Mount sabinyo is an extinct volcano, and one of the oldest in the Virunga Mountains north-east of Lake Kivu, one of the African Great Lakes, and west of Lake Bunyonyi in Uganda. It is the 5th highest mountain in the Virunga ranges with its summit at 3,669 meters (12,037 ft).
Sabinyo is derived from the Kinyarwanda word Iryinyo, meaning tooth or Old Man’s Teeth,” because its serrated summit resembles worn teeth in a gum line
The summit of the mountain, and its slopes are a slopes of Mt. Sabyinyo are a habitat for the critically endangered mountain gorilla.
Hiking the mountain
Mt. Sabinyo is a one day hike and the round trek is 8 hours, 4 hours to the summit and 4 hours back, however depending on the pace, weather.
It can only be done from Uganda at the moment because a route has not been created among the sharp ridges in the Congo and Rwanda side. Before the hike, one needs to register at the park office, sign the guest book and clear any payments and also assemble for briefing.
The hike starts with passing through a flat area with several swamps and then ascend to an area with a thick vegetation zones for the first 2390 to 2800 meters. The beauty about climbing to the summit of Mount Sabinyo is that you get to be in three countries (Uganda, Rwanda and Congo) at the same time while having some of the best views you will ever have if the weather permits. From the summit you can see the beautiful Lake Kivu in Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of Congo. You can also see Lake Bunyonyi in Uganda, the Rwenzori ranges of mountains in Uganda, over six mountains of the Virunga region and patches of human settlements.
Descending will only take you a minimum of 4 hours depending on your pace
What to pack
First Aid Kit
Good hiking shoes
Rain coats, plastic shoe covers
Notes for hikers
The best time to hike mount Sabinyo is during the dry season.
If you don’t make it to the summit by 3pm, you are advised to descend back because it would be too late to complete the activity on time.
The summit is very cold and it is important to travel with a warm jacket.
Hiking Mount Sabinyo involves visiting three peaks. It is at peak three that you stand in three countries at a go.
Climbing to the top takes four hours while descending down is also four hours.
It rains a lot during certain times of the year and you need to have protection for your electrical gadgets like phones.
clear visibility at the summit of mount Sabinyo may not be possible during certain months or days of the year because of the clouds (mist).
Permits for climbing Mount Sabinyo cost $85 per person. This includes Guide/Ranger fees and park entrance.
To reach Mgahinga National Park from Kampala, one needs to prepare for an 8 hours journey to Kisoro town and them drive for another 14 km to the park offices or can book a chattered flight from Entebbe Airport in Uganda or Kajjansi to Kinigi in Bwindi and then find their way by road to Mgahinga.
Mount Sabyinyo, also known as Mount Sabinyo, is an extinct volcano located within the Virunga Mountains range, which stretches across the borders of Rwanda, Uganda, and the Democratic Republic of Congo. Standing at an elevation of approximately 3,669 meters (12,037 feet), it is one of the most recognizable and iconic peaks in the region.
The name “Sabyinyo” translates to “old man’s teeth” in the local language, which aptly describes the mountain’s jagged and serrated summit. Mount Sabyinyo is known for its distinctive appearance, characterized by three distinct peaks that resemble the teeth of an old man, each belonging to a different country—Rwanda, Uganda, and the Democratic Republic of Congo.
Trekking to the summit of Mount Sabyinyo offers a challenging and rewarding adventure for outdoor enthusiasts. The ascent involves navigating through various terrains, including bamboo forests, moorlands, and rocky paths. The trek provides breathtaking views of the surrounding landscapes, including the lush valleys, neighboring volcanoes, and, on a clear day, the magnificent Virunga Massif.
Reaching the summit requires physical stamina and determination, but the effort is well worth it. Standing at the peak offers a sense of accomplishment, and the panoramic views provide a glimpse into the remarkable beauty of the region. Travelers are often treated to awe-inspiring vistas of the Virunga Mountains, the surrounding national parks, and even distant views of the vibrant Rwandan countryside.
Apart from its scenic beauty, Mount Sabyinyo holds cultural significance for the local communities. The volcano is considered sacred, and its slopes are home to the Batwa Pygmies, an indigenous community with a rich cultural heritage. Interacting with the Batwa provides a unique opportunity to learn about their traditions, music, and lifestyle, adding an enriching cultural aspect to the trekking experience.
The Virunga Mountains, including Mount Sabyinyo, are also home to a critically endangered species—mountain gorillas. The region is renowned for gorilla trekking, and the chance to encounter these magnificent creatures in their natural habitat is an unforgettable experience that further adds to the allure of exploring Mount Sabyinyo.
Visiting Mount Sabyinyo not only allows travelers to witness stunning landscapes but also contributes to the conservation efforts in the region. The revenue generated from tourism supports wildlife protection, habitat preservation, and community development projects, ensuring the long-term sustainability of this remarkable area.
Mount Sabyinyo offers a combination of natural beauty, physical challenge, cultural encounters, and wildlife conservation. It is a destination that captivates the senses and provides an immersive experience in the heart of the Virunga Mountains, leaving visitors with lasting memories and a deep appreciation for the wonders of nature.