This Rwenzori mountain climbing trip offers a rare and satisfying exploration of the fabled mountains of the moon. As the third tallest mountain in East Africa and the tallest mountain ranges in Africa, Rwenzori continues to be as mysterious as it was in the old days of Ptolemy thousands of years ago.
Climbing to Margherita peak (at 5109 meters above sea level) is a very intense activity that requires physical fitness and some prior experience with mountaineering. This trip is designed for the able-bodied and physically fit people for whom the challenge is very welcome and thrilling.
From the start to the peak, you will move from an altitude of 1600 meters above sea level to a final altitude of 5109 meters. This involves a lot of hiking up and sloping down as you cover more distance upwards - and the same case as you return down. Over this distance, you get to see the changing vegetation and climate zones, plus the animals and plants that are only found in the Rwenzori ranges.
Tough as it is to climb up to the highest peak of Rwenzori, the experience of actually doing it and finishing is more than gratifying. The people who have managed to climb it compare it to be better than Kilimanjaro because the ranges add a bit of difficult and this makes the climb a lot more rewarding after it is done.
- Rwenzori Mountains National Park
- Margherita Peak (5109 meters above sea level)
Day 1: Drive from Kampala to Kasese via Mbarara
You will arrive at Entebbe airport by a morning flight. Your driver/guide will pick you up and continue on the road to Kasese through Mbarara. The journey goes along Lake Victoria on a good road to Mbarara where you will stopover for lunch.
As you continue on towards Kasese, the landscape changes to hilly fertile areas with massive banana and tea plantations.
Day 2: Nyakalegiya (1600 meters a.s.l) to Nyabitaba Hut
You will start the day by going to the Rwenzori Mountains National Park Head Quarters at Nyakalegija where you will be briefed by guides before setting off to start the hike. Any equipment to be hired is also done at this point. Your climb will go through the homes of the local native Bakonjo people and gradually rise and follow the Mobuku river.
Along the way, you might see some monkeys and birds and even the rare Rwenzori Turacos. The trail goes through Bracken fern slopes and podocarpus forest to Nyabitaba Hut. This whole climb will take five to six hours of hiking. At Nyabitaba Hut, You will have stunning views of the Portal Peaks and Mount Kyniangoma. You will then rest and await the next day's climb.
Day 3: Nyabitaba Hut (2652 meters a.s.l) to John Matte Hut
You will leave Nyabitaba Hut and descend the ridge to the Mubuku river, and then climb through the bamboo forest toward John Matte Hut. The afternoon is a tiring boulder hoping ascent along the northern side of the Bujuku river through the giant heather forest.
The entire climb for the day will take approximately 6 hours to reach John Matte Hut where you will spend the night. At the John Matte Hut, you will enjoy captivating views of Mount Stanley and the Snow Capped Margherita and Elena Peaks. You will have your well-needed rest at the John Matte Hut and ready yourself for the next day's battle.
Day 4: John Matte Hut (3414 meters a.s.l) to Bujuku Hut
Undertake an early morning trek to cross river Bujuku and then enter the notorious bogs of the Bujuku valley with are wet and muddy - but add to the thrilling experience. You will then cross to drier ground, up to Lake Bujuku that overlooks Mount Baker and Mount Speke.
Along the way, look out for the 'everlasting flower', that is known to remain on the plants for 40 long years. From lake Bujuku, you will continue for a short one-hour trek to Bujuku Hut where you will have your rest and spend the night.
Day 5: Butjuku Hut (3900 meters a.s.l) to Elena Hut
From Bujuku Hut you climb through moss-draped groundsel vegetation, to Scott Elliot Pass at 4372 meters above sea level, between Mount Baker and Stanley. Here you will divert to Elena Hut, which stands at 4540 meters above sea level, for spending the night before climbing Mount Stanley.
The hiking trail is steep and rocky, which makes it slippery and very difficult when it is wet or icy. Elena Hut is the starting point for the ascent to Margherita peak.
