Rwenzori Mountain Climbing
Rwenzori Central Circuit Summary
The “central circuit” trail of Rwenzori ( 7 days on the mountain) is the main hiking activity which people undertake when visiting the mountain range. The trip begins from Entebbe or Kampala. Overnight in Kampala can be arranged on request.1st overnight will in Kasese town at Mergharita Hotel or Holiday Inn/ Rwenzori Base Camp before next day starting on the expedition.
It consists of a hike lasting six nights and seven days, starting from the headquarter of the Rwenzori Mountains National Park at Nyakalengija. Then the trail follows a circular path around Mount Baker, spending the night in five different Huts, and reaching a maximum altitude of 4.372 m. at Scott Elliot Pass. Returning to Kampala will take 9 days in total for the whole trip.
The circuit gives the opportunity to see very close the peaks and glaciers of Mount Speke, Mount Stanley, Mount Luigi di Savoia, Mount Baker. Everybody is able to manage the hike, as the level of difficulty is not so high. For the mountains climbers, it is possible to reach all the major peaks, only adding one day extension to the trial per each peak and will need a to up of USD 120 per person per peak. The central circuit is the best experience of Rwenzori, its landscape and vegetations.
Extension can also be extended to Murchison falls or Kibale for chimpanzee tracking or Queen Elizabeth for wildlife viewing or Bwindi for gorilla tracking.
9 Days Rwenzori Mountaineering
(Central Circuit Itinerary)
The programme of the central circuit follows this itinerary:
Day 1. Kampala to Kasese
Drive from Kampala in the morning and proceed to the western part of the country-crossing Equator and arrive in Kasese town ready for lunch. After lunch carryout food shopping together with your guide. Dinner and overnight at Magherita Hotel or Rwenzori Base Camp( Rwenzori Holiday Inn).Day 2: Nyakalengija to Nyabitaba Hut, 2.652 m.
After breakfast head to the Rwenzori Mountains National Park Head Quarter at Nyakalengija, 1.646 m., you will receive the briefing from RMS (Rwenzori Mountaineering Services) and UWA (Uganda Wildlife Authority), with the possibility of renting equipment. The hike starts through the plantations and homes of the Bakonjo, the people of the mountain, gradually reaching garden plots and elephants grass. You follow the Mobuku river, until crossing the Mahoma river. The trail passes through an open bracken fern slopes and Podorcarpus Forest, up to Nyabitaba Hut, 2.652 m., which is the arrival point for the day. This will take from 5 to 6 hours. From the location, you are facing on the North the Portal Peaks, 4.627 m., in front Mount Kyniangoma. During the day, you might see monkeys, the Rwenzori Turaco and hearing the chimpanzees.
Savoia peak from Kitandara Hut
Day 3 : Nyabitaba Hut to John Matte Hut, 3.414 m.
From Nyabitaba Hut you cross the Kurt Shaffer Bridge, through a muddy area. Then the trail climbs up through the bamboo forest. You reach a steep rocky area, which leads to Nyamuleju Hut. This point marks the start of the giant lobelia and groundsel zone. The way proceeds through a bog full of typical plants along the Bujuku river. The final point is John Matte Hut, 3.414 m. for spending the night. From Nyabitaba Hut to John Matte it can take approximately 6 hours. Enjoy the view of Mount Stanley and snow capped Margherita and Elena Peaks.
Day 4: From John Matte Hut to Bujuku Hut, 3.962 m.
From John Matte Hut you cross the Bujuku River and enter the lower Bigo bog, a grassy bog where you experience how to jump from tussock to tussock. You reach Bigo Hut and enter the upper Bigo bog, proceeding to Lake Bujuku, where it is starting the alpine savannah zone of little vegetation. You finally arrive at Bujuku Hut, 3.962 m. This day hike can take up to 5 hours. There you have a view on the peaks of Mount Stanley, Mount Baker and Mount Speke. From Bujuku starts the diversion for whom intends to climb Mount Speke. For climbing Margherita and Alexandra peaks it is advised to proceed to Elena Hut for overnight.
