Climbing Mount Muhabura is another activity that tourists can try within the Virunga Massif. Standing at 13,450 feet/4,127 meters high, climbing Mount Muhabura is no joke. This extinct mountain is the steepest of all the 8 Volcanoes, the second highest mountain in Rwanda and the third highest among the 8 Virunga Mountains after Mount Mikeno (in DRC) which is the second highest at 14,560feet/4,437meters) and Mount Karisimbi -the highest standing at 14,790feet/4,507 meters and situated within Rwanda and DRC. Mount Muhabura is the most easterly of all the Virunga Volcanoes and shares its border between two countries and National Parks (Mgahinga National Park in Uganda and Volcanoes National Park in Rwanda). Even if it is the second highest in Rwanda, it is more strenuous to climb than Mount Karisimbi because it is steeper. However, it can be hiked within one day. It is the most interesting because while at the Peak, tourists are rewarded with the breathtaking views of the other Volcanoes and the Twin Lakes of Ruhondo and Burera. Another interesting thing about Muhabura is that its Crater Lake is next to its summit and the vegetation is always drier than other parts of the Volcanoes National Park. Muhabura is connected to Mount Gahinga by a wide saddle in the West with a Crater Lake of approximately 40 meters at its summit.
The word Muhabura is a “Kinyarwanda word meaning sentinel and its usually shaped delineate can be seen from most parts of Rwanda and Rukiga language (Uganda), the word Muhabura means “the guide”
Hiking/Climbing Mount Muhabura
Tourists can book for the permits in advance (though not very necessary) or even on the day of hiking/climbing. Unlike Mount Sabinyo that can only be climbed from the Uganda side, Mount Muhabura can be climbed from both Uganda and Rwanda. Hiking Mount Muhabura usually takes 5-6 hours depending on the pace of hiking but it also requires tourists to be physically fit (basic fitness).
The process of hiking applies to both countries and hiking through mount Muhabura usually takes a full day. It usually starts by tourists checking whether they have the right hiking gears and supplies which include packed lunch/snacks, drinking water is also handy, hiking boots, long trousers, long sleeved shirts and walking stick to support you on the slopes among others. Tourists then report to the Park headquarters at Kinigi for pre-hiking briefing. This also applies to those tourists hiking from Uganda where they arrive for briefing at Ntebeko Visitor Center by 7am. This briefing involves explanation of the formation and history of the Mountain, hiking guidelines are what to expect during hiking, tips on how to deal with injuries and what to expect as you climb to higher elevations.
After the briefing, tourists are driven to the trailhead at the base of the Volcano. The hike is conducted in the company of armed soldiers (to protect tourists from wild animals like Elephants and buffaloes, which are scared by shooting in the air) and tour guides. The hike is divided into two stops (each with a hut) before reaching the summit. The first stop is at 3116 meters/10223 feet above sea level and the second one being at 3855 meters/12648 feet above sea level. The climax/peak of the climb is at 4,127 meters/13,450 feet above sea level. You will be among the victorious one s to reach up to the peak because some climbers/hikers stop at the first hut while others at the second. The peak is cold and misty but because of the climb, you can get tempted to swim in the Crater Lake.
Cost of hiking mount Muhabura
The price of the mount Muhabura hike is $75 per person from the Uganda side, and this fee includes the hiking fees and the guide fee but excludes the fee of hiring a porter.
In conclusion, Climbing mount Muhabura is an exceptional tourist activity that tourists can engage in when they visit Mount Mgahinga or Volcanoes National Park for gorilla trekking safaris. Due to the spectacular views of its summit comprised of a crater lake, it is tempting for anyone to climb it.
Booking a Tour?
Would you like to book a Mount Muhabura Hike? Why not contact one of the tour operators listed on this website.