Guide to Hiking the Rwenzori Mountains of Western Uganda

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Rwenzori Mountains

Mount Rwenzori hiking is without doubt one of the most extra-ordinary adventure experiences Africa has to offer the world. Hiking or mountaineering is a prime highlight of all safaris to the Rwenzori Mountains National Park in Uganda. Climbing the Rwenzori Mountains is a unique and lifetime adventure experience that ushers enthusiastic hikers to not only the Rwenzori Mountains’ snow-capped peaks but also through unique plant life/vegetation zones.

The plant life of Rwenzori Mountains of the Moon does vary from altitude to altitude and features the dense tropical rain-forests, montane forests, bamboo and alpine. These make up the diverse habitats that support diversity of the park’s primates, reptiles, amphibians, birdlife to mention but a few.

How was Rwenzori Mountains formed?

The history of the Rwenzori Mountain formation dates back to 3 million year back. The legendary mountain has a composition of 6 mountain massifs each of which is separated by the deep gorges and valleys. They also feature magical water lakes in between and lush vegetation. The Rwenzori Mountain massifs include Mount Baker 4843m, Mount Stanley 5109m, Luigi di Savoia 4627m, Mount Gessi 4715m, Mt. Emin 4798m and Mount Speke 4890m. The legendary Mt. Rwenzori extends 120kms long and 60kms wide.

Where is Mount Rwenzori located?

Mount Rwenzori is located within Rwenzori Mountains National Park, Western Uganda. It is set and the surrounding districts include Kasese, Bundibugyo and Kabarole. From Kampala, accessing Mount Rwenzori in the Rwenzori Mountains National Park takes from 5-7 hours’ drive. The Rwenzori Mountains National Park is one of the 10 National Parks in Uganda and it was designated as a National Park in 1991, as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1994.

Why is Mount Rwenzori called “Mountains of the Moon?”

Mount Rwenzori was described as the Mountains of the Moon at the time when the Greek Explorers tried to locate the Source of the Nile. Diogenes asserted that the Source of River Nile came from a group of mountains that the locals often referred to as the Mountains of the Moon. The reference came considering the fact that Mount Rwenzori is snow-capped. However, the snow-capped whiteness has been on decrease and perhaps with time, it may disappear.

Is Mount Rwenzori a block or fold mountain?

Rwenzori Mountains of the Moon is entirely a block mountain regardless of its location along the Albertine rift valley region. The block mountain sits along the border of Uganda and the Democratic Republic of the Congo, occupying two parks; Rwenzori Mountains National Park in Uganda and Virunga National Park in Congo. The largest portion of this legendary block mountain is in Uganda’s Rwenzori Mountains National Park.

How long does it take to hike to Margherita peak of Mount Rwenzori?

Most Rwenzori Hiking Tours that aim the highest peak Margherita may require 9 days or more for hikers on Uganda safari to have a complete hike. The Margherita peak is on Mount Stanley at 5109 meters above sea level. Other than Margherita, Mount Rwenzori, Mountains of the Moon boasts of other numerous peaks including Savoia, Elena, Great Tooth, Weismann’s peak etc. There are trails demarcated purposely to lead climbers to the various peaks of Mount Rwenzori and these include Kilembe trail-head along the Southern Rwenzori Mountains of the Moon and the Central Circuit that is known to provide the most thrilling hikes.

How much is Rwenzori Mountain hiking?

Trekking fees for Rwenzori Mountains are pocket friendly but the cost may vary depending on how long you plan to spend exploring the Mountains of the Moon while on Uganda safari. Hiking fees/park entry costs USD35 and generally, there are other options to explore the mountain and park other than hiking to Margherita. There are simple and short treks that can be done along the forest walk trail taking nature lovers through the Munyamubuli river for great bird watching, exploring tree species etc.

When is the best time to book Mount Rwenzori safari?

Mount Rwenzori safaris can be planned at anytime of the year but the best or the most ideal time is the dry season. Trekking to the peaks can be strenuous and not to have challenges such as mud, slippery slopes etc, the dry months such as June, July, August, December, January, February offer the most excellent and memorable Rwenzori mountaineering adventure experience.

How can I book Mount Rwenzori safari?

Mount Rwenzori safari can be booked through a reliable tour operator on the ground or directly with Uganda Wildlife Authority reservation team. Contact our team for great packages, planning your Rwenzori mountaineering adventure and reservations etc.

What should I carry for Rwenzori mountaineering?

Carry only essentials for your Rwenzori mountaineering adventure. The list is long but ensure that you have a good camera, strong hiking/climbing boots, rain boots, insect repellent, waterproof daypack, first aid kit or medical kit, plenty of energy boosters/snacks, drinking water, sunscreen, sunglasses, sleeping bags, waterproof hat, strong gloves, rain jacket, walking pole (find one at Rwenzori Mountains National Park).

Where can I stay on Mount Rwenzori hiking safari?

The accommodation options are plenty for hikers on Mount Rwenzori hiking safari to retire for the night. At the base, the available options include Trekkers Hostel, Hotel Margherita, Ruboni Community Camp, Equator Snow Lodge, Mihunga Safari Lodge. As you hike, all the trails have huts for visitor overnight stay including Elena Hut, Guy Yeoman Hut, Nyabitaba Hut, Bujuku Hut, John Matte Hut etc.

How do I get to Mount Rwenzori?

By road transportation

  • Travel from Kampala via Mityana-Mubende-Fort Portal City to Rwenzori Mountains of the Moon.
  • Set off from Kampala through Mbarara city-Kasese-Mount Rwenzori. All these route options have something interesting for you to enjoy en-route and a 4×4 rental car is preferably the best to help get to Mt. Rwenzori.

By Air transportation

  • Chartered/scheduled flights can be planned for and all fly in safaris to Mount Rwenzori start from either Entebbe International Airport or Kajjansi airfield. You fly up to Kasese airstrip for about one hour and half or 2 hours, then drive from the airstrip to Rwenzori Mountain ranges.

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