Explore the Virunga Volcano Massif
Explore the Virunga Volcano Massif : Virunga gets its name from the Kinyarwanda word “ibirunga,” which meaning “volcanoes.” Because of the active volcanoes in D.R. Congo, they are also known as the Mufumbiro ranges which means “mountains that cook.”
The ranges’ eight mountains cover three countries: Uganda, Rwanda, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Some of the ranges are shared by two nations, with Sabyinyo being the only one shared by Uganda, Rwanda, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
Mountains to explore in the Virunga Volcano Massif.
Karisimbi, located on the border between Rwanda and D.R.C., is the tallest of the eight mountains, standing at 4507m and famed for its snow topped summit. The name Karisimbi is derived from the Kinyarwanda word “amasimbi,” which means “white shell,” and refers to the look of Karisimbi’s white topped peak. You must be physically strong and healthy to trek Karisimbi’s treacherous hills. This is a two-day trek in which one hikes up to the summit in one day but must overnight and begin the descent the next day.
- Mount Mikeno
Mt. Mikeno, at 4437m, is the second highest mountain in the Virunga ranges after Mt. Karisimbi and is located fully inside Congo’s borders. Many Mountain gorillas live in Virunga National Park, which is home to the dormant volcano. The mountain is named “Mikeno,” which means “poor,” because of its rough slopes that are unusable by people. Mountain Mikeno is said to be visible from the moon and is one of the world’s biggest geographical features.
- Mount Muhubura
Mt Muhabura has a height of 4127 metres and is shared between Uganda and Rwanda. This volcano can be hiked in a day, requiring between 6 and 8 hours upwards and downhill. “Muhabura” is taken from the Rufumbira language, which means “guide,” because the villagers could see it no matter where they were functioning as a guide for them on the way home. On a clear day, it provides spectacular views of Lakes Edward and George, as well as the Rwenzori Mountains.
- Mount Bisoke
Mt. Bisoke, located between Rwanda and Congo, has been classified as an active volcano since its last eruption in 1957. It is 3711 metres high, and its peak is frequently covered in fog, but on clear days, one may enjoy the view of the magnificent Crater Lake at the top. The walk to the peak and back usually takes between 4 and 6 hours. The trek will take you through various types of flora until you reach the summit.
- Mount Sabyinyo
Mt Sabyinyo’s summit is shared by Uganda, Rwanda, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo, which means that once there, you may visit all three countries (Uganda, Rwanda, and the D.R. Congo) with only one visa from the nation where the hike began. Sabyinyo gets its name from the jagged look of its top, which is compared as “old man’s teeth” in Rufumbira, a language related to Kinyarwanda. The Virunga National Park in DRC, Mgahinga Gorilla National Park in Uganda, and Volcanoes National Park in Rwanda are located on its slopes, and are primarily home to the endangered mountain gorilla species.
- Mount Gahinga
Mt. Gahinga, located within Mgahinga Gorilla National Park, reaches 3474 metres above sea level. In Kinyarwanda, the word Gahinga means “pile of stones,” referring to the numerous stones swept down to people’s fields, which are then piled up to free up ground for cultivating. On its top, the strat volcano has a marshy caldera that is shared between Rwanda and Uganda.
- Mount Nyamuragira
Mt Nyamuragira, at 3058 m above sea level, is an active volcano that, like Nyiragongo, lies fully inside the borders of D.R. Congo. For the first time in 75 years, its most recent eruption resulted in the creation of a new 500m deep lava lake. It has a height of 3058 metres but is not available to tourists owing to impassable roads and security risks.
- Mount Nyiragongo
Mt Nyiragongo in the Democratic Republic of the Congo is an active volcano with a 600m deep lava lake and a height of 3470m above sea level. It has erupted 34 times since 1882, the most recent in 2002. It is fully contained inside the borders of the Democratic Republic of the Congo. It is on many people’s trekking bucket list because of the magnificent volcano lava lake, which provides great night views. The hard but exciting walk is a two-day hike, but be prepared to hike the steep mountain arriving at your camping spot on day one where you leave your belongings and go to observe the lava lake since it can be seen in the dark. The next day, you would trek down with the assistance of your guide and porters.
Conclusion: The Virunga Mountains rise from densely populated plateaus populated mostly by Rwandan farmers and, in certain regions, livestock herders. The southern sector of Congo’s Virunga National Park covers those sections of the mountains that are within Congo; Volcanoes National Park in northern Rwanda contains the southern sides of the central and eastern ranges; and Mgahinga Gorilla National Park includes the Ugandan slopes of Mgahinga Mountains. Conservation safeguards the alpine vegetation of the highlands, as well as species such as the golden monkey and mountain gorilla.