Reasons why the Virunga Mountains are so popular among tourists: You’ve undoubtedly heard of the Virunga Mountains and wondered why they’re so well-known and referred to. The Virunga Mountains are an eight-mountain chain shared by three East African countries: the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Uganda and Rwanda. These volcanic mountains go along to the Albertine Rift. The Albertine Rift is the East African rift valley’s western limb. This placed all eight volcanic mountains between Lake Edward and Lake Kivu.

Mount Karisimbi, Mount Mikeno, Mount Muhabura, Mount Bisoke, Mount Sabyinyo, Mount Gahinga, Mount Nyiragongo, and Mount Nyamuragira are the eight Virunga mountains. The vast majority of these volcanoes are dormant. Mount Nyiragongo is the only active volcanic mountain, Reasons Why the Virunga Mountains are so popular among tourists.

What distinguishes each of these Virunga mountains?

Mount Karisimbi, one of the Virunga Mountains, has the highest summit of the ranges at 4,507 metres. Mount Karisimbi is shared by Rwanda and Congo since it stands on the border between the two nations. It may be ascended from either country, but is most popularly hiked from Rwanda.

Reasons Why the Virunga Mountains are so popular among tourists
karisimbi hike

Mount Karisimbi is the tallest of the Virunga mountains, making it Africa’s 11th highest peak. Mount Karisimbi’s top is generally covered in snow throughout the months of June, July, and August, hence the name Karisimbi, which comes from amasimbi, which means snow in Kinyarwanda, the indigenous Rwandan language. Mount Karisimbi is a dormant volcano at the moment.

Mount Mikeno, another Virunga peak, is the second tallest after Mount Karisimbi, standing at 4,437 metres. Mount Mikeno lies entirely within the Democratic Republic of the Congo and may be seen from several sites within the Virunga National Park. Mount Mikeno was called given its rough slopes and lack of human settlement. Mikeno means poor, and the region was thought to be destitute. The Mikeno mountain is seen from the Bukima ranger post, where you will be informed before your gorilla trekking in Virunga. The mountain gorillas that live on the mountain’s slopes are its most notable feature.

Hiking Mount Mikeno is not a well-developed tourism activity, although it may be organised if you are interested.

Mount Muhabura is another Virunga peak, and it is the third highest range in the Virunga mountains, standing at 4,127 metres. Mount Muhabura is located in both Uganda and Rwanda and may be reached by hiking from either side. A permit to climb Mount Muhabura costs $75 per person. Mount Muhabura got its name from the locals’ indigenous language, which means “guide.” It is visible from several sites in Uganda’s Kisoro area, although it is an extinct volcano with a crater at the top. It is located in Mgahinga Forest National Park, which is well-known for the presence of mountain gorillas, Reasons Why the Virunga Mountains are so popular among tourists.

Mount Bisoke, another Virunga peak, sits at 3,711 metres and is a dormant volcano located between Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Hikes up Mount Bisoke begin on the Rwandan side, where the top is located, and a permit costs $75 USD. Bisoke’s sole reported eruptions were in 1891 and 1957.

Mount Bisoke features steep but doable slopes and is one of the most walked mountains. It is also one of the mountains that is home to endangered mountain gorillas and is where Dian Fossey’s research facility was established and may be visited. Mount Bisoke contains two crater lakes at the top that you may visit at the end of the trek, one of which is the biggest on the range. Mount Bisoke is wholly controlled by the Rwanda Development Board, which also manages Volcanoes National Park in Rwanda.

Reasons Why the Virunga Mountains are so popular among tourists
Hiking Mount Bisoke

Mount Sabyinyo is another extinct volcano in the Virunga highlands and one of the forgotten volcanoes. The sabyinyo name was taken from the contour of the peak, which resembled teeth, and teeth are Iryinyo in the Rwandan language. The serrated look of the top earned it the moniker “Old Man’s teeth,” thus the name. At an elevation of 3,669 metres, this is the oldest of the mountains. Mountain gorillas also live on Mount Sabyinyo’s slopes.

Mount Gahinga is a dormant volcano in the Virunga mountains that stands at 3,473 metres and is located between Uganda and Rwanda. This mountain inspired the name of the mountain gorilla park, Mgahinga forest national park, which is one of four national parks where you may see mountain gorillas.

Mount Gahinga is one of the smaller mountains and may be reached by hiking from Uganda. Its appearance as a mound of stones inspired the name Gahinga, which means “stones” in Kinyarwanda/ Rufumbira. A permit to climb Mount Gahinga costs $75 USD and may be obtained from both Rwanda and Congo. At the summit of Mount Gahinga lies a marshy caldera that is claimed to be 180 metres wide,Reasons Why the Virunga Mountains are so popular among tourists.

Mount Nyamuragira is a volcano in the Democratic Republic of the Congo that stands at an elevation of 3,058 metres. It is an active shield volcano and one of the Virunga mountain ranges’ active volcanoes. Mount Nyamuragira has seen a number of eruptions in the past, as well as a few recent seismic scares, and is claimed to be Africa’s most active volcano, making hiking unfeasible.

Mount Nyamuragira has erupted over 40 times since 1885, with the most recent eruptions being on January 2nd, 2010 and November 8th, 2011. Mount Nyamuragira is only 25 kilometers from Lake Kivu and is located near Goma.

Reasons Why the Virunga Mountains are so popular among tourists
Mount Nyamuragira

Mount Nyiragongo is another another active Virunga mountain. Mount Nyiragongo lies entirely in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and is managed by the Virunga National Park. It may be walked with an overnight stay at the top. It is an active stratovolcano with a height of 3,470 metres.

Mount Nyiragongo and Mount Nyamuragira are thought to be responsible for 40% of all African eruptions. Mount Nyiragongo contains a 1 kilometer wide open crater with a lava lake that may be observed boiling during your visit to Mount Nyiragongo. Book your two-day walk up Mount Nyiragongo, or add it to your mountain gorilla trekking adventure.

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