all 8 Virunga mountains is known as the mountain Karisimbi and it is found in 2 countries that is the Democratic Republic of Congo and Rwanda. It stands at an elevation of 4,507 meters. Hiking mountain Karisimbi takes 2-day as you will have 1 night at the shelters of the mountain then you will complete your hike the next. You have to be well prepared and equipped to enjoy this event without disturbance such as hiking boots, garden gloves, rain jacket, long-sleeved clothes, energy snacks, a camera with extra batteries and binocular. Since you will have an overnight so also make sure to pack your meals or you can hire the chef from the park headquarters. The Volcanoes national park of Rwanda is the one behind the hiking permit which is costs 400USD per person. A hiking permit is only for hiking and guide fee so you have to plan for your camping equipment and meals. The name Karisimbi means “amasimbi” from the local word which means snow in Kinyarwanda and this mountain experiences snows at its highest peak. The best months to visit mountain Karisimbi are June, July and August when you can see well the snow on the top of the mountain.

Mount Mikeno

Mountain Mikeno is the second highest mountain among the 8 Virunga Mountains which stands at an elevation of 4,437 meters. Mountain Mikeno is found in one country that is the Democratic Republic of Congo. The name Mikeno means “poor” which is derived from local people who believed that the areas around the mountain are poor because they were prevented to stay around due to the tough slope. Mountain Mikeno is home to the mountain gorillas of Virunga national park because these primates love so much to stay at the edges of mountains. Hiking Mountain Mikeno is a beat challenging mountain to the top but after making it up to the top, you will enjoy a wonderful view like the East Africa Rift valley, and the dense forests scarred lakes and many more.

Mount Muhabura

Mountain Muhabura is also among the 8 Virunga Mountains which is found in 2 countries is Uganda and Rwanda. Hiking mountain Muhabura is organized from the Mgahinga gorilla national park of Uganda and the hiking permit costs 75USD for foreigners per person.  This hike takes only 1-day, at the top of mount Muhabura there is a swamp at the caldera and the views are rewarding whereby a hiker can get a chance to see three countries at one point that is Rwanda, Congo and Uganda. Hiking permit does not include anything else apart from hiking and guide fee so you can hire a porter to carry your luggage. This mountain has no other tourism attraction taking place apart from hiking.

Mount Bisoke

The fourth highest virunga mountain is mountain Bisoke which is on an elevation of 3,711 meters and is shared by DR. Congo and Rwanda but hikes for this mountain are behind Rwanda from Volcanoes national park where the summit of the volcano is found. The hiking permit for Bisoke is 75USD per person which takes a 1-day hike. The fee includes only a guide fee and hiking fee so if you have heavy luggage, you can hire a porter from the peak headquarters plus a walking stick. At the top of mountain Bisoke, there are rewarding views plus the Crater Lake at the top. It is also the best place for bird lovers.

Mount Sabinyo

Mountain Sabinyo is the fifth highest mountain which stands at an elevation of 3,674 meters. Mountain Sabinyo is not like other Virunga mountains because it can be seen from all 3 countries that are, Uganda, Rwanda and DR. Congo. It is the oldest range among all mountain ranges and that is why it is called sabinyo. The name sabinyo is a local word that means “an old man’s teeth. This mountain is found on the border of all 3 countries and also joins three national gorilla parks that are Mgahinga gorilla national park of Uganda, Virunga national park of DR. Congo and Volcanoes national park of Rwanda. All hiking process for mountain Sabinyo is organized by Mgahinga national park of Uganda and it is also hiked from the Uganda side. The hiking permit costs 75USD per person and it does not include anything else apart from hiking and guide fee so you can hire a porter from the park headquarters if it is necessary.

Mount Gahinga

Mountain Gahinga is the sixth mountain and the smallest one but it is found in Uganda and Rwanda. The mountain stands at an elevation of 3,474 meters. Gahinga is from the native language of the area that is Rufumbira and Kinyarwanda which means “a pile of stones”. The hiking permit for Gahinga Mountain is organized from the Mgahinga national park of Uganda which costs 75USD per person. The name Mgahinga was created after Gahinga Mountain. It is a 1-day hike that is carried out in the sides of Uganda. Gahinga summit has rewarding views and you can also see a golden monkey, a lot of bird species and wildlife animals when you’re hiking to the summit.

Mount Nyiragongo

The next Virunga mountain is known as mountain Nyiragongo one of the most active volcanoes in the entire world. Mount Nyiragongo is found in the Democratic Republic of Congo within the Virunga national park and it is on an elevation of 3,470 meters. The hike is for 2-day whereby you spend 1 night at the summit in the shelters so you have to be well packed for this event. Hiking mountain Nyiragongo is under Virunga national park and the hiking permit costs 300USD per person which includes only a hike and guide fee. For meals and camping equipment, you can book a Virunga backpack which is for 100USD from your tour organizer or the park headquarter. Hiking mountain Nyiragongo is the most rewarding experience after reaching the top of the mountain where you will see boiling lava every time, a lot of bird species and many more. This mountain has been erupting like 34 times and it is last erupted in 2002.

Mount Nyamulagira

The last Virunga Mountain is Nyamulagira which is elevated at 3,058 meters.it is found on the boundaries of the DR. Congo nearby mount Nyiragongo. Booking a hiking trip to Mount Nyamulagira may not be able because of the underdevelopment of the region but there is an option of booking a helicopter for the above views.

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