Virunga Mountains Hiking
Virunga Mountains hiking is one of the top activities done in the Virunga massif as travelers decide on hiking any of the 8 Virunga Volcanoes. Virunga Mountains hiking has always been one of the most tourist activities carried out in the Virunga Mountains due to the nature of the volcanic mountains situated within Virunga massif. Hiking safaris in the Virunga massif is done on any of the 8 volcanic mountain ranges within the Virunga Conservation Area which is shared amongst three countries of Rwanda, Uganda, and DRC. Mountains available for hiking safaris in Virunga massif include mount Karisimbi situated in border with Rwanda and DRC, mount Nyiragongo located in DRC, mount Gahinga situated in the border between Rwanda and Uganda, mount Bisoke situated in Rwanda, mount Nyamuragira situated in DRC, mount Muhavura in border with Uganda and Rwanda and mount Sabyinyo situated in border between both the three countries of Uganda, Rwanda and DRC.
Virunga Mountains Hiking to one of the above mountains is so amazing and rewarding allowing hikers to encounter several unique wildlife species along the way.
Virunga Mountains Hiking Safari
Mount Karisimbi hiking safari in Virunga massif: unlike gorilla trekking, chimpanzee trekking and golden monkey trekking which involve trailing up and down the hills and jungles in search of the primes, hiking the mountain is a different adventure taking hikers up the mountain to summit the top and explore all the creatures that inhabit the mountain including mammals, crater lakes among others. Mount Karisimbi is found in Volcanoes National Park in Rwanda.
Mount Karisimbi stretches at an elevation of 4507m high above the sea level making it the highest mountain within the Virunga massif thus hiking it to summit the top requires a certain level of fitness to push on in order to reach the top. Hiking mount Karisimbi takes two days to make a round trip. Due to the fact that it is the highest mountain in Virunga massif, hikers have to hike up to a particular height and set an overnight camp and then proceed on the second day to summit the top and return to the base.
While on top of mount Karisimbi, hikers have a greater opportunity of viewing the snowcapped top, view the two neighboring countries of Rwanda and DRC. And also have a clear view of the neighboring mountains such as mount Nyiragongo in the Democratic Republic of Congo.
Hiking mount Sabyinyo / mount Sabinyo in Virunga massif: elevated at 3,634m above the sea level is mount Sabyinyo which is also considered to be the volcanic mountain amongst the eight mountain ranges in the Virunga conservation area.
Hiking mount Sabyinyo is yet a tiring adventure due to the nature of the mountain resembling the old man’s teeth thus its name. Since mount Sabyinyo borders all the three countries, it can be hiked from any country such as Uganda with in Mgahinga national park, Democratic Republic of Congo in Virunga national park and Rwanda within Volcanoes national park allowing hikers to encounter different primate species such as gorillas, and other mammals including forest elephants.
Hiking Mount Nyiragongo: mount Nyiragongo is one of the best mountains to hike while on a hiking safari in Virunga massif. Situated at an elevation of 3, 470m above the sea level is mount Nyiragongo one of the best and active mountain to hike while in the Democratic Republic of Congo in order to get to the summit/the top which offers a clear view of the lava lake at the top of the mountain. In fact hiking mount Nyiragongo, still stands out to be the major activity alongside gorilla trekking in DRC.
Hiking mount Nyiragongo takes a maximum of two days but some hikers decide to ascend and descend it in one day though it is better to stay at the summit overnight to view the lava lake glow at night once it rains. Mount Nyiragongo last erupted in 2002 and still is expected to erupt anytime since it already shows the signs of eruption.
