Rwenzori Mountains Climbing – 9 Days
RWENZORI MOUNTAINEERING – UGANDA ADVENTURE SAFARI
Day 1: Transfer from Kampala to Kasese
After breakfast, drive off to Kasese via Masaka, Mbarara, Bushenyi going through Queen Elizabeth National Park. Make a stopover at Mpambire in Mpigi for traditional handicrafts. Stop at the Uganda Equator, a point for the imaginary line believed to be dividing the world into two hemispheres (Northern and Southern Hemisphere). Have lunch in Mbarara town before continuing to Rwenzori Mountain. Dinner and overnight in Kasese Town.
Day 2: Rwenzori Mountains Climbing begings, Nyakalengija Trailhead (1600m).
After breakfast, embark on your Rwenzori trekking adventure by hiking to the Nyabitaba hut and shortly connect to Nyakalengija trailhead (1600m) with tour guides and porters climbing up to Nyabitaba hut going through the homesteads and the local plantations which is a amazing experience. Then follow the trail along the Mubuku River, via the landslides up and down rocks and bluffs. Walk across the Mahoma River and ascend steeply through the bracken fern slopes and Podocarpus forest to Nyabitaba Hut for an Overnight.
Day 3: Nyakalengija Trailhead – John Matte Hut (3350m)
From Nyabitaba hut, follow the trail which drops you down through the woodland to the Kurt Shafer Bridge, just below the meeting point of the Bujuku and Mubuku Rivers. Ascend via the bamboo forest, going across a long and a strenuous stretch of slippery moss-covered rock. From Nyamileju rock shelter, on clear-sight days, Mount Stanley and Mount Speke can be seen before passing into the zone of the giant heather, lobelia and groundsel. The final stretch to the John Matte hut is across a strenuous marshland, the first of many for which the mountain is well-known. Overnight at John Matte Hut (FB)
Day 4: John Matte Hut – Bujuku Hut (3900m)
After John Matte Hut, the trail goes downhill to cross River Bujuku and enters Lower Bigo Bog, home of giant lobelias. Jumping a tussock after the other, the bog is crossed but at times the feet taste the glacial ooze. The Upper Bigo bog gives a way to Bujuku Lake, with the sight of Mt. Baker to the South and Mt Stanley to the West. Bujuku Hut, suitably positioned in the shadow of Mount Baker and Mount Speke, is in a narrow valley below Stuhlmann Pass. Be prepared for this trail which can be very cold for you as well as to the dwellers of Rwenzori. Overnight at Bujuku Hut (FB)
Day 5: Bujuku Hut – Elena Hut (4541)
From Bujuku, via more bog, the trail ascends the slopes west of the lake, passing through the magical Groundsel Gully as it goes up to Scott-Elliot Pass at 4372m. A metal ladder takes you over a steep section after which the trail splits into two at the head of the channel. The right path goes up to Elena Hut and Mount Stanley on a steep trail over large boulders whereas the left path leads to Scott-Elliot Pass and down to Kitandara Lakes. Overnight at Elena Hut, though the nights may be cool (FB).
Day 6: Elena Hut – Margherita Peak (5109m)
Hiking to Margherita peak (5109m) to the base of the Stanley Glacier continues. This is the apex of Climbing Rwenzori Mountains. Basing on the weather and one’s area familiarity, it can be a walk of between 4 to 7 hours to the pinnacle of Margherita. It is a hard walk over three glaciers, slippery rock, ice and very open on many sides. The physically fit are the only ones for this and it is a technical climb which needs roping up, crampons and proper equipment for cold, windy and icy conditions. It is good to try the final climb in a group of at least four-two climbers and 2 guides; (the extra guide has to be paid for at the time of booking). Trek on to the glacier, cross the Stanley Plateau and move on with the rise. Basing on altitude sickness, fog and weather, push up to the summit of Margherita, the Rwenzori peak. It is not guaranteed that everyone will reach the summit because of the altitude and the tough conditions. So do not get disappointed if you do not make it. Coming back to Scott-Elliot pass, you get magnificent 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. Go down to Kitandara Hut for overnight, past the Kitandara Lakes. (If you do not wish to climb the peak, a more restful day walking from Elena Hut to Kitandara Hut 4,023m.) (FB)
Day 7: Guy Yeoman Hut (3260m)
After Kitandara, the trail goes up sharply to the head wall, spreading out from the Mount Baker base and proceeds to the south side of the mountain to Fresh field Pass. On a good day, you see part of the Congo in the west and Mount Stanley in the north. From the pass, the long mud-spattered trail goes down, going through the rock shelter at Bujongolo, this is the base camp for the historic expedition by the Duke of Abruzzi in 1906 (FB).
Day 8: Nyabitaba Hut (2650m)
This hike will lead you through the path down but can be slippery and muddy with little to hold on. Thus, you must be careful balancing over the vertical mud or steep rocks. Overnight at Nyabitaba Hut (FB).
Day 9: Nyakalengija Trail head (1600m) – Back to Kampala.
From Nyabitaba hut, move down gently to the muddy paths to the trail head. Reaching Nkalengija point gives you a feeling of work well done as far as Rwenzori Mountains climbing is concern, you feel the efforts for trekking are worth the time spent. Arrive late morning, head to Kasese for lunch and then drive to Kampala where you will arrive in the evening. Overnight at Hotel Africana. This marks the end of Rwenzori Mountain Climbing in Uganda.