Located on the border between Uganda and Rwanda, Mount Gahinga is a dormant volcano in the Virunga mountains national park and lies between Sabyinyo and Muhabura and is the smallest of the three. It is also referred to as a small pile of stones in the Runyarwanda/Rufumbira local language and has a swampy caldera at its peak.
It is from this extinct volcano that Mgahinga gorilla national park got its name. Mount Gahinga reaches up to an elevation of 3,473 meters and is part of the chain of the eight volcanic mountains of the Mufumbiro ranges. The volcano chain stretches across Uganda, Rwanda, and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).
The vegetation across the mountain is afro-montane with bamboo and this is a habitat for the endangered mountain gorillas.
This hike starts in the morning after a briefing from the ranger guide at the park headquarters where tourists are given rules and regulations regarding the hike.
You start the journey to the mountain with an equipped, knowledgeable ranger guide leading the group. This hike takes roughly six hours both ascending and descending. This will also depend on the hiker’s fitness and as you hike up to the mountain, you get to spot different primates like monkeys.
This involves climbing at the base of Mount Sabyinyo and runs at the border of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). Hikers who are interested in taking this border trail experience can arrange with their guide who should be able to book thoroughly for them through the Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA) in time.
This takes you through the Batwa/pygmy community where you get to learn more about the fascinating history of the Batwa. This is through interactions as old men from the Batwa take you through the history of their cultural roots.
Participate in their traditional songs at the end of the day which is led by the orphans and some ladies as well as men from this unique community. Following this trail also leads you to discover some caves where the Batwa are believed to have stayed during their old golden days.
At the moment the cost of hiking Mount Gahinga is USD75 but may be subject to change following the increase in government taxes.
Different activities can be done after the Mount Gahinga hike and these include game viewing in Mgahinga gorilla national park, Mountain gorilla trekking, birdwatching, cultural and community encounter, and golden monkey trekking.
Tourists who want porters should arrange early and these can be hired at a fee and can help to carry heavy bags and other hiking equipment together with big cameras.
Tourists are always advised to have comfortable hiking shoes so as to make this adventure a memorable one.
You are always advised to carry a raincoat because anytime it can rain in the mountains. This can help you to protect yourself from the rains that come unpredicted.
For any tourist to conquer this mountain, they should be physically fit. You need to be having good energy to conquer this mountain.
This should be one of the first considerations for hiking Mount Gahinga. This should be done thoroughly and on time by the Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA) and this should be done with the help of the Uganda tour operator so as to avoid any inconveniences that may come up, especially on last-minute bookings.