The Virunga is a volcanic range in a small area between Lake Edward and Lake Kivu, where Uganda, Rwanda, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo meet. This is a part of the African Lake District, in the western branch of the Great Rift Valley. The Virunga includes eight volcanoes, both dormant and active, the highest rising to over 14,000 feet. The steep slopes are heavily forested, and provide one of the few remaining habitats for the mountain gorilla. The entire area is protected within the Parc National des Volcans.
Two of the volcanoes, Nyirangongo and Nyamlagira, are still highly active, having erupted many times throughout the twentieth century, primarily from new vents and fissures that explode on the slopes of the mountains. Nyiragongo erupted in 1977, and again 1982. Nyamlagira erupted several times in the 1980's, and was most recently active throughout the period from 1991 through 1993.