12 days Mt. Rwenzori hiking includes a round trip from the base of Mt. Rwenzori to the highest Magherita peak on Mt. Stanley at 5,109 meters above sea level. Hikers will use the central circuit with fully serviced hut accommodation. Mt. Rwenzori is Africa’s 3rd highest mountain located astride the equator line on the borders of Uganda and DRC. This central circuit takes will take you through five types of vegetation from tropical forest to permanent glaciers. This 12 days hike includes a game drive safari and a boat cruise in Queen Elizabeth national park just on the foothills of the mountain.
You will start and end your safari in Kampala city.
Day 1: Transfer from Kampala to Mt. Rwenzori National Park (8 hours)
After your breakfast at 06:00am then get ready with your backpacks. Your guide shall brief you shortly about the safari and at 07:00am start the journey from Kampala heading to western Uganda via fort portal town for en route lunch. From fort portal town continue via Kasese town to the Rwenzori mountaineering services / Rwenzori mountains safari lodge for dinner and overnight. Here you will meet your guides and start arranging equipments and pay porters for the next day trekking.
Day 2: Nyakalenjija -Nyabitaba hut
Having arranged all hiking equipments the previous day, today after breakfast you will start hiking from the Rwenzori National Park headquarters (Nyakalenjija) about 1,646 meters above sea level to the Nyabitaba hut at 2,656 meters above sea level. The ascent takes you through tea plantations, villages of Bakonjo people, bushes, elephants grass and crossing River Mubuku, landslide valleys. Primates and birds can be seen as you hike. This climb takes 5-6 hours to reach Nyabitaba hut for dinner and overnight.
Day 3: Nyabitaba Hut to John Matte Hut
Early morning you will wake up on energy giving breakfast and then leave Nyabitaba hut climbing to the John Matte hut taking you 6 hours. You will pass through bamboo forests, cross Kurt Shafer Bridge and a meeting point for Rivers Mubuku and Bujuku. The terrain is slippery due to a lot of moss blanket cover but no worries after reaching Nyamileju a huge rock shelter; you will stop and first eat your packed lunch. Continue hiking for about 1 hour through waterfalls and valleys to reach the John Matte hut for dinner and overnight at 3,414 meters above sea level where bamboo vegetations give way to heathers and lobelias.
Day 4: John Matte Hut to Bujuku Hut
Starting at 3,414 meters above sea level, expect to hike through glacier covered valleys with lichens and mosses, bogs, botanical fields with rare plants good for photography. From this hut peaks of Mt. Stanley (5,109 m) and Mt. Baker (4,890 m) can be seen as you begin hiking from John Matte hut to the Bujuku hut. Your guide shall tell you when to change hiking gears as you approach snow fields and too much coldness. This trail takes about 6 hours covering approximately 6 km passing through montane and alpine moorlands with dense forests and the glacial lakes such as Lake Bujuku in the deep Bujuku valley to the Bujuku hut (3962 meters above sea level) where you will relax for dinner and overnight. Before you reach this hut, you might encounter the Rwenzori duiker endemic to this mountain only, lucky hikers might also see the rare three horned chameleon.
Day 5: Bujuku Hut to Kitandara Hut
Having slept under the stars, you will wake up fresh for breakfast. You will ascend twice and descend over steep slopes before getting to Kitandara hut for dinner and overnight at 4,027 meters above sea level. The trail takes 6-7 hours covering about 4 km. It takes you through rare afro-alpine moorland grasslands, shrubs and groundsels. You will then climb the metal ladder at Elliot -Scott pass between large boulders and rocks and then descend to the Kitandara hut where you will have dinner as you prepare for the next final steep climb to Magherita peaks.
