9 Days Uganda Mountain Hiking

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9 Days Uganda Mountain Hiking Safari/trek to Margherita Peak on Rwenzori Mountains Park: Overview

9 Days Uganda Mountain Hiking Safari/trek to Margherita Peak on Rwenzori Mountains Park, Margherita Peak at 5,109 meters on Mt Stanley in the Rwenzori Mountains is Africa’s third-highest mountain which everyone yearns to hike on their Uganda Safari, however, the real beauty is in the climb up the Kilembe route, the forests and valleys, the flora is diverse from giant heather trees and valleys of ferns. Climbing Margherita Peak is now technical due to the ever-increasing number of crevasses.

However, scaling the actual peak is more of a hard scramble than a climb and when it snows it is difficult however the rewards and exhilaration of reaching the top are enormous as you look across Albert Peak to the DRC (Congo) then east across the spectra of the Rwenzori Mountains. Nine-day verses ten-day Margherita trek

The difference between the 9-day trek and the 10-day trek is that the 9-day trek bypasses Mutinda Rock Shelter or one of the other camps. Many climbers prefer to bypass as their main goal is to climb Margherita, however, we feel Mutinda is unique and definitely worth the additional day.

Over the years the rock shelter has provided dry shelter from the heavy rains in the Rwenzori Mountains and no doubt there are many stories about the various groups who have stayed here.

The option of climbing up to Mutinda Lookout (3,975 meters) is well worth the effort and takes about one hour of climbing from the rock shelter (3,688 meters). We do not charge extra should you decide to take the option of climbing to the lookout.

Day 1 of the 9 Days Uganda Mountain Hiking Safari: From Rangers post to Samalira Camp

9 Days Uganda Mountain Hiking Safari

Uganda Mountain Hiking Safari

The trek on the Uganda Safari starts at Trekkers Hostel in Kyanjiki 12 kilometers from Kasese past Kilembe. Best to start at 8.30 am but can leave as late as 10 am.

Meet your guides and briefing. You walk 2.2km to the UWA ranger’s post at 1,727metres. Here the rangers brief you on the day’s activities and rules of the National Park.

Todays distance: 8.6 km expected time 5 to 7 hours Start height is 1,667 metres climbing to 3,171 metres

The first two kilometers involve a steady through pristine montane forest, with tall trees thick undergrowth, and a multitude of different birds and primates species.

Then a fairly strenuous climb up the main ridge with few rocks and firm footing except immediately after a heavy downpour climbing to your first night at Samalira Camp.

As you leave the ranger’s post you walk along a path through tall grassland and ferns which gives way to magnificent pristine forests. Many species of birds can be heard and seen in this rich environment.

The first few kilometers climb steadily crossing several small streams and rivers then we start climbing the ridge. The higher we climb, the trees appear taller and straighter and it is common to see and hear many types of primates, on the left you may hear troupes of chimpanzees echoing around the valleys.

Around our lunch spot at 2,570m, you may see troupes of 20 or more black and white Colobus monkeys or Blue monkeys as they dash through the trees.

After lunch, we continue to climb steadily passing a rock shelter (2,785m) previously used by poachers to hunt primates and dika (small antelope) After the rock shelter the climb enters the bamboo zone and becomes steeper.

As we near the top we break out of the bamboo to fantastic views of the valleys and hills below looking across to Lake George and Queen Elisabeth National Park in the distance.

The equator lies just north of Lake George. Samalira Camp is at 3,147 meters, meaning views or lookout, and offers great views of the surrounding landscape and Kasese town. Sleep at Samalira Camp

Day 2 of the 9 Days Uganda Mountain Hiking Safari: Distance 6.9 kilometres 4 to 5 hours.

After a hearty breakfast, we commence walking at 8.15 and initially climb steadily then cross a small stream and the climb becomes steep for about 200 meters up a narrow moss-covered ridge.

The thick moss covering the ground and rocks under the giant heather trees is spectacular and we ask you to help preserve this pristine environment by keeping to the pathway. The views give us the impression that we could fly as we look across the many ridges and valleys far below.

You can see Kilembe village deep in the valley and across Lake George. After a relatively short climb, the trail becomes less steep as we pass over Chavumba (meaning heaven) at 3,316m.