Hiking mount Gahinga / mount Mgahinga: elevated at 3,474m is mount Gahinga a dormant volcanic mountain allowing hikers to summit the top filled with the swamp. During the hike, the hiker has an opportunity of encountering the endangered mountain gorillas and lots of mammals, and birds that inhabit Mgahinga national park and Rwanda’s volcanoes national park. While on top, hiker have a clear view of the Crater Lake at the top
Hiking Mount Bisoke: in the border with Rwanda and DRC lies mount Bisoke at an elevation of 3,711m above the sea level. To summit the top of mount Bisoke, hikers have to trail via bamboo forest sighting out different primate species and other mammals along the way as soon as the hikers summit the top, they have a clear view of the Crater Lake at top and the mountain ranges that are close to Bisoke mountain range. Hikers to mount Bisoke also have a chance of hiking to Dian Fossey tomb with in karisoke research center
Hiking Mount Mikeno: hiking mount Mikeno (Virunga Mountains Hiking) is one of the toughest hikes that travelers have experienced due to the fact that it is the second-highest mountain within Virunga massif elevated at 4,437m high above the sea level. Hiking mount Mikeno allows travelers to encounter some primates including mountain gorillas, and other mammals and bird species along the way. Mount Mikeno can be hiked in just one day to make a round trip and it is situated in DRC
Hiking mount Muhabura / Muhavura: Mount Muhavura is the third highest mountain in Virunga massif situated in the border of Uganda and Rwanda. Mount Muhavura is elevated at 4,127m high above the sea-level. Several travelers hike mount Muhavura in order to get to the summit/the top and have a clear view of the twin lakes of Ruhondo and Bulera. There are other things to encounter along the way including the primates such as gorillas, mammals, birds, butterflies among others. This hike takes one day to make a round trip
Hiking Mount Nyamuragira: this mountain is elevated at 3,058m high above the sea-level and is situated in DRC considered to be one of the most active volcanic mountains in Africa. Several travelers actually fear to hike this mountain for fear of an abrupt eruption while on a hike. However, travelers who opt to hike it have a chance of viewing a lava lake at the top.
Volcanic Mountains Hiking requirements
Hikers need to plan in advance for their hiking safaris and obtain all the appropriate information regarding the hike before confirming the trip. Below are some of the requirements necessary to make your hiking safari a memorable one and these include;
- A hiking permit: depending on which mountain to hike, hikers need to obtain the permits that allow them to hike. This can be done either directly from the park headquarters or by using a trusted tour operator to assist in obtaining the permits and mobilizing an entire trip including accommodations, transportation and many more to have an awesome experience while on a hiking safari.
- Good hiking attire: this includes good hiking shoes, a cap, sunglasses, light clothes for a day hike and the warmer attire to be used at night and at the top of the mountain. Following the geography saying that the higher you go, the cooler it becomes implying that during the ascent, hikers have to prepare good and warm sweaters to help them while at the top of the mountain
- Enough snacks and bottled drinking water: Keeping in mind that hiking requires a lot of energy to summit the top, then enough bottled drinking water is necessary to keep you sober and hydrated throughout the hike.
- Hiking stick: this stick is normally provided at the office on the hiking day
- A porter: most of the hiking and trekking safaris always requires that hikers hire a porter to assist in carrying the extra luggage in order to reduce the weights and make the hike easier
- And finally, armed rangers are always available to escort the hikers for protection purposes
The best season for Mountain Hiking safaris
Most tourist activities are best enjoyed in the dry seasons henceforth the best season to hike the mountains in Virunga massif is during the dry months of June, July and August when the place is dry and easy for camping overnight.
Virunga massif has a very perfect fauna and flora that makes hiking any of the mountain with in the Virunga conservation area one of the most fascinating and breathtaking expeditions in Africa as you view different lakes, mountains, mammals, primates, tree species, birds, butterflies among others.
Choose to hike one or all of the mountain ranges in Virunga massif and truly you won’t regret the experience after summiting the top and viewing the entire land scape filled with vegetation cover and several species of the wildlife that exist within. Virunga Mountains Hiking in Virunga massif starts at 7:00 am in the morning so always try to be in the respective place in time to avoid missing out on your dream adventure.