Mount Sabinyo
Mount Sabinyo
4.5
About
At 12,000 feet, Mount Sabinyo is one of the smaller terrestrial volcanoes comprising the Virunga chain.
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4.5
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spowers3
Falls Church, VA40 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
S 1º 23' 16.19"
E 29º 35' 33.38"
Alt 3528m

Stayed at the same hotel in Kisoro as the Danes and Dutch I went Gorilla trekking with, and stuck with them for the next day when they went to climb Mt. Sabinyo. Next to the Gorillas, this was probably the best day of the trip. Headed out at 9am at 1924m got back at 6pm after climbing up to 3528m and back down again. Heck of a climb.

We left with three guides from the Uganda Wildlife Authority. The climb started off innocently enough. Pretty far from the mountain, very mildly slopped grasslands. This quickly changed to forest/jungle, and started getting much steeper. Eventually there was makeshift stairs built from scrap wood on the trail. The jungle started thinning to a forest of oddly shaped scraggly trees.

There were three peaks to the climb. The first peak we hit at noon. It was fairly steep near the top, but still stairs at worse, a steep grade at best. We took a break and had lunch. It drizzled a bit just before lunch, but was dry when we ate. Climbing down from the peak was a welcome relief, but then we were soon heading back up to the second peak. The fog rolled in and we couldn't see a thing.

The second peak wasn't terribly exciting, very foggy. But shortly thereafter on the way down the fog lifted and it was just beautiful. Views of Uganda and Rwanda in each direction. Other mountains in Uganda and Congo. When we started heading up to the peak though the climb became brutal. Most of it involved climbing completely vertical ladders. We had to take more than a few breaks.

We reached the summit at 2pm, to a perfect beautiful sky. The view was breathtaking. The borders of Uganda, Rwanda, and Congo all came together at the peak, so each direction was a different country. Rwanda was bright and clear, Congo was dark and stormy, and Uganda was covered in clouds. Just amazing. And active volcano was off in the distance. We saw smoke/steam smoldering from it the next day.... For a bloody hot day at the base, it was freezing cold at the top.

I thought the walk down was much easier, though Solange especially didn't like climbing down ladders. It still took us almost four hours to get down. Probably 15 minutes after we left the summit it started pouring rain with a lot of hail. Welcome to the rain forest. It kept up for over an hour, until just after the first peak. It cleared up later, and with the clouds rolling in and out the view was changing all the time on the way down. Gorgeous.

That night Emma, my tour guide from Uganda Africa Adventure net, took us to a ghetto local restaurant. They served a single giant plate full of lamb and tomato and fried bananas (more like potatoes than a desert). Food wasn't bad, but really ghetto. No lights outside. Had to ask for everything from drinks to silverware. It cost us about $4 for the 7 of us to eat though, including beers. Went back to the hotel and kept on drinking and talking trash. Good times.
Written October 8, 2007
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Lily
11 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Jul 2019 • Friends
This was an insanely beautiful hike! A friend and I decided to hike this mountain at the last minute. We traveled from Kigali, Rwanda on Friday, the night before and drove back right after completing the climb (about 5 pm). We rented a car, passed through the Cyanika border, and stayed in Kisoro. You can't book permits before the day of, so we decided to leave early in the morning to the UWA office. Unfortunately, the Kisoro office was closed at 7 am, so we drove to the Mgahinga Park office at the base of the mountain. We don't know if this is how it usually is, or if this was abnormal, but you usually have to find a driver to drive you from Kisoro to the base (about 8 km on an unpaved road). Plan to be at the office at the very latest at 7:30 am because that's when the briefing starts and the hike begins. We were late, but we paid the $80 permit fee (USD cash) and the guide took us quickly to catch up with the rest of the group. Our group had about 8 people, but only 3 of us made it to the 3rd peak. You need to be in good shape and used to elevation gain to be able to reach the 3rd peak. My friend and I aren't mountain climbers, but we are long-distance runners, who have been running in Kigali at higher elevation with hills for the past month. It was difficult, but not impossible to complete. Half of the hike involves 90-degree-angle, very rickety ladders on the edge of the cliff, so if you are scared of heights or bad at balancing, this wouldn't be the hike for you. The whole hike took us about 9 hours, so be prepared for a full day of hiking. We packed 2 litres of water each (I probably could have used about 500 ml more), lunch (samosas, cookies, bananas, granola bars for snacks, chips), warmer clothes (the temp ranged from 45 to 70 degrees Farenheit, and there's many shady parts), bug spray (50% deet), and sunscreen. We didn't hire porters, but you can negotiate with them before you head out to carry your things for you for about $15. We wore high socks (watch out for ants), rain jackets, leggings, running shoes (you don't necessarily need hiking boots, but they would have been helpful), windbreakers, T-shirts and long sleeve shirts. You'll definitely want to grab the hiking stick they offer for free at the beginning of the climb.The views were absolutely astounding, and we felt very safe the entire time. There were multiple armed guides with us the entire time, and we never felt like we would fall off the mountain. It was a once-in-a-lifetime experience, and I would recommend this climb to anyone who wants a beautiful hike in Uganda with views of 3 East African countries!
Written July 28, 2019
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

jenny k
Brooklyn, NY98 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Dec 2012 • Couples
This was one of my favorite hikes ever, maybe the best.

The scenery was just so dramatic; it felt like the Africa I'd always dreamed of as a kid. The other reviewer's description in pretty accurate. It was a tough climb for me and at a few points I was actually really worried I wasn't going to make it, which made me crazy. I had to rest a lot and went very slowly - it's very steep. But we made it on time in the end.