They cross a small flat valley to climb up a steady ridge through moss-covered trees and misty forests to the top of the ridge at 3,515 meters.

Here we descend steadily for about one kilometer before descending a steep drop of 200 meters into the Nyamwamba valley and a well-earned lunch break at Policies Rock Shelter 3,249 meters.

After lunch, we climb steadily above the Nyamwamba River for 1.6km through old giant heathers covered in old man’s beard moss to Kiharo Camp at 3,588 meters directly at the base of some good granite rock climbs of 20 to 40 meters, with towering peaks above. Sleep at Kiharo Camp 3,588 meters

Day 3 of the 9 Days Uganda Mountain Hiking Safari: Distance 6.8 kilometres 4 to 5 hours

The start height is 3,380 meters climbing to 4,200 meters on the top of the confluence between the two valleys then dropping to Camp 3 at 4,030 meters.

We ascend through Bamwanjara Pass then descend to Kachope Lakes. The top of the pass trail offers spectacular scenery of the main peaks ahead, particularly on a clear day.

After an early breakfast, we climb a short steep climb through the narrow valley with large moss-covered rocks. This area is stunning as you weave through the narrow passes near the foot of towering peaks till you reach the wider upstream Nyamwamba River.

From here you climb steadily along the valley floor with small bogs and many giant lobelias. Both sides of the valley are lined with sheer cliff faces as we near the confluence of the Nyamwamba and Namusangi valleys.

Our third camp at 4,065 meters, is above Lake Kopello and has spectacular views looking down the valley of nine glacier lakes, the Namusangi valley. Sleep at Camp 3.

Day 4 of the 9 Days Uganda Mountain Hiking Safari: 6 kilometres 5 to 6 hours

9 Days Uganda Mountain Hiking Safari

8 Days Rwenzori Mountains Tour

The start height is 4,030 meters climbing to 4,450 meters on the top of Bamwanjara Pass then dropping to Camp 3 at 4,006 meters. We start by ascending to pass through Bamwanjara Pass then descend to Kachope Lakes.

The top of the pass trail offers spectacular scenery of the main peaks ahead, particularly on a clear day. We start by descending to pass through Bamwanjara Pass to Kachope Lakes a trail that offers spectacular scenery of the main peaks ahead where on a clear day you can see Mt Stanley, Mt Speke in the center, and Mt Baker. On the right one can see McConnellÔÇÖs Prong named after a British explorer and geologist.

The view is awesome!! The Kachope Lakes area is one of the three known areas where on a misty day one may catch a rare glimpse of the Rwenzori leopard.

Little research has been done on this animal yet it is rarer than the snow leopard, which has gained so much attention in recent years. After passing Kachope Lakes we climb to Camp four at 4,006 meters. Sleep at Camp 4.

Day 5 of the 9 Days Uganda Mountain Hiking Safari: 4.1 kilometres 3 to 5 hours

The start height is 4,006 meters climbing to 4,333 meters at Camp 5. Today is a relatively easy walk past Kitandara Lakes and climb through Scott Elliott pass to our camp situated right on the pass with fantastic views down the valley to Lake Bujuku and Mt Speke.

To the south, you see Kitandara Lakes and Wiesmann’s Peak. The camp is at 4,460 meters in a flat sheltered position covered with moss where you can get a good sleep before climbing any of the peaks on Mt Stanley including Margherita and Alexandra Peaks. Sleep at Camp 5.

Day 6 of the 9 Days Uganda Mountain Hiking Safari: 3.5 kilometres 3 to 5 hours up to Magherita Peak and 2 to 3 hrs hours back down to Camp 5

Start height 4,460 meters climbing to 5,109 meters on top of Margherita Peak. It is best to start climbing no later than 3.30 am.

So is best to get up at 3 am have a quick cup of coffee or tea and some light high-energy snacks and set off. It takes about one and a half hours to reach Elena hut (4,540m) which we bypass on the way to the peaks.

After Elena, the climb is steep but firm underfoot as you are walking on hard rock. You reach the edge of the glacier at 4,765 meters where you will need to put on crampons and harnesses at set distances.

Although there are a few crevices he guides will lead the way as one never knows. The scenery is spectacular and as you start to reach the upper areas of the glacier and the saddle between the two peaks Alexandra and Margherita the sun will just be peeping over the horizon giving the chance of fantastic photographs of the two main peaks tip with sunlight.

