• Muhabura
  • 4127 m
  • Primary factor 1530 m
  • Rwanda
  • Location: South 01.38309, East 029.67783 (GPS)
  • Difficulty: YDS class 2
  • Climbed May 24. 2022.


How to get there:
One first must go to Rwanda, the capital Kigali is where most people will arrive by air. In order to avoid possible unexpected red-tape, the most convenient (but also more expensive!) approach is to use a local tour company. I decided to use Bambou Tours and have them organize the permits, guides and transportation logistics. Tour companies may also be able to offer a low cost "do it yourself" option, with only minimal "administrative support".
From Kigali, one travel north to the town of Ruhengeri. From here, it is a short drive to the National Park Office, located at S01.43220, E029.59473.
Rwanda authorities do require that a guide is used, but obviously, one may try to organize the trip directly with the National Park Office after arrival in Rwanda. All guides that can be used are employed (and paid) by the National Park. Thus, all trips originate from their office.
From the Park office one typically travels to the trailhead together with the assigned guide. The normal trailhead is located directly on the lower slopes of the mountain at location S01.37282, E029.71860.
Route description:
I started from a trailhead located at S01.36648, E029.71056, elevation about 2330 meter, however it is also quite normal to start about 100 meter lower at location S01.37282, E029.71860. The first part of the route runs uphill crossing farm-land. Local knowledge needed in order to find the correct link to the jungle trail above.
This is a pretty small jungle trail into pretty dense jungle. The trail runs fairly straight uphill. We emerged out of the trees after gaining roughly 1000 meter vertical. This is a very natural place for a break slightly more than half way to the summit. Location S01.37390, E029.68833, elevation about 3325 meter. From here, one can see most of the remaining ridge. The trail is generally good to walk and with almost no mud. The trail had a few points higher up on the ridge where a supporting hand is natural, but stays at (YDS) class 2 all the way to the summit. Quite surprising, the summit consisted of a small circular lake, then a gentle grassy rim around. The highest point was clearly on the opposite side relative to our ascent.
I left Bergen, Norway on Sunday morning and had good flights with zero trouble via Oslo and Istanbul to Kigali. My first visit to the new airport in Istanbul, certainly very impressive! Arrival in Kigali was around 0100, about 30 minutes late. The arrival procedure was smooth, but with a more rigorous Covid testing scheme than anywhere else I have traveled in the last 9 months.
Simon from Bambou Tours waited for me outside and quickly got me to The Nest hotel, quite good since my first priority now was to catch some sleep.
Agreed pickup time on Monday was 1100, Simon came about 15 minutes late due to some traffic delays. We drove out of Kigali, the first stretch again extremely slowly due to local traffic jams and snail pace progress. The rest of the drive was nice and scenic crossing several of Rwanda's famous green hills. We drove to the city of Ruhengeri, then drove to the Park offce for the National Park. This is located at S01.43220, E029.59473, we were there around 1430. This visit turned out to be a bummer, nobody there to take care of anything. Still, it seemed that whatever business was needed could be done using the phone. The park officials needed to see my negative Covid test from the airport arrival.
Next, Simon drove me to my accommodation. I had asked for a place close to the trailhead. We left the main road and drove downhill on a very rough (typical African) dirt road. Eventually, we ended up on the shore of lake Ruhondo. It turned out that my place to stay was located on the opposide side of the lake. Close in distance, but perhaps not in time? The boat was waiting and I soon arrived at My Hill Eco Lodge. Friendly people and quite a nice place! I got a tent room, really quite well made, not really a tent, but walls and roof made of very solid material. I enjoyed a local dark beer then fish from the lake for dinner. The day ended with a nice sunset across the lake.
Tuesday morning, breakfast at 0500 - Spanish omelette plus tropical fruits. My boat left at 0530 and Simon was waiting on the far side. We were supposed to be at the trailhead by 0700. A slight confusion as we parked on the normal trailhead while the guide and the Rwanda army showed up at an alternate, slightly higher trailhead. We were soon there and I greeted the guide - Emanuel, age 34. There were also 12-14 Rwanda army soldiers, all with weapons, helmet and green battle clothing. A very impressive party for a single hiker.
The guide wanted to know if I would take a local porter. I told him that I normally would carry my (very lightweight) pack myselves, however if the use of a local porter would be of help to the local community, then that would be ok. The guide expressed gratitude for this and a message was sent that some local man should be hired. We started walking and a porter caught up with us within 5 minutes.
We left at 0715. One soldier in front, then the guide and me, with my porter right behind.