Climbing Mount Gahinga- Rwanda Hiking/Trekking Tours.
Climbing or Hiking Mount Gahinga is one adventurous and fun trilled activity that any traveler visiting Rwanda or Uganda can enjoy. The mountain is one of the dormant volcanoes situated within the Virunga ranges. It lies on the border between Uganda and Rwanda.
Mount Gahinga is also referred to as Mount Mgahinga on the Ugandan side. This mountain lies between two other mountains in the Virunga Volcano Massif, and these are Muhabura and Sabyinyo mountains. It is also the smallest of the three mountains, standing at an altitude of 3,474 meters above sea level.
The highlight of any hiking expedition on Mount Gahinga is its caldera which is about 180 meters wide. The mountain derives its name ‘Gahinga’ from a local Kinyarwanda word which means ‘a pile of stones.’
Climbing Mount Gahinga can be done from either Rwanda or Uganda in Volcanoes National Park and Mgahinga Gorilla National Park respectively. Visitors hiking Mount Gahinga have a lot of stunning attractions to see on the mountain such as bamboo forests, monkey species like golden monkeys. Lucky hikers can come into contact with the highly sought species of endangered mountain gorillas.
Hiking expeditions on Mount Gahinga take hikers through the mountain’s stunning afro-montane vegetation that comprises bamboo as the main vegetation. Hikers can also spot beautiful bird species on the mountain such as; bronze sunbirds, dusky turtle dove, olive woodpeckers, double collared sunbirds, Rwenzori batis, the speckled mouse bird, olive pigeons, paradise fly catchers, olive thrush, regal sunbirds and so many more.
Climbing Mount Gahinga in Rwanda or Uganda, is much easier as compared to Mount Sabyinyo and Mount Muhavura. Hiking expeditions on the mountain take about 6 hours to reach the summit and descend the mountain. Hiking Mount Gahinga does not require one to be an experienced mountain climber nor have prior knowledge of mountain climbing. Any visitor who is in good shape, both physically and mentally, can climb Mount Gahinga.
During the hiking, hikers have an opportunity of encountering different primate species at the base of the mountain and along the slopes. Some of the primates encountered include, golden Monkeys, mountain gorillas, blue monkeys, baboons, and Vervet monkeys, like black and white Colobus monkeys. There are also some mammals which include Leopards, elephants, antelopes, hyenas, warthogs, and buffaloes among others.
Hiking Mount Gahinga in Rwanda commences at exactly 7:00am every morning. Hikers have to be at the office for a briefing regarding the hiking trails, all the relevant information about the park which include the mountains with in Virunga mountain ranges, the formation of the volcanic mountains, the wildlife to encounter during the hike, and ranger allocation before the actual hiking activity starts.
Requirements for hiking/climbing Mount Gahinga in Rwanda.
Mountain hiking or climbing in general is a tiring adventure that requires proper preparations in advance in order to enjoy the experience. Travelers planning to climb Mount Gahinga in Rwanda should consider packing a few essentials that are required for the hiking expedition, and they include;
Book a hiking permit: Currently a permit to hike mount Gahinga goes for $75 per person and it is important to book it in advance plier to the hike.
Physical fitness: For any hiking activity, it requires that a hiker be fit both physically and mentally since it requires really longer trails and a lot of energy to reach to the top. Descending the mountain on the other hand is easy although it may prove to be a little tricky as the trails can be slippery as one slopes down the mountain.
Good hiking attire: Travelers need to acquire the proper hiking attire which includes; light hiking shoes easy to climb up, both light and warm clothing. The light clothes helps in climbing due to heat over the horizon while the warm sweater is appropriate as you might need it while at the top of the mountain since the higher you go, the cooler it becomes. So appropriate attire will enable the hiker to fit in any weather condition. Do not forget to pack a cap, sun glasses and sun screen to protect the body from direct heat.
Hiking stick: These are always provided at the head office on the hiking day. But some hiker can decide to pack their own hiking sticks.
A porter: It is always crucial for travelers hiking Mount Gahinga to hire a porter at the park’s headquarters in Kinigi before starting the hike. Porters are very important not only for carrying the back pack but also to offer a pull or a push where need be and trust me you will thank God for their presence.
Enough drinking water is very essential for hikers to avoid dehydration during the climb.
Other activities done in Volcanoes National Park.
Aside climbing Mount Gahinga in Volcanoes national park in Rwanda, visitors can take part in other activities such as;
Gorilla trekking: Volcanoes national park also offers its visitors gorilla trekking activities. There are 11 habituated gorilla groups in the national park and 10 groups are available for tourists to track. Visitors can purchase a gorilla trekking permit in Rwanda at a fee of USD 1500 dollars person.
Golden monkey trekking: Travelers can alternatively opt for golden monkey trekking in Volcanoes national park. The park offers golden monkey trekking to tourists at a fee of USD 100 dollars per person.
Other activities that visitors can do in Volcanoes National Park in Rwanda include; hike to Dian Fossey gravesite, Hiking Mount Bisoke or Karisimbi, guided nature walks, visit to Musanze caves and so much more.
How to get to Mount Gahinga in Rwanda.
Visitors planning to climb Mount Gahinga in Rwanda need to first get to Volcanoes National Park which is about a 2 hours’ drive from Kigali city. Travelers can fly into Kigali International Airport and then drive to the park’s headquarters that are located in Kinigi.
Accommodation facilities in Volcanoes National Park, Rwanda.
There is a wide variety of accommodation facilities that tourists visiting Volcanoes National Park can chose from. These include; Bisate Lodge, Virunga Lodge, Sabyinyo Silverback Lodge, Mountain gorilla view, Le Bambou Gorilla Lodge, Kinigi guesthouse and Gorilla Volcanoes Lodge.
In Conclusion; Climbing Mount Gahinga in Rwanda is such a fascinating and adventurous activity. Travelers planning to hike this mountain are bound to have lots of fun from seeing unique bird species to mountain gorillas, golden monkeys and many more stunning attractions that exist in Volcanoes national park.