hiking mount sabinyo in uganda
Mount Sabinyo is among the eight extinct volcanoes that are within the Virunga ranges. The other remaining mountains within the Virunga ranges include Mount Muhabura, Mount Karisimbi, Mount Mikeno, Mount Bisoke, Mount Gahinga, Mount Nyiragongo, and Nyamuragira. Mount Sabinyo is bisected from its nearest neighbor Mount Muhabura by a crater lake that is 20 just meters in Diameter. The name Sabinyo is from the local language, which means “an Old man’s tooth”. This is because Mount Sabinyo's jagged summit looks like worn-out teeth compared to other summits of its neighboring mountains.
Mount Sabinyo stands at 12,037meters above sea level which acts as a boundary/border for three different countries namely Rwanda, Uganda, and the Democratic Republic of Congo. The mountain slopes of these chained mountains protect the endangered mountain gorillas, golden monkeys, and other animal species such as elephants, forest hogs, forest buffaloes, forest lions, and numerous forest antelopes. Mountain Sabinyo provides the most challenging hiking trails amongst all the Virunga-chained volcanoes. Mount Sabinyo offers a rugged slope and its craters on the sides have created many ridges.
Hiking mountain Sabinyo can only be hiked from Uganda at the moment because its hiking route has not been created in DR. Congo and Rwanda. Although there is a plan by the Rwandan government of curving a way-out route through the craters and well-designed ridges so that tourists may start their adventure safaris from Rwanda. We have an article regarding Hiking Mount Bisoke that might be interesting for you.
On Uganda’s side, Mount Sabinyo is situated in Mgahinga Gorilla National Park, Hiking Mount Sabyinyo is one of the most adventurous among the chained volcanoes in terms of climbing experiences in Uganda. Despite the crater lakes and the sharp ridges before the last peak, The Uganda Wildlife Authority managed to solve the hiking problem by creating the handmade ladders.
Before hiking Mount Sabinyo, every traveler is required to register at the park office, sign in the guest book and clear any hiking payments. Hiking Mount Sabinyo starts with a short briefing. The park guide and Rangers will give you all the information or what you should expect, the history of mount Sabinyo and what you should carry along. Every traveler should make it to the summit by 3 pm, otherwise, you are advised to descend to the starting point because it would be so late to complete the hiking activity on time. All hikers are offered a walking stick that may help them during the hike – take that stick like gold. Porters are always available for travelers interested in hiring when they are having heavy equipment like cameras. Travelers are escorted by at least three locals who are knowledgeable about this particular volcano. Besides the official tour guide, an armed park ranger is always part of the hiking team to protect travelers from large mammals like forest elephants that graze along the slopes of the mountain.
After the briefing, your hiking starts by passing via a flat area with endless swamps. You will start ascending to the zones with a thick vegetation layer. The thick vegetation zones consist of bamboo and are the best habitat for Golden Monkeys. Besides Golden monkeys, you may also be able to experience the endangered mountain gorillas, forest elephants, and forest buffaloes around the Bamboo area. After the first zone, you will experience a sub-alpine kind of vegetation with tall trees but accommodating the rare Rwenzori Turaco bird species, the Rwenzori Turaco is a wonderful bird and the most wanted for many birders. Rwenzori Turaco can only be seen within the Albertine rift region. when you complete this zone, you can view the summit ahead.
Climbing up to Mount Sabinyo summit is a beautiful thing because it offers travelers a greater opportunity of viewing three countries at ago namely Uganda, Rwanda, and DR. Congo)2 while providing the best views that are weather permitting. From the Mount Sabinyo summit, you can view Rwanda’s beautiful Lake Kivu and DR Congo. Travelers can also be able to spot Lake Bunyonyi which is situated in Uganda the Rwenzori mountains in Uganda, you can also spot over six chained volcanoes which belong to the Virunga region and endless unique other features. Patches of the human population who settled amidst the beautiful green plantations and tropical rain forests. Congo looks relatively populated while Rwanda looks more densely populated. Descending Mount Sabinyo is easier but also so how challenging. While Descending you need to deal with the ladders and need to do it more carefully, especially in the rainy season.
Important things that tourists may need to know about Climbing Mount Sabyinyo
Permits that are required for climbing Mount Sabinyo cost $85 per tourist. The permit cost includes the Uganda wildlife Authority guide/Ranger fees and park entrance fees. tourists can get their climbing permit from the Uganda Wildlife Authority offices in Kisoro or through your trusted tour operator in Uganda. Tourist should book their hike a day before or book in advance. Uganda’s Body called the Uganda Wildlife Authority always assigns a ranger guide a day before hiking and therefore coming just on the day of the hike without any booking in advance is not recommended.
To access Mgahinga Gorilla National Park from Entebbe or Kampala, you should prepare for an 8-9 hours journey to Kisoro town, then take a drive for another 14 km to Mgahinga Gorilla National park offices. A public bus can also be available from the bus park in Kampala. From Kisoro town, a tourist can get a Boda Boda (Motorcycle Taxi) which may cost you about 20,000 Uganda Shillings or you pay $35 dollars to be picked up by a safari vehicle from the Uganda Wildlife Authority offices and tourists can hire cars. Mgahinga Gorilla National Park can also be reached via Kigali in Rwanda which is much shorter by road. Those who are not interested in the long journey can as well book a domestic chartered flight from The Entebbe International Airport in Uganda or Kajjansi Airstrip to Kinigi in Bwindi Impenetrable, then driven by road to Mgahinga Gorilla National Park.
