Gorilla Tracking & Sabyinyo Volcano Hike - 4 Days
Uganda 4 day gorilla trekking tour with volcano hike of Sabyinyo volcano/ Muhavura/ Gahinga/ Sabinyo Gorge in Mgahinga Gorilla National Park. Gorilla trekking in Bwindi is certainly a lifetime experience that will leave unforgettable memories on you. Standing at 3645m, Mount Sabinyo offers one of the best mountain hiking and climbing experiences in Uganda safari. Sabyinyo Volcano is 14 Km meters away from Kisoro Town and is the hardest Volcano to hike found in Mgahinga park Uganda and is the only Volcano where one can access three countries at the same time in the Virunga Massive.
Uganda Gorilla Trekking & Sabyinyo Volcano Hike - 4 Days
- Day 1: Drive from Entebbe/ Kampala or Kigali to Bwindi impenetrable Forest
- Day 2: Gorilla Trekking in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park
- Day 3: Hike Volcano Sabyinyo, Muhavura, Gahinga Volcano or Sabinyo Gorge in Mgahinga Gorilla National Park.
- Day 4: Return to Kampala - Entebbe or Kigali.
Uganda 4 day gorilla trekking tour with volcano hike of Sabyinyo volcano/ Muhavura/ Gahinga/ Sabinyo Gorge in Mgahinga Gorilla National Park. Gorilla trekking in Bwindi is certainly a lifetime experience that will leave unforgettable memories on you. The mountain gorillas can only be trekked in Uganda's Bwindi and Mgahinga or Rwanda's Volcanoes National Park (a permit is $1500) or Virunga National Park (which is not so secure now). So with the Uganda gorilla trekking permit at $700, certainly Uganda is the best place to trek the gorillas.
This 4-day gorilla trek tour with volcano hike of Sabyinyo volcano/ Muhavura/ Gahinga/ Sabinyo Gorge in Mgahinga Gorilla National Park is one of the best for you seeking a more adventurous gorilla trek tour in Uganda.
Standing at 3645m, Mount Sabinyo offers one of the best mountain hiking and climbing experiences in Uganda safari. A dormant volcano, Mt Sabinyo hiking Tour is one of the numerous rolling volcanoes that make up the magnificent Virunga mountain range that spans along the borders of Rwanda, Uganda and the Democratic Republic of Congo.
While the other volcanoes like Karisimbi, Bisoke, Mikeno either lie in one of the countries or are shared between two countries, Mt. Sabinyo lies at the meeting point of all the three borders. It is more like the axis of the Virunga range and offers the best views across the Virungas, you could call it a 360-degree experience!
Day 1: Start your Uganda Gorilla trek tour by driving to Bwindi impenetrable N. Park (the mountain gorillas' home)
Meet and greet with our local guide in Kampala/Entebbe/Kigali at 07:00 hours before starting the gorilla trek tour on your drive heading to southwestern Uganda to the home of the mountain gorillas, Bwindi Impenetrable National Park.
En route, there is a local community popular for making local drums and crafts and a fruit market. Stopover, admire and buy yourself souvenirs. Proceed to the Equator line taken as one beautiful scenery in Africa - the pathway of the sun and take photographs.
Pass by mountains, tropical rainforest, and bamboo forest during the nine-hour journey.
The drive to the mountain gorilla sanctuary is over 7 hours from Entebbe or Kampala, most of the time on the smooth-surfaced road with about 45 minutes of dusty murram. You could choose to fly to Bwindi if you don't feel like driving. One-way flights range from 280$-360$ pp.
Uganda Gorilla Trek Accommodation options (all on full board basis)
Moderate: Ichumbi Gorilla Lodge
Low Budget: Gorilla Haven Lodge Rushaga
Day 2: Gorilla Trekking in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park
Today enjoy gorilla trekking in Bwindi.
After breakfast, proceed for the morning briefing before enjoying the highlight of the trip - gorilla trekking, which may last the entire day. We trek the gorillas through the rainforest and bamboo-covered slopes, accompanied by a guide and gorilla trackers, in search of a mountain gorilla family. The walking can sometimes be tough and long, but when you catch a glimpse of the magnificent silverback, any discomforts will be quickly forgotten. When the gorillas are sighted, visitors will be guided to within 6 meters from the gorillas, sit around them for a whole hour while gazing into their big round eyes.
Gorilla trekking is unpredictable. It's difficult to foresee how many hours you will hike. The gorilla tracking excursion can take from 2 up to 8 hours. Expect to walk a long distance in steep and muddy conditions, sometimes with rain overhead, before you encounter any gorillas. A good physical condition is recommended. For conservation purposes, time spent with the gorillas is limited to one hour. A ranger will brief you on how to behave with the gorillas.