You then reach the upper weather station (4,830 meters) where you climb down to a ladder (4803 meters) onto the upper glacier leading to Margherita Peaks.

First, you climb up the glacier to a small saddle between Alexandra and Margherita Peaks at 5,025 meters where you scramble up a steep rocky climb to the main peak.

At times the rocks are covered with snow and ice and maybe slippery but mostly it is firm rock. The exhilaration of reaching the top is enormous as you look across Albert Peak to the DRC (Congo) then east across the spectra of the Rwenzori Mountains.

After enjoying the scenery and signing the book, you descend using the same path down to Camp 5. Sleep at Camp 5(some people prefer to walk directly down to camp 4 so as to sleep at a lower altitude but this depends on your fitness as you would need to leave Camp 5 before 3 pm to avoid walking in the dark).

Day 7 of the 9 Days Uganda Mountain Hiking Safari: Distance 10.1 kilometres 5 to 7 hours

Start height 4,460metres walking down to Camp 4 at 4,006 meters where the trail drops a little more to pass just above Kachope Lakes at 3,985 meters and then over Bamwanjara Pass (4,450 meters) then dropping to Camp 3 at 4,006 meters.

After a good breakfast, you walk from Camp five down to Camp 4 which takes a couple of hours passing through Scott Elliot Pass.

After a short break at Camp 4, there is a rather tough climb of 450 meters to pass over Bamwanjara Pass then down to Camp 3 at 4,030 meters While crossing the pass you get the chance to see hyrax sitting at the entrance to their rock shelter warming in the midday sun.

Their main predator is the Rwenzori Leopard Panthera pardus Ruwenzori which is rarely seen. The leopard has been heavily poached in the past and there are few left however on a rare occasion on a misty or overcast day you may be lucky to see one briefly as they move between the rocks. Sleep at Camp 3.

Day 8 of the 9 Days Uganda Mountain Hiking Safari: Distance 9.5 kilometres 4 to 6 hours

9 Days Uganda Mountain Hiking Safari

Uganda Mountain Hiking Safari

Today we descend via the Namusangi valley across open Moreland and large areas of tussock grass. As this is a valley floor it is relatively flat and water from farther up the mountains sweeps across the moors making the going wet and boggy.

It is not soil but layers and layers of compressed tussock grass which over the years has transformed to peat. It is a good idea to have rubber boots for this section although occasionally you may find your foot can sink deeper than a rubber boot.

In the future, we intend to construct a timber boardwalk however this will be after the construction of huts and other infrastructure as it will be a long and expensive process.

We continue down the valley passing several small waterfalls and moss-covered valleys until we reach the steep rocky section above Mutinda with fantastic views of Mutinda Peaks directly ahead.

We turn left just as before the river drops over a sheer cliff to the Mutinda valley to walk down several steep slopes until we reach the valley floor.

Here we again cross the river and continue down the valley to Kalalama bypassing the climb up to Mutinda Rock Shelter. The walk down to Kalalama follows mainly down a rocky river where in places you are required to rock hop down long side the rocky river.

The atmosphere is truly unique as the valley is closed in and often misty creating the ideal environment for mosses and lichen.

As we near Kalalama Camp we pass through a beautiful valley dotted with Gaint Lobelia Sleep in Kalalama Camp which is perched on a high ridge overlooking the Kilembe valley and Kasese town.

Day 9 of the 9 Days Uganda Mountain Hiking Safari: Distance 10.7 kilometres 4 to 6 hours

From Mutinda to Kalalama Camp is 5.1km plus from Kalalama to the Rangers post 11.6km. Descend down through the bamboo forests which at times get boggy and slippery due to the mass of fallen leaves.

During the wet season, we cross to the ridge climbing to Samalira camp just above the lunch spot on day one as the river above Musenge Rock Shelter may be very deep and fast-flowing, however, during the dry season we continue directly down the ridge to Musenge shelter and down to the rangers post.

After debriefing, we sign off and walk down to Trekkers Hostel. Some fast walkers have descended to the rangers post by midday however the majority of people arrive at the rangers post around 1 pm.

End of the 9 Days Uganda Mountain Hiking Safari

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