Virunga Mountains

The Virunga Mountains (also known as Mufumbiro[1]) are a chain of volcanoes in East Africa, along the northern border of Rwanda, the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), and Uganda. The mountain range is a branch of the Albertine Rift Mountains, which border the western branch of the East African Rift. They are located between Lake Edward and Lake Kivu. The name "Virunga" is an English version of the Kinyarwanda word ibirunga, which means "volcanoes".

Virunga Mountains
The summit of Mount Mikeno
Highest point
PeakMount Karisimbi
Elevation4,507 m (14,787 ft)
Length80[1] km (50 mi)
CountriesDemocratic Republic of the Congo, Rwanda and Uganda

The mountain range consists of eight major volcanoes. Most of them are dormant, except Mount Nyiragongo 3,462 metres (11,358 ft) and Mount Nyamuragira 3,063 metres (10,049 ft), both in the DRC. Recent eruptions occurred in 2006 and in January 2010. Mount Karisimbi is the highest volcano at 4,507 metres (14,787 ft). The oldest mountain is Mount Sabyinyo, which rises 3,634 metres (11,923 ft) above sea level.

The Virunga Mountains are home of the critically endangered mountain gorilla, listed on the IUCN Red List of Endangered Species due to habitat loss, poaching, disease, and war (Butynski et al. 2003). The Karisoke Research Center, founded by Dian Fossey to observe gorillas in their native habitat, is located between Mount Karisimbi and Mount Bisoke.

List of mountains in the Virunga Mountain Range

Name of mountain Location Elevation in Metres Elevation in Feet
Mount Karisimbi Rwanda / DRC 4,507 14,790
Mount Mikeno DRC 4,437 14,560
Mount Muhabura Rwanda / Uganda 4,127 13,540
Mount Bisoke Rwanda / DRC 3,711 12,180
Mount Sabyinyo Rwanda / Uganda / DRC 3,674 12,050
Mount Gahinga Rwanda / Uganda 3,474 11,400
Mount Nyiragongo DRC 3,470 11,400
Mount Nyamuragira DRC 3,058 10,031

National Parks

In culture

See also


  • Chisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). "Mfumbiro" . Encyclopædia Britannica (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press.

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