Coming down was worse, as we also had rain and hail and my knees were in excruciating pain by the time we were off that hill! (But I always have serious knee issues on long down hills).

I'd suggest staying near the mountain (at either the community camp or the volcanoes lodge) because the last thing I wanted to do after that hike, covered in mud, was drive that horrible road back to town!

There are huge elephant food prints and piles of buffalo poop along the way...pretty cool.
A great trip.
Written January 3, 2013
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Neli
3 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Jul 2019 • Couples
Difficult but rewarding hike! We were very lucky with the weather and had the most beautiful views of the 3 countries. The guides, armed guards and porters are all amazing! After reading the reviews and seeing the pictures of the ladders and stairs to the third peak we were a bit scared, but we really enjoyed the hike. It definitely looks more challenging than it is (although I am normally afraid of heights, I wasn't there). The whole trip took us about 8 to 9 hours, but we stayed quite some time on the 3rd peak as the weather was just perfect. Can only recommend this hike!
Written July 21, 2019
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Robin M
2 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Jan 2019
I found this hike to be difficult but rewarding. The ladders can be slippery if it has been raining. The best part of the hike was transitioning through different landscapes (grassland, bamboo forest, rainforest, etc). Being able to be in three countries at once at third peak was another highlight. Very beautiful.
Written May 7, 2019
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

millsie82
Sydney, Australia191 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Oct 2018 • Couples
Wow. What a hike!
We set off at 07:30 with a little drizzle and the mountains draped in misty cloud. Starting at around 2,227m, the heart is pumping with the initial 1hr warm up to get to the parks boundary edge. Suitably warmed, the fun really started, with switch back tracks soon giving way to more direct paths which have countless wooden ladders laid down to assist with the ascent (and subsequent descent).
The first peak is, as expected,the hardest, with the longest uphill effort required.
Once that is done, it’s a small descent, a decent climb again to peak 2 followed by a bigger descent and then the final push for peak 3.
The final push is memorable for the near vertical stairs and ladders which get you to the summit.
We did this all under the veil of dry but cloudy surroundings, which limited what we saw on the way up.
We had lunch on the summit, which we reached by midday and sat straddling Uganda, Rwanda and the DRC. With a fresh breeze and cloud on the way up, we were kept cool and so our stops were not long on account of us feeling the chill.
Luckily for us, as we descended, the clouds decided to part, treating us to spectacular views of all 3 countries, and also the trail we had walked. If the weather is clear, when summiting, you will see the stairs and ladders ahead of you. For me, ignorance was bliss, as we only saw this after we had done it on the descent. I admit I would have been a little nervy about doing it had I seen it.
For the rest of the downward trail, we stopped for many a photo opportunity and enjoyed the surroundings which we had methodically moved through with not as much appreciation on the ascent. The sun broke through and we warmed considerably, and we even managed to site an Antelope
though the monkeys remained elusive. Even so, we had a truly fantastic time. Our guides, Alex and Joseph were patient and knowledgeable and got us there and back safely.
Written November 4, 2018
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Henar M
49 contributions
4.0 of 5 bubbles
Sep 2018 • Solo
Amazing trek, try to plan when rested as it is a 5 hour trek up and about 2 hours down (ideally, Our group took longer as I was a bit slow since I’d done the gorilla trek for 9 hours the previous day).
14km round trip it is well worth it and you can hire a porter for min 15 USD. They are all very encouraging! 80 USD + transport from your lodge in Kisoro area.
Written September 26, 2018
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

pascqa l
63 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Jul 2018 • Friends
I have read many reviews on Mount Sabinyo and realized many of those who have attempted this hike hated the ladders with a passion, and it is totally understandable :)

My first hike up Mount Sabinyo was in November 2017, a rainy season and i had just walked out of a stomach operation one month prior, i thought it was the most beautiful hike i had ever done at the same time very challenging. The stairs, especially the ones headed to the third peak easened my misery, i used my hands to pull myself forward during the ascent and to get myself off the ladders during the descent-it was fantastic!

My second experience was in July 2018 and it was absolutely amazing, again the ladders made it quite easy. My team and i even got lucky when a silverback jumped from the bush and scared the hell out of us :). Thank God for the UWA guides who helped calm the situation and chase it away. It was really beautiful.

Hike Mount sabinyo with a positive mindset, and a good amount of physical fitness. Good luck!
Written August 22, 2018
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

MeishC
Nashville, IN9 contributions
4.0 of 5 bubbles
Nov 2016 • Friends
I've climbed Mt. Sabinyo twice. Both times it rained at some point and was pretty cloudy at the top but I could care less. The climb is challenging with steep inclines and slippery paths on the way down. Your feet are guaranteed to get wet so prepare yourself. Bring warm layers, rain gear, snacks, and plenty of H2O! A trekking pole or picking up a sturdy stick along the way may also be a great Idea. There are two false summit points but make for a great rest stop. Pace yourself and enjoy every grueling minute of it! Very fond memories.
Written July 24, 2017
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

margaret p
Michigan23 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Dec 2016 • Friends
I am 59 years old and made it to the first peak in 5 hours. My adult children were able to make it to the 3rd peak in 5 hours. They are very good at dividing the groups according to everyones pace. Every group has a guide. Gloria was guide and she was very patient and encouraging so I could get to the first peak and I waited till my children returned from the 3rd. Then we went back down. Great adventure for some like myself that has never climbed a mountain!
Written January 5, 2017
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

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Mount Sabinyo - All You Need to Know BEFORE You Go (2024)

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