Volcanoes National Park lies in northwestern Rwanda and borders Virunga National Park in the Democratic Republic of Congo and Mgahinga Gorilla National Park in Uganda. The national park is known as a haven for the mountain gorilla. It is home to five of the eight volcanoes of the Virunga Mountains (Karisimbi, Bisoke, Muhabura, Gahinga and Sabyinyo), which are covered in rainforest and bamboo. The park was the base for the zoologist Dian Fossey.
Mount Bisoke is an active volcano in the Virunga Mountains of the Albertine Rift, the western branch of the East African Rift. It straddles the border of Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of the Congo, but the summit is located in Rwanda. It is located approximately 35 km northeast of the town of Goma and adjacent Lake Kivu.
Mount Karisimbi is an inactive volcano in the Virunga Mountains on the border between Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of Congo. At 4,507 meters (14,787 ft), Karisimbi is the highest of the eight major mountains of the mountain range, which is a part of Albertine Rift, the western branch of the East African Rift. Karisimbi is flanked by Mikeno to the north, Bisoke to the east and Nyiragongo to the west, on the other side of the Rift Valley. Karisimbi is the 11th highest mountain of Africa. The name Karisimbi comes from the word 'amasimbi' in the local language, Kinyarwanda, which means snow. Snow can mostly be found during the dry season in June, July, and August on the top of the volcano. Between Karisimbi and Bisoke is the Karisoke Research Center, which was founded by Dian Fossey in order to observe the mountain gorillas living in this area.
Mount Gahinga, is a dormant/extinct volcano in the Virunga Mountains on the border between Rwanda and Uganda. Gahinga lies between Muhabura and Sabyinyo, but is the smallest of these three. Mount Gahinga, also known in the local Kinyarwanda/Rufumbira dialect as "a small pile of stones", has a swampy caldera on its peak. The caldera is believed to be about 180 meters wide. Mgahinga Gorilla National Park also got its name from this volcano. Mount Gahinga, whose elevation is 3,474 meters, is part of a chain of 8 volcanic mountains of the Mufumbiro ranges. The volcano chain spans across Uganda, Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of Congo.The vegetation across the mountain can be described as afro-montane with bamboo composing the main vegetation. Like Muhabura and Sabyinyo, the bamboo forests on Mount Gahinga are a habitat of the endangered mountain gorillas. There are several other species of animals and birds that form part of the Mount Gahinga ecosystem. The golden monkeys are notable to these.
Mount Muhabura is an extinct volcano in the Virunga Mountains on the border between Rwanda and Uganda. At 4,127 m, Muhabura is the third highest of the eight major mountains of the mountain range, which is a part of the Albertine Rift, the western branch of the East African Rift. 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 language, Kinyarwanda, which probably derives from a historical use of the mountain to aid navigation. It can be seen from many parts of Uganda and Rwanda because of its slope.
Mount Sabyinyo (derived from the Kinyarwanda word 'Iryinyo', meaning tooth) is an extinct volcano in eastern Africa in the Virunga Mountains. It is located northeast of Lake Kivu, one of the African Great Lakes, and west of Lake Bunyonyi in Uganda. The summit of the mountain, at 3,645 meters (11,959 ft), marks the intersection of the borders of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), Rwanda, and Uganda. It also lies within the adjoining national parks established by these countries: Virunga National Park in the DRC, the Volcanoes National Park in Rwanda, and Mgahinga Gorilla National Park in Uganda. The slopes of Mt. Sabyinyo are a habitat for the critically endangered Mountain Gorilla. The mountain carries the local nickname "Old Man's Teeth" because its serrated summit resembles worn teeth in a gum line (in contrast to the perfect conical summits of the adjacent mountains in this range).