The perfect time to hike mount Sabinyo is in the dry season. The rainy season turns the hiking trails into mud-filled and somehow slippery. Visibility can also be difficult and the hiking ladders can become dangerous.
Hiking Mount Sabinyo consists of visiting three different peaks. It is the peak where you can see three African countries at the same. In-between the breaks where extensive ladders were improvised to help hikers navigate easily via the difficult areas of the mountain.
Climbing to the summits of Mount Sabinyo may take four-five hours depending on the hikers while descending down also can either take four-five hours. As you hike to the summit of the mountain, there are greater opportunities of viewing unique bird species including the rare Rwenzori turaco.
The Mount Sabinyo summit is very cold and it is important for travelers to carry a warm jacket. Altitude sickness is also very possible while hiking mount Sabinyo.
To reach Mount Sabinyo summit, you will pass through several wooden ladders that are nailed and attached to the rocks. Climbing Mount Sabinyo ladders in steep sectors of the mountain can be a little scary for first-time climbers who have fear of heights although, you can as well remove that fear of heights by concentrating on the beautiful summit and avoiding looking downwards frequently.
Mgahinga Gorilla national park receives a lot of rain during a certain time of the year and tourists may require to have protection for their electrical gadgets like phones while hiking Mount Sabinyo.
Unfortunately, perfect visibility at Mount Sabinyo summit may be a problem during certain months of the year especially in the rainy months or days of the year due to the high concentrations of clouds (mist) or fog.
Packing List for Hiking Mount Sabyinyo
Clothing: For travelers' best hiking experience, every traveler needs to be dressed the right way. Move with the right dull colored light raincoat, warm heavy stockings, and hand thick gloves for the cold summit. Ensure that your shirt and trouser are Long-sleeved to protect them from crawling insects.
Hiking boots: Traveler’s boots should have strong and sturdy with average traction and grip.
Carry packed lunch or energy-giving snacks: This is important because hiking Mount Sabinyo takes almost an entire day. You will automatically get hungry while hiking up to the mountain summit. You are also advised to carry at least 2 liters of drinking water to help you with your thirst.
A camera and binoculars: good cameras are also important for taking memorable photos at the mountain summit at your greatest time. A binocular is good for viewing the distant chained volcanoes and beautiful endless views. Porters for hire are always available at your service to help you carry any heavy equipment.
First Aid Kit and Toiletries: If possible, travelers should always carry a portable first aid kit in case of any rock miner scratches or pains along the knee joints. Try so much to first visit the toilet before embarking on hiking. Move with toilet paper for any emergencies.
Activities in Mgahinga Gorilla National Park after Mount Sabinyo hike?
From Uganda’s side, Mount Sabinyo is perched in Mgahinga Gorilla National Park. Mgahinga Gorilla National Park is Uganda’s smallest national park but offers interesting tourism activities to tourists. After climbing mountain Sabinyo and getting enough rest, travelers can also choose other activities to go for:
Golden monkey tracking: Just like hiking the mountain itself, Golden monkey tracking activities are only done in Uganda, Rwanda, and the Democratic Republic of Congo. Golden monkeys are cute monkey species that are endangered and a favorite for many tourists and primate lovers. Golden monkeys are extremely playful with the African eagle and human beings are their only threat.
Mountain Gorilla trekking: Mountain Gorilla trekking is the most popular tourist activity in Mgahinga Gorilla National Park. There is only one mountain gorilla family called the Nyakagezi mountain gorilla family being habituated in Mgahinga Gorilla National Park. But offers one of the most memorable mountain gorilla trekking experiences. The Nyakagezi group has more silverbacks than any mountain Gorilla group in Uganda and beyond. The Mountain gorilla trekking experience is so interesting because of offering more piracy due to the fact it's less crowded with tourists as compared to Bwindi impenetrable forest national park.
Wildlife viewing: As you hike to Mount Sabinyo summit, you may be lucky enough to view some of Africa’s most famous mammals such as forest buffaloes, forest elephants, and many antelope species. A more complete wildlife adventure can also be arranged after your hiking at the Savannah national park where you can be able to spot African leopards, forest hogs, and smaller primates like Olive baboons, Velvet, and Colobus monkeys, and black and white colobus monkeys.
Bird watching Safari: Mgahinga Gorilla National Park protects over 300 bird species. Mgahinga Gorilla National Park offers the most sought rare species like the Ruwenzori Turaco, Ruwenzori double collared sunbird, grey crowned cranes, and double toothed barbet.
Accommodation near Mgahinga Gorilla National Park
Accommodation near Mgahinga Gorilla National Park is so easy to find. One can also have their accommodation in Bwindi impenetrable and just drive to Mgahinga Gorilla national park early and catch time for the briefing. Within Mgahinga Gorilla National Park there are endless accommodation facilities, ranging from budget, mid-range, and luxury types. Budget travelers may even choose to stay at the community-owned campsite near the park gate. Camping services are also available which may cost between $6- $20 and dorms can be available at a reasonable price too. Food can be prepared by the staff at the camp at an affordable rate.