Volcano climbing

Mgahinga Gorilla NP rises upwards to three of the Virunga’s six volcanic summits, all of which can be climbed in a day. Views from the peaks – into Rwanda and Congo, and towards the rift valley and Bwindi Impenetrable Forest – more than justify the effort.

The park’s highest peak is Muhavura. The ascent passes through montane forest, bamboo stands and heather groves, before encountering bizarre forms of giant lobelias and groundsels at the summit. The 4,127m summit, which is adorned by a crystal clear crater lake, 40m in diameter, commands panoramic views along the length of the Virunga chain. Mount Gahinga (3,474m) is the smallest of the Virunga volcanoes and its bamboo-covered slopes rise up to a lush, swamp-filled crater, about 180m wide. The jagged crown of Sabinyo bears several summits, the highest of which provides the rare privilege of standing 3,669m high whilst in 3 countries – Uganda, Rwanda and DRC – at once.