Rwenzori mountain is th most alluring hiking destination in Uganda traversed by two discrete 6-9 day trail circuits. This hike starts at Kilembe in the south passing through facinating succession of altitudinally –defined vegetation zones. Normal Rwenzori hikes stick below the snow linewhich reduces risk of altitude relates sickness. However, glacial peaks can be better accessed by experienced technical climbers.
Upon arrival at Entebbe International Airport, you will be received by a member of our team who will transfer you to your hotel in Entebbe.
Overnight: Airport Guest House/ Papyrus Guest House
Have an early breakfast & start off your journey to Kasese-the get way to Rwenzori Mountain via Fort Portal Town. The journey rewards you with stunning views of the tea estates.
You will have lunch stop over in Fotportal and then continue with your journey to Kases. On arrival, check into your pre arranged accomodation and spend the evening at leisure.
Dinner and overnight at Hotel Margherita.
Today after breakfast, you will be transferred to Trekkers Hostel in Kyanjuki, Kilembe, 12 kilometers from Kasese town. It is best to start the trek by 9 am but you can leave as late as 11am. You walk 2.2km to the Uganda Wildlife Authority rangers post at 1,727 meters, which takes about one hour. Here you pay the gate entrance fee and the rangers brief you on the rules of the National Park. Guides generally brief clients the night before the trek. You will start by walking up the valley floor through tall forest trees of the Afro Montane Forest Zone. This is a steady climb. You will see many birds and blue monkeys scampering off through the forest. At times you may see troupes of 15-20 colobus monkeys swinging through the tree tops. The flora is also beautiful. You will sleep at Sine Camp at 2,596 meters altitude in wooden huts set between tall forest trees on a narrow ridge where you may sit and enjoy the beauty of the Afro Montane forest while you look down at the fantastic Enock’s Falls just 200 meters from Sine Hut, crashing over the rocks far below. Sine is just below the bamboo zone and the area around has many different bird species. Those who are fit and want to proceed to Kalama Camp at 3,134 metres may do so and apart from the fantastic views gives you more time at Mutinda Camp where you may climb up to Mutinda Lookout at 3,975 metres with great views.
After a sumptous breakfast, trekking starts at 8.30am and you enter the Bamboo-Mimulopsis Zone which is steep climb with many high steps. In the wet season the bamboo zone is rather muddy and slippery therefore the walk is slow and careful. However the atmosphere and the forest is beautiful as you climb to Kalalama Camp at 3,147 meters which is in the Heather-Rapanea Zone where you can take a rest and a quick cup of tea or coffee before heading on to Mutinda Camp. The trail meanders up and over several small knolls along a ridge top then drops down the side of the valley before climbing again, and in doing so crosses several small streams and passes close to moss covered waterfalls. You then climb steadily along the side of a beautiful mossy river which tumbles down over the rocks under the Giant Heather trees whose trunks are covered in green moss hanging from the branches. This valley is unique with many Giant Heather trees creating a beautiful atmosphere often shrouded in mist. In the afternoon you may wish to climb up to the top of the Mutinda Lookout (one to two hours up and one hour down). The views are amazing as you stand on moss covered rocks at 3,925 meters with views across the Rwenzori Mountains and down to Kasese town and Lake George.
The trail here is boggy, particularly in the wet season but with a little skill you can step from tussock to tussock to make the going easier. Several boardwalks are set across the worst of the bogs to make walking easier. You cross the Mutinda valley through the tussock grass and everlasting flowers interspersed with many Giant Lobelias before climbing a steep section up to the Namusangi Valley (3,840 meters), which ends abruptly with sheer waterfalls and fantastic views of Mutinda Peaks. The Namusangi Valley is wide, with many ups and downs and crossing several bogs as the trail climbs steadily to Bugata Camp at 4,062 meters. Bugata Camp is situated way up Bamwanjara Pass high above Bugata Lake with views across Lake Kopello to Weismann’s Peak, which is often covered with snow then down the valley views of Lake Africa and Lake Kanganyika and the many small peaks towards Mutinda Camp. The area is covered with tussock grass, everlasting flowers, St John’s Wort, giant groundsel and giant lobelia. Bugata Camp has good facilities, solar lights, good toilets and bathrooms where you can have warm water. Bugata also has a helicopter pad for rescue purposes (insurance highly recommended).
