Mount. Sabyinyo hike

August 29, 2023 | Bujo Safaris

Mountain Sabyinyo is a dormant volcano part of the Virunga Mountains and the oldest among the eight volcanoes in the Virunga Massif which include Bisoke, Mount Karisimbi, Nyiragongo and Nyamuragira of Congo, Muhabura, Gahinga and Mikeno. The mountain’s summit acts as a boundary to the three countries of Rwanda, Uganda, and the Democratic Republic of Congo.  

The name “Sabyinyo” is a Kinyarwanda local word meaning the “Old man's tooth” derived from the gap-like or worn-out teeth shape of its peaks, unlike other well-leveled summits in the Virunga region. The mountain is located northeast of Lake Kivu, along the borderline of Mgahinga National Park in southwestern corner of the country.

Hiking Mount. Sabyinyo. 

Standing at 3645m tall, hiking the Sabyinyo is a bit of a challenge and a hurdle for its slopes are rugged with sharp ridges and craters surrounding its sides but since it’s a dormant volcano that no longer erupts, it's not a threat to visitors. 

For easy accessibility, the Uganda Wildlife Authority has created handmade wooden ladders nailed in the rocks for easy ascending and descending the Mountain. 

Just like other hiking adventures, hiking Mount Sabyinyo requires visitors to report at the park offices, register and clear all the hiking and extra payments, then attend a briefing in the Mgahinga National Park visitors room. All this should be done as early as 8:00 am in the morning because it's better to hike Mount Sabyinyo during morning hours. In fact, visitors are always advised to descend back the moment it clocks 3:00 pm in the afternoon in case they haven’t yet reached the summit.  

Since it’s a hurdle to climb Sabyinyo, once it clocks that time it’s clear the hiking activity will not be completed and it will be late for visitors to hike after that time. If one insists and climbs then they might return in the dark hours of the night. Climbing at the top takes about 4 hours and the same goes for descending down which sums up to eight hours of hiking Mount Sabyinyo.  

Porters can also be employed for assistance during the hiking experience to help the guests carry their luggage and food.  The mountain hosts a wide number of animals that visitors can anticipate seeing endangered mountain gorillas, antelopes, buffaloes and elephants during their hiking journey.  

There are no accessible routes for hiking in both Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of Congo so the hiking of Mount. Sabyinyo can only be done from Uganda at Mgahinga National Park. Immediately the hiking journey commences, one will encounter wetland swamps around before the bamboo lush vegetation just near the mountain and this is where several animal and bird species are sighted by the visitors.

After reaching the summit of Mount Sabyinyo, travelers and guests will have such a remarkable lifetime moment. Up here, visitors will be able to have stunning views of the three countries including Rwanda, Congo and Uganda. Rwenzori mountains and Lake Bunyonyi in Uganda can be sighted in addition to Lake Kivu in Rwanda. 

Permit Costs for Hiking Mount. Sabyinyo and how to get there?

Hiking Mount. Sabyinyo goes for $85 USD per person. The price includes park entrance fees and guide fees, visitors are advised to always book early in advance. 

Visitors going to hike mount. Sabyinyo can use public or private means - either by road transportation from the capital city of Uganda, Kampala to Kisoro District where the mountain is located. This is an eight-hour drive. One should also anticipate a 14 kilometers journey from Kisoro town to the park where Mount Sabyinyo is located. 

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