Hiking Mountains of Rwanda

Hiking The Mountains of Rwanda

The total area of Rwanda is 26, 338 square kilometres. The neighbouring countries of Rwanda are Tanzania, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Burundi and Uganda. One of Rwanda’s most outstanding natural resources is the Virunga Mountains.

Located north of Lake Kivu, the Virunga Mountains extends for about 80km along the borders of Congo (Kinshasa), Rwanda and Uganda, of its eight major volcanic peaks is Karisimbi, while Nyiragongo is at the far western side of the line of mountains. Parts of the range are in Virunga National Park, Volcanoes National Park (Rwanda) and Gorilla National Park (Uganda)

The Virunga Mountains are home to the critically endangered mountain Gorilla, listed on the red list of endangered species due to habitat loss, poaching, disease and war. The Karisoke research centre which was founded by Dian Fossey to observe gorillas in their native habitat is located between Mount Karisimbi and Mount Bisoke.

Mount Karisimbi

This is the highest of the eight volcanoes in the Virunga Mountains. It is a huge dome that is now dormant and dominates the range more in circumference than in height. Karisimbi means white shell in the local dialect Kinyarwanda. The white-capped top of the mountain is characterized by hail and sleet that is accumulated from frequent storms. It is located within the Parc National Des Vocans, and many of the volcanoes are connected by good trails.

Mount Karisimbi
Image source Wikipedia

Mount Sabyinyo

Sabyinyo is derived from the Kinyarwanda word Iryinyo meaning tooth, Sabinyo, Sabinio is also an extinct volcano. The summit of the mountain at 3645 meters marks the intersection of the borders of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Rwanda and Uganda. It also lies within the adjoining national parks established by these countries: Virunga National Park in the Congo, Volcanoes National Park in Rwanda and Mgahinga Gorilla National Park in Uganda. The slopes of Mt. Sabyinyo are home for the Mountain Gorilla. The mountain carries the local nickname ‘Old Man’s Teeth’ because it is serrated summit resembles worn teeth in a gumline.

Mount Gahinga

This dormant volcanic mountain is located on the border between Rwanda and Uganda. Gahinga lies between Mountains Muhabura and Sabyinyo but is the smallest of these three. The Mgahinga Gorilla National Park is named after the mount and if you are a fan of hiking and mountain climbing, you can climb Gahinga from the side of Sabyinyo.

Mount Bisoke

This mountain straddles the border of Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of Congo, but the summit is located in Rwanda. It is located approximately 35km northeast of the town of Goma and adjacent to Lake Kivu

Mount Muhabura

Also, know as Mount Muhavura lies on the border between Rwanda and Uganda. At 4,127 m Muhabura is the third-highest of the eight major mountains of Virunga range. Muhabura lies partly in Volcanoes National Park, Rwanda and partly in Mgahinga Gorilla National Park, Uganda. The name Muhabura means The Guide in the local Rwandese language which probably derives from the historical use of the mountain to aid in navigation.

Rwanda Climate

The climate is temperate in Rwanda because of its high altitude. The temperature remains around 23 degrees centigrade to 27 degrees centigrade. Rwanda is near to the equator so because of the immense water evaporation clouds form and heavy rain occurs almost every day. The average annual rainfall is 80 cm. On some days there is sunny weather too. The weather remains cool in hilly areas with very light snow sometimes during the winter season.

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