The 9-day Rwenzori Mountains hiking safari via the central circuit to the 5109-meter Margherita peak on Mount Stanley, Africa's 5th highest summit.
- You'll be hiking the tallest mountain ranges in Africa, climbing to the highest summit on Mount Stanley, Margherita Peak, reaching a 5109-meter altitude.
- The trip should enrich nature and seasoned hikers because of its exciting and superbly scenic experience straying through forests, mashes, pristine landscapes of alpine vegetation studded with groundsels, heathers, and charismatic giant lobelias specifically unique to the Rwenzori Mountains.
- The combination of spectacular snow-capped peaks above your shoulders, V-shaped valleys, fast-flowing rivers with magnificent waterfalls, clear blue lakes, and unique flora make the Rwenzori Mountains Central Trekking Trail and favourite among many hikers.
- You'll spend an average of 6-7 hours on the trail for 6 days, hiking in the early hours and spending the evenings at designated rest camps along the trail. You'll be supported by porters to carry your gear, a cook for your meals, armed rangers for security, and an expert local guide.
- Local English-speaking guides/driver
- Tourist Visa (apply online at visas.immigration.go.ug)
- Accommodation & Meals as indicated in itinerary
- Trekking permit, park fees, porter fees
- Land transport in 4x4 safari truck with fuel
- Return domestic flight (Entebbe-Kasese)
- Activities & excursions as shown in itinerary
- Extra meals, snacks, gratuities, souvenirs, service tips
- AMREF evacuation cover, and government taxes
- Travel Insurance
The 9-day Rwenzori Mountains Hiking Safari starts and ends in Entebbe, where your private safari driver will pick you up and drop you off. The trip's base is at a village called Mihunga in Kasese town, at the foot of the towering Mountains of The Moon in western Uganda.
From the base, you'll meet up with your local guide, who will connect you to your cook and a selected number of local porters to carry your hiking gear. You can explore the area for a couple of days to get familiar with the locals, the guides, and the language, which will be very helpful in having a successful trek up the mountains.
Otherwise, you'll spend a night in Kasese and get on the trail the following day.
Take a look at the itinerary below.
Your private safari driver will pick you up from your hotel in Entebbe and drive west through the beautiful countryside to the village right outside Kasese Town. Kasese sprawls at the base of the Rwenzori Mountains near the DR-Congo border, and the village will be your base for the trekking adventure.
Check into your lodge, ask your guide to help you with your trekking gear and pack, and acclimatize to the altitude change.
You'll stay at: Mihunga Lodge
Start your hiking adventure with an early morning walk to Nyakalengija trailhead (1600 metres). Here the Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA) will brief the trekking party about the rules and possibilities of the journey.
The early trek will take you past Bakonjo homesteads dwarfed by steep foothills and banana plantations. We will follow the trail along the Mubuku River to cross the Mahoma River before steadily climbing through the Podocarpus Forest.
Trekkers have reported Colobus Monkeys, Blue Monkeys, and occasional chimpanzee sightings around the forest. On rare occasions, trekkers report spotting forest elephant spoor, and the fortunate ones bump into the giant beasts on the trail.
Birds are abundant here, and one of the birders’ favourites is the Rwenzori Turaco. Keep a lookout for the colourful Three-Horned Chameleon.
You will camp at Nyabitaba hut built on a ridge. From the camp area, you have an up-close view of the Rwenzori Mountains, the foothills below, and the town of Kasese glowing in Legoland-evening light.
Hike duration: 6 -7 hours.
Get on the central circuit trail early to cover a reasonable distance before the sun's heat intensifies. From Nyabitaba camp, you'll descend on the walking trail down through the forest to the Kurt Shafer Bridge, a few meters before the junction where Mubuku and Bujuku rivers meet.
You'll hike through the bamboo forest and a long an arduous stretch of slippery moss-covered rock. Mount Stanley and Mount Speke will appear in your panorama for the stretch at Nyamuleju rock shelter. It is a sight that will slow you down for a moment.
