Complete Guide to Hiking the Virunga Mountains (How to Plan a Perfect Hiking Expedition
Virunga Mountains straddle along East Africa and Central Africa in Uganda, Rwanda and Congo. They are comprised of 8 volcanoes which are distributed evenly in the three countries. These include; Mount Muhabura on the boarder of Uganda and Rwanda, Mount Bisoke lies in Rwanda – DRC border, mount Gahinga lies in Uganda border Rwanda, Mountain Karisimbi which lies on the Rwanda – DRC border, Mount Mikeno in DRC, Mount Sabyinyo which lies on the Rwanda-Uganda and DRC border, Mount Nyiragongo and Mount Nyamuragira in DRC.
Apart from mount Nyamuragira , the rest of the volcanic mountains are open for tourism and be best hiked during the peak dry seasons from June to August because rains make the trails slippery and difficult to trek.
Below we bring you a complete guide on how to plan your successful hiking expeditions in Virunga Mountains.
- Early preparation.
Hiking the Virunga Mountains is not a wake up to do activity, you need to be physically fit and health otherwise your hiking dream may not come to pass. The ranges are too steep and need physical fitness. You also need to arrange with your trusted tour operator to secure you a permit and accommodation at least two months in advance.
- Time to hike
Treks usually begin early by 7 in the morning, you are therefore advised to be at the starting point for briefing before you begin the hike.
- Packing list
Visitors coming to hike virunga ranges should take note that the temperature at the top of the mountains are usually below the freezing point and they are advised to park the following; Rain jackets, warm clothes, head gears, enough drinking water and snacks for a bite to keep you energized, sleeping bags, good hiking boots, insect repellants and walking sticks are provide at the stations.
- Health advice.
Hiking is restricted below 12 years, therefore only persons above will be allowed to participate. Remember to carry your passports and other travel documents, check your health status and bring along your medical forms, you are then advised not to hike if you have mountain sickness or find carry your medicine with you.
- Safety advice
Keep on the watch of your luggage and belongings at the top of the mountain in case you are spending an overnight in the cabins, you will meet other visitors and other people there with different character and intentions and it would be bad if you lose your belongings.
Virunga Mountains like Nyirangogo and Karisimbi require spending an overnight at the top and requires you to carry eats and enough drinks for the night, there you are advised to hire a porter at a fee and carry you luggage so you can successful hike without any hindrances.
Lastly hiking Virunga Mountains is quite rewarding, the ranges are a home to various wild life like mountain gorillas, chimpanzees, monkeys, different bird species which you will be able to see on your hiking experience.