Today, you will trek to Hunwick’s Camp via Bamwanjarra Pass. As you leave Bugata Camp you pass up a ridge then drop down slightly before ascending to Bamwanjarra Pass at 4,450 meters where we have a hut should the weather turn bad. From the pass on a clear day you get excellent views of the three main peaks. The trail passes down the valley and around the edge of some bogs and thick ever green vegetation, moss, giant groundsel and lobelia. Here is possibly the best place in all the Rwenzori to observe the Malachite Sunbird as it feeds on the many lobelia flowers and a known breeding site. Farther on, there is some steep sections before a steady climb up and over a ridge to Hunwick's Camp which is situated on the top of a deep valley and has good views of Mt Stanley, Mt Baker, Weismanns Peak and McConnell’s Prong.
From Hunwick's you will pass down and across the valley floor to Lake Kitandara which is very stunning with deep water and beautiful vegetation. From here you climb up Scott Elliott's pass then up the ridge to Margherita Camp 4,485 metres which is situated between some huge rocks and offering some shelter from the strong winds. This is the very spot where the Duke of Abruzzi camped when making his climb to Margherita Peak in 1906.
Today you will wake up at 2am and catch an early breakfast before heading off to climb Mt Stanley at 2.30am. This is necessary as the weather has changed a lot and often even during the dryer season the mountain is closed in with heavy clouds and snow falls from 1 pm to 4pm and this happens within a short period of 10 to 15 minutes as the clouds rise up from the extensive Congo rainforests. Due to weather patherns a strict turnaround time of 10am is followed, so if the peak is not reached before 10am you must turn around regardless, in the interests of safety. Margherita glacier has also suffered with global warming and as the outer edges of the glacier recede the ice is becoming steeper with one section of about 200 meters more than 60% grade. Much of the blacker has melted underneath causing caves under the ice. Follow guide’s advise where to pass.For those with less mountaineering experience, stay on Stanley glacier and climb up to a good vantage point on a rocky outcrop on the southern edge of Alexandra Peak to enjoy fantastic views over Congo and the lower mountain ridges. After ascending the peak at 5,109 metres you then pass directly down to Hunwick's Camp at 3.874 metres.
From Hunwick’s Camp you will start the day by climbing up a ridge towards McConnell’s Prong where you get the best views of all three peaks and Scott Elliott’s Pass before reaching Oliver’s Pass at 4,505 metres. The distance from Hunwick’s Camp to the top of Olivers Pass is 3km. The trail then cuts across below Weismann’s Peak to the confluence of the Nyamwamba River which flows down thought Kilembe and Kasese to Lake George in Queen Elisabeth National Park. If you wish to climb Weismanns Peak 4,620 metres yu can continue through Olivers pass. On a clear day you get fantastic views of Margherita and Mt Stanley, Mt Speke and Mt Baker. After crossing the confluence the trail meanders down the valley to Kiharo Camp at which is situated in a deep valley with high cliffs and dense vegetation. On the way down the valley after each bog you will climb over a ridge of stones and earth which seems out of place but actually was pushed there by slow moving glaciers which eventually stopped moving, melted and left a pile of rocks and debris in front of where the glacier once stood.
Today you will descend from Kiharo Camp to the park gate (5 to 8 hours). The trail down the Nyamwamba Valley is mostly downhill and absolutely stunning with beautiful views, moss covered rocks along the river, cascading waterfalls, deep valleys and forests are possibly the best in the Rwenzori Mountains. The moss covered rocks along the river, cascading waterfalls, deep valleys and forests are possibly the best in the Rwenzori Mountains. A few kilometres from Kiharo Camp the path turns off to the right to pass along the river. In the clear areas you may catch a glimpse of a duiker quietly feeding in small clearings as you pass along the river. A few kilometres down the river it becomes very steep with multitudes of waterfalls so you have to move away from the river and follow a narrow ridge to bypass steep sections. At the bottom you meet the river again at Riverside Rock Shelter where you will have lunch. After crossing a small stream you climb up a gentle slope as it is way too steep close to the river. The forest along this section is truly beautiful with many birds, primates, duikers and hyrax. A great experience and ending to a fantastic trek. Transfer to Kasese for overnight.
Today is the end of a beautiful hike to the Mountains of the Moon. Your guide will transfer you back to Entebbe or you can proceed to Queen Elizabeth National Park for a wildlife safari and to Bwindi Impenetrable NP for gorilla trekking.
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