Mount Muhabura, as it is known in Uganda, or Muhavura, as it is known in Rwanda, is one of the Virunga volcanic mountains.
Mount Muhabura, as it is referred to in Uganda, or Muhavura, as it is referred to in Rwanda, is one of the Virunga volcanic mountains.
Mount Muhabura is a dormant volcano that lies on the Rwandan-Uganda border. It is accessible from either country. The Virunga Mountains are a chain of eight volcanic mountains that extend along the Uganda-Rwanda-Congo border.
These mountain ranges are located in the East African Rift’s Albertine rift, between Lake Edward and Lake Kivu.
The eight Virunga mountains are as follows:
- Mount Karisimbi is the highest at 4,507 meters and is shared by both DR Congo and Rwanda.
- Mount Mikeno is the second highest at 4,437 meters and is only shared by DR Congo.
- Mount Muhabura is the second highest at 4,127 meters and is shared by both Uganda and Rwanda.
- Mount Bisoke is the third highest peak in Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of the Congo, standing at 3,711 meters.
- Mount Sabinyo is the only peak shared by the three countries, standing at 3,674 meters.
- Mount Gahinga is shared by Rwanda and Uganda, standing at 3,474 meters.
- Mount Nyiragongo is only found in DR Congo, standing at 3,470 meters; and the lowest yet most active peak is Mount Nyamulagira, standing at 3,058 meters.
Mount Muhabura, which is accessible from Uganda’s Mgahinga gorilla national park and Rwanda’s Volcanoes national park is one of the most hiked of these volcanoes.
The Muhabura was named Muhabura, which translates as “the guide,” in the indigenous language prevalent in the area, mostly because it stood out and served as a guide for travellers.
Mount Muhabura is shaped like a cone and is covered with volcanic ash from previous volcanic activity on the peak some years ago.
There is the vegetation on the mountainsides, and hikers may observe the contrast in vegetation as they ascend and descend. This is a one-day climb up Mount Muhabura to the summit’s Crater Lake.
The Muhuvura trek is the quickest and simplest way to enjoy this magnificent alpine vegetation, while the View offers a glimpse of the other five Virunga volcanoes, Lake Edward, the rift valley, and the Rwenzori mountain ranges (in case the weather is clear).
While hiking up Mount Muhabura, you may encounter forest elephants, buffaloes or perhaps mountain gorillas on a lucky day, as well as a variety of birds, so bring your binoculars.
Due to their natural aggressiveness, buffaloes can be dangerous for hikers. Armed rangers are constantly on hand to frighten them away during the hike.
While this is a one-day hike, it is fairly difficult to conquer, therefore participants must be psychologically prepared and physically fit since they will have to ascend and descend before dark.
From the Ugandan side, hikers are escorted by Uganda wildlife authority ranger guides and briefed at the Ntebeko tourist centre. The briefing involves an explanation of the formation and history of the Mountain, hiking guidelines, what to expect during hiking and tips on how to deal with injuries.
Hikers who choose to conduct this activity from the Rwandan side are accompanied by ranger guides trained and deployed by the Rwanda Development Board, who instruct hikers at the Kinigi visitor centre.
This is also where you can rent necessary hiking equipment, such as walking sticks or porters, prior to starting the climb.
The hike is scheduled to begin at approximately 7 a.m. following the briefing. Tourists are transported to the trailhead at the volcano’s base.
The hike is led by armed troops (to protect tourists from wild creatures such as elephants and buffaloes, which are startled when shots are fired in the air), as well as tour guides. Before reaching the peak, the trek is separated into two stops (each with a hut).
The first station is situated at 3116 meters above sea level, while the second one is at 3855 meters. The climb’s climax/peak is located 4,127 meters/13,450 ft above sea level.
The mountain hike is approximately 6-7 hours in length, depending on the climber’s fitness level.
Trekkers are assigned to groups and ranger guides lead the way on the hike while sharing information about the hike and the surrounding environment.
The porters assist hikers who may have additional luggage, and if there are a large number of people hiking that day, the group is separated into two groups, often fast hikers and slower hikers, to ensure that each hiker is catered for.
Long trousers and long-sleeved shirts are required for the hike to protect your skin from irritations as you travel through the bush, as well as a good set of hiking boots to ensure a smooth and successful hike.
Cost of hiking Mount Muhabura
To climb Mount Muhabura from the Ugandan side costs $75 per person including the guide fee, but without including the cost of hiring a porter.
How to reach Mountain Muhabura/Muhavura?
It takes around eight hours from Kampala to Kisoro, the location of this peak.
You can use public means or rent a car through a travel agency.
When You Make Your Arrival
You will be noticed immediately upon arrival by Uganda Wildlife Authority guides who will sprint out to meet you. You will be escorted to the visitor centre and assisted in any way that you wish.
After paying for the activity, you will be assigned a guide who will accompany you to the summit of Mt. Muhabura. If you have a backpack, you may request a porter to assist you with your gear.
Take in the stunning vistas of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Rwanda, and Uganda. The hike is quite strenuous and challenging.
While Mount Muhabura is not as glamorous as some of the more well-known tourist attractions, it does provide outdoor enthusiasts with a pleasant day-long activity that is close to Kisoro.
Best of all, activities at Mount Muhabura are rather affordable, which is why you should consider trying out the commonest one, which is hiking.