Famous Virunga Mountains
Famous Virunga ranges and mountains are 8 and they are shared by 3 East African countries that are Rwanda, Uganda, and the Democratic Republic of Congo. Virunga mountains also have two active mountains that are mountain Nyiragongo and Nyamulagira. Other Virunga mountains are the Bisoke, Mikeno, Gahinga, Sabinyo, Muhabura, and karisimbi mountains. Virunga Mountains lies on a Western branch of the East Africa Rift valley and left hand of the Albertine Rift.
In Virunga Mountains is where most gorilla families are staying and they are shared by three destinations that are Uganda’s Bwindi impenetrable forest national park and Mgahinga national park, Rwanda’s Volcanoes national park, and others are found in Congo’s Virunga national park.
Mount Karisimbi means “amasimbi” a local word that means snow in Kinyarwanda and is the one with the highest peak among all Virunga mountains which stands at an elevation of 4,507 meters. Mount Karisimbi can be hiked for Rwanda and Congo. The full hike of mount Karisimbi is for two days with one night. Hiking this volcano is somehow difficult so you have to be well prepared through improving body fitness and carry necessary items for mountain climbing such as energy snacks, hiking boots, rain jacket, long-sleeved clothes, garden gloves, a camera with extra batteries and bird lovers can come with a pair of binoculars. Mountain Karisimbi can be hiked from those two countries but the most popular hike on the Rwanda part and costs for the hiking permit is set by the Rwanda Development Board which goes at $400 per person per hike. Things included hiking are guide fee and hiking so it is you to plan your meals and camping equipment.
The second highest Virunga Mountain is mount Mikeno and it stands at an altitude of 4,437 meters. It is hiked in from the Democratic Republic of Congo and can be sighted from different points in the Virunga national park. Mountain gorillas of Virunga national parks are usually viewed here because they prefer to stay on the slopes of mountains. To reach the top of the mount is tricky but those make it enjoy a lot with beautiful views like the dense forests scarred lakes, the East African Rift valley, and so on. This is important to know, Mikeno is a local word that means poor and it was named by local members who believed that the areas around are poor because they were refused to stay in the region due to the tough slopes. Mount Mikeno is not among the most hiked Virunga ranges but you can hike it if you are interested.
Mount Muhabura is the third Virunga range which is elevated at an elevation of 4,127 meters. Mount Muhabura can be hiked from two countries that is Uganda and Rwanda. The hiking permit for mount Muhabura is set by the Uganda Wildlife Authority and it costs $75 per person. It can be viewed from several points Kisoro district in Uganda is an extinct volcano with a crater at the top. It is one activity carried out in Mgahinga national park.
Mount Bisoke is at an altitude of 3,711 meters and is known as the fourth highest Virunga Mountain that lies between Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of Congo but is popularly hiked in Rwanda side where the summit of the mountain is found. The hiking permit for mountain Bisoke is $75 per person and those who complete the full hike is rewarded with beautiful views plus the Crater Lake at the top.
Mount Sabyinyo is the oldest and fifth highest mountain at an elevation of 3,674 meters. The name Sabyinyo is derived from the Rwandan people which means “old man’s teeth” because of its teeth which look like teeth. This mountain is special from others because it can be hiked from three countries are the Democratic Republic of Congo, Uganda, and Rwanda but it is mostly hiked from Uganda and the hiking permit is issued by the management of Mgahinga national park which is found in the southwestern parts of Uganda. A permit for hiking this mountain is $75 per person per hike and it include else hiking and guide fee so the costs for hiring a porter is for you.
Mount Gahinga is elevated at 3,474 meters and is the next range after mount Sabinyo. A full hike takes 1 day which costs $75 per person. Hiking mount Ggahiga is one of the tourist attractions in Mgahinga national park of Uganda and is where the hike starts from. Mgahinga national park was named after Gahinga mountain. Hikers that reach the summit of mount Gahinga have rewarding views and you can also see a golden monkey, a lot of bird species, and many more.
Mount Nyiragongo is known as the active volcano in the world at an elevation of 3,470 meters. Is found in only one country known as the Democratic Republic of Congo and its hikes are set by the management of Virunga national park. The full hike takes 2 days with an overnight in the shelters. A hiking permit costs $300 per individual which includes a hiking fee and guide fee for meals and camping equipment it is for you. But you can add $100 which includes a cook/meal, sleeping bags, and bottled water. Those who hike until the top of the mount enjoy one of the rewarding experiences while seeing boiling lava, many bird species, and so on. This volcano has 0ver 34 times and last erupted on 22nd May 2021.
Mount Nyamulagira in the last Virunga Mountain at an altitude of 3,058 meters. It is situated on the boundaries of the Democratic Republic of Congo and mounts Nyiragongo. Hiking mount Nyamulagira is not popular due to underdevelopment of the area.
Best time to hike the Virunga mountains.
All Virunga mountains can be hiked all year round however the best time is during the driest seasons that is from June-August and another one from December to February when the hiking trails are not slippery and muddy. In addition, this is important to note that African weather is unpredictable and at any time of the year it can rain so focus more on your choice instead of looking for the best time. You can also hike during the rainy months that is from March to May and November, but you have to prepare yourself enough by improving your body fitness and carrying the necessary equipment.
What are necessary items for hiking Virunga mountains?
You also have to play your role as a traveler while bring items that are necessary for mountain hiking and carry less staff that you will manage to hike with. However, in every destination where these ranges are found, there are porters who waiting for you to carry your heavy luggage but you pay some amount which is around $15 per porter. The necessary items are; hiking boots, long-sleeved clothes, energy drinks, packed lunch and some snacks, hat, sunglasses, rain jacket, sleeping bag, camera with extra batteries, a pair of binoculars mostly bird lovers, flashlight. Other necessary items are insect repellent, antibacterial wipes, Deodorant, Face cleanser, Floss, Lip balm, Malaria tablets, Personal hygiene items like Prescriptions, Razors, Shampoo, and conditioner, Shaving gel, Soap, body lotion, comb and brush, and among others. You will be provided with a hiking stick at the park offices which support you while hiking.
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