The 8 Virunga Volcanoes
The 8 Virunga Volcanoes are mountain ranges, volcanic in nature that are found across the border of Rwanda, Uganda, and the Democratic Republic of Congo. The 8 Virunga volcanoes are found in the Virunga Conservation Area, which is shared by the three mentioned countries. The 8 Virunga volcanoes are part of the Great Rift Valley. These 8 Virunga volcanoes include Mount Nyiragongo with an elevation of 3470m, Mount Nyamulagira with an elevation of 3057m, Mount Bisoke at 3711m, Mount Muhavura at 4127m, Mount Gahinga at 3470m, Mount Sabinyo at 3671m, Mount Mikeno at 4437m and Mount Karisimbi at 4507m above sea level. Mount Nyamulagira is the lowest of the 8 Virunga volcanoes at 3058m while Mount Karisimbi is the highest with an elevation of 4507m above sea level.
Two of the Virunga volcanoes are active and they include Mount Nyiragongo and Mount Nyamulagira in the Democratic Republic of Congo. One of the 8 Virunga volcanoes is dormant while the rest are dead or extinct.
Uganda has three of the 8 Virunga volcanoes namely Mount Muhavura, Mount Gahinga and Mount Sabinyo, which are sometimes collectively called the Mufumbira Mountains. These are found in the south western part of Uganda along the border of Uganda with Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of Congo. The word Mufumbira which the locals named these volcanoes simply translates to “mountains that cook” for their active nature and eruptions in the past. These three of the 8 Virunga volcanoes found in Uganda are however extinct.
Mount Muhavura is a cone shaped volcano that stands at 4,127 meters above sea level. Sometimes called Mount Muhabura, Mount Muhavura is the tallest of the three Virunga volcanoes in Uganda. Climbing Mount Muhavura takes about 8 hours and rewards travellers with very breath-taking views of the rest of the volcanoes, Lake George, Lake Edward in Queen Elizabeth National Park, the all-year snow-capped Mountain Rwenzori, Bwindi Impenetrable National Park and amazing scenery.
Mount Sabinyo, whose name translates to ‘old man’s teeth’, stands at an elevation of 3645 meters above sea level. Climbing Mount Sabinyo is rather challenging and requires one to have some good level of physical ability. Though hard to climb, Mount Sabinyo gives very stunning views and gives travellers an opportunity to be in Uganda, Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of Congo all at once.
Mount Gahinga which is the smallest of the three Virunga volcanoes in Uganda stands at an elevation of 3474 meters above sea level. Found inside Mgahinga Gorilla National Park, Mount Gahinga can be climbed after a gorilla trekking safari. Combing mountain climbing with gorilla trekking as well as golden monkey tracking in Mgahinga Gorilla National Park gives travellers an opportunity to enjoy the best out of the park.
Mount Nyiragongo found in Virunga National Park of the Democratic Republic of the Congo is probably the most hiked or climbed of the 8 Virunga volcanoes. Mount Nyiragongo has the world’s largest lava lake at the rim, that tourists from world over flock to visit annually.
These Virunga volcanoes are all worthwhile hikes which reward travellers with some of the very best breath taking sceneries and views. Given that most of them are found in gorilla destinations like Mgahinga Gorilla National Park and Virunga National Park, most travellers who book gorilla safaris tend to include mountain climbing as another activity that they can do while in the destinations. Other activities that one may do while on mountain climbing safari include chimpanzee tracking say in Virunga National Park, nature walks, bird watching, and so much more. Golden monkey tracking in Mgahinga Gorilla National Park for example is a great activity to also consider. Get in touch with reputable and knowledgeable tour operators to help you put together amazing safaris to any of the 8 Virunga volcanoes.