This 7 days Rwenzori trekking trip takes you through the central circuit trail which starts and ends in Nyakalengija in the Kasese district. The Rwenzori is Fault Mountain made up of a series of mountain blocks that are close to each other. These mountains include; Mount Stanley, Mount Speke (5,109m), Mount Baker (4,844m), Mount Gessi (4,715m), and other peaks. The trip leads to Africa’s third highest peak, Margherita on mount Stanley and you get to experience all the 5 vegetation zones of the region.
Day 1: Nyakalengija (1600m) – Nyabitaba hut (2660m)
After breakfast at the camp/hotel, driver to Rwenzori mountaineering service headquarters (Nyakalengija) where a briefing is done about the hike and the do’s and don’ts while in the park. You will be assigned guides and porters plus your ice hiking gear like helmets, ice axe, and crampons. You will then start the hike through the Bakonzo settlements and gardens to mount Rwenzori national park gate, where you will be registered.
Start the trek through the tropical forests to Nyabitaba hut, this journey is 8km. The trail passes along the Mubuku River, through landslides and up and down rocks and bluffs, cross the Mahoma River and climb steeply through break fern slopes and podocarpus forest to the camp. This forest is home to various animal species like forest elephant, chimpanzee, hyrax, black-and-white colobus, L’Hoest’s monkeys, duiker, and three horned chameleon among others. Some of the bird species include; Handsome Francolin, Rwenzori Turaco, Long-eared Owl, Barred Long-tailed Cuckoo, Strange Weaver, Archers’ Robin-chat among many others as well as various tree and plant species. You will expect to see some of them.
While at Nyabitaba, you will have views of the portal peaks. Dinner and overnight at Nyabitaba hut.
Day 2: Nyabitaba hut – John Matte hut (3420m)
After breakfast, start the 11km journey to John Matte camp. Slope through the thick forest and bushes to the Kurt Shafer bridge which is at the confluence of River Mubuku and River Bujuku. You will then move through the bamboo mixed with montane forests and slippery moss-covered rocks for a couple of hours. Continue to move up to Nyamuleju rock shelter where you will have a stopover here for lunch (packed lunch). If the weather is clear, you will be able to have views of mount Stanley and mount Speke at this point. As you move, look out for different bird species. Through the alpine forest, you will reach John Matte hut/camp where you will have dinner and spend the night. The camp is near River Bujuku with cold refreshing water. Views of the Margherita glacier on mount Stanley are expected while here.
Day 3: John Matte hut – Bujuku hut (3930m)
After breakfast, cross River Bujuku and through a forest, get to the lower bigo bog which is a swampy area. This area used to be the hardest part of the Rwenzori since the area is so boggy, and jumping from one tussock to another was not so easy. Presently, there are boardwalks up to the end of the boggy area which makes the walk much easier and fun for trekkers. As you move you will spot some plants like giant lobelias, everlasting flowers and groundsels. You will then take a steep hike along a ridge which will lead you to the start of the upper bigo bog. This also has boardwalks up to Lake Bujuku. At Bujuku camp you will have views of Lake Bujuku, Mount Baker, Mount Stanley and Mount Baker. The ascent to Mount Speke and Mount Stanley starts here.
Day 4: Bujuku hut – Elena hut (4563m)
Have breakfast at Bujuku hut then continue with the hike to Elena hut, which is a 5-7 hours hike. You will move through the sides of the upper Bigo bog. You will then hike through the steep slopes of Lake Bujuku. At the top of the gully are 2 trails, the left trail leads to Scott-Elliot pass descending to Lake Kitandara while the right trailheads to the Elena Hut and on a steep trail above large boulders to Mt Stanley. Elena hut is at the rocky part of Mount Stanley and the area is too cold. At this point, you are at the highest mountain of the Rwenzori and you will have a direct view of Mount Baker and Mount Speke. Sometimes it is hard to view these two mountains since they are covered by fog most times.
Day 5: Elena hut – explore Margherita peak – Kitandara (3979m)
This is a long day which will start as early as 2am. Have some hot coffee/chocolate/tea, be ready in your warmest gear, put on your harness, warm hand gloves and headsock, have your headlamps and helmets on, and make sure you have sunglasses in the day pack. Start the hike through the rocky mountain to the top of mount Stanley, Magherita peak. On steep rocky areas, you will use the ropes to help you get from one point to another. The guide will teach you how to use the equipment while on the ice. On the glacial parts you will be required to use you, crampons, and ice axe.
After moving for a couple of hours after the Stanley plateau glacier, you will reach the bottom of the Margherita glacier. This is the most challenging part of the entire hiking Rwenzori experience. You will hike through this glacier to the top of Mount Stanley, Margherita peak (5109m). The top offers views of Ireen Lake, Mount Speke and the valleys and cliffs and the entire Rwenzori massif. Descend to Elena Hut for Lunch and later proceed to descend to Kitandara through the Scott Elliot pass. The lake and its surroundings offer beautiful scenery.
Day 6: Kitandara hut (3979m) – Guy Yeoman hut (3505m)
After breakfast, start the trek through the puzzling sharp match experience starting from Kitandara Hut to Guy Yeoman Hut. this last around 5 hours to reach the Fresh field Path (4282m) with the attractive falls at Kabumba cave along the way to sum up an exciting scramble on Uganda’s highest mountain range. The hut enjoys an attractive position close to Mubuku River with awesome views of the forthcoming Mount Baker to the north.
Day 7: Guy Yeoman to Nyabitaba – Nyakalengij
From Guy Yeoman, you will descend to Nyabitaba through the bamboo forests. After 4 hours of trekking, you will reach Nyabitaba hut where you will have lunch and relax. Continue to descend for about 3 hours to Nyakalengija. You will pass through the tropical forests where you will expect to spot the three horned chameleon, black and white colobus monkeys, as well as bird species.
Overnight at the hotel in Kasese town.
End of trip