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Mount Mikeno

The Virunga range volcanoes straddle across Uganda, democratic Republic of Congo and Rwanda. This chain of eight volcanoes includes; Mount Mikeno, Mount Karasimbi, Mount Bisoke, Mount Sabinyo, Mount Muhabura, Mount Mgahinga, Mount Nyirangongo and Mount Nyamuragira.

Mount Mikeno

Mount Mikeno is a dormant volcanic rising at 4437 meters above sea level and it’s the second highest mountain of the Virunga massif volcanoes after mount Karasimbi and the 13th highest mountain in Africa. Hiking mount Mikeno is hectic and most hikers stop at the first campsite because of the tough terrain and altitude sickness.

Mount Mikeno and Sabinyo are said to be the oldest of the eight volcanoes created over 30 million years ago through the shifting of tectonic plates in the Atlantic Ocean. Mount Mikeno is the hardest to climb of all the Virunga volcanoes.

The word mount Mikeno was derived from a local word to mean “poor” the mountain was named so because of its harsh slopes that prelude human settlement. Mount Mikeno lies in Virunga national park established in 1925 making it one of the oldest national parks in Africa, its also been listed by UNESCO as a world heritage site.

The slopes of mount Mikeno are very fertile because its sides are hit by winds making its receive relief rainfall. In 1932, W.J Wanshoff Van der Meesch was the first solo climber to conquer mount Mikeno and after 28 years Cai Tjeenk Willink, Lewis Mudge and Pierre Peron climbed the mountain though they first climbed to 5 fake peaks before reaching the final peak.

Hiking Mount Mikeno

The hike to mount Mikeno starts from Bukima patrol  post  to the first campsite called Kabara which takes 4 hours, Kabara is also the burial place of Carl Akeley a nature photographer and conservationists who died of fever in 1926 though the actual grave is in pieces because it was desecrated by unknown people in search of nonexistent gold they believed to have been buried with Carl.

The second campsite to the summit is extremely hard to climb and requires experienced mountain climbers, this takes about four hours of difficult terrain a 60° incline upwards. Though the climb is very tough, the reward at the top is worth with spectacular views of the surrounding volcanoes and you can have clear views of the Great East African Rift Valley.

Gorilla trekking

The slopes of Mount Mikeno are home to the endangered mountain gorillas, you can combine your hiking trip with gorilla trekking in Virunga national park. The cost of trekking mountain gorillas is $400 per person per trekking.

Best time to visit

 The best time to visit mount Mikeno is during the dry season of June to August and January and February when the hiking trails are in good condition.

What to bring

When planning to climb mount Mikeno you should pack good hiking boots, warm clothing, raincoats, energy snacks, insect repellents, sun screens, sun glasses, hats, plenty of drinking water, garden gloves and many other things you might need.

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