When one hears about Virunga National Park, mountain gorillas will be the next thing that will run in your mind. However, Virunga National Park Congo offers a lot more than just its mountain gorilla trekking safaris in Congo. Virunga Park offers hiking safaris in Congo, bird watching safaris Congo, nature walks and many more depending on choice. In this article, we are going to write about hiking safaris Congo. The Virunga National Park lies with in the Virunga Mastiff alongside Uganda’s Mgahinga Gorilla National Park and Rwanda’s Volcanoes National Park. The Virunga massif consists of 8 volcanoes and seven (7) of these lie within the Virunga National Park’s boundaries. Some these include Mount Mikeno, a dormant volcano that is the second-highest after Mount Karisimbi. Despite its stature, it’s only visible from inside the Democratic Republic of Congo. Other prominent mountains of this range include Mount Bisoke, Nyamuragira, and Nyiragongo. Earl Denman from Canada climbed all these mountains in preparation for the summit of Everest in 1932.
About Mount Mikeno in Virunga National Park Congo
Mount Mikeno stands at an elevation of about 4,437 meters above sea level situated in the southern side of the Virunga Massif alongside the other seven Virunga ranges. Mount Mikeno lies with in the Virunga National Park’s southern sector. Virunga National Park spans 7,800 km² bordering both Uganda and Rwanda where it is known as the Mgahinga National Park and Volcanoes National Park respectively.
Mount Mikeno a dormant Volcano and the highest peak of the Virunga mountains after Karisimbi Mountain. The word Mikeno means “poor” and the mountain was named as such because the harsh slopes cannot be inhabited by humans, however; Mount Mikeno is also world-renowned for the mountain gorillas inhabiting its borders hence attract travellers for Congo gorilla tours. The gorillas were made famous by the zoologist and scientist Dian Fossey who was immortalized on the silver screen by Sigourney Weaver in Gorillas in the Mist.
Before being forced out of Congo by civil war, Fossey lived with the mountain gorillas for some time. She consequently moved her research to the Rwandan side of the national park where, in 1985, she was found murdered. It’s presumed that because she was hacked to death that it was the work of poachers. These gentle giant are generally shy and only become aggressive when threatened. However, they are on the verge of extinction despite having very few natural predators. Also known as silverbacks (the male gorillas), the numbers of these mountain gorillas had drastically declined due to poaching, illness, habitat destruction, and civil war. They were once listed on the IUCN’s Red List as critically endangered.
Hiking safaris in Mount Mikeno in Virunga National Park Congo
Mount Mikeno summit has been considered as the hardest to climb. Getting to the destination is worth the hustle as you can view the east African rift that is still forming from 30 million years, the views are very breathtaking. Mount Mikeno summit was first reached by W.J. Ganshoff Van der Meesch in 1932, for the first time after 28 year sit was climbed by Lewis Mudge, Pierre Peron and TjeenkWillink the mountain requires technical and experienced mountain climbers to climb.
Tourists interested in hiking safaris in Congo should note that they can be tailored for them alongside their Congo gorilla trekking safaris, Congo wildlife safaris or Congo birding safaris. Travellers should carry along them hiking gears to ease their hiking processes. Potters are also available to help you carry your luggage to the top and back at an affordable fee. As part of your adventure during your hiking safaris Congo, the climb provides panoramic views of the entire national park with coffee plantations and waterfalls. To hike mount Mikeno or do a gorilla trekking tour in Congo requires a traveller to book directly with the national park or use a travel company like Prime Safaris & Tours Ltd. Visitors who come on their own for a Tour in Congo have problems being allowed in the park.
Tourist also has the chance to enjoy a Congo safari cultural experience at the surrounding villages. Rwanda, a neighbouring country to Congo is one of the countries with very rich culture and history interacting with the locals will expose you to more knowledge about this country they also have exceptional traditional dances that will make you not to forget your stay in Rwanda.
The lush forest-covered slopes of the volcano are also inhabited by other primates like chimpanzees, Grauer’s gorillas, several species of monkeys (most notably blue and colobus), and baboons. In fact, the Virunga National Park is the only place on the planet where 3 types of Great Apes can be found. Another borderline extinct species to be found in the Okapi. Although this animal is a close relation of the giraffe, it looks more like a zebra! The park has the highest wildlife concentration than any other African park. Other animals include rare birds, hippos, forest elephants, warthogs, and lions.