Sabyinyo Hiking Trail
Sabyinyo Volcano is the oldest of the range and lies between 3 countries (Rwanda, DRC and Uganda). The name Sabyinyo is derived from the Kinyarwanda ward “iryinyo” meaning tooth. The volcano carries the local nickname “old man’s teeth” because it serrated summit resembles to the spaced teeth in a gum of line of an old man compared to the perfect conical summit of the adjacent volcanoes in this range. Standing at 3645m above sea level, this Volcano is known to be home to diverse biodiversity such as golden monkeys, “Cercopithecus Kandt’’ the oldest monkey’s species found in the VNP at Mount sabyinyo; buffalo and elephants but more importantly, it provides home to different Gorilla families mainly Agashya, Hirwa, Muhoza and Sabyinyo Group.
Sabyinyo Volcano has 2 trails notably Rurambo trail serving two peaks (2&3) and Sabyinyo trail lying on the eastern side of the Volcano leading to peak 1. Sabyinyo trail is one of the unique ecological niche of the park given its ability to provide habitat to different animals and being the point of first encounter with a mountain Gorilla by a wester Mr. Von Beringei which resulted into the scientific identification of the mountain gorillas in the world. In 1902 during the colonial era, RICHARD KANDT, the first Germany colonial governor of Rwanda sent a military expedition led by VON BERINGEI to Volcanoes National Park. During the exploration at 3000m on the slope of Sanyinyo trail leading to the first peak, the military crew encountered a magnificent family of primates which they had not known before. Mr. BERINGEI took a specimen of the primates in the laboratory in his home Country for study and came up with an idea that these primates were Mountain Gorillas and immediately named the species as Gorilla Beringei just after his name.
Sabyinyo Volcano climbing to peak 1 is the easiest trail for hiking in VNP considering its physical characteristics. The walk starts at 07:00 am from the Park HQs where the RDB guide will brief you about the tasks ahead. The trail can be completed by most hikers in 6 hours in total including 4 hours of ascending to the summit and 2 hours back from the summit. The narrow ridge provides a bit of excitement for hikers and amazing views over the Gahinga and Muhabura as well as tantalizing glimpses of the upper ridges of Sabyinyo itself.
As you walk to the top, you may see or hear the singing of different bird species like Ruwenzori’s Turaco, Mountain greenbul, Speckled mousebird etc. Primates like Golden monkeys, and mammals like elephants, buffaloes and bushbuck may also be seen or heard. On the top of the Peak, you will be fascinated by an incredible scenic view of the vegetation covering the trail to the peak, the oldest and gigantesque rocks of the ravines ranging from up to the bottom, the view of the country side etc.