While most of today's forests are no more than 12,000 years old, Bwindi's vegetation has been weaving itself into tangles over at least 25,000 years, in the process of accumulating a lengthy species list. This includes 310 species of butterfly, 51 reptiles, 200 trees, 88 moths, and an exceptional 120 types of mammal including 10 primates. The latter includes chimpanzee, L'Hoest's, red-tailed and blue monkey, black and white colobus, baboon, and Bwindi's most famous resident, the mountain gorilla.
Bwindi is a prime destination for birdwatchers. Its 350 species include seven which are IUCN red data listed and 90% of all Albertine rift endemics, species which are difficult or impossible to see in any other part of East Africa.
Uganda Gorilla Trek Accommodation options available (all on full board basis)
Moderate: Ichumbi Gorilla Lodge
Low Budget: Gorilla Haven Lodge Rushaga
Day 3: Hike Sabyinyo Volcano, Muhavura, Gahinga Volcano, or Sabinyo Gorge in Mgahinga Gorilla National Park
Climbing the Sabyinyo extinct volcano is done in southwestern Uganda and this consists of climbing 3 peaks.
The hike to Sabyinyo takes you through muddy trails often on wooden ladders with expectations of patchy/partial rain and clearing clouds as you get to the beautiful view of Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of Congo. At this time, the view is at times reduced to 10 ft, reach the summit view and from here you will be able to see and stand in all three countries; Uganda, Rwanda, and Congo.
This hike sometimes involves walking straight high up the mountain without going round it. The views and challenges of hiking Mt. Sabyinyo make it an amazing experience for adventurers.
After early breakfast for the hikers will depend on the choice of the following:
- Climbing Muhavura Volcano (± 8 hrs; distance 12 km; height 4,127 m; elevation gain 1,700 m).
- Climbing Gahinga Volcano (± 6 hrs; distance 8 km; height 3,474 m; elevation gain 1,100m).
- Visit Sabinyo Gorge (± 4 hrs; distance 6 km, no elevation gain).
- Climbing Sabinyo Volcano (Sabinyo has three peaks, you can climb all three in the same walk, but you need to be fit!! ± 8 hrs; distance 14 km; height 3,669 m, elevation gain 1,300 m).
On hiking safety, Mt. Sabyinyo has walking trails and occasionally maintained wooden ladders which make it safer for hikers.
Accommodation options available (all on full board basis)
Up-market: Chameleon Hill Lodge
Moderate: Ichumbi Gorilla Lodge
Low Budget: Gorilla Haven Lodge Rushaga
Day 4: Kampala - Entebbe
After breakfast return to Kampala, then Entebbe International Airport, with lunch en route before your evening departure flight home.
- Accommodation for the gorilla trek as indicated on programme (on full board basis)
- 1 gorilla permit per person
- Sightseeing as noted in the trip itinerary
- Park fees
- Entry fees
- Airport transfers
- Ground transportation by private 4WD vehicles
- Additional guides/porters where appropriate
- Flight tickets and departure taxes
- Travel documentation (visas)
- Travel and medical insurance
- Optional excursions
- Excess baggage charges
- Tips and gratuities for your guides and accommodation staff
- Beverages other than mineral water in the vehicle and at mealtimes with meals
- Items of a personal nature such as telephone calls, postage fees, and so on
Start Planning Your Adventure
Other Top Adventurous Uganda Tours
Extend this Uganda safari to Rwanda, Kenya or Tanzania with the following tours:
The Sabyinyo volcano hiking adventure takes place in Mgahinga Gorilla National Park. Mount Sabyinyo is one of the eight volcanoes that comprise the Virunga ranges of East and Central Africa. Mount Sabyinyo hike is one of the highly-rated tourist activities after mountain gorilla tracking. The other two volcanoes on the Uganda side of the Vriunga massif are Mount Muhabura and Mount Gahinga.
Standing at 3645m, Mount Sabinyo offers one of the best mountain hiking and climbing experiences in Uganda safari. Sabyinyo Volcano is 14 Km meters away from Kisoro Town and is the hardest Volcano to hike found in Mgahinga park Uganda and is the only Volcano where one can access three countries at the same time in the Virunga Massive.
At the peak of Sabyinyo Mountain, one stands in 3 countries of Uganda, Rwanda and DR Congo at the same time. It is located in Mgahinga National Park majorly known for Gorilla Trekking Experience and the climbing point of mt. Sabyinyo is in Mgahinga National park.
While the other volcanoes like Karisimbi, Bisoke, Mikeno either lie in one of the countries or are shared between two countries, Mt. Sabinyo lies at the meeting point of the all the three borders. It is more like the axis of the Virunga range and offers the best views across the Virungas, you could call it a 360 degree experience!
