Rwenzori Mountains National Park has the highest mountain ranges in Africa. Its highest point lies at 5109m above sea level on Mt Stanley’s Margherita Peak which is the third highest in Africa. It lies astride the equator with six peaks and three of these i.e. Mt Stanley, Mt Baker and Mt Speke are permanently covered with snow. The park covers an area of 996 km2. It was recognized as a UNESCO world Heritage site in 1994 and was listed by world geographic among the best hikes in the world. It lies in western Uganda about 6 hours’ drive from Kampala.
The Ruwenzori, also spelled Rwenzori and Rwenjura, are a range of mountains in eastern equatorial Africa, located on the border between Uganda and the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
Rwenzori is known as ‘mountains of the moon’ a name given to it by Alexandrine geographer Ptolemy in AD 150. Locally known as Ruwenzori, is translated as “rain maker” or “cloud-king.” The Rwenzori is not volcanic like East Africa’s other major mountains but is a block of rock faulted through the floor of the western Rift valley. The hike will take you through varied vegetation covers which include montane forest, bamboo forest, tree heath, hagenia-rapanea scrub and afro-alpine moorland.
There are predominantly two main routes that will lead climbers and trekkers to the Margherita Peak of the great Rwenzori Mountains.
These routes are run by Rwenzori Trekking Services (Kilembe Route) and Rwenzori Mountaineering Services (Central Circuit Route).
The Central Circuit Trail: This challenging, seven-day climb provides a circular tour of the high Rwenzori. From the trailhead at Mihunga, the route ascends the Bujuku Valley via Nyabitaba for acclimatization before reaching the peaks. Clients joining the Central Circuit after Bujuku will traverse the Scott Elliot and Fresh field passes to descend through the Mubuku Valley. Climbers can scale the snow peaks though many consider the exceptional scenery ample reward for their exertions.
The Kilembe Route is longer and newer, having been opened in 2009. Its trail approaches the mountains from the south. The real beauty is in hiking the Kilembe Route, are the forests, flora, valleys as well as the diverse giant heather trees and valleys of ferns. Read more about the Kilembe Route.
Kilembe Trail: The recently reopened Kilembe Trail ascends the southern slopes of the Rwenzori from a trailhead at Kilembe near the town of Kasese. The route along the lovely Nyamwamba Valley passes glacial lakes and some stunning viewpoints before joining the Central Circuit at Lake Kitandara. The standard route scales Mount Baker though the scenery makes shorter treks rewarding enough.
Rwenzori Mountains Tours can be booked through Rwenzori Mountaineering Services (RMS) and Rwenzori Trekking Services (RTS).
POPULAR HIKING TOURS ON MOUNTAIN RWENZORI
When it comes to Ruwenzori mountaineering tours, many tour operators recommend the shortest trip to be between the 6 – 7 Days to enable ultimate experience of conquering of the peaks on Rwenzori Mountains.
This is the oldest trail that is used by trekkers interested in hikes to the Margherita Peak. It’s the shortest trek to reach to the peak of the mountain in Rwenzori Mountains. Though there can be some variations on the route, the trail will take typically 6-7 days to reach the peak and descend back. It’s the popular Safari Tour to be booked with Rwenzori Expeditions: Check out for the 7 Days Ruwenzori Climbing Tour.
7 – 8 DAYS
The shortest number of days to hike to the peak is the seven days. The seven – eight day trek to the Margherita peak at 5,109 meters starts from Kilembe, through the forest and the bamboo zone to have a sleep at Kalalama.
9 – 10 DAYS
Mount Rwenzori has got main trails that is the Kilembe trail which summits Margherita peak, it takes about 9-10 days to ascend and descend, the central circuit trail which leads to Elena Hut with magnificent views of Margherita peak it takes about 7 days to ascend and descend.
REASONS WHY PEOPLE HIKE MOUNTAIN RWENZORI IN UGANDA
It seems these days everyone and anyone is getting outside, hiking, and spending less time indoors and more time outside. Though it may seem like a current trend or “fashion statement” there are so many reasons why so many others hike. If you haven’t already experienced the joy that comes from spending time in the outdoors, here are my top reasons i suggest you should “Take a Hike”.
The Views are Breathtaking
Let’s face it, the outdoors are extremely beautiful in a variety of unique, special ways; trees, lakes, mountains, waterfalls, rivers, peaks, you name it. You can hike to almost any destination as long as you are prepared with the right gear and proper resources. Though the “hike” may be grueling and maybe even painful at first, the views are always worth it.
Hiking Improves Health and Fitness
Hiking and climbing can help you get that body you always wanted. It’s not always easy getting from point A to point B, especially if you have a heavy pack on for an overnighter. By doing so, you increase muscle strength, endurance, reduce blood pressure, increase stamina, relieve stress, get your heart rate up, and increase longevity. However, the mountains can be very dangerous so always be precautious and bring a first aid kit everywhere you go.
Gives you an “Escape from the Real World”
Spending time outdoors gives you a sense of peace and contentment while allowing you to step away from your day-to-day life. In today’s world, we are often bombarded by busy schedules, technology, social class, traffic and so much more. Hiking, and especially camping, gives you the chance to let it all go, and live in the moment. You get a small window of time to ponder on what is most important to you in your life and think about making some of the most crucial decisions that are placed in front of you.
Good Source of Vitamin D, the “Happy Vitamin”
Spending time in the sunshine is not only going to help get you a golden tan, but will also provide you with an adequate amount of Vitamin D necessary for good health. Vitamin D promotes happiness, regulates cell growth, plays an important role in immunity and helps deposit minerals in bones and teeth. Soaking up the sunshine is overall beneficial in a variety of ways and will make you a happier person.
Challenges your Limits
Hiking offers a sense of competition without competing with anyone else, only yourself. It’s not a meant to be a race with the person hiking next to you, but rather an interpersonal challenge set to your own capabilities. It may not be a physical challenge for some, but also a mental, and spiritual challenge. Hiking allows you to learn more about yourself and grow into a better person because of it, try it, you’ll see.
Helps you feel Alive
You’ll be impressed what you find you are capable of and the places you will see. You’ll gain a sense of deeper value for yourself, for Mother Nature, and become a more confident person. That’s what Ten Tree is all about. You will learn to live in the moment, and gain a deeper appreciation for the planet we all call home.
A Different Kind of High
Hiking offers a different kind of high. A high not associated with drugs or alcohol or going out to the clubs and staying up all night partying. Hiking offers a surreal sense of accomplishment and an adrenaline rush. It increases your dopamine and serotonin levels (happy hormones) in a healthy way. Not only that, but there is no better feeling that feeling like you are on top of the world, literally.
You May Meet Someone Special
Last summer I happened to meet the love of my life on top of a mountain. It wasn’t through social media, but rather by chance. The love for the outdoors brought us together and we have been inseparable since. You never know who you may run into when you’re out in the wilderness.
Nothing is more refreshing than fresh air
Whether you live in the suburbs or the city, nothing beats the indescribable feeling when breathing in crisp, fresh mountain air. It’s so clean and refreshing, just like sipping on ice-cold water on a hot sunny day. With the rate of pollution rising and exhaust in the air, those chemicals inhaled can be carcinogenic and dangerous for your health. By taking the time to go on a hike and soak in the fresh air Mother Nature has to offer will be refreshing and also good for your overall health.
When it comes to hiking Rwenzori Mountains, Go give it a chance, and see what “The Hiking Movement” it’s all about. You won’t be disappointed when you select you select snow Mountains. Challenge yourself and add on the buck list for 2022 to include the Ruwenzori Mountains trekking while on a Uganda Safari with Primate Safari Experiences LTD. Your soul will thank you for it and the team will be ready to help you on the tailoring of the trip to Rwenzori Mountains.