Rwenzori Mountain National Park


The legendary snow-capped Mountains of the Moon as described by Ptolemy in AD150. Reaching an elevation rwenzori mountaneeringof 5,109m is also Africa's tallest mountain range, exceeded in altitude only by the free-standing Mount Kenya and Kilimanjaro.

The distinctive glacial peaks are visible for miles around, but the slopes above 1,600m are the preserve of hikers, who rate the Rwenzoris to be the most challenging of all African mountains. A variety of large mammals inhabit the lower slopes, but the Rwenzoris are notable more for their majestic scenery and varied vegetation.

The trails lead through rainforest rattling with monkeys and birds, and then tall bamboo forest, before emerging on the high-altitude moorland zone, a landscape of bizarre giant lobelias, towered over by black rock and white snow, looking for the entire world like the set of a science fiction film.

Located in South Western Uganda on the Congo boarder and on the edge of the western rift valley covering an area of 996 square kilometers with an elevation of 1700 meters to 5109 meters on Margherita peak.

The park boosts of its magnificent scenery and 19 Albertine Rift endemics and the slopes blanketed in moorland and rich montane forest. The park also has about 195 bird species recorded among others are;

Rwenzori Turaco, Montane (Rwenzori) Nightjar, Handsome Francolin, Archer's Robin-Chat, Red-throated Alethe, Montane Masked and Collared Apalises, Dwarf Honeyguide, Regal and Purple-breasted Sunbirds, Kivu Ground Thrush, Red-thighed Sparrowhawk, African Long-eared Owl, Montane Sooty Boubou, Lammergeiger, Tinkerbird, Olive Woodpecker, Golden-winged and Scarlet-tufted Malachite Sunbirds.

A tough but rewarding hike to this great and most challenging mountain takes through all vegetation zones and requires the time as indicated below:

Itinerary.

Day 1: Arrival and Hotel Transfer
On arrival at Entebbe international airport, you will be met and received by your driver guide from African Crane Safaris who will then brief you as he transfers you to your hotel for overnight (depending on your arrival time)

Day 2: Kampala To Kasese (Rwenzori)
After an early morning breakfast, you will start your journey westwards to Kasese home to the mighty Rwenzori mountain via Mbarara that allows you a brief stopover at the Equator to perform a simple experiment and experience a tropical balance. Proceed later for lunch in Mbarara town before transferring to arrive in Kasese through Queen Elizabeth National park. Relax for the rest of the day as you enjoy the beautiful views of the Rwenzori Mountain, dinner and overnight.

Day 3: Nyabitaba Hut (2650m).
After breakfast transfer to Nyakalengija trailhead (1600m). Make final arrangements for a guide and porters. Begin hiking up to Nyabitaba hut. Walk through banana gardens on the side of the steep foothills, past the typical Bakonjo homesteads. Follow the trail along the Mubuku River, through landslides and up and down rocks and bluffs. Cross the Mahoma River and climb steeply through bracken fern slopes and Podocarpus forest to Nyabitaba Hut for overnight (Full Board).

Day 4: John Matte Hut (3350m).
The trail from Nyabitaba drops down through the forest to the Kurt Shafer Bridge, just below the confluence of the Bujuku and Mubuku Rivers. A steep ascent through bamboo forest, traversing a long and exhausting stretch of slippery moss-covered rock. From Nyamileju rock shelter, on clear days, Mount Stanley and Mount Speke can be glimpsed before passing into the zone of the giant heather, lobelia and groundsel. The final stretch to the hut is across a tiring bog, the first of many for which the mountain is infamous (Full Board).

Day 5: Bujuku Hut (3900m).
Immediately after John Matte Hut, the trail drops down to cross the Bujuku River and enters Lower Bigo Bog, home of giant lobelias. Jumping from tussock to tussock, the bog is finally crossed but rarely without the feet sampling some of the freezing ooze below. The Upper Bigo bog gives way to Bujuku Lake, with views of Mt Baker to the South and Mt Stanley to the West. Bujuku Hut, well located in the shadow of Mount Baker and Mount Speke, is set in a narrow valley below Stuhlmann Pass. A spectacular setting but it can be very cold, even for the Rwenzoris. (Full Board).

Day 6: Elena Hut (4541m). 
Leaving Bujuku, through more bog, the trail climbs the steep slopes west of the lake, passing through the magical Groundsel Gully as it ascends to Scott-Elliot Pass at 4372m. At the head of the gully a metal ladder takes you over a steep section after which the trail splits into two. The right leads up to Elena Hut and Mount Stanley on a steep trail over large boulders. The left path leads to Scott-Elliot Pass and down to Kitandara Lakes. For those sleeping at the basic Elena Hut be prepared for a cold and icy night (Full Board).

Day 7: Margherita Peak (5109m) To The Base Of Stanley Glacier. 
Depending on the weather and the individual’s acclimatization, it can be a four to seven hour walk to the summit of Margherita. This is a tough walk over three glaciers, slippery rock, ice and very exposed areas which are open on many sides. It is only for the physically fit and is a technical climb which requires roping up, crampons and appropriate equipment for cold, windy and icy conditions. It is best to attempt the final climb in a minimum group of 2 - 4 climbers and two guides; (a supplement for the extra guide has to be paid for at the time of booking).

Climb on to the glacier, cross the Stanley Plateau and proceed with the ascent. Subject to altitude sickness, fog and weather, scramble up to the summit of Margherita, crown of the Rwenzoris. Due to the altitude and the tough conditions not everybody will make it to the summit so do not be disappointed if you do not. Returning to Scott-Elliot pass, there are spectacular views back to Bujuku Lake and Mount Speke, up to Mount Stanley and down to the Kitandara Lakes. Once over the pass the trail enters an alpine zone of sparse vegetation and rough boulders.

Descend to the Kitandara Hut for overnight, past the Kitandara Lakes. (For those who do not wish to climb the peak, a more restful day walking from Elena Hut to Kitandara Hut 4,023m.) (Full Board).

Day 8: Guy Yeoman Hut (3260m).
From Kitandara, the trail ascends steeply up the headwall, spreading out from the base of Mount Baker and continuing along the south side of the mountain to Fresh field Pass. On a clear day there are views into the Congo to the west and Mount Stanley to the north. From the pass, the long muddy descent continues, passing the rock shelter at Bujangolo, the base camp for the historic expedition by the Duke of Abruzzi in 1906 (Full Board).

Day 9: Nyabitaba (2650m).
The path down can be slippery and muddy with little to hold on to and requires careful balancing over the vertical mud or steep rock. An overnight stop at the Nyabitaba Hut is a pleasant rest after the exertion of the previous days (Full Board).

Day 10: Nyakalengija Trailhead (1600m). 
Gentle descents down the muddy paths to the trailhead, arriving for lunch in Kasese town, relax at your hotel for the rest of the day. Dinner and overnight.

Day 11: Kasese – Kampala
After an early morning breakfast, depart Kasese back to Kampala via Fort Portal and if time allows upon your interest, you will have a chance to visit the Tooro palace of the youngest King in the world, Amabere ga Nyinamwiru (a famous cultural site attached to the Tooro kingdom) proceed to visit the crater lakes before returning for lunch in Fort Portal town and transfer back to Kampala arriving to relax for the rest of the day/evening. Dinner and overnight or transfer to the airport to catch your flight back home.

Day 12: Airport Transfer.
You will be transferred to Entebbe airport for your onward flight.

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giant lobiela mountan vegetation Rwenzori

 

 

 

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