Sabyinyo is one of the dormant ranges among the 8 Virunga Mountains. This is a chain of volcanoes located in East Africa. These ranges cover the areas of Republic of Uganda, Democratic Republic of Congo, and Rwanda. Mountain Sabyinyo is the oldest mountain in Virunga ranges. It stands at an elevation of 11,923 feet above sea level.
It is at the intersection composing of three borders of Uganda, Rwanda and D.R Congo. It also rightly lies among the three national parks, namely Virunga National Park in Democratic Republic of the Congo, Mgahinga National Park of Uganda and Volcanoes National Park of Rwanda.
It is a strato-volcano and its peak often offers a 360-degree view point. Because of the mountain’s summit formation like the spaced teeth of an old man, it was therefore referred to as ‘old man’s teeth’ by the locals in this area. Sabyinyo mountain slopes have extensive rainforest cover and bamboo forests, which are home to some primate species such as the endangered mountain gorillas and Golden Monkeys.
As a characteristic for most elevated landforms, this is a common activity here. Mountain Sabyinyo is no stranger to this activity as it attracts hundreds of tourists annually to come and experience hikes on these slopes. A hike around this mountain can take about eight hours. On Ugandan side of the mountain, hikers face some challenges. But because of recent development by the Ugandan government, hiking ladders were made and this has over time simplified the hiking experience.
After fulfilling the required steps and requirements, hikers are briefed and later on assigned to rangers and guides that escort and guide hikers about history of the mountain, attractions and more. Fast-paced hikers can reach the mountain summit before 3:00pm.
Tourists along the trek should expect to gaze at different animals including elephants, which often graze on the lower slopes. While on the mountain’s summit, a hiker is able to see all three countries – Rwanda, Uganda and D.R. Congo. The summit has a rich presence of rocks and lush alpine vegetation. At the summit, Lake Bunyonyi (Africa’s deepest lake) is visible. At this point, the Rwenzori ranges are also clear from a far end and this introduces a perfect photography point.
Sabyinyo hiking permit costs about $85 per hiker. This is inclusive of entrance fees into Mgahinga National Park and guiding fees. Hiking permit can be booked through a licensed tour operator or acquire upon arrival at the offices of Uganda Wildlife Authority in the park.
When to hike Mount. Sabyinyo?
The best season to hike this mountain is during dry season, in the months of July to September and December to February.
Travelers are advised to carry heavy clothing because of much coldness on its summit. Hiking boots, pair of binoculars, camera, lunch / snacks, water bottle, first aid kit, among other hiking requirements.
- Primate trekking.
Primates here include mountain gorillas as well as golden monkeys. Mountain gorillas are part of the endangered gorillas that survive within the Virunga region. They are located in Mgahinga National Park and are visible on the lower slopes of this mountain.
- bird watching
Bird watching cannot be successful until you you exhausted this place with some of rare species and most though at after birds such as Rwenzori turaco among others. While hiking Mount. Sabyinyo, you can watch numerous bird species that are located on the slopes of this mountain. Birds here are estimated to be 300 species with about 23 of those endemic to the Albertine region. Some of these species are tropical boubou, common waxbill, mountain yellow warbler, mountain greenbul, cinnamon bracken warbler, narina trogon, mountain buzzard, chinspot batis and black saw-wing, among others.