The Central Circuit is the best way to ascend this big African mountain. The hike starts from Nyakalengija; the base camp on the mountain slopes where the park quarters are situated and follows the Mobuku river valley, then sloping around Mount Baker, where the final trail to climb Mount Stanley with Margherita Peak is found. This trek passes through five different vegetation zones including montane forest, bamboo zone, heath and moorland, alpine zone. Hikers are advised to respect the gradual acclimatization process to avoid altitude sickness. The trails developed by UWA have mountain huts, which are basic in style.
Dates: 6th – 14th July
Group Size: 4-5 climbers
Time is a valuable resource. The best thing we can do for ourselves is spend time in nature away from the distraction of television, smartphones and all sorts of modern gadgets and noises.
This 9 days trip will give you a time to enjoy the beauty of Mt. Rwenzori with a fun group.
Arrive in Kampala with the early morning flight at Entebbe Airport.
Drive from Kampala in the morning and proceed to the western part of the country by passing through the Mityana-Fortportal kasese road, a 6-7 hour 372km drive .Stop over for lunch at Fortportal and proceed to the mountain base for the night. Gear sorting with the guide that afternoon.
Duration: 5-6 hours, 100om ascent
In the morning after breakfast, you will be picked by your guide and then head to the Rwenzori Mountains National Park Head Quarter at Nyakalengija, 1,646 m. After a brief the hike starts through the plantations and homes of the Bakonzo, the people of the mountain, gradually reaching garden plots and elephants grass before joining the forest zone. You follow the Mubuku River, until crossing the Mahoma River. The trail passes through an open bracken fern slopes and a beautiful Forest canopy, up to Nyabitaba Hut, 2,652 m. which is the arrival point for the day. From the location, you are facing on the North the Portal Peaks 4,627m, and Mount Kinyangoma up ahead. During the day, you might see monkeys, the Rwenzori Turaco, three horned chameleons which is endemic in the Rwenzoris, common bulbul birds, yellow eyed tinkle birds, wood pecker, mountain elephants and hearing the voices of the chimpanzee, Kasese town.
Duration: 6-7 Hours walking, 760m Ascent
From Nyabitaba Hut you cross the Kurt Shaffer Bridge, through a muddy area. Then the trail climbs up through the bamboo forest. After the Kurt Shaffer bridge the forest zone gives way to the bamboo/memolopsis zone up to Nyamuleju camp, an old climbing hut .This point marks the start of the heather zone where you will see the Ericaceous trees, everlasting flowers, giant lobelia and groundsel. You may also see red duikers, rock hyrax and white Columbus monkeys. The trail snakes through a bog full of typical plants along the Bujuku River. The final point is John Matte Hut. Enjoy the view of Mount Stanley and snow capped Margherita and Elena Peaks if the weather is clear.
Duration: 4-5 Hours, 550m Ascent
From John Matte Hut you cross the Bujuku River and enter the lower Bigo bog, a grassy bog where you spend time jumping from tussock to tussock. Currently, there is a constructed walk board on both lower and upper bigo bogs that makes a clear view of the mountain sceneries. This is the start of the alpine savannah zone with little vegetation. On the way, beautiful gardens of gaint lobelia, asanasio black berries, wild carrots, Alcamilla grace your paths. Also sighted is Lake Bujuku, sun birds, red duikers, rock hyrax and more.
Depending on the weather, you may be able to view the peaks of Mount Stanley, Mount Baker and Mount Speke. Your stop for the day is at Bujuku Hut, 3,962 m. From Bujuku, the trail for those intending to climb Mount Speke starts.
Duration: 4 hours, Ascent 600m
From Bujuku, the trail takes you through more bog, while climbing the steep slopes west of the lake and through the magical Groundsel Gully as it ascends to Scott-Elliot Pass at 4372m. At the head of the gully a metal ladder takes you over a steep section after which the trail is divided into two. The trail on your right leads up to Elena Hut and Mount Stanley on a steep trail over large boulders, while the trail on your left leads to Scott-Elliot Pass and down to Kitandara Lakes. Across the plains you may see the Mount Speke glacier on Victoria Emmanuel, Margerita peak on Mount Stanley and the nice view of Lake Bujuku, amazing rock path and so many others. Your stop for the night is the cool and often icy Icy Elena Hut.
Ascent: 7 hours walking, 1,500m Ascent Descent: 7 hours walking
For those aiming for Margherita peak (5109m), continue to the base of the Stanley Glacier. To reach the summit of Margherita, the climb takes about 5-7 hours depending on the weather conditions and the pace of climbing. This tough walk takes you over three glaciers, slippery rock, ice and very exposed areas which are open on many sides. Note that this climb is for only physically fit and technical climbers. Climbing on to the glaciers, cross the Stanley Plateau and proceed with the ascent. Acclimatized to fog, altitude sickness and coolly weather, scramble up to the summit of Margherita the highest peak of the Rwenzoris.
Return to Elena Hut and proceed down to Kitandara hut through Scott-Elliot pass, where there are spectacular views back to Bujuku Lake and Mount Speke, up to Mount Stanley and down to the Kitandara Lakes. Descend to the twin lakes of Kitandara for overnight at the Kitandara Hut.
PS: If you arrive late at Elena an extra night is mandatory. Also we do not allow descent of any injured or unwell clients on the Kitandara side because rescue efforts are practically impossible with the terrain on this route. Request to descend on the normal route if tired and under the weather. There have been fatal descents on this route.
