Virunga Mountains

Virunga Mountains

The Virunga mountains is a chain of eight volcanic mountains straddling across Uganda, Rwanda and democratic republic of Congo in between Lake Edward and Lake Kivu.  This mountain range is a branch of the Albertine rift mountains bordering the western branch of East African rift valley.

 The name Virunga is derived from a local word n Kinyarwanda language for Ibirunga to mean volcanoes, the Virunga massif covers three mountain gorilla national parks that is Volcanoes national park in Rwanda, Mgahinga national park in Uganda and Virunga national park in Congo.

The Virunga mountains

The Virunga mountains consist of eight volcanoes that can be seen below;

Mount Sabinyo

Mount Sabinyo is the oldest of the Virunga range volcanoes rising on an elevation of 3669 meters above sea level, the word Sabinyo is derived from a local Kinyarwanda word ‘Ibinyo’ to mean ‘tooth’ this is so because of its serrated summit that resembles wan out teeth in a gum line.

Mount sabinyo is situated adjoin three national parks of Virunga national park, Volcanoes national park and Mgahinga national park in Uganda, Rwanda and Congo. Mount Sabinyo can only be climbed from the Ugandan side due to its terrain on the other sides which makes it difficult to climb.

Mount Nyirangongo

Mount Nyirangongo is an active stratovolcano located in Virunga national park in democratic Republic of Congo with an elevation of 3470 meters above sea level. The mountains lava lake has been known to be the most voluminous lava lake in the world moving at a speed of 97 kilometres per hour compared to others that flow at 1 to 10 kilometres per hour.

Mount Nyirangongo is one of the world’s active volcanoes known to have erupted at least 34 times since 1882 and not much is known about how long the volcano has been active. Its lava lake has an estimated depth of 600 meters deep with maximum elevation of 3250 meters.

Mount Nyamuragira

Mount Nyamuriga is an active shield volcano located in Congo with an elevation of 3058 meters high with a caldera which is 2 kilometres wide with walls of 500 meters high. Due to political unrest in the area, the mountain has not been well studied by scientists.

The name Nyamuragira is derived from a local word ‘Kuragira Ngavu’ meaning to ‘herd cows’. The mountain is one of Africa’s most active volcanoes having erupted at least 40 times since 1985 with the recent eruptions of November 2011.

Mount Mikeno

Mount Mikeno is the second highest mountain of the Virunga massif volcanoes standing on an elevation of 4437 meters above sea level. The word Mikeno is derived from a local word to mean ‘poor’ because of its harsh slopes that prelude human settlement.

Mount Karasimbi

Mount Karasimbi is a dormant stratovolcano and the highest mountain of the Virunga range volcanoes rising at 4507 meters above sea level bordering Rwanda and the democratic republic of Congo. The name Karasimbi is derived from a local word ‘amasimbi’ described to mean ‘snow’ because of its snow-capped peaks almost throughout the year.

Mount Gahinga

Mount Gahinga is also one of the Virunga range volcanoes bordering Rwanda and Uganda with an elevation of 3473 meters above sea level. The word Gahinga is derived from a local word meaning ‘small piles of stones’ .

Mount Muhabura

Mount Muhabura stands at an elevation of 4127 meters above sea level bordering Rwanda and Uganda, the name Muhabura also sometimes known as Muhavura is derived from a local word to mean ‘guide’.

Mount Bisoke

Mount Bisoke is also one of the Virunga range volcanoes situated in Rwanda and Democratic republic of Congo. Its last eruption occurred in 1957, its mountain slopes are home to endangered mountain gorillas.

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