At Elena Hut, You will enjoy breathtaking panoramic views of the Bujuku Valley, Mount Baker, Mount Luigi di Savoia, and Stanley just above. You will have the much needed overnight rest and warm dinner as you await your next day's adventure.
Day 6: Elena Hut (4541 meters a.s.l) to Kitandara Hut
From Elena Hut, you will ascend to Margherita peak on Mount Stanely through a tract of rock and ice. You will need crampons, an ice axe, and rope as you go through the remaining glacier on Mount Stanely. You will reach the Margherita peak - the highest point in Uganda and the highest point of any mountain range in Africa.
The first person to climb up to Margherita peak ( at 5109 meters above sea level ) was Prince Luigi Amedeo the Duke of Abruzzi (Prince Luigi Amadeo on Wikipedia) at 9.30 am on 18th June in 1906.
From the summit, you will descend back to Elena Hut, and then to Upper Kitandara Lake. You will continue and go to the lower Kitandara lake through thick mud, where you will find Kitandara Hut for your rest and recuperation.
From Kitandara Hut, you will be presented with magnificent views of Mount Luigi di Savoia - that you may choose to climb. You may also proceed to climb Mount Baker.
The Ascent to the peak will take between 3 and 4 hours, while the descent to Kitandara Hut will take another 3 to 3 and a half hours.
Day 7: Kitandara Hut to Guy Yeoman Hut
After your overnight stop, you will start off with a steep ascent to Freshfield Pass and then descend to Bujongolo Cave through rocky and boggy areas. A muddy trail will lead to Guy Yeoman Hut via Kabamba rock shelters. Along the way, the panoramic views of the glaciers of Mount Stanely, Baker and Savoia are out of this world.
At Guy Yeoman Hut, you will rest for the night and await the next day's expedition. The beautiful landscape of mountains, rivers, and vegetation is very picturesque - and does make one forget that they are in the heart of the African tropics.
The day's hike will take up to 6 hours.
Day 8: Guy Yeoman Hut (3261 meters a.s.l) to Nyabitaba Hut
From Guy Yeoman Hut, you will undertake steep descent along the sides of River Mobuku. You will go past Kichuchu - and other rock shelter and join the original hiking route near the confluence of the Bujuku river.
Along the way, you will find various attractive plants and flowers of the heather zone before reaching the bamboo forest. You will also find Kabamba falls along the way.
It will take up to 4 hours to reach Nyabitaba Hut, where you will rest for the night and prepare for your final descent off the Rwenzoris.
Day 9: Nyabitaba Hut to Nyakalengija base camp - and drive back to Kampala
For your final descent off the mountains of the moon, you will leave Nyabitaba Hut to the Nyakalengija trailhead at the headquarters of the Rwenzori Mountains National Park. Along the way, you will see some tropical forest birds and monkeys - a good reminder that you are in the tropics. It will take you only 2 hours to reach the park head offices.
You will have fully completed your climb and a pat on the back is very well deserved. As one of the tough ranges to climb on the whole African continent, you will have earned you bragging rights and all the tough and painful moment will feel very much worth it.
From Nyakalengija, your driver guide will transfer you to Kampala or Entebbe, where you will arrive in the late evening for your departure flight. That will mark the end of thi tour to climb the Rwenzori's highest peak.
- Mountain climbing highlights as mentioned
- Ground transportation with an English speaking driver guide
- Accommodation in mountain huts
- Meals per itinerary
- Services of professional mountain guides - average ratio 1 per 2 climbers
- Services of cook & porters on mountain [average 4 porters per person carrying 12.5 kgs]
- Park fees and mountain services fees as shown separately above
- Rescue fees, sleeping mattresses, all cooking/eating utensils on hike/climb.
- Airfare to and from Uganda
- Visa to Uganda [US$ 50]
- Travel insurance
- First and last night’s accommodation in Kampala or Entebbe
- All beverages except tea and coffee taken at breakfast
- Any activity, meal or accommodation NOT mentioned in the itinerary
- Souvenirs, items of a personal nature