The 8 Virunga Volcano Mountains
Virunga Volcano Mountain Hiking
The Virunga volcano mountain hiking is a chain of Volcanic Mountains in East Africa that’s shared between Uganda, Rwanda and DRC. These mountains are part of the Great Rift Valley. The word Virunga is an English word derived from Kinyarwanda word “Ibirunga” to meat “Mountains”
The Virunga region comprises of 8 major volcanoe ranges located in the area between Lake Edward and Lake Kivu near the great East African rift valley. The 8 volcanic ranges in this region include Mount Karisimbi the highest at 4,507 metres, followed by Mount Mikeno at 4437 metres, Mount Muhabura at 4,127 metres, Mount Bisoke at 3711 metres, Mount Sabyinyo at 36711 metres, Mount Gahinga at 3470 metres, Mount Nyiragongo at 3470 metres and lastly Nyamurangira at 3,058 metres.
Among the eight Volcanoes, three are still active and the rest are said to be extinct. The tallest of all Mountains is Karisimbi which stands at 4,507 meters. All these mountains are surrounded by bamboo and mountain forest covers. The shortest of all the eight volcanoes is Nyamurangira which lies at 3,058 Meters. Most of these mountains derive their names from the geographical characteristics and appearance. For example Mountain Sabinyo which means “Old man’s Teeth” which depicts the physical appearance of this mountain which looks like an old man’s tooth.
There is a point in Uganda called the kanaba gap on the kabale -kisoro road where you can see all five of the eight volcanoes and it it really and exciting experience. As you think of gorilla tracking in DRC, you should think of hiking one of these amazing mountains. The Scenery you will for example have when you reach the peak of the tallest mountain Karisimbi will blow your mind. Wish you an excellent adventure.
Mount Gahinga Hike
Most hikers usually go for Mt. Gahinga which is as high as 3,474m. This hike takes about six hours to both ascend and descend, once at the top you will find the crater filled with swamp and giant lobelia. Those who are lucky will be able to see the golden monkeys as they walk through that thick bamboo forest.
The Gahinga Trail starts in recently reclaimed farm land and winds up to the edge of virgin forest. The hike was steep in places but not uncomfortably so and while it didn’t rain it get damp as fog rolled in and out over the mountain. The scenery was both breathtaking and intriguing. Giant bamboo looms large over the trail, jungle elephant footprints cross the trail sunk deep in squiggy mud, earthworms as long as your forearm living above ground in the dark, wet environment and more birds that you could possibly catalogue.
Mount Sabinyo Hike
The other option is hiking Mt. Sabinyo which is 3,669m and to get to the top of this mountain requires eight hours since the distance from the base to the top is about 14km long round trip. As you hike, you will have to follow the route along the steep ridge up until you get to the peak.
Hiking to the sabinyo is 6 kilometer long and it goes along an amazing mountain stream which meanders through that very dense forest covered by mainly the African-Montane kind of vegetation all the way to the gorge. This is a very rewarding nature walk, the hike may be tiring to a number of hikers but at the end of the trail, you will be amazed. On a very clear day, you will have a clear view of those ragged peaks of Sabinyo.
Mt. Muhavura is the third option available for the hikers. This is the highest peak of all and it lies at 4,127m high and the hike is planned for the same amount of time as Sabyinyo which is eight hours. This means, you need to be fit enough to catch up with the fast hiking exercise. When you reach the top, you will have a beautiful view of the Virunga Volcanoes, there is a clear view of Lake Edward, the great Bwindi Impenetrable Forest and also the Rwenzori peaks.
Nature walks in Mgahinga goes together with hiking because of the fact that this is a very hilly area and hiking is something that you can hardly avoid. There are several amazing places that you can always visit during your trip to Mgahinga national park. These are always guide nature walks, armed escorts are provided to walk along with you during your nature walk and so will the help of your guide, you will visit and see the scenery as well as the different tourism attractions in the area.
Recommended Virunga Volcano Mountain Hikes
6 Days Mgahinga Gorilla Park
This 6 day Safari to Mgahinga Gorilla park begins in Kigali, Rwanda is just about 3-hours’ drive from Kigali including a border crossing to Virunga volcano climb.
5 Days Muhabura, Sabinyo, Gahinga
The 5 days of Uganda hiking safari gives a chance to hike top 3 volcanic mountains in Uganda and Africa, Mt Muhabura, Mt Sabinyo and Mt Gahinga