The Rwenzoris – the fabled Mountains of the Moon – lie in western Uganda along the Uganda-Congo border. The equatorial snow peaks include the third highest point in Africa, while the lower slopes are blanketed in moorland, bamboo and rich, moist montane forest. Huge tree-heathers and colourful mosses are draped across the mountainside with giant lobelias and “everlasting flowers”, creating an enchanting, fairytale scene. Rwenzori Mountains National Park protects the highest parts of the 120km-long and 65km-wide Rwenzori mountain range. The national park hosts 70 mammals and 217 bird species including 19 Albertine Rift endemics, as well as some of the world’s rarest vegetation. The Rwenzoris are a world-class hiking and mountaineering destination. A nine- to twelve-day trek will get skilled climbers to the summit of Margherita – the highest peak – though shorter, non-technical treks are possible to scale the surrounding peaks.
For those who prefer something a little less strenuous, neighbouring Bakonzo villages offer nature walks, homestead visits, cultural performances and accommodation, including home-cooked local cuisine.
DAY 1: Depart from your Hotel in Kampala at 6:30Am and drive to Kasese with stopovers enroute at the equator crossings, for Art and crafts shopping, Lunch at Igongo Cultural Center in Mbarara and for photography in places of interest. Check in at the Lodge, have supper and overnight.
DAY 2: Have breakfast at 6:30Am and thereafter embark on the central circuit trail from Nyakalengija which will take you through farmland to the Park boundary which follows the Mubuku river and crossing its Mahoma tributary then starting a steep climb up onto a massive ridge to reach the Nyabitaba hut. During this trip you will see chimpanzees, black and white colobus, blue monkey and the brilliantly coloured Rwenzori Turaco. Relax at the hut have lunch, entertainment, supper and overnight.
DAY 3: Have an early breakfast at 7:00am and thereafter take the trail that leads you up the Bujuku valley through the Kurt Shafer bridge which crosses the Mubuku valley just below the rivers confluence. This trek will take you through the giant lobelia and groundsel zone, a vegetation type limited to East Africa’s highest mountains. The final trail takes you through challenging bog full of extra ordinary plants to reach John Matte hut. Relax, have lunch, supper, entertainment and overnight.
DAY 4: Have an early breakfast at 7:00Am and thereafter embark on the trail whose route fords the Bujuku river as you cross the lower Bigo bog then follow a steep climb to reach the upper Bigo bog where there is boardwalk to assist walkers. There are superb views of Mt. Stanley at the head of this cavernous glacier-carved valley in clear weather. After a long steady climb over glacial moraine, criss-crossing the river, the trail reaches the magnificent Lake Bujuku. Hike to Bujuku hut past cooking Pot cave which is the muddiest stage of the expedition. Take a rest, have lunch, entertainment, supper and overnight.
DAY 5: Have an early breakfast at 7.00Am and trail through mud before climbing steeply through a forest of giant groundsels and a short metal ladder to ascend the groundsel Gully. Above the Gully a branch in the trail climbs to Elena Hut ( 4430m ) for the ascent to Magherita peak on Mt Stanley ( 5109m) which needs an ice axe, mountain boots, crampons and ropes. Continue up a steep scree slope over Scott Elliot pass, the highest point of the circuit. This trail provides spectacular views down the Bujuku valley and of Mts Stanley and Baker towering above. Beyond the trail the route runs downhill beneath the massive cliffs of Mt Baker. Pass Upper Kitandara and end at the hut beside the Lower lake Kitandara, a beautiful site surrounded by towering peaks. Relax at the hut, have lunch, entertainment, supper and overnight.
DAY 6: Have an early breakfast at 7:00Am and thereafter embark on the Freshfield Pass, a long flat traverse through tracts of fabulously colourful moss and more mud beyond which the long descent to Nyakalengija begins leading you to Guy Yeoman hut, a lovely location close to the Mubuku river with scenic views of the looming Mt. Baker to the north. Have lunch, relaxation, entertainment, supper and overnight.
DAY 7: Have an early breakfast at 7:00Am and thereafter descend down to Nyabitaba through the cliffs of Kichuchu and the muddy path crossing the Mubuku River twice before climbing upwards Nyabitaba to complete the circuit. Have Lunch and descend down to Nyakalengija to end the Mountain climbing. Check-in at the Lodge, relax, have supper, entertainment and overnight.
DAY 8: Have breakfast at 7:30Am and thereafter check-out from the lodge to return to Kampala via Queen Elizabeth N.P for a Launch Cruise on the Kazinga channel where animals like the Hippo, buffaloes,
elephants, crocodiles and a variety of birds will be sighted. Proceed to Mbarara for a Lunch stopover, shopping of Art, Crafts and photography in places of interest before dropping you at your Hotel in Kampala.