Day 6: kitandara Hut to Magherita peak (5,109 meters above sea level)
Today as you are set to reach the highest peak of Mt. Rwenzori, you will wake up at midnight for breakfast. This is because you need to reach the summit Magherita when the sun is rising. Guides will help you to wear snow gears such as masks, shoes, jackets, sunscreen, waterproof gloves and also crampons, ropes, ice axes. Then start the final climb which takes 5-7 hours passing near large glaciers and the Stanley plateau. You will reach the Magherita peak around 09:00am in the morning. You are now standing in the clouds on Africa’s 3rd tallest mountain, with all the excitement, you are allowed to spend few hours up the summit covered with permanent ice enjoying far reaching views of the whole virunga mountains in DRC and western Uganda if the sky is clear. Later when you have exhausted the summit peaks, descend backwards to Kitandara hut for dinner and overnight.
Day 7: kitandara to Guy Yeoman Hut at 3,260 meters above sea level
After breakfast, from kitandara hut you will climb Mt. Stanley from the foothills of Mt. Baker on the southern side of Mt Rwenzori. Views of eastern DRC and kitandara glacial lakes are clear as you continue via rocks, muddy bogs to the Bujangolo camp, a historic base camp where the Duke of Abruzzi expedition took place in 1906. It will take 6 hours to cover the 5 km trail reaching Guy Yeoman hut at 3,262 meters above sea level where you will dine and Slumber.
Day 8: Guy Yeoman Hut to Nyabitaba Hut
From Guy Yeoman hut (3,260 meters above sea level) after breakfast, you will descend downwards to Nyabitaba hut at (2,650 meters above sea level). This will take you 5 hours; porters will assist you due to the slippery and muddy nature of trails. Again you will traverse through bamboo forests to the tropical forests where primates like the Rwenzori Colobus monkey; birds like Rwenzori Turaco can be seen. Arrive at Nyabitaba hut for dinner and overnight.
Day 9: Nyabitaba Hut to Nyakalenjija Hut
As you are nearly getting back to the base of Mt. Rwenzori, the trail starts 2,650 meters above sea level through the montane forests to the grasslands. In this zone you might see buffalos, bush backs, warthogs or forest elephants. It will take 4 hours to cover a 10km trail crossing river Mubuku. You will also make a short excursion of 40 minutes to see Lake Mamoha and thereafter arrive back to the Rwenzori Safari lodge/ Rwenzori mountaineering service offices. This time guides will welcome you back as you appreciate each other having trekked to the summit and back together with no injuries. You are required to return hired equipments then have lunch and spend the rest of the day relaxing to relieve you tiredness after an expedition of the Rwenzori Mountains. Dinner and overnight at Rwenzori Safari lodge.
Day 10: Transfer to Queen Elizabeth National Park for a Boat Cruise in the afternoon
Early morning after breakfast, depart the Rwenzori Mountains National park with your and drive for 4 -5 hours entering Queen Elizabeth National Park viewing animals like buffalos, elephants, Uganda kob. Arrive and check in at Mweya Safari Lodge (luxury)/ Mweya Hostel (mid range)/ Simba Safari Camp (budget) for lunch. Later in the afternoon, go for a 2 hour boat cruise with food and drinks on board along the Kazinga channel, natural water channel that connects lakes Edward and George. You are guaranteed to see hippos, Nile Crocodiles, water birds and elephants, buffalos, bushbucks near the banks. Return to your lodge for dinner and overnight.
Day 11: Early Morning Game Drive and Katwe explosion crater
Wake up early morning before 06:30am for a cup of coffee and then after take a 3 hour game drive north Kazinga in the kasenyi plains for a classic African experience. you will see prides of lions, hyenas, buffalos, leopards, warthogs, bush pigs and large herds of antelopes including Uganda kob, eland, topi, duikers. In addition to the big game mammals, you will also encounter savannah birds like guinea fowl giving you a chance for wildlife photography. Return to your lodge for a late bush breakfast, relaxation and lunch. In the afternoon, you will drive for 40 minutes north of Mweya peninsular to the Katwe explosion Crater Lake where salt mining has been taking place since the 16th century. You will witness how salt is extracted and dried and later as you return to your lodge for dinner and overnight pass by Lake Munyanyange another saline explosion crater where huge flocks of flamingos can be seen.
Day 12: Drive Back to Kampala City
End of Safari