Mount Muhabura is one of the virunga volcanic mountains which is shared by Rwanda and Uganda. Mount muhabura is a dormant volcano which can be hiked from either sides. The Virunga Mountains are a chain of eight volcanic mountains that are spread out on the border line joining Uganda, Rwanda and democratic republic of Congo. The ranges are sited within the Albertine rift of the east African rift that is between Lake Edward and Lake Kivu.
The eight virunga mountains are the Mount Karisimbi which is known to be the highest at an elevation of 4,507 meters and is located in both Democratic republic of Congo and Rwanda. Mount Mikeno standing at an elevation of 4,437 meters found in only Congo, Mount Muhabura standing at an elevation of 4,127 meters and is shared by Uganda and Rwanda, Mount Bisoke standing at an elevation of 3,711 meters shared by Rwanda and Congo, Mount Sabyinyo which is the only mount shared by all the 3 countries standing at an elevation of 3,674 meters, Mount Gahinga standing at an elevation of 3,474 meters, Mount Nyiragongo which is found in Congo standing at an elevation of 3,470 meters and the lowest yet most active is Mount Nyamulagira within Congo standing at an elevation of 3,058 meters.
Mount muhabura is one of the most hiked of the volcanoes and from the Ugandan side it’s hiked from mgahinga gorilla national park and in Rwanda it’s hiked from the volcanoes national park. The muhabura was named muhabura meaning the guide in the local language spoken within the area and this was so because it stood out and that’s what the tourists followed as a guide.
Mount muhabura has a cone like shape with volcanic ash from the past volcanic activity that took place on the mountain. The mount has got some vegetation on the slopes of the mountain and thus hikers spot the difference in vegetation as they ascend uphill and back. The hike takes only one day to hike up on mount Muhabura to the Crater Lake at the top. Therefore as you hike you will spot forest elephants or come across mountain gorillas on a good day as well as birds so tourists need to carry their binoculars. The hike might be a one day but quite challenging so one has to be mentally ready and physically capable as you will have to ascend and descend back before it gets dark.
Hikers opting to hike the mount from the Uganda side will be accompanied by ranger guides from the Uganda wildlife authority and the briefing is done at the Ntebeko visitor’s center. However hikers who wish to hike from the Rwandan side will be guided by the rangers trained and deployed by the Rwanda development board and the briefing takes place at kinigi visitor’s center. At kinigi, you can hire all the gears needed for the hike such as porters, walking sticks before you embark on the hike. The trekkers are grouped and ranger guides assigned accordingly and will lead the way on the hike as they share information about the hike as well as the surrounding area. The hikers with extra luggage will be helped by porters and for if the trekkers are many, they will be grouped into two such as the fast hikers and slow hikers so that each can be attended too.
The hike starts with a briefing at 7am by the park rangers and they take about 5 to 7 hours to fully complete the hike and back. While on the hike, you will get to know about the history of the mountain, information and when it last erupted. The hike permit costs 75 USD per person.
In all mount muhabura is the 3rd tallest mountain and offers a challenging ascent to the tourists but it’s rewarding with fantastic views of the neighboring countryside as well as wildlife such as birds, primates and buffalos among others.