Mountains of the moon: climbing Uganda’s highest peak
The remote Rwenzori mountains, on the Uganda/DRC border, offer treks through varied and stunning landscapes, and Africa’s third-highest summit, with none of the crowds found at Kilimanjaro
The Rwenzori Mountains, or the Mountains of the Moon, are easily Africa’s best kept secret. Rarely visited and isolated, they contain much of Africa’s permanent ice and the most varied mountain scenery as we climb from tropical rainforest, through alpine valleys to the glaciers. Our trek in the Rwenzori includes a challenging ascent on Margherita (5109m), Africa’s 3rd highest mountain. This is a demanding ascent with muddy conditions and variable weather almost guaranteed. The real beauty of the trip is the ascent up the Kilembe route where the diverse flora in the forests and valleys includes giant heather, lobelia, groundsels and exuberant ferns. Under the watchful eye of our experienced mountain guides, we attempt the final ascent up to the summit of Margherita, which will require us to rope up and use crampons. However scaling the actual peak is more of a hard scramble than a climb and the exhilaration of reaching the top is enormous, as you look across Albert Peak to the Congo then east across the chain of the Rwenzori Mountains.
Mount Rwenzori Trekking
This Rwenzori hiking tour brings you to the highest mountain range in Africa shared between Uganda and DRC. This is the most popular hike to the Rwenzori Mountains, 8 days of hiking Rwenzori mountains in Uganda is memorable and it leads you to Margherita peak that happens to be the tallest peak on Mt. Rwenzori. Rwenzori Mountains is the highest mountain range in Africa shared between Uganda and DRC.
The snow covered Rwenzori Mountains-also known as the MOUNTAINS OF THE MOON and protected as Rwenzori Mountains National Park will offer you the unique experience you’ve been looking for in Africa.
The hiking safari that leads you up the mist-shrouded peaks provides stunning backdrops to these magnificent mountains, including six main mountains with peaks exceeding 4,500m of altitude Mt. Stanley, Mt. Speke, Mt. Baker, Mt. Gessi (in the Congolese side), and Mt. Emin Pasha, Mt. Luigi di Savoia.
- An expedition to the Rwenzori is an exhilarating and rewarding experience but one which must be well planned.
- There are several circuits to the top of the mountain; since the mountain has seven peaks and six are snow capped ones.
- The mountain’s altitude is 14000ft
- The mountain is renowned for its engineered, steep and slippery trails and frequent rain characterized by cold temperatures, bog, mud, steep terrain and high altitude.
- Due to hash conditions the best time for hiking is July-August and December-February
Day 1: Departure
After breakfast, we drive to Rwenzori Mountains National Park. The guide will check your equipment for the hike to make sure you will go very well prepared. Anything missing can be rented in Kasese.
Hiking Day 1
Transfer to the starting point of the hike!
The “central circuit” trail of Rwenzori is the main hiking activity which people undertake when visiting the mountain range. It consists of a hike lasting six nights and seven days, starting from the headquarter of the Rwenzori Mountains National Park at Nyakalengija. Then the trail follows a circular path around Mount Baker, spending the night in five different Huts, and reaching a maximum altitude of 4.372m. at Scott Elliot Pass.
The circuit gives the opportunity to see very close the peaks and glaciers of Mount Speke, Mount Stanley, Mount Luigi di Savoia, Mount Baker. Everybody is able to manage the hike, as the level of difficulty is not so high. For the mountain climbers, it is possible to reach all the major peaks, only adding a one-day extension to the trial per each peak. The central circuit is the best experience of Rwenzori, its landscape and vegetations.
From the Rwenzori Mountains National Park Head Quarter at Nyakalengija, 1.646m, you will receive the briefing from RMS (Rwenzori Mountaineering Services) and UWA (Uganda Wildlife Authority), with the possibility of renting equipment. The hike starts through the plantations and homes of the Bakonjo, the people of the mountain, gradually reaching garden plots and elephants grass.
You follow the Mobuku river, until crossing the Mahoma River. The trail passes through open bracken fern slopes and Podocarpus forest, up to Nyabitaba Hut, 2.652m., which is the arrival point for the day. This will take from 5 to 6 hours. From the location, you are facing on the North the Portal Peaks, 4.627m., in front of Mount Kyniangoma. During the day, you might see monkeys, the Rwenzori Turaco and hear the chimpanzees.
Hiking Day 2
From Nyabitaba Hut you cross the Kurt Shaffer Bridge, through a muddy area. Then the trail climbs up through the bamboo forest. You reach a steep rocky area, which leads to Nyamuleju Hut. This point marks the start of the giant lobelia and groundsel zone. The way proceeds through a bog full of typical plants along the Bujuku river. The final point is John Matte Hut, 3.414m. for spending the night. From Nyabitaba Hut to John Matte it can take approximately 6 hours. Enjoy the view of Mount Stanley and snow-capped Margherita and Elena Peaks.
Hiking Day 3
From John Matte Hut you cross the Bujuku River and enter the lower Bigo bog, a grassy bog where you experience how to jump from tussock to tussock. You reach Bigo Hut and enter the upper Bigo bog, proceeding to Lake Bujuku, where it is starting the alpine savannah zone of little vegetation.
You finally arrive at Bujuku Hut, 3.962m. This day hike can take up to 5 hours. There you have a view on the peaks of Mount Stanley, Mount Baker and Mount Speke. From Bujuku starts the diversion for whom intends to climb Mount Speke. For climbing Margherita and Alexandra peaks it is advised to proceed to Elena Hut for overnight.
Hiking Day 4
From Bujuku Hut you climb through moss-draped groundsel vegetation, to Scott Elliot Pass, 4.372m., the highest point of the loop trail. The path is very rocky and steep, at the foothills of Mount Baker. Enjoy a spectacular view of Margherita peak, Elena and Savoia glaciers and Mount Baker.
You reach Upper Kitandara lake through thick mud to Lower Kitandara lake where is located Kitandara Hut, 4.023m. Kitandara in the local language means “fresh field”, as a cold wind is blowing into the valley. Time to complete a hike of about 5 hours. During this track, it is recommended to check any sign of altitudes sickness or hypothermia. From Kitandara Hut you can proceed for climbing Mount Baker or Mount Luigi di Savoia and the peak Vittorio Sella.
Hiking Day 5
From Lake Kitandara you climb to Freshfield Pass, 4.282m., a long flat of high alpine mossy glades, before descending the circuit among rocky and boggy areas. The panorama is dominated by the glaciers of Mounts Stanley and Baker. A muddy trail leads to Akendahi, Bujongolo and Kabamba rock shelters, where starts the Kabamