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Rwenzori Mountains Expedition

4 March, 2021

Rwenzori Mountains Expedition

Available Dates: 6th – 14th August

CROSSING MT. RWENZORI OFF YOUR BUCKET LIST

The Rwenzoris, also known as the mountains of the moon is pretty much the wildest alpine region in Africa. The mountain has over a dozen peaks that make it more challenging than its higher cousin, Mt Kilimanjaro in Tanzania. The best route to enjoy this range is the central circuit. 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 you find the final trail to climb Mount Stanley (Margherita Peak). This trekking passes through five different vegetation zones including montane forest, bamboo zone & the alpine zone.

Itinerary Summary

Day 1: Kampala to Kasese
Arrive in Kampala with the early morning flight at Entebbe Airport or the previous day by bus/flight.
Drive to western Uganda using Mityana-Fortportal Kasese road. The 372km drive takes 6-7 hours. Arrive at your hotel for lunch and gear check before taking an early rest.

Day 2: Nyakalengija to Nyabitaba Hut, 2,652 m.
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. The hike starts through the plantations and homes of the Bakonzo, the people of the mountain before joining the forest zone. We will then follow the Mubuku River until we cross the Mahoma River. The trail passes through open bracken fern slopes and beautiful Forest canopy to Nyabitaba Hut at 2,652m. From the hut facing north, you can see the Portal Peaks 4.627m with Mount Kinyangoma on it. The hike takes between 5-6 hours.

Day 3: Nyabitaba Hut to John Matte Hut, 3,414 m.
From Nyabitaba Hut you cross the Kurt Shaffer Bridge through a boggy section. After the bridge, the trail gets into the bamboo zone up to Nyamuleju camp, an old stop point before John Maate camp. This point marks the start of the heather zone where you will see the Ericaceous trees, everlasting flowers, giant lobelia, and groundsel. Common sightings include red duikers, rock hyrax, and white Columbus monkeys. The hike takes you approximately 6-7hrs to the overnight stop at John Matte Hut, 3,414 m. On a clear day, you will get the first sighting of Mount Stanley and its snowcapped Margherita and Elena Peaks.

Day 4: From John Matte Hut to Bujuku Hut, 3,962 m (Optional Mt. Speke 4,890m)
Hiking from John Matte Hut, we cross the Bujuku River and enter the lower Bigo bog. The experience of jumping from tussock to tussock is interesting. Currently, there is a constructed walk board on both lower and upper big bogs that makes the walk easier. This marks the start of the alpine savannah zone with little vegetation. Common sightings today include the beautiful gardens of giant lobelia, senecios, blackberries, wild carrots, Alchemilla, Lake Bujuku, sunbirds, red duikers, rock hyrax, and more.
On a clear day the peaks of Mount Stanley, Mount Baker, and Mount Speke rise from this valley.  Our stop for the day is at Bujuku Hut, 3,962 m. This day hike takes between 4-5 hours. If you would like to hike Mount Speke the adjacent route starts from this camp. The peak is doable with an early start from John Matte (0500hrs).

Day 5:  Bujuku Hut – Elena Hut (4541m).
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 4,372m. 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. During this day, you are able to see Mount Speke’s fading glacier on Victoria Emmanuel peak, Margherita peak on Mount Stanly, and a bird’s eye view of Lake Bujuku. Our hike ends at Elena Base Camp after 4-5 hours.

Day 6: Elena Hut – Margherita peak (5109m) and down to Kitandara
Starting from Elena at around 0400hrs the technical part of the trail begins. The trail takes you over three glaciers, slippery rock, ice, and some exposed areas. The weather determines the time for the climb usually 5-7hours. Fog, technical equipment set up, and fog can reduce the pace greatly. You need to be fit and well before embarking on this climb as you will be required to participate in active ice climbing. After summiting Margherita the highest peak, descend to Elena and proceed further down to Kitandara hut right next to the shores of the beautiful lake for the night. The descent takes 2-3 hours. Should the summit take long the team will sleep at Elena Hut. Should we also have tired and unwell people on the team we will descend via the ascent route we used as the circuit is challenging.

Day 7: Kitandara Hut to Guy Yeoman Hut, 3.261 m. (Optional Mt. Baker 4,844m)
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 have views as far as 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, vegetation dominated by the giant lobelias and rivers. Overnight at Guy yeoman. The walk takes 6-7 hours.
If doing Mt. Baker start at 0400hrs from Kitandara Lakes. From the Fresh field pass, you will take the path to the summit before descending later and rejoining the route.

Day 8: Guy Yeoman Hut back to Nyabitaba Hut, 2.652 m. to Nyakalengija.
On this day you complete the central circuit by going back to Nyabitaba Hut. The trail follows the scenic valley of Mubuku and Kichuchu Rivers, rich in plants and flowers of the heather zone before reaching the bamboo forest. The hike to Nyabitaba takes about 4 hours.  Here you may decide to descend directly to Nyakalengija, adding 2-3 more hours, or stay at Nyabitaba hut for an overnight before descending the next morning. You will be picked by your driver to Kasese town for an overnight stay.

DAY 9: Kasese -Kampala
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 the last night rest or late evening flight back home.

Day 10: Kampala to Nairobi
Return to Nairobi by morning or evening flight/ bus.

PS: It’s important to have an extra day just in case the climb extends to an extra day due to weather. This is unlikely to happen though.

PHYSICAL FITNESS

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.
We also have prep hikes lined up every weekend for your support and private on weekdays and it would be great to attend them. Contact us for the calendar on this.

FOOD & SNACKS

Meals will be provided, as well as basic snacks like cookies, biscuits, and fruits. You should also bring your own energy snacks for the duration of the hike. Main meals are prepared and served at camp. They include common starch, vegetables, soup, and meat. 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.

Mandatory Climbing Gear

No. Item Quantity
1 Backpack/rucksack for porters 1 Pc
2 Day pack Bag properly padded 1 Pc
3 Sleeping bag (-0 to -20 degrees) 1 Bag
4 Waterproof Hiking Boots 1 Pair
5 Marvin/Balaclava /Warm Hat 1 Pc
6 Sunglasses 1 Pc
7 Slim hot water flask 1 Pc
8 T-Shirts – Polyester quick dry. 4 Pcs
9 Warm Jacket 1 Pc
10 Long Raincoat or Poncho 1 Pc
11 Walking pants 2 Pcs
12 Summit Ski Trouser 1 Pc
13 Waterproof windbreaker pants / Rain Trousers 1 Pc
14 Heavy woolen socks 4 Pcs
15 Gloves (Warm Ski gloves) 1 Pc
16 Light woolen gloves -1 1 Pc
17 Fleece 1 Pcs
18 Thermal underwear (Top & Bottom) 1-2 Pairs
19 Camelbak Hydration pack /Water bottles: Carrying Capacity of over 3 Litres 3 litres total
20 Bathroom Kit (Recommended Wet Wipes, SunScreen, Toothpaste, Toothbrush, etc)
21 Headlamp with Extra Batteries 1 Pcs
22 Personal First aid items/medicine if any
24 Wide Brimmed sun hat/Baseball cap 1 Pc
25 Snacks to last all days (Personal Discretion)
27 Passport/National ID/Alien ID & Yellow Fever certificate
28 Personal First Aid items
29 Disclaimer & Health self-assessment form submitted.
30 Emergency evacuation cover
31 Power bank & Camera
32 Walking Poles
33 Ankle and Knee support
34 Gumboots/Wellingtons

Expedition Charges

Full Climb Package (Climb & Flights): USD 1,250
Climb Only: USD 996

Package Includes

  • All meals on the Mountain.
  • Flights to Entebbe International Airport for the full package
  • Accommodation in mountain huts
  • Budget accommodation at Kasese
  • Return transfer from Kampala to Western Uganda
  • Statutory park fees.
  • Technical Climb Gear: Crampons,60m Dynamic Climbing Rope, Sitting Harness
  • Experienced English-speaking guides
  • Group porters for meals, supplies.
  • Porter to carry your personal rucksack.
  • Experienced Mountain chefs

Package Excludes

  • Visa fees if Non-East African
  • International yellow fever and Covid 19 Certificates
  • Personal Climbing Gear as outlined above
  • Extra Peaks Mt Speke and Baker at $110 each.
  • Accommodation and meals in Kampala before and after the Climb. (May not be necessary if you fly in the morning of the climb and out the evening after).
  • Water and Drinks (Though clean spring water is available for refills you may consider these but you might need to carry purification tablets)
  • All transit meals in Kampala and Fort Portal.
  • Tips for guides, porters, and Crew: Recommended $50 and above

Booking & Payment Terms

A minimum of KES 5,000 secures your slot on the trip.
Make Payments via our MPESA Paybill Number 695596 and input your name as the Account Number. Then forward the confirmation message to 0729 995059 to confirm your booking.
For Bank Payments, Please contact our Team.

For any Queries contact our Expeditions Director on 0725157834 / 0729 995059 or email [email protected]

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Guided Tour
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Mountaineering
At a glance

Experience the beauty of the Rwenzori Mountains this Summer. The Central Circuit that starts from Nyakalengijais the best way to ascend this snow-capped African Mountain. This trek passes through different rain forest vegetations and sharp peaks with breathtaking views

  • Central Circuit Route
  • USD 996
  • USD 1250
Kiarago Valentine,
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