Virunga Mountain Hiking
Are you adventure enthusiast but you do not know where to go for hiking in East Africa? Ever heard about the mighty Virunga Massifs? The Virunga Mountain ranges also famous as the Virunga Massifs/Virunga Volcanoes/Virunga Conservation Area comes with rare and finest wildlife and landscape attractions. The area ranges from northwestern Rwanda stretching up to the Volcanoes National Park, Southwestern Uganda covering the side of Mgahinga Gorilla National Park and the Eastern Democratic Republic of Congo which covers the side of the Virunga National Park.
The Virunga region although it is famous for its rare mountain gorillas that thrive around the dense forested areas of the mentioned protected areas and golden monkeys, there are many more exceptional experiences that nature enthusiasts and adventure lovers can engage in while on safari in Africa around the Virunga area. They range from forest walks, volcano hiking, bird watching and many more.
Eight volcanoes make up the mighty Virunga mountain ranges and they mainly include the Karisimbi Mountain which is located along the Rwanda-DR Congo border, Mount Mikeno in DR Congo, Mount Muhabura which is located on the Rwanda-Uganda border, Mount Gahinga on Rwanda-Uganda border, Mount Nyiragongo and Nyamuragira DRC, Mount Bisoke along Rwanda DRC border, Mount Sabyinyo on Rwanda Uganda and DRC border. Most of these can be hiked by visitors on adventure safaris in Africa.
Karisimbi Volcano features as the highest of all the eight Virunga Mountains and it stretches up to 4507 meters above sea level. Hiking adventures through this mountain require no experience but you need to be in better health and physical conditions. The hike lasts for two days for you to finish the entire hiking adventure. The first day, you will be climbing and set up a camp for an overnight and the second day climb to the top side of the mountain where you will have open views of the bubbling Mount Nyiragongo and then start you descent. It can be perfectly climbed during the dry season around June to August when the weather is favorable making it simpler for you to hike through. The temperatures at night and early in the morning freeze to zero degrees and climbers are encouraged to have warm coats that can overcome the coldness.
Mount Mikeno is a dormant mountain which lies in the remote Democratic Republic of Congo and it is famous to be the most challenging Virunga Mountain to climb. It is the second highest of all the Virunga Volcanoes and it stands at 4437 meters. It features steep forested slopes and they come with the rare mountain gorillas and several wildlife species including different bird species. You need to be physically well in case you plan to hike through this stunning volcano.
In Uganda and Rwanda the third highest volcano is Mount Muhabura. The hike to the summit of this mountain rewards visitors with amazing views of the twin Lakes of Bulera and Ruhondo around Volcanoes National Park plus the five other Virunga Mountains. The other attractions include the crater that is close to the summit with its rare vegetation cover and rare mountain gorillas which can be even bumped into while hiking. Climbing Mount Muhabura is a bit strenuous given its steep slopes. The hikes through this stunning volcano commence at 7am and it lasts for an entire day to ascent and descends.
Mount Bisoke which is famous for its Crater Lake on top side is another incredible mountain that is worthy hiking. This mountain features most montane vegetation at varied levels and comes with bamboo forest, bushes and many more. The hike needs some bit of physical wellness among visitors and the hikes start at 7am after briefing at the park headquarters.
Mount Sabyinyo is located along Uganda, Rwanda and DR Congo border and comes with indented summit structure which describes its name. To locals, it denotes ‘Old man’s teeth.’ This forested volcano offers refuge to the rare mountain gorillas and it is popular for Sabyinyo gorilla family which features among the simplest families to track in Volcanoes National Park. It also refuges several of Albertine birds that may not be sighted in any part of Africa.
Mount Gahinga which features as the smallest of all the volcanoes but comes with extra ordinary hiking adventures. Climbing to the top of this mountain needs about a day and it rewards visitors with life changing experiences especially with its scenic views. It also comes with caves that are worthy exploring while hiking. It is also a dormant mountain with a crater at its summit with swampy vegetation on the floor of the crater.
Mount Nyiragongo which is popular for its powerful Lava Lake. This volcano is found in Virunga National Park in DR Congo and it is known for its active eruptions in 2002. Hiking through the mountain is safer for visitors and offers opportunity to view its powerfully bubbling Lava Lake. The hikes start around Kibati patrol station in DR Congo and accessing it depends on your speed and physical wellness. There is also mount Nyamuragira which is equally the most powerful volcano in Africa. This stunning mountain has also had a number of actions and currently an active Lava Lake appeared for the first time in history after 50 years.
In conclusion, all the volcanoes can be perfectly trekked during the dry season that starts from June to August as the rains are low and makes it easier for hikers to climb through the trails. You are required to have strong hiking boots, rain jackets/poncho, sweaters and many more.