Which countries border Virunga mountains
Which countries border the Virunga mountains? Virunga mountains are part of Virunga conservation area found in three countries. Yes, the Virunga volcanoes are bordered by Uganda, DR Congo, and Rwanda. They include Mount Karisimbi (4,507m). Mount Mikeno (4,437m), Mount Muhabura (4,127m), Mount Bisoke (3,711m), Mount Sabyinyo (3,674m), Mount Gahinga (3,474m), Mount Nyiragongo (3,470m), and Mount Nyamuragira (3,058m).
Mount Mikeno, Mount Nyamuragira, and Mount Nyiragongo are bordered by DR Congo, Mount Karisimbi and Mount Bisoke are bordered by Rwanda and DR Congo, Mount Muhabura and Mount Gahinga are bordered by Uganda and Rwanda and lastly, Mount Sabyinyo is bordered by Uganda Rwanda and DR Congo. Hiking all the volcanoes can be done from the countries they are located apart from mountain Sabyinyo which can only be hiked from Uganda’s Mgahinga national park. 6 of the Virunga volcanoes are dormant and 2 of them are active namely Mount Nyiragongo which last erupted in May 2021 and Mount Nyamuragira which last erupted in November 2010.
Hiking the Virunga volcanoes
Hiking any of the Virunga volcanoes gives you a wonderful experience and great views of the surrounding areas. Hiking Mountain Nyamuragira and Mountain Nyiragongo will give you an opportunity to see lava lakes at the summit and hiking Mountain Sabyinyo will give you an opportunity to be in three different countries at the same time.
Hiking any of these mountains starts with a briefing at the park offices, hikers are taught about the rules and regulations of the hiking activity and then armed ranger guides led the hikers throughout the hike. While hiking, rangers keep different stories about the volcano hikes and there are chances of meeting different park mammals, primates, and birds.
Hiking to the summit takes different hours due to the nature of the slopes on every mountain. Hiking most of the Virunga volcanoes takes1 day but there are those that are hiked in 2 days like Mountain Karisimbi, mountain Nyamuragira, and mountain Nyiragongo. The summits of these Virunga mountains give great views of the surrounding areas like the Rwenzori Mountain, national parks nearby, country borders, Lake Kivu, and at mountain Nyiragongo and mountain Nyamuragira are great views of the lava lakes.
Primate trekking in the Virunga mountains
The Virunga volcanoes are homes of the endangered mountain gorillas in Virunga national park, Mgahinga national park, and volcanoes national park. the mountains are also homes to golden monkeys in Mgahinga national park and volcanoes national park while chimpanzees are found on some of the slopes of mountains in Virunga national park.
While visiting the Virunga mountains in DR Congo, Rwanda or Uganda, you can decide to do gorilla trekking, chimpanzee trekking, or golden monkeys trekking. All these activities are done by only those that have valid trekking permits that are sold to only people above the age of 15 years. Trekking activities in the Virunga conservation area give you an opportunity to encounter different mammals, primates, and bird species.
Trekking activities on the Virunga mountains or national parks start with a briefing at the park offices where trekkers are taught about the dos and don’ts of the activity. Later armed ranger guides lead the trekkers into the jungle and they start to look for apes. After several hours of searching and meeting the primates they have been looking for, they will be given 1 hour to be around them, watch them do daily activities take photos, and learn about their habits.
Bird watching in the Virunga mountains
The Virunga mountains are homes to over 700 bird species and some of them are endemic to the Albertine region. These birds can be seen during hiking activities or birding activities that are led by well-trained guides. Some of the bird species that do live in the Virunga mountains include African citril, grey-backed camaroptera, doherty’s bushshrike, malachite sunbird, grey-headed negrofinch, alpine swift, collared sunbird, variable sunbird, white-tailed blue flycatcher, lunder’s bushshrike, and bronze mannikin.
Other bird species in Virunga national park include cinnamon-chested bee-eater, white-necked raven, black-billed turaco, narrow-tailed starling, African olive pigeon, shelley’s crimsonwing, black-faced rufous warbler, grey-throated barbet, thick-billed seedeater, black-headed waxbill, mountain oriole, and olive woodpecker among others
What to pack for Virunga volcano hiking?
Are you planning to visit DR Congo, Uganda or Rwanda for hiking activities, here is what you need to pack for hiking in the Virunga mountains? Waterproof hiking shoes, gardening gloves, cotton stocks, a pair of gaiters, rain jacket, long-sleeved pants, long-sleeved shirts, a hat, sunscreen, insect repellents, facemask, sanitizer, a camera, extra batteries, drinking water bottle, and energy-giving snacks to mention but a few.
When to hike the Virunga volcanoes
Hiking Virunga volcanoes can be done throughout the year although there are months that are better than the rest. There are two seasons in Uganda, Rwanda, and DR Congo and these are the dry and rainy seasons. The dry season occurs from June to September and December to February and these months are characterized by little or no rainfall. The hiking trails are less muddy, the vegetation along the rails and the national parks are thin with clear views of the park animals and the roads leading to the parka are passable.
Hiking the Virunga volcanoes can still be done in the rainy season of March to May and October to November and this favors the budget travelers because there are huge discounts on accommodation facilities and some of the park animals. The rainy season happens from March to May and October to November and it’s characterized by heavy rainfall, the hiking trails are muddy and slippery, the vegetation is thick with unclear views of park animals, the summit is cloudy with unclear views of surrounding places and roads leading to the perk are impassable.