Mount Mikeno

Mount  Mikeno is a dormant volcano with an elevation of 4,437 meters / 14,557 feet above sea level making it the 13 highest mountain in Africa. Mikeno is situated in the Democratic Republic of Congo, only 5.5 kilometers northwest of Mount. Karisimbi close to the Rwanda border. The mountain is part of a chain of 7 other volcanos that add up to for the vast Virunga massif.

The Virunga massif comprises 8 volcanos with 3 of them being active while the 5 are dormant and have not shown activeness in the past several decades. The other volcanos are Nyiragongo, Nyamuragira, Bisoke, Sabyinyo, Muhabura, Mgahinga, and Karisimbi. Mount. Mikeno stands as the 2nd highest elevated among the 8 mountains following Mount. Karisimbi. The region is the only place on earth where you encounter mountain gorillas living in their natural environment.

The name Mikeno is borrowed from a local expression “Mikeno” translated as poor. This is because of its harsh and rugged slopes that have hindered human residence along its slopes. Furthermore, the slopes of Mount. Mikeno are known to harbor some of the few surviving endangered species of mountain gorillas making it a regularly visited volcano. The volcano is found on the edge of Virunga national park in Congo and shares borders with Rwanda’s volcanoes national park.

Activities you can do on Mount. Mikeno.

Mountain gorilla trekking.

The slopes of Mount Mikeno just like most of the Virunga Mountains host some gorilla families guests can explore on a visit to this beautiful mountain. The families on Mikeno offer a bit of challenge to encounter due to the harsh terrain of this mountain. However, this can act as an add-on for guests who prefer challenging adventures unlike the relatively easier trekking on other Virunga mountains.

A hike on Mikeno will present to you scenic views of the Virunga and Volcanoes national parks with possible encounters with other wildlife especially monkeys – black and white colobus monkeys, blue monkeys to red-tailed monkeys as well as the forest hogs, forest elephants, leopards and several bird species like Kivu ground thrush, Rwenzori Turacos, double toothed barbet that soar the skies around Mikeno.

Hiking Mount. Mikeno.

At 14,557ft, Mikeno is the second highest volcano within the Virunga massif which makes it an ideal and challenging hiking option. This is one of the toughest hikes in Africa and requires competent seasoned hikers that can take on this worthy opportunity. Hiking Mikeno usually takes two days and the expedition kicks off from the Bukima patrol post, heads to Kabara campsite and then on the following day hike to the peak which is roughly a 4 hour’s hike.

A hike on Mikeno won’t leave you the same as it boasts being one of the toughest hikes in Africa as well as mixing other activities like visiting the endangered gorillas, adding on your bird list and satisfaction of overcoming this hard obstacle.

Bird watching experiences.

Virunga massif is one of the naturally blessed conservation zones rich in fauna and flora. This is no exception for Mount. Mikeno with more than 22 primate species, 79 amphibian species, over  90 mammal species not forgetting the mesmerizing 600 bird species.

A birding expedition on mountain Mikeno will introduce you to species like Kivu ground thrush, yellow-billed barbet, Rwenzori Turacos, double toothed barbet, yellow-billed barbet among many others.

When to visit Mountain Mikeno?

Mount Mikeno is an all-year-round destination but depends on the particular activity you are interested in. For guests interested in hiking and trekking the endangered mountain gorillas, then the dry season is highly recommended. This starts from December to February and then from June to late September.

These months receive limited rainfall volumes and offer easier gorilla treks with an advantage of manageable trails and great views. The wet season meanwhile comes with the advantage of reduced rates on gorilla permits, lodge rates and is more favorable for birding.

Visit mount Mikeno to experience all this and more and add to your enthralling African adventures.

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