Muhabura, translated to “the sentinel” in Kinyarwanda with it being mostly seen from around the country, is an extinct volcano that found on the most easterly area of the Virunga Mountains exactly on the border between Rwanda and Uganda. Muhabura occupies both the Volcanoes National Park in Rwanda and in Mgahinga Gorilla National Park, Uganda.
Muhabura Volcano is Volcano National Park’s second tallest volcano with an altitude of around 4,127 meters. There is a crater lake that is found on Muhabura’s summit and the vegetation on top is drier than that on the slope of volcano. While hiking on Muhabura volcano has its own challenges because say of very steep slopes, once the hikers get on top the rewards consist of fantastic views of the “twin lakes”, the most breathtaking views of the beautiful landscapes over the other volcanoes as well as fauna including birds and primates.
Although most hikers are gorilla-trekking orientated, independent hikes on Muhabura are also a huge possibility. Hiking Muhabura typically lasts a full-day. The hiking starts at 7:00am from the park headquarters in Kinigi, which is 2 hours drive from Kigali. Contact us on how to book your hiking permit. Porters are available upon request.
Muhabura Mountain (Mount Muhavura) is an extinct volcano located within the Virunga Region and shared Rwanda, and Uganda in East-Central Africa. Muhavura volcano is the 3rd highest of the 8 chain Virunga Mountains rising at an altitude of 4127 meters. Hiking to the peak of this volcano can be done on hiking tour in Volcanoes National Park or Mgahinga Gorilla National Park in Kisoro, Uganda.
Mt. Muhabura is situated nearby Gahinga and Sabyinyo volcanoes. The word Muhabura is derived from local word, meaning ‘the guide’ and it origins is perhaps this volcano served as a guide by distant visitors.
Muhabura Volcano (Rwanda & Uganda) has a cone-like shape with volcanic ash plus other related materials at its base and slopes. Most of the thickets and shrubs concentrate around the volcanic ash. This volcano is separated by a swamp/Kabiranyuma River, and it is what divides it from Gahinga Volcano. At the base of Mt. Muhabura, there are several mammals and birds that live here including buffaloes, gorillas, and elephants.
At the summit of Muhabura Mountain, there is a small Crater Lake. Unlike other volcanoes such as Nyiragongo volcano, Muhabura has limited evidence and belied it last erupted during the Holocene period although the exact date isn’t known. This volcano is linked to Mt. Gahinga by a wide saddle in the west where there is 40 meter Crater Lake.
Hiking Muhabura Mountain
Hiking Muhabura Mountain is perfect for hikers who are interested in the challenging mountaineering adventures. It isn’t the tallest mountain but features steep slopes, and requires climbers to be fit enough to complete the long day hike to the summit. The advantage with it is that hikers can embark on the hike to its summits on the Ugandan side or Rwanda part. From Uganda, you will be led by an experienced park guide from Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA) and you begin the trek at Ntebeko Tourism Centre and from Rwanda, travel to Kinigi for briefing from Volcanoes National Park officials.
Considering its strategic location in the Albertine rift area and Virunga region, it is possible to incorporate mountaineering and gorilla safaris on a single trip. The actual trek to the summit of Muhabura Mountain includes lead from the park guide. You will also be accompanied by porters who will be assisting in carrying visitors’ heavy luggage. Porters can be hired during the briefing time and they are available at the foothills.
Large groups can be divided into 2 categories, the slow and season/experienced climbers. You must be physically fit and mentally prepared to make it to the top of this beautiful volcano. It is about 5 to 7 hours hike and don’t forget to come along with energy giving snacks, bottled drinking water and walking stick.
Hiking fees for Muhabura Mountain
Anyone interested in conquering the summits of Mount Muhabura must have valid permits. Muhabura Mountain hiking fees cost USD 75 per hiker per day, exclusive of transportation, porter fees, accommodation, visas, passports, beverages, laundry services and many others.
What to pack for your Muhabura Mountain hike?
The important items to consider packing for your Muhabura volcano hiking adventure long-sleeved shirt, trousers, pair of socks, camera, daypack, comfortable walking or hiking boots, insect repellents, sunscreens, a rain jacket, a sweater, bottled water and snacks, etc.
When to go hiking adventure to Muhabura Mountain?
The dry season should be marked on your travel calendar if you are interested in excellent hiking adventures on Mount Muhabura. The dry season in Mgahinga & Volcanoes NP occurs from June to September and December to February.
Where to stay Rwanda & Uganda on hiking tour
Accommodation to stay before or after hiking Muhabura Volcano include Sabyinyo Silverback Lodge, Mountain Gorillas’ Nest Lodge, Five Volcanoes Boutique Hotel, Da Vinci Gorilla Lodge, Garden Place Hotel, Hotel Muhabura, Gorilla Solution Lodge, Mountain Gorilla View Lodge, Garr Hotel, Le Bambou Gorilla Lodge, Singita Kwitonda Lodge, Bisate Lodge and others.
Accommodation facilities around Mgahinga Gorilla National Park include Mount Gahinga Lodge, Travelers’ Rest Hotel Kisoro, Kisoro Tourist Hotel, Amajambere Iwacu Community Camp, Mutanda Lake Resort, Muhabura Motel, and more.
How to get to Muhabura Mountain in Rwanda & Uganda
Muhabura Mountain is accessible both from Rwanda and Uganda. While in Rwanda, you can take 2-3 hours driving from Kigali city centre, navigating via the scenic hillside of Rwanda and you will arrive at Volcanoes National Park to check in at your safari lodge. Hikers on hiking safari in Uganda take 8-9 hours driving from Kampala via Masaka-Mbarara-Kisoro. Even from Kigali, it is possible to cross to Kisoro via Chanika border and you hike to the top of Muhabura Mountain summit.
In Uganda, there is also an option of taking a chartered or scheduled flight starting from Entebbe Airport to Kisoro airstrip. From Kisoro airstrip, you can be picked up and dropped at your safari lodges in Mgahinga Gorilla National Park (MGNP).