How many mountains are in Virunga national park?
How many mountains are in Virunga national park? The Virunga volcanoes are among the most attractive attractions that tourists can visit to have memorable safaris in Virunga national park DR Congo. Virunga volcanoes are 8 and are shared in three countries, DR Congo, Rwanda, and Uganda. In DR Congo they are in Virunga national park a home to endangered mountain gorillas at the same time hosting two active volcanoes Nyiragongo and Nyamuragira. In Rwanda, they are in volcanoes national park and in Uganda, they are seen in Mgahinga national park.
Yes, Virunga national park alone has 3 Virunga volcanoes which are Mountain Mikeno, Mountain Nyiragongo, and Mountain Nyamuragira.
Mount Mikeno is the highest mountain in those inside Virunga national park. The volcano stands at an elevation of 4,437 meters above sea level and can be hiked in a single day in 5-6 hours. The volcano is the hardest to hike in Virunga national park because it has very steep slopes.
Mountain Nyiragongo is another volcano in Virunga national park and it’s known as one of the active volcanoes in Africa. The volcano is the second-highest in Virunga national park at 3,470 meters and can be still hiked in 5-6 hours even after the last eruption in 2021. Hiking to the summit and returning back Nyiragongo volcano will take you 2 days as the nights are spent at the summit shelters.
Mountain Nyamuragira is another active volcano in Virunga national park and its last eruption was in November 2011. The volcano is said to be the most active in Africa and still has signs of a future eruption. It is 3,058 meters above sea level and can be hiked 5-6 hours with nights spent at the summit. Mount Nyamuragira is located 24 km from Mount Mikeno, and 13 km from Mount Nyiragongo.
Mountain Nyamuragira and Mountain Nyiragongo are active volcanoes that last erupted in November 2011 and May 2021 respectively. Mountain Mikeno on the other hand is a dormant volcano and has never shown signs of eruption. Hiking is the most done activity on these volcanoes however various activities can be carried out in the areas where they are located such as gorilla trekking, chimpanzee trekking, birding, and much more.
Hiking the volcanoes in Virunga national park
Hiking the Virunga volcanoes in DR Congo is a rewarding activity while on your Congo safari. There are 3 volcanoes in Virunga national park and all can be hiked in a period of 5-6 hours, Mountain Mikeno has no accommodation at the summit so hiking is done in a single day while Mount Nyamuragira and Mount Nyiragongo have shelters on the summit and can be hiked in 2 days.
Hiking any of the volcanoes in Virunga national park requires you to have a hiking permit, be fit enough and pack the right gear. The hiking activity starts early in the morning from different briefing points. This is where park wardens check for the necessary requirements and teach the hikers about the rules and regulations of the hiking activity.
Hiking usually starts at 10 am and it’s the armed ranger guides who lead you throughout the whole hike protecting you from wild animals, and rebels. During the hike, there are opportunities of meeting animals such as okapi, topi, duikers, giant forest hogs, chimpanzees, gorillas, buffaloes, mongooses, elephants, birds, and different vegetation cover.
Getting to the summit is quite challenging as it takes you through thick vegetation cover, steep slopes, and rugged terrain. The hike is very challenging but at the summit, you do get to see parts of the world from the top. There is a lava lake on Mountain Nyiragongo and Mountain Nyamuragira, views of surrounding places like other Virunga volcanoes, Rwenzori Mountains, Virunga national park, Kahuzi Biega national park, and Lake Kivu among others.
On Mountain Nyiragongo and Mountain Nyamuragira hikers can spend a night because there are shelters constructed at the summit, spend the night watching the lake lakes at the summit, return to the shelters for dinner, and in the morning they will have morning breakfast to take the coldness off them. IN the morning after breakfast, they join other hikers and descend the volcano.
What to bring when hiking the volcanoes in Virunga national park?
Bring waterproof hiking shoes, long-sleeved pants, long-sleeved shirts, a pair of gaiters, cotton stocks, a rain jacket, garden gloves, a hat, scarf, sunscreen, insect repellents, camera, a pair of binoculars, portable chargers, energy-giving snacks and reusable drinking water bottle among others. A porter can be hired on the day of the activity in case of heavy luggage while the walking sticks are free at the starting point of the hike.
How much are hiking permits for volcanoes in Virunga national park?
Hiking permits for Mountain Nyamuragira, Mountain Mikeno, and Mountain Nyiragongo are $300 per person and they are used once. Hiking permits are a must as they are asked at the briefing point. They are sold to persons above the age of 15 years and they can be got using a local tour operator or Virunga national park offices.
When to hike the volcanoes in Virunga national park?
Volcanoes Nyamuragira, Mikeno, and Nyiragongo can be hiked at any time of the year but there are months considered to be the best. The drier months are the best for hiking Virunga volcanoes and they do occur from June to September and December to February. They are characterized by little or no rainfall that makes the hiking trails less slippery, the vegetation along the trails is thin with clear views of the park animals, summit views are clear due to good weather and the roads leading to the park are passable.
Hikers can still hike the volcanoes in Virunga national park in the rainy season of March to May and October to November so that they benefit from huge discounts on accommodation facilities and some park activities in case they are to combine. Travelers however need to note that during that period, there is plenty of rainfall, roads leading to the park are not in good condition, the hiking trails are muddy and slippery, the vegetation is tall with unclear vies of animals along the trails and the summit are not clear due to nimbostratus clouds.