Duration: 7 hours
From Kitandara, take on the trail that ascends steeply up the headwall, spreading out from the base of Mount Baker and continuing along the south side of the mountain to Fresh field Pass 4.282 m. At this point you can view into the Congo to the west and Mount Stanley to the north. From the pass, take on the long trail passing through bogy and slippery rocks that leads you to Bujongolo rock shelter the base camp for the historic expedition by the Duke of Abruzzi in 1906. The hut is surrounded by a beautiful landscape of mountains, vegetations dominated by the giant lobelias and rivers. Overnight at Guy yeoman.
Duration: 7-8 Hours
In this day you complete the central circuit by going back to Nyabitaba Hut. The trial is attractive along the valley of the Mubuku and Kichuchu rivers, rich in plants and flowers of the heather zone before reaching the bamboo forest. Descend to Nyabitaba hut and proceed down to Nyakelginja unless if too tired where in that case you spend a night at Nyabitaba. Overnight at the base camp.
In the morning, take breakfast and drive to Kampala either through Kasese-Fortportal road (372km) or Mbarara-Masaka road (422km) to reach Kampala /Entebbe for a flight back home in the evening.
PS: For Bus alternative to Kampala please talk to us. You need to travel on 5th and back on 15th for this option.
Due to the nature of the exercise, you need to prepare your body well. It is recommended you do morning/evening jogs and other cardio based activities for the entire period for between 15 and 30 minutes. This will help your breathing as well as your muscles.
Meals will be provided on the mountain, as well as basic snacks over the duration of the trip. However take note of the meals on transit in Kampala and Fort portal that are not provided in the package. These will be bought Ala-carte from the various restaurants available.
Any special dietary requirements such as diabetic, vegetarian, lactose intolerant, non beef must be communicated in advance.Snacks to last the hike are recommended to substitute the main meals.
Majority of the climbing gear can be sourced by our team.
No. Item Quantity Remarks (Tick if You Have/Mark ‘H’ if you would like to Hire)
1 Backpack/rucksack for porters 1 Pc
2 Day pack Bag properly padded 1 Pc
3 Sleeping bag (-0 to -20 degrees) 1 Pair
4 Waterproof Hiking Boots : Crampon Friendly 1 Pair
5 Marvin/Balaclava /Warm Hat 1 Pc
6 Sunglasses 1 Pc
7 Insulated down jacket with hood medium to heavy weight 1 Pc
8 T-Shirts – Polyester quick dry. 4 Pcs
9 Hard shell jacket with hood breathable with front zip 1 Pc
10 Long Rain coat or Poncho 1 Pc
11 Trekking pants 2 Pcs
12 Hard shell pants/Water proof 2 Pcs
13 Warm wool hat (light and should cover ears) 1 Pc
14 Heavy woolen socks Liner socks- they caution against blisters 4 Pairs
15 Gloves (Warm Ski gloves) 1 Pc
16 Hard shell mitts(1 pair should fit inside gloves) 1 Pc
17 Fleece 1-2 Pcs
18 Thermal underwear (Top & Bottom) 1-2 Pairs
19 Camelbak Hydration pack /Water bottles 3-4 liters total
20 Bathroom Kit (Recommended Wet Wipes, SunScreen (SPF 30 and above)
21 Headlamp with Extra Batteries 1 Pcs
22 Personal First aid items/medicine if any
24 Sun Hat or cap (synthetic dries quickly ) 1 Pc
25 Snacks to last all days N/A
27 Snow gaiters to prevent water and rocks 1 pair
28 Personal First Aid Kit
29 Disclaimer & Health self-assessment form submitted.
30 Emergency evacuation cover
31 Passport/National ID/Alien ID
2 Power banks /extra batteries
3 Slim hot water flask
4 Ankle support and knee support
5 Walking poles
6 Money for Crew Tips : Recommended $30/50 and above
The expedition rates are as follows:-
Climb Package USD 990
Return Flights to EBB USD 250
Return Bus Transfer to KLA KES 6,000
• All meals on the Mountain
• Accommodation in budget accommodation at Fort portal
• Accommodation in mountain huts
• Statutory park Permits
• Experienced English speaking Guides, chef and porters fees
• Porters for supplies and your personal rucksack.
• Transfer to Western Uganda (Shared cost as per group number )
• Technical Climb Gear (USD 80): Crampons ,Gum boots, 60m Dynamic Climbing Rope, Sitting Harness
• Visa fees if Non East African
• International yellow fever certificate
• Tips for guides and porters. Ask recommended figures
• Personal Climbing Gear as in “D” above
• Water and Drinks (Though clean water is available for refills but you need to carry water purification tablets)
• All transit meals in Kampala and Fort Portal.
• Mt. Speke and Mt Baker peaks at $100 Extra each.
Make payments via MPESA Paybill Business Number 695596
Account number: Your name
Or send a Bank Transfer as per the details below:-
Bank: NIC Bank
A/c Name: Bucketlist Adventures
A/c No: 1005055788
Branch Name: The Mall Westlands.
Postal Address: – P.O.box 44599,00100- Nairobi Kenya.
Branch code: 105
Bank Code: 41
Swift Code: NINCKENA
PS: Confirmations and queries MUST be confirmed with 0725 157 834