• Kabuye
  • 2654 m
  • Prominence 719 m
  • Difficulty: YDS class 1.
  • Location: Rwanda
  • Location: South 01.60780, East 029.81351, (GPS)
  • Climbed: May 28, 2022


How to get there:
This mountain is located near the Hwy. that connects Kigali with Ruhengeri, the starting point for visiting the Volcanos National Park. Coming from Kigali, exit right at location S01.64685, E029.79044. Continue a short stretch on the village road that runs parallel with the Hwy. This road will curve right and you should drive towards the local hospital (signs), then pass it on your right hand side. There may be some smaller signs for Kabuye directing the way. The road ends near location S1.63024, E29.7952, elevation near 1740 meter. This is the trailhead. There is space for parking next to the road about 100 meter before you reach this trailhead.
A big trail heads directly uphill from the trailhead. Follow this until you are close to a local crest of a ridge. The route now pretty much stays on top or near the top of the ridge that eventually will connect with the main mountain that can be seen above. There are also several signs that directs the way to Kabuye. The route follows the main trail that are also used by the local community.
Higher up, you will walk by the local school. The trail is mostly uphill all the way. You will also (in at least 2 locations) find signed facilities explicitly for tourists. Finally, the trail leaves huts and farmed land behind as it climbs the main mountain heading directly for a pretty distinct col. Here, you will have a nice view of the farming communities on the far side, the cultivated fields run all the way up to the col. The route turns sharply right and climbs gently to the summit. The highest point is not marked, but you will arrive at some tourist developments shortly beyond. There is a main hut with a terrasse as well as some smaller structures. The people running this place serve organized trekkers, they may ask for money, perhaps better to just stay outside.
I had completed my planned ascents in Rwanda, all that remained was to travel back to Kigali. My flight did not leave until after midnight. Thus, it would be good to spend this Saturday hiking a "bonus" peak if one could be identified. A quick look at the map revealed Kabuye, possibly the highest mountain in Rwanda located strictly inside the country (not being a volcano on the border).
We drove from Ruhengeri around 1030. The original plan was 1000 and I was puzzeled about Simon being late, absolutely not expected. Around 1015, I received a call via the cell phone of somebody at the hotel, from Patience. The line was very noisy, but he tried to tell me something about Simon doing some cleaning and therefore being late? This made absolutely no sense whatsoever, but I continued waiting knowing that they were aware of the situation.
When Simon finally arrived, everything was explained. He had completely forgotten that this was the last Saturday of May. Rwanda has defined the last Saturday of every month to be "National Cleaning Day", called Umuganda. This implies that everyone should do "community work", typically help clean up the neighborhood. This is mandatory and happens between 0800 and 1100. Thus, Simon on his way to pick me up, was stopped by police and ordered to do some "cleaning up" before he could proceed.
Umuganda means "coming together in common purpose", this is pretty similar to what we in Norway call "Dugnad". Local community work in order to improve something in the common interest. However, this activity has no fixed schedule or organization in Norway.
Driving to the trailhead was easy, a short drive from the main highway only. I had intended to hike solo unless some local person showed up, indeed within less than a minute after stopping, a young man offered to guide for USD 10. This was agreed and we started uphill around 1115. Most of this hike follows trails that are in daily use by local people. There are houses and farms along the way until one enters the very last section. We arrived on top after about 1:45. Somewhat to my surprise, the summit area had a permanent "tourist" hut, signs and other developments. I left after 10 minutes. We followed more or less the same route back down in about 1:35.