Virunga mountains in Congo
Virunga mountains in Congo : The Virunga mountains in the Democratic republic of Congo are quite a number. The Virunga mountains are a chain of 8 volcanic mountains that are spread out along the land borders of Uganda, Rwanda and the Democratic republic of Congo. These 8 volcanoes are alike and famous for their concentration in the Albertine region. The Virunga mountains are situated in between two great lakes of the region which are Lake Kivu of Rwanda and Lake Edward of Uganda.
The Virunga mountains are called Virunga from the local name ibirunga as the people in the area refer to these mountains meaning volcanoes. All the eight mountain ranges were previously active volcanoes but 6 of these are currently dormant volcanoes. The only currently active volcanoes are the Mount Nyiragongo and Mount Nyamulagira.
These 8 volcanoes are shared by one or two of these countries and one is shared by all the three countries and these include the Mount Karisimbi located in both Rwanda and DR Congo, Mount Mikeno fully located in the Democratic republic of Congo, Mount Muhabura found in Rwanda and Uganda, Mount Bisoke found in Rwanda and the DR Congo, Mount Sabyinyo found in Rwanda, Uganda and the DR Congo, Mount Gahinga in Rwanda and Uganda, Mount Nyiragongo and the Mount Nyamulagira located in the DR Congo.
The Virunga mountains that are located in the Democratic republic of Congo include Mount Karisimbi, Mount Mikeno, Mount Bisoke, Mount Sabyinyo, Mount Nyamulagira and Mount Nyiragongo. These mountains are also famous for being the home to the mountain gorillas, the last remaining individuals in the world. We get to discuss these Virunga volcanoes of the Democratic republic of Congo in this article to thrill while on Congo Safaris Tours.
- Mount Karisimbi
The Mount Karisimbi is the highest point of these volcanoes. The Mount Karisimbi is standing at an elevation of 4,507 meters above sea level which is approximately 14,787 feet high and this volcano is also a stratovolcano. It is strategically located on the land border of Rwanda and the Democratic republic of Congo.
The summit of this mountain is the highest of these Virunga mountains but takes up the 11th highest mountain on the African continent. The Mount Karisimbi attained its name from the Rwandan word “amasimbi” which in the local language refers to snow. This is mainly because of the snow that can be seen at the cap of this mountain in the dry season.
The Mount Karisimbi can be hiked from the Rwandan side and at the foothills is also where the famous primatologist Dian Fossey set up her research center on the mountain gorillas of the area. The Karisoke Research center is set there and guests can visit.
- Mount Mikeno
The Mount Mikeno is one of the Virunga volcanoes that are fully located in the Democratic republic of Congo. The Mount Mikeno is an extinct volcano which implies no volcanic activity is expected from this mountain. It is standing at an elevation of 4,437 meters approximately 14,557 feet and this is the second highest peak of these volcanoes.
The Mount Mikeno fully lies within the Virunga national park which is famous for being a home to the endangered mountain gorillas. Mikeno attained its name from its harsh and dry slopes implying a poor place- Mikeno.
- Mount Bisoke
The Mount Bisoke is shared by the two countries that is Rwanda and the Democratic republic of Congo however the summit is located on the Rwandan side. The Mount Bisoke is currently a dormant volcano and hikes up to the summit of the Mount Bisoke are possible and planned from the Volcanoes national park.
The Mount Bisoke is standing at an elevation of 3,696 meters approximately 12,126 feet and there has been some volcanic activity seen from this volcano is 1891 and 1957. Some parts of this volcano have shown possible volcanic activity thus making it an active volcano.
- Mount Sabyinyo
The Mount Sabyinyo is the only one of these volcanoes that is situated in all the three countries, Uganda, Rwanda and the Democratic republic of Congo. The Mount Sabyinyo is standing at an elevation of 3,669 meters and the name Sabyinyo originated from the appearance of the peak that looked like an old man’s teeth thus calling it Sabyinyo as the teeth are referred to in the local dialect in the area.
The Mount Sabyinyo is an extinct volcano and strategically located on the intersection of the land borders of Uganda, Rwanda and DR Congo.
- Mount Nyiragongo and Mount Nyamulagira
The Mount Nyiragongo and the Mount Nyamulagira are both active volcanoes and fully located in the Democratic republic of Congo. The Mount Nyiragongo is elevated at 3,470 meters while the Mount Nyamuragira is elevated at 3,058 meters which is the lowest point of these volcanoes.
These two volcanoes are said to be responsible for 40% of the volcanic eruptions that have been experienced on the African continent. The most recent eruption from these volcanoes was from the Mount Nyiragongo in 2021 May. A hike up the Mount Nyiragongo is possible and can be booked with the Virunga national park for your Congo safari tour.