Hiking Mount Sabyinyo in Rwanda and Uganda: Mount Sabyinyo is another of the three Virunga Mountains that may be found in Uganda, Rwanda, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Mount Gahinga is a prominent tourist site in Uganda’s Mgahinga Gorilla National Park, which is known for housing one mountain gorilla family, which contains some of the world’s last remaining mountain gorillas. Because of its abundance of volcanoes, the national park is also an ideal mountaineering destination.

The Mgahinga gorilla national park in Uganda is a birder’s heaven due to its popularity among woodland high-altitude bird species. Mount Sabyinyo is located in the intersection of three neighboring countries: Uganda, Rwanda, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

Hiking Mount Sabyinyo from Rwanda.

Sabyinyo is derived from the Kinyarwanda word “iryinyo,” which means “tooth.” The volcano was given the moniker “old man’s teeth” because its serrated top resembles the spaced teeth in an old man’s gum line, as opposed to the pristine conical summits of the nearby volcanoes in this range. This Volcano, which stands 3645 meters above sea level, is known to be home to diverse biodiversity such as golden monkeys, “Cercopithecus Kandt,” the oldest monkey species found in the VNP at Mount Sabyinyo; buffalo and elephants, but most importantly, it is home to various Gorilla families, primarily the Agashya, Hirwa, Muhoza, and Sabyinyo Group.

Sabyinyo Volcano features two trails: Rurambo route, which serves two summits (2&3), and Sabyinyo trail, which is on the Volcano’s eastern flank and leads to peak 1. Sabyinyo trail is one of the park’s unique ecological niches due to its ability to provide habitat to various animals and being the site of the first encounter with a mountain gorilla by a Westerner, Mr. Von Beringei, which resulted in the scientific identification of mountain gorillas worldwide. During the colonial era, RICHARD KANDT, the first German colonial administrator of Rwanda, launched a military expedition to Volcanoes National Park in 1902.

The military crew came across a wonderful family of monkeys they had never seen before while exploring at 3000m on the slope of the Sabyinyo route heading to the first summit. Mr. BERINGEI studied a specimen of monkeys in his native country’s laboratory and arrived at the conclusion that these primates were Mountain Gorillas, naming the species Gorilla Beringei after himself.

Given its physical qualities, the Sabyinyo Volcano rising to peak 1 is the simplest hiking track in VNP. The walk begins at 7:00 a.m. from the Park Headquarters, where an RDB guide will inform you of the duties ahead. Most hikers may finish the trek in 6 hours overall, including 4 hours rising to the top and 2 hours returning from the summit. The narrow ridge gives a little excitement for hikers as well as wonderful views over the Gahinga and Muhabura, as well as tempting peeks of Sabyinyo top ranges.

As you ascend, you may observe or hear the singing of several bird species such as Ruwenzori’s Turaco, Mountain Greenbul, Speckled Mousebird, and others. Primates such as Golden monkeys, as well as animals like elephants, buffaloes, and bushbuck, may be seen or heard. On top of the Peak, you’ll be captivated by a magnificent beautiful view of the flora covering the route to the peak, the oldest and most massive rocks of the ravines stretching from top to bottom, the view of the countryside, and so on.

Hiking Mount Sabyinyo from Uganda.

Hiking Mount Sabyinyo in Rwanda and Uganda
Hiking Mount Sabyinyo in Rwanda and Uganda

Mount Sabinyo is located in Uganda’s Mgahinga Gorilla National Park. Climbing Mount Sabyinyo is one of Uganda’s top mountain climbing adventures. Despite the steep slopes and crater lakes before the last summit, the Uganda Wildlife Authority solved the challenge by handcrafting ladders.

Before beginning the climb, visitors must register at the park office, sign the guest book, and make any necessary fees. The hike up Mount Sabinyo begins with a briefing. The Guide and Rangers will explain what to expect, the history of the mountain, and what to bring with you. If you do not reach the top by 3 p.m., you should return since it will be too late to complete the exercise on time. Every hiker is handed a walking staff; treat it like treasure.

Porters might be hired for individuals with heavy equipment such as cameras. At least three locals will accompany you. Aside from the official Guide, an armed ranger is always there to frighten away huge creatures such as elephants that feed on the mountain’s slopes.

Following the briefing, you will begin by going across a level landscape with various marshes. For the next 2390 to 2800 meters, you begin ascending to a region with dense vegetation zones. This location, which is mostly bamboo, is a favorite of golden monkeys. Aside from monkeys, you could see mountain gorillas, elephants, and buffaloes in this region. After the first zone, you’ll come across sub-alpine environment with fewer trees but home to the endangered Rwenzori Turaco.

The beauty of climbing Mount Sabinyo is that you get to see three nations (Uganda, Rwanda, and Congo) while enjoying some of the nicest vistas you’ll ever see – weather permitting. The picturesque Lake Kivu in Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of the Congo may be seen from the top. Lake Bunyonyi in Uganda, the Rwenzori mountain ranges in Uganda, over six mountains in the Virunga area, and several other sights are also visible.

Human dwellings can also be spotted among the lush green crops and woodlands. Congo appears to be abandoned, whilst Rwanda appears to be more heavily inhabited. Descending is easier but also more difficult. You must deal with ladders once again, and you must do it with caution, especially if the weather is poor. Climbing to the top takes four hours while descending down is also four hours.

What you should pack when hiking Mount Sabyinyo in Rwanda and Uganda?


In order to have the finest hiking experience possible, you must be properly clothed. For the frigid summit, dress in a light raincoat, warm socks, and hand gloves. To keep crawling insects at bay, wear a long-sleeved shirt and pants.

Hiking boots:

These should be tough and have good traction and grip.

Bring a packed lunch or snack:

This is essential because the hike lasts all day. While trekking the mountain, you will become quite hungry.  You should also bring at least 2 liters of drinking water with you to quench your thirst.

A camera and binoculars: A decent camera is essential for photographing the peak and your stay at the summit. A binocular is useful for seeing distant volcanoes and scenic landscapes. Porters can be hired to transport any heavy equipment.

First Aid Kit and Toiletries: Carry a portable first aid kit in case of mining scrapes or knee joint discomfort. Try to use the restroom before starting the hike. In case of an emergency, carry toilet paper with you.

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