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
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.