The word Sabyinyo in Kinyarwanda literally means an old man’s teeth. Mount Sabyinyo is an extinct volcano in East Africa in the Virunga Mountains and is known as the oldest volcano in the Virunga Mountains. Other mountains in the Virunga ranges include Mount Nyiragongo, Bisoke, Muhavura, Karisimbi, Nyamuragira, and Gahinga.
Located North East of Lake Kivu, one of the great lakes, and West of Lake Bunyonyi in Uganda. At 3,669 meters, the mountain marks the intersection of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) border together with Rwanda and Uganda.
It also adjoins the national parks established by these countries that as Virunga in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Volcanoes national park in Rwanda, and Mgahinga Gorilla national park in Uganda. Mount Sabyinyo slopes are habitats for critically endangered mountain gorillas. Elephants and buffalos are also found on this mountain.
This will involve climbing onto steep ridges with wooden ladders and at some points no wooden ladders. You must be physically fit so as to enjoy this great adventure. You also pass through the bamboo forest zone and this is where the endangered mountain gorillas are found.
For tourists to take on the hiking activity to Mount Sabyinyo, you are encouraged to wake up as early as possible and head to Mgahinga gorilla national park where you are given guidelines to follow as you take on this great adventure.
This starts with a briefing and from there you are allocated a ranger guide who will lead the group as you start the journey to the mountain. The recommended starting point is 8 am. In case the tourist needs a porter, he can be allocated one who will be paid a certain fee at some point either at the beginning or at the end of the hike.
Remember the first 45 minutes take you through the bamboo zone and here on a lucky day you can spot mountain gorillas.
Climbing Mount Sabyinyo costs USD 85 for foreign non-residents and the permit can be got from the Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA) office in Kampala. This can be arranged with the help of a reliable tour operator.
Mount Sabyinyo can be well conquered during the dry season. This is between December to March and again from May to September when the trails are less slippery and not tampered with.
As you hike to the first peak, you go through a lot of stairs and ladders hence the name ‘stairways in the mist’. As you hike, with the help of a ranger guide you are provided with more information about the history of this mountain and by 3 pm if the hikers have not yet reached the summit, they are advised to descend since it would be too late to do the activity on time. The second peak is at 3,537 meters and the third peak is located at 3,699 meters and this is shared by Uganda, Rwanda, and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).
Tourists hiking Mount Sabyinyo from the Uganda side can also take part in other activities conducted in Mgahinga Gorilla national park which include the following.
This is one of the major activities carried out in Mgahinga national park. This park has only one habituated gorilla family which is the Nyakagezi group and as you wind up your hiking adventure, you can visit this group for a memorable experience of a lifetime.
Golden monkeys are found only in three countries that is Rwanda, Uganda, and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). In Uganda, they can be tracked in Mgahinga national park. A day with these primates is so much full of fun as you get to watch them carry out their daily activities in their natural habitat.
Mgahinga gorilla national park is arguably the most recommended park in South Western Uganda for bird watching as it boasts over 300 bird species with the most sought-after birds being the Rwenzori Turaco, Black kite, speckled mouse bird, pin-tailed whydah, cape robin chat and African paradise flycatcher among others.
A lot of wildlife can be seen as you climb the mountain and these include elephants, buffalos, and antelopes. Smaller primates like olive baboons, colobus, and vervet monkeys can also be seen. This great adventure can be arranged after hiking Mount Sabyinyo.