Continuing on the hiking trail, you'll get into the mythical zone of giant heather, lobelia and groundsel, specifically unique to the Rwenzori Mountains. After hiking through the marshland, you reach John Maate Hut for dinner and overnight camping.
Hike duration: 7 – 8 hours.
Elevation height: 854m.
From John Matte Hut, the hiking trail descends to cross the Bujuku River and get into the lower Bigo Mash, sprouting with giant lobelias.
You'll cross the mash with frequent tussock jumps and occasional annoying deep in the muddy swamp. We advise you to carry a pair of willies for this part of the trekking journey. Otherwise, your hiking boots and pants will get messy walking through the mashes. There's nothing quite as discomforting as walking with wet boots and messy pants.
Walking through the upper Bigo mash, the serene Lake Bujuku comes into sight, with incredible views of Mount Baker to the south and Mount Stanley to the west.
You'll camp at Bujuku Hut in the narrow valley below Stuhlmann Pass, in Mount Baker and Speke's shadow.
Hike duration: 4 – 5 hours.
Elevation height: 457m.
Leaving Bujuku, the trail takes you through more marsh, climbs on ladders over an extremely steep slope west of the lake and goes through the magical Groundsel Gully forest.
At the t-junction, the left leads to Scott-Elliot Pass. You'll take the right turn to Elena Hut, where you'll camp for the rest of the day and night. At Elena Hut, the temperature drops to an icy cold, so ensure you stay warm.
Hike duration: 5 – 6 hours.
Elevation height: 579m.
It is a pivotal turn from Elena Hut. The Rwenzori Mountains Hiking Safari gives trekkers a chance to summit Margherita Peak or ascend to Lake Kitandara (4023 metres).
Depending on the visibility, physical ability, and acclimatization, you'll be up before dawn to ascend Mount Stanley for 4-5 hours to Margherita Peak, the highest point in the Rwenzori Mountains.
It's a tough climb to Margherita over three glaciers, slippery rock, knee-high ice, and a trail exposed to strong winds to Stanley Plateau. At the plateau, you'll stop to acclimatize to the altitude and cold weather before scrambling up to the Margherita.
You'll spend a couple of minutes taking photos at the fanciful sign and hike a 2-3-hour descent back to Elena Hut for lunch. After lunch, pick your pack and descend to the Scott Elliot pass, where you can watch the magical Lake Bujuku and Mount Speke, then down to Lake Kitandara. The trail down passes through an alpine zone of sparse vegetation and rough boulders.
Kitandara Hut, 4430m asl
From Kitandara, take on the trail that steeply climbs the headwall spreading out from the base and along the south of Mount Baker to Fresh Field Pass at 4282m altitude. From here, you can view the spectacular Congo landscape and the elegance of Mount Stanley towering in the north.
You'll then pass through high alpine moss and get on a steep rocky trail for a descent to the rock shelter at Bujongolo, the Duke of Abruzzi's base camp, in 1906.
You'll camp at Guy Yeoman Camp.
Hike duration: 6 – 7 hours.
You will have an early start to descend 7-8 hours down to Nyabitaba from Guy Yeoman through the Kichuchu cliffs.
Beyond Kichuchu, the hiking trail is muddy, crossing the Mubuku River twice, snaking through a bamboo forest and down to Nyabitaba to complete the Rwenzori Mountains Hiking circuit.
You'll be checking in at Mihunga Lodge by evening to nurse your hard-worked muscles.
Descent duration: 7 – 8 hours
Your private driver will pick you up in the morning after your breakfast. It's about a 6-8-hour drive from Kasese to Entebbe.
We can get you a place to freshen up before your late flight. Otherwise, you can check in at Papyrus Guesthouse for the night (not included in the itinerary pricing unless requested).
Our safari specialists work with customers to prepare a journey that will deliver the best subjective experience. We understand that most guests will be travelling to unfamiliar places and dealing with mind-boggling logistics that require skilful guidance from local experts. These local safari specialists will help you plan this gorilla safari in your own way!