Lake Bujuku from Scott Elliot Pass
Day 5: From Bujuku Hut to Kitandara Hut, 4.023 m.
From Bujuku Hut you climb through moss draped groundsel vegetation, to Scott Elliot Pass, 4.372 m., the highest point of the loop trail. The path is very rocky and steep, at the foothills of Mount Baker. Enjoy a spectacular view of Margherita peak, Elena and Savoia glaciers and Mount Baker. You reach Upper Kitandara lake through thick mud to Lower Kitandara lake where is located Kitandara Hut, 4.023 m. Kitandara in the local language means “fresh field”, as a cold wind is blowing into the valley. Time to complete the hike about 5 hours. During this tract, it is recommended to check any sign of altitudes sickness or hypothermia. From Kitandara Hut you can proceed for climbing the peaks -Mount Baker or Mount Luigi di Savoia and the peak Vittorio Sella.
Day 6: Kitandara Hut to Guy Yeoman Hut, 3.261 m.
From Lake Kitandara you climb to Freshfield Pass, 4.282 m., a long flat of high alpine mossy glades, before descending the circuit among rocky and boggy areas. The panorama is dominated by the glaciers of Mounts Stanley and Baker. A muddy trail leads to Akendahi, Bujongolo and Kabamba rock shelters, where starts the Kabamba valley down to Guy Yeoman Hut, 3.261 m. This can take up to 6 hours. The hut is surrounded by a beautiful landscape of mountains, vegetations and rivers.
Day 7: Guy Yeoman Hut back to Nyabitaba Hut, 2.652 m.
In this day you complete the central circuit by going back to Nyabitaba Hut. The trial is attractive along the valley of the Mobuku and Kichuchu rivers, rich in plants and flowers of the heather zone before reaching the bamboo forest. See Kabamba falls on the way. Time to reach Nyabitaba is about 6 hours. Eventually, you decide to terminate the trial by descending directly toNyakalengija, adding 2 to 3 more hours
The snow at the Equator – Toward Margherita Peak.
Day 8 : Nyabitaba to Nyakalengija.
From Nyabitaba to reach Nyakalengija it can take up to three hours. From Nyabitaba starts the 40 minutes trial to see Lake Mamoha and back to the hut for descending to the Park Head Quarter. Picked by your driver to ovenight I Kasese town.
Day 9 : Kasese to Kampala .
Drive from Kasese with lunch stop on the way and proceed to Kampala /Entebbe. End of Expedition.
In case of more extra day/s needed will call for top up on cost USD140 per day per person – includes park fees, porters fees, guide fees, accommodation, food, hiking and entrance fees
Climbing to the Peaks: Megharita/ Stanley /Speke/Alexandria.
-2 more extra days will be needed.
-This means that the whole journey/ trip will require 11/12 days
-Uganda Wildlife Authority is the incharge of the hiking.
– Trekking starts on from Ibanda (starting point) but for big group it may not be so specific.
- Departure from Kampala will be a day before.
- Safari start and end from Kampala
- Clients will carry hiking shoes, sleeping bags, warm clothes,
- Climbing to the peaks will require ice axe, mountain boots, crampons, ropes and prior arrangements, rubber boots.
- Mountain hiking takes place throughout the year, however during months of April, May, October and November experience more rains but this does not stop hiking activities.
- Accommodation in Kampala before and after the trek plus airport transfers can be arranged on request
Add on safaris (Optional)
- 3 Days Gorilla tracking in Bwindi National Park
- 1 Day white water rafting on River Nile
- 1 Day visit to orphanage chimps – Ngamba Island
- 1 Day visit to Nakasongora White Rhino Farm
- 2 Day queen Elizabeth national Park
- 3 Days to Ssese Islands on Lake Victoria
The Safari Cost Includes:
- 8 nights accommodation and meals at full board
- Park fees, hiking fees, food and accommodation in Kasese 4x 4 WD vehicle with fuel and driver/guide
Drinks, bar bills, phone calls, personal insurance, and expenses of personal nature like souvenirs, tips laundry, etc.