Mount Muhabura – Mountain Climbing in Rwanda

Mount Muhabura, also known as Mount Muhavura, is an inactive volcano in Rwanda’s and Uganda’s Virunga Mountains. Muhabura, at 4,127 meters, is the third highest of the mountain range’s eight major peaks, which are part of the Albertine Rift, the western branch of the East African Rift. Its summit is home to a small crater lake.

The current evidence for this volcano implies that it last erupted during the Holocene epoch, but the precise date is unknown. Muhabura is part of Rwanda’s Volcanoes National Park and part of Uganda’s Mgahinga Gorilla National Park. Muhabura means “The Guide” in Kinyarwanda, the local language.

This extinct volcano is the steepest of the eight volcanoes, the second highest mountain in Rwanda, and the third highest among the eight Virunga Mountains, after Mount Mikeno in the renowned Democratic Republic of the Congo, which is the second highest at 4,437 metres, and Mount Karisimbi, which is the highest at 4,507 metres above sea level.

Mount Muhabura is the most easterly of the Virunga Volcanoes, bordering two popular national parks Mgahinga National Park in Uganda and Rwanda’s Volcanoes National Park. Even though it is Rwanda’s second tallest peak, it is more difficult to climb than Mount Karisimbi due to its steeper slope.

Mount Muhabura
Mount Muhabura

Hiking Mount Muhabura

Mount Muhavura has a cone-like form and is covered in volcanic ash and other associated materials on the slopes and at the base. The volcanic ash provides support for the plants and thickets that grow on the mountain slopes. Another notable feature that divides Mount Muhabura and Mount Gahinga is the Kabiranyuma river/swamp.

Mountain Muhabura provides possibilities to see rare bird and animal species like as buffaloes, elephants, and mountain gorilla trekking , particularly from the Uganda side. Because buffaloes are inherently hostile, they may be dangerous to hikers, but armed rangers are constantly on standby to frighten them away just in case.

Mount Muhabura is the most hardest of the eight volcanoes in the Virunga Ranges to climb. It may not be the highest, but it is quite steep, and the trek must be completed in one day before sunset. To reach the top and return on time, one must be psychologically prepared, as well as a bit obstinate. Hiking Mount Muhabura is possible from both Uganda and Rwanda.

After paying at the office, your group will be allocated a Guide and Rangers who will guide you all the way up the mountain. Porters are available for rent at the mountain’s base if you are carrying large luggage or equipment. When there is a large group, hikers are generally divided into two groups: slow hikers and seasoned/experienced hikers. If it becomes too late and you haven’t gotten close to the peak, you should just quit up and descend with the others who finished on time.

Hiking/Climbing Mount Muhabura usually takes 5-6 hours depending on one’s pace when hiking. Hiking expeditions to the mountain commence at exactly 7am in the morning and this can be done from Ntebeko Visitors’ Centre for those in Mgahinga Gorilla National Park in Uganda, and Kinigi in Volcanoes National Park in Rwanda.

The trek is led by armed troops (to protect tourists from wild creatures like as elephants and buffaloes, who are frightened by firing in the air) and tour guides. Before reaching the peak, the walk is separated into two sections. The first station is 3116 meters above sea level, followed by 3855 meters/12648 feet above sea level.

It may, however, be climbed in a single day. It is the most intriguing since travellers are rewarded with spectacular views of the other Volcanoes and the Twin Lakes of Ruhondo and Burera when reaching the Peak.

Mount Muhabura’s Crater Lake is located towards the top, and the vegetation is always drier than in other sections of the Volcanoes National Park. Muhabura is linked to Mount Gahinga by a broad saddle in the west, which has a 40-meter-high Crater Lake at its top.

Mount Muhabura
Mount Muhabura

The climb’s climax or peak is located at 4,127 meters above sea level. Because some climbers/hikers halt at the first hut and some at the second, you will be among the successful ones to reach the peak. The summit is chilly and foggy, but the trek may persuade you to swim in the Crater Lake.

Cost of Mount Muhabura Hiking Permit.

The hiking permit for Mount Muhabura costs $100 per person for those hiking from Volcanoes National Park in Rwanda, and $80 per person for those hiking from Mgahinga Gorilla National Park in Uganda. This fee includes the hiking fees and the guide charge but does not include the expense for hiring a porter.

How to get to Mount Muhabura.

Mount Muhabura is a 10-hour journey from Entebbe International Airport and a 7-8-hour drive from Kampala. For those in Rwanda, Mount Muhabura can be accessed by road from Kigali City which is a 3 hours’ drive.

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