Hiking and climbing mount Muhabura – Mountain Muhabura also known as Mountain Muhavura is an extinct volcano situated at the border of two East African countries of Uganda and Rwanda. It is one of the eight Virunga volcanoes and the third highest mountain among them, standing at a height of 4,127 meters above the sea level. Part of Mount Muhabura sits in Mgahinga National Park in the far southwest of Uganda and the other part in Volcanoes National Park in the northeast of Rwanda. The two National Parks are Gorilla tracking destinations.
The mountain was named Muhabura, a local Rufumbira/Kinyarwanda word which means “the guide” in Bafumbira and “sentinel” in Banyarwanda. Mount Muhabura is the steepest of the eight Volcanoes and it provides a challenging ascent to hikers. Its first resting point is at an elevation of 3,116 meters above the sea level; the second is at 3,855 meters above the sea level and then you get to the top which is 4,127 meters above the sea level.
Hikers on Mount Muhabura go through different kinds of vegetation starting with the montane forest at the lower slopes where mountain Gorillas live. Unlike Mount Sabinyo which can only be climbed from Uganda, Mount Muhabura can be hiked from both Uganda and Rwanda sides. As you ascend on the mountain, you will have spectacular views of the surrounding including other volcanoes and when you arrive at the top, you will be thrilled to see the beautiful Crater Lake. The mountain offers stunning views of Rwanda’s twin Lakes of Burera and Ruhondo and many other areas around Rwanda. Hiking to the top of mountain Muhabura takes 6-8 hours, meaning that if you start your hike very early, you are able to ascend to the top and descend back. The hiking time will however depend on your fitness.
In Uganda, Mount Muhabura is the highest among the three Virunga volcanoes which the country shares. The other two are Mount Gahinga which stands at 3,474 meters above sea level and Mount Sabinyo at 3,645 meters above the sea level. Mount Muhabura is cone-shaped and this shape can be clearly seen even from a far.
The steep slopes of the mountain are covered with vast vegetation including shrub and thickets. Regardless, they become muddy and slippery during the wet season when rainfall is often received. Hikers are therefore advised to carry strong waterproof hiking boots. Hiking on mount Muhabura, offers you opportunities of spotting some of the wildlife around this place such as buffaloes, elephants, different birds and others.
Hiking and climbing Mount Muhabura -Most tourists hike Mount Muhabura after tracking for Mountain Gorillas in Mgahinga National Park. You are required to be at the park headquarters at Ntebeko by 7:00am. You will meet the guide here and get a briefing about the hike and the experience. You can hire a porter in case you need one. At exactly 7:00am, you will start the hike with your armed ranger guide leading you through the trails. The armed ranger guides and also protects you from dangerous animals that you may come across. The guide will give information about each and everything that you will see including identifying other volcanoes that you will be able to see when you arrive at top.
In Uganda, you can get to Kisoro by road transport or by air and then connect to the park by road. From Kampala, it takes about 9-10 hours to reach the park and 3-4 hours by air and connecting to the park by road.
In Rwanda, after arriving at Kigali international airport, the driver guide transfers you to Volcanoes National Park by road. It is a 3 hours’ drive from Kigali to Volcanoes National Park.