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Mount Sabinyo hiking tour in Uganda

by | May 9, 2024 | 0 comments

Hiking Mount Sabinyo in Uganda

Mount Sabinyo, standing at 12,037 feet, is a dormant volcano situated in the Virunga ranges. Alongside Mount Karisimbi, Muhabura, Bisoke, Mikeno, Nyiragongo, Gahinga, and Nyamuragira, it forms part of this mountainous region. The name “Sabinyo” translates to “Old man’s tooth” in the local language, reflecting its jagged summit resembling worn-out teeth compared to the smoother peaks of neighboring mountains.

Mount Sabinyo serves as a natural border for Uganda, Rwanda, and the Democratic Republic of Congo, with its slopes providing a habitat for endangered mountain gorillas, elephants, buffaloes, and various forest antelopes. Known for its challenging hikes, the mountain features rugged slopes, craters, and numerous ridges. Currently, hiking Mount Sabinyo is accessible only from Uganda due to the lack of established routes on the Congo and Rwanda sides. However, there are plans to create a path through the craters and ridges from Rwanda to enhance the tourist experience.

Hiking Mount Sabinyo from the Uganda side

Climbing Mount Sabinyo in Uganda begins with registering at the park office, signing the guest book, and settling any necessary payments. The hike commences with a briefing from the Guide and Rangers, who will provide information on what to expect, the mountain’s history, and essential items to bring along. If you do not reach the summit by 3 pm, it is recommended to descend as completing the activity on time would be challenging. Each hiker is equipped with a walking stick, which is highly valuable during the climb. Porters are available for hire for those carrying heavy equipment like cameras. A team of at least three locals, including an armed ranger, will accompany you to ward off large mammals such as elephants that roam the mountain’s slopes.

Climbing to the summit of Mount Sabinyo offers a unique experience as you can simultaneously be in three different countries – Uganda, Rwanda, and Congo. The breathtaking views from the top, weather permitting include the stunning Lake Kivu in Rwanda, the Democratic Republic of Congo, and Lake Bunyonyi in Uganda, the Rwenzori Mountain ranges, the Virunga region, and various other natural features. Human settlements can be spotted among lush green plantations and forests. Rwanda appears more densely populated compared to the relatively deserted Congo. The descent, although easier, presents its challenges, especially navigating the ladders again, particularly in unfavorable weather conditions.

Activities Mount Sabinyo

Located in Mgahinga Gorilla National Park on the Uganda side, Mount Sabinyo is a captivating destination. Despite being the smallest national park in Uganda, it offers an array of incredible activities for tourists to indulge in. Once you have conquered the mountain and taken ample rest, there are further options to explore.

Hiking Mount Sabinyo

The Sabinyo volcano hiking expedition occurs within the boundaries of Mgahinga Gorilla National Park in Kisoro, Uganda. Mount Sabinyo is among the eight volcanoes that form the Virunga ranges in East and Central Africa. The hike up Mount Sabinyo is a popular tourist attraction, highly regarded alongside mountain gorilla tracking in Mgahinga Gorilla National Park. Additionally, the Virunga massif on the Ugandan side includes two other volcanoes, namely Mount Muhabura and Mount Gahinga.

The rough terrain of Sabinyo’s slopes, characterized by numerous craters and sharp ridges, makes it impossible to trek in the neighboring countries, except for Uganda. In Uganda, a challenging yet safe trail has been established, complete with handmade ladders to aid climbers on steep sections. Unlike Karisimbi, which takes 2 days to climb, Mt. Sabinyo is a one-day hike with an 8-hour round trek. The ascent to the summit takes 4 hours, with the descent also taking 4 hours, depending on factors such as pace and weather conditions.

The hiking expedition commences from the park office following a briefing by the ranger guide. Walking sticks are provided free of charge, while porters are available for hire.

Golden monkey trekking

Golden monkeys can be exclusively spotted in Uganda, Rwanda, and the Democratic Republic of Congo, much like the majestic mountains they inhabit. These charming creatures, beloved by tourists and primate enthusiasts alike, are unfortunately endangered. Known for their playful nature, they face threats only from African eagles and humans.

Golden monkeys are unique to Uganda, Rwanda, and the Democratic Republic of Congo, mirroring the grandeur of the mountains they call home. These adorable primates are at risk of extinction yet remain a popular attraction for tourists and wildlife enthusiasts. Their playful interactions are only disrupted by African eagles and human activities.

Gorilla trekking

This activity is widely considered to be the most popular in Mgahinga National Park. While there is only a single habituated gorilla family in Mgahinga, it is one of the most fascinating groups. The family boasts an impressive number of silverbacks, arguably more than any other in Uganda and beyond. Gorilla trekking in Mgahinga is particularly appealing because it provides a more intimate experience, as the park is not as heavily visited by tourists compared to Bwindi Impenetrable Forest.

Wildlife Viewing

While ascending the mountain, you may have the opportunity to observe some of Africa’s renowned mammals such as buffaloes, elephants, and antelopes. For a more extensive wildlife experience, a visit to the national park after the hike can be organized, where you may also catch sight of leopards, forest hogs, and smaller primates like baboons, Vervet, and Colobus monkeys.

Bird Watching

Mgahinga National Park harbors a diverse range of bird life, with more than 300 species of birds residing within its boundaries. Among the highly coveted species found here are the Ruwenzori Turaco, grey crowned cranes, Ruwenzori double-collared sunbird, and double-toothed barbet.

How to access Mount Sabinyo?

You can get to Kisoro from Kampala in the southwest by road which is approximately 8 hour’s drive. Then connect to Mgahinga Gorilla National Park, a distance of approximately 1

What you need to carry for the Mount Sabinyo Hike4 kilometers.

Rain gear, i.e. raincoat

Hiking shoes

Stocking hat for warmth

Garden gloves for cold weather at the top

Long-sleeved shirt and trousers to protect from itchy plants e.g. stinging nettles

Lunch and snacks


During your upcoming East African safari, consider scheduling a trek to Mount Sabinyo to tackle one of the formidable volcanoes in the area. Make sure to include either a gorilla trekking adventure or a golden monkey trek, either preceding or following the ascent, to craft a truly memorable trekking expedition.

Mountain gorillas
Gorilla trekking in Uganda.

Gorilla trekking in Uganda.

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