At the peak during Mount Sabinyo Volcano Hike, the hiker is rewarded with stunning, magnificent views and at this point he or she is in the three countries of Uganda, Rwanda & DR Congo at the same time.
What to see during Mount Sabinyo Volcano Hike
Mt. Sabinyo Trekking Tour is an habitat for the Golden Monkeys which you are chanced at seeing on the way during the Climbing exercise.
Other big wildlife to see on Mount Sabyinyo a Volcano Hike include; Buffaloes, Elephants and Gorillas but are rarely seen on the trail.
Between 2800 – 3200m is a beautiful forest patch of Hagenia Hypericum, over 3200 is that Sub-alpine zone that has fewer trees. This is also territory of the famous Rwenzori Turaco, a stunning bird which is also endemic to the Albertine rift region.
At the summit you hike to each of the three summits and get the chance to be at the meeting point of all the countries, and enjoy the best views of all!
Items to pack for Mount Sabinyo Hike
-Long-sleeved shirt and trouser -Hiking Boots -Raincoat
-Stocking hat for warmth -Camera with Battery -Binocular
-Garden gloves for cold weather at the top
-Packed Lunch and snacks
THE MOUNTAIN GORILLA TREKKING EXPERIENCE
Mountain gorillas are wild animals and, as such, sightings cannot be guaranteed. However, for the last 14 years, no one has trekked the gorillas and failed to see them in Uganda. Certainly, you won't be the one with bad luck! On the trek, once you find the gorillas, you will be allowed an hour with the gorillas and you can only go not more than 6 meters from them. As the gorilla tracking can sometimes take a full day, you will need to go with your packed lunch and lots of drinking water when trekking to the gorillas.
Gorilla trekking timings and conditions vary tremendously as the gorillas move continuously through the rain forest. It is good to be prepared and remember the weather can change with very little warning. The terrain is often steep and through areas where there are no marked paths.
TIPS FOR THE BEST GORILLA TREKKING EXPERIENCE IN UGANDA
Secure Gorilla Trekking permits early
Gorilla Trekking is the most popular foreign tourist activity for Uganda. On every single day, only 128 tourists can trek the gorillas in Bwindi. Uganda has the cheapest gorilla permits prices at USD600 (or USD700 beginning July 2020) for safe gorilla tracking as Rwanda's gorilla permits cost USD1500. This means the competition is quite high for the few gorilla permits in Uganda and it becomes hard to secure gorilla trekking permits a few days to your Uganda gorilla tour (although it is often possible with luck more so in the green season months of October, November, April and May). It is best to have your gorilla trek permit fully confirmed at least 4 months in advance.
Assess your fitness levels
There is a likelihood you could walk for 3-6 hours on a gorilla trek. Gorillas are located deep in Bwindi forest with thick undergrowth over several steep volcanic slopes. Gorilla groups keep roaming this forest looking for their favorite food. They are never stationed in the same place over days. Your gorilla trek will follow this same trend and it is quite unpredictable knowing how long or tough your gorilla trekking shall be. The longer trek is not necessarily a problem, just something to be prepared for. A bit of moderate physical fitness is needed for gorilla trekking in Uganda.
Guides & Porters for the gorilla trek
You will be guided through the forest on your gorilla tracking by a Uganda Wildlife Authority guide whom you will meet at the departure point in the morning of your trek. Your guide can help you book a porter (or two!) so that you can track without having to carry the few essential items listed below in a day pack which you should bring with you. The porters are from the local community and very used to the local conditions and can assist in pushing, pulling and supporting you during your trek to the gorillas. They are usually an additional fee, over and above your safari cost, and you should budget on approximately USD15-20 per porter per day as a fee with additional tipping being optional.
As the porters do not have tracking permits they will be stopped a short distance from the point you will be viewing the mountain Gorillas. Please remember to take whatever you may need from your bag to view the gorillas and rather leave valuables at the lodge/camp.
You will be allowed up to one hour for viewing of the gorillas from when they are sighted by your group. This is to ensure that the wild animals are not overexposed to human presence. Whilst in their presence you will also be required to keep minimum distances from them – generally between 5-7 metres and your guides will ensure this is enforced.
What to pack on gorilla trekking
• Plenty of water – 1-2 litres per person
• High energy snacks in addition to your packed lunch provided by the lodge/camp
• Spare film and batteries for videos and cameras
• Gloves (gardening type are good)
• Waterproof bag to protect photographic equipment
• A hat, sunscreen, mosquito repellent and band-aids might be useful
• A lightweight waterproof jacket/poncho
• Walking sticks are made available at the start of the trek for some of the steeper and more slippery tracks and may prove to be very handy.
Gorilla Trekking Age Limits
The age limit for gorilla trekking is 15 years and the authorities are very strict on this! With special written permission however, a 14yr old might pass.