Virunga Mountains is the composition of the various massifs shared by three countries of Uganda, Rwanda and Congo, most of these massifs are open for hiking from either countries as long as the travelers is ready to hike the Virunga mountains , should just book them with local tour operator that will have the required knowledge about the hikes .
Virunga Mountain ranges consists of Unique and finest wildlife attractions of Africa which ranges from the; north Western Rwanda covering Volcanoes National park, Eastern side is Congo covering a fraction of Virunga National Park, and South Western Uganda covering Mgahinga National park.
Virunga massif is also has for a long time maintained its fame about the endangered mountain gorilla and golden monkey tracking, yet there are several outstanding authentic activities that adventure junkies and nature lovers can enjoy while on a safari in Congo such as hiking, bird watching among others. Though famous for its volcano ranges situated in the Western arm of the Rift valley, the Virunga Mountains comprises of 8 mountains stretching at a distance above sea-level which include;
The Mountain is inactive lying in the Western branch of the East African Rift Valley which is part of the Albertine Rift, situated between Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of Congo.
Mount Karisimbi is the highest major mountain in the Virunga ranges measuring 4507 meters, it is bordered by Mikeno to the North, Bisoke to the East, and Nyiragongo to the west. In between, Karisimbi and Bisoke mountains lies the Karisoke Research Center that was formed by Dian Fossey in recognition of the endangered gorillas.
All you need is, to be physically fit, and in good health so as to be able to embark on a 2day stranous hike, but rewarding.The climb starts very early in the Morning, taking 6 hours through the hike, reaching the first stage at 3700m, but navigating through the Bisoke mountain with an overnight camping and completing the hike the next day where a clear view of mount Nyiragongo is seen. The climb will take you through the steep slopes which may require an extra cost of hiring potters at a rate of $20 per day to help you carry your luggage and hiking equipment.
To climb to the summit is described by muddy trails, in that they are tiresome but truly rewarding with beautiful sights of birds, golden monkeys and Famous mountain gorillas, not forgetting the exotic plant life in its four belts of vegetation, from the dense forest at its base to the burren core at its summit.
The mountain can be best hiked during dry season when the weather is favorable for the hikers, and the temperatures usually drop to 00C during the night and the early mornings.
Mikeno Mountain is an in active volcano located along the section of Virunga Mountains along with Nyiragongo Mountain, Nyamuragira, Karisimbi, and Bisoke. After Karisimbi, Mikeno takes on the position of the second highest peak in the Virunga Mountains at height of 4437 meters.
Mikeno completely lies within Virunga National park and is prominent for the mountain gorillas living at the slopes and the expeditions to observe these Mikeno gorillas typically leave from the nearby Bukima Patrol Post.
Mikeno means “poor” named for its harsh forested steep slopes which preclude human habituation, but in habits the mountain gorillas as well as wildlife, including birds. The hike to this mountain also requires a 2 day hike and best suited to physically fit personnel.
Nyamuragira also known as Nyamuragira is an active volcano found in the Virunga Mountains, located 25km north of Lake Kivu. The name “Nyamuragira” comes from a Kinyarwanda verb “Kuragira Inka” meaning herd of cows. The mountain is described as the most active volcano due its numerous eruptions that has occurred 40 times since 1885, as well as the numerous flank eruptions from the summit forming new smaller volcanoes that have lasted only for a short while.
Nyamuragira is an active volcano in the city of Goma in the democratic republic of Congo situated 13km North –North West of the Nyiragongo mountain and it’s one that caused massive destruction in Goma city in the 20002 eruption. Nyamuragira covers an area of 1500km2 with a volume of 500km3 having a low shield profile contrasted with adjacent steep sided Nyiragongo Volcano.
Nyamuragira is the reason behind the release of large portions of Sulphur dioxide into the atmosphere in that in 2010 it began spitting out lava flows which scared all residents leaving no settlements close to the volcano, and the wildlife officials also developed fear that the eruptions may affect the chimps within the area.
Surprisingly anew Lava Lake was formed in 2014 which occurred between June and August, after 74 years, making it one of the volcanoes higly recognised for sustaining lava lakes.
The Itombwe Mountains are arrange of mountains found in the south kivu province of the Democratic Republic of Congo. They are a fraction of the Albertine Rift Mountains which border the western branch of the eastern Rift valley, running along the Western shore of lake Tanganyika and on the other hand also extend from the Rwenzori Mountain in the North to the Murungu highlands in the south. They are also made up of a large area of contigious montane forest as well as a habitat to a rich diversity.
The Itombwe Forest of the southern Rift covers a huge area that has had little attention from botanists. Montane forest is patchy on the East slopes and there is an exceptional progression of the bamboo, montane forest grassland and then more montane forest with canopy reaching 25m blending into lowland forest. The forest covers a round 650,000 hectares above 1,500 metres, forming the largest block of such forest in the region. The forest is patchy on the east slopes. On the west there is an exceptional progression of bamboo, montane forest, grassland, and then more montane forest with a canopy reaching 25 metres blending into lowland forest.
However, the population around the forest is rising, the forest around the villages is being cleared for agriculture and firewood, and the grasslands at higher levels are used to graze cattle. Mining and hunting are other causes of stress to the environment. Perhaps the main concern of conservationists is that the forests, which are the largest and least fragmented in the region, may be logged.
The Itombwe Mountains are situated in the southern part of the Maiko- Tania- Kahuzi-Biega landscape, the Itombwe forest is the largest and most remote block of intact montane forest in Africa. It has a large number of eastern lowland gorillas and eastern chimpanzees, as well as forest elephants and other endemic species.
Things to carry for Mountain hiking
- Hiking boots
- Sleeping bag
- Rain jacket
- Portable charger
- Day pack with snacks and water
- Hiking stick