Mount Sabyinyo is part of the famous Virunga Mountains – a series of eight volcanoes that are shared between three countries of Rwanda, Uganda and the Democratic Republic of Congo. Some of these mountain slopes are permanent habitats to the rare mountain gorillas and elusive golden monkeys. Sabyinyo is the oldest among all the eight volcanoes in Virunga massif and its rugged gap-like appearance is the origin of its name, “Sabyinyo” loosely translated as “Old man’s teeth” in local Kinyarwanda / Kifumbira.
Standing at 3,669 meters, this extinct volcano forms one of the most amazing landmarks in the region. Its summit shares international borders of the three countries and when here you can view all of them at once. Some locals allude that it has supernatural powers. Its opportune location makes it one of the perfect mountains to conquer by hiking in the Virunga area, because of the wonderful views it rewards while on its peak.
Conquering Mount. Sabyinyo’s summit is an expedition that can last only a day, 7-8 hours. Though it might look surprisingly few hours compared to other hikes in the area it’s the least hiked of them all. This is due to its harsh terrain, ridges, and crater pits that make it nearly impossible and dangerous to climb. Because of this, Mount. Sabyinyo is only accessible from the Ugandan section where slopes are navigable and efforts to set up rails to assist hikers are underway.
Because of the difficulty in hiking, its rewards rank as the best notwithstanding the 360° views of the three adjoining countries, which is notably a rare geographical phenomenon. Hikers can also be blessed with sightings of elusive golden monkeys and mountain gorillas, both rare species but can only be seen on lucky days.
The trek commences at Mgahinga national park head offices – Ntebeko after a briefing from experienced guides. This usually covers a short background story about Sabyinyo mountain, what to expect on the trail, and the guidelines to help you keep safe while hiking this tricky volcano. The mountain has three peaks which you will meet and the higher you hike the harder it gets but the better the views.
Because of the harsh nature of this mountain, it is not recommended for inexperienced climbers or people with health issues as it becomes cumbersome and you will not feel satisfied after you only stop at the first peak and have not accomplished your dream of reaching Sabyinyo’s highest peak.
Other activities near Mount. Sabyinyo apart from hiking?
Other than hiking Mount. Sabyinyo, visitors can engage in several other exciting activities to supplement the adventure.
Mountain gorilla trekking.
Mountain gorilla trekking is the highlight in the area. Visitors are advised to acquire gorilla trekking permits beforehand because they are limited and on high demand. These offer you with the lifetime chance to interact for one hour with the beautiful gentle giants of Africa.
Golden monkeys experience.
Being endangered just like mountain gorillas, golden monkeys are also endemic to this region and you can only find them in Uganda and Rwanda. Hikers can fix a golden monkey trekking adventure to meet these cheeky photogenic playful creatures. You will see them feed, gloom each other or mate in their natural habitat.
Birding enthusiasts will not be disappointed as the region boasts some endemic species of Albertine rift, notably the Rwenzori Turaco and Rwenzori double collared sunbird. Be on the lookout for other wildlife that might be in the forest like forest buffaloes, elephants, and bush bucks.
Best time to hike Mount Sabyinyo.
The mountain can be accessed and hiked all year round though it’s recommended to visit in the dry months – December to late February as well as June through to September.
How to access Mount Sabyinyo?
You can get to Kisoro from Kampala in the southwest by road which is approximately 8 hours’ drive. Then connect to Mgahinga Gorilla National Park, a distance of approximately 14 kilometers.
While on your next east African safari, plan a hike to mount. Sabyinyo to conquer one of the challenging volcanoes in the region and don’t forget to add gorilla trekking adventure or golden monkey trek, either after or before the climb to create an unforgettable trekking experience.