Volcanoes of Rwanda
Volcanoes of Rwanda : Rwanda is a home to a number of the Virunga Mountains. The Virunga Mountains are all volcanic but the biggest number of these volcanoes is dormant. The Virunga Mountains are spread out among three countries that is Rwanda, Uganda and the Democratic republic of Congo. The Virunga mountains are world widely known as a major tourist destination in Africa mainly because of being the home to the endangered mountain gorillas and these eight volcanoes are spread out along the border line of these countries. Some of these Virunga mountains are shared by two or three of the above mentioned countries.
The Virunga mountains are a chain of dormant volcanoes and they are eight in the region. They are spread out between the Lake Edward and Lake Kivu lying in the great East African rift valley. These mountains include the Mount Karisimbi that is the highest standing at an altitude of 4,507 meters, then the Mount Mikeno standing at 4,437 meters, the Mount Muhabura at 4,127 meters, the fourth volcano is the Mount Bisoke at 3,711 meters, Mount Sabyinyo standing at 3,671 meters, Mount Gahinga elevated at 3,470 meters and lastly the Mount Nyamuragira at 3,058 meters.
The only active volcanoes among the 8 volcanoes are the Mount Nyiragongo of the Democratic republic of Congo and the lowest of the volcanoes, the Mount Nyamulagira. Both these volcanoes are fully in the DR Congo and not shared by the other two countries. You can book a visit to one of them that is the Mount Nyiragongo for an overnight hike while the Mount Nyamulagira area is still under developed for any tourism activities to be successful.
All the above mentioned volcanoes have a meaning to their names and how their names were derived for example the Mount Sabinyo whose peaks look like an old man’s teeth thus the Sabinyo name referring to teeth in the local Kinyarwanda name. Mount Sabinyo standing at an elevation of 3,674 meters and 12,050 feet above is shared by all the three countries that is Rwanda, Uganda and the Democratic republic of Congo.
The Mount Karisimbi is volcano shared by the DR Congo and Rwanda, The Mount Mikeno is only found in the DR Congo, Mount Muhabura is only located in the Rwanda and Uganda of the three countries, Mount Bisoke is shared by the Rwanda and Uganda, Mount Gahinga is shared by Rwanda and Uganda and can be hiked from either of the two countries and the other two volcanoes the Mount Nyiragongo and Mount Nyamulagira are fully in the Democratic Republic of Congo.
Rwanda offers a number of hikes up these volcanoes but no volcano is fully and only located in the country but has a portion of five of the eight volcanoes. All the Virunga mountains of Rwanda are shared however they are managed and conserved by the Rwanda Development Board that is the managing body of the Volcanoes national park. The Volcanoes national park offers all the volcano hikes in this part of the country as five of the eight volcanoes are in the country.
Mount Karisimbi, the highest volcano of the Virunga mountains is located in Rwanda and can be hiked from the Rwanda side. Hikes uphill are offered and can be booked on the Rwanda Development booking site- IREMBO where you can purchase yourself a permit at 400 USD only hiking fee. This hike uphill is an overnight hike where you will have to hire yourself some camping gear at about 100 USD. On your hike up Mount Karisimbi, you will hike up this challenging but worthwhile mountain and stop at an altitude of 3,700 meters where you will have an overnight at the camp and complete the hike the following morning and descend to the starting point.
Mount Muhabura, is shared by both Rwanda and Uganda and can be trekked from either side of the mountain. The Rwanda Development Board offers this Mount Muhabura hike permit at only 75 USD per person and is a one day hike up and back. This hike is also offered in Mgahinga gorilla national park of Uganda and a permit also goes for 80 USD. Muhabura got its name from the fact that it was used as a guide as it can be seen from many parts of both countries.
Mount Bisoke is another dormant volcano among the Virunga mountains and is strategically located at the border of Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of Congo just 35 Kilometers away from the Goma town and adjacent to the Lake Kivu, A permit to hike up Mount Bisoke goes for 75 USD and is a one day hike so no need for camping gear.
Mount Sabyinyo is one of the known homes of the endangered mountain gorillas and is the volcano that marks the intersection of Rwanda, Uganda and the DR Congo and is offered by all the three national parks, Volcanoes national park, Mgahinga gorilla national park and the Virunga national park. This mountain has great religious importance to the local people living around this mountain.
Mount Gahinga is a dormant volcano and is shared by Rwanda and Uganda and can be hiked from either side of the mountain. The hike permit goes for 75 USD and can be booked on IREMBO. Mgahinga derived its name from the way the mountain looked like a pile of stones and in the local language a pile of stones was referred to as Gahinga. There is a caldera at the top that is estimated to be 180 meters wide.