Hike Mount Gahinga-Virunga’s smallest volcano
Mount Gahinga is the smallest volcano in the Virungas, lying in between Mount Sabyinyo and Mount Muhavura; it is an extinct volcano found along the border of Uganda and Rwanda. This volcano is 3,474m high and at its summit is a swampy caldera said to be about 180m wide. The name “Gahinga” is a Rufumbira/Kinyarwanda word meaning “small pile of stones”.
It is because from Mount Gahinga that Mgahinga National Park derives its name. The vegetation along this volcano is termed as afro-montane with mainly bamboo forests covering most of the part. In these bamboo forests is where the Mountain gorillas found a home along with other wildlife species and different bird species which all in all form the Gahinga ecosystem. Golden monkeys can also be spotted.
Mount Gahinga is can be hiked in 6-8hours hence it is easier to hike with moderate difficulty, its environment is attractive where by it is covered with bamboo forests which is amazing to hike through, this forest covers around 2km and as you get to its top you are welcomed with a beautiful swampy caldera.
Ensure you are in good health and fit physically for you to enjoy this hike, make sure that you keep on track following the ranger guide, ask as many questions as you want because the person guiding you is well experienced and trained.
During your trip to Mount Gahinga you can also enjoy other activities that are remarkable such as tracking the endangered mountain gorillas, track golden monkeys, visit communities around for a cultural encounter, enjoy nature walks and the bird lovers, this place is also a paradise for birds.
You can access Mount Gahinga from Rwanda or from Uganda. From Uganda you can travel by road which is approximately a 9 to 10hours drive from Kampala to Mgahinga, the road is tarmacked but is slightly steep and mountainous so the driving speed is regulated.
On road, the distance is about 510km. You can also choose to use chartered flights from either Kajjansi or Entebbe and fly in to Kisoro Airstrip where you will transfer to Mount Gahinga.
Ensure that you carry all requirements for mountain hiking such as strong hiking shoes, long sleeved shirts and trousers, drinking water, food and snacks, walking sticks, raingears/coats, hats, camera, binocular among other things. There is also no worry of how to carry your baggage while ascending and descending from Mount Gahinga since there are strong porters how can do that but they do this role at a fee that is affordable.
Mount Gahinga being the smallest of all the 8 volcanoes, it is easier to hike, so if your interest has been climbing a mountain, here is Mount Gahinga for you, which can be hiked in one day and hence lives you with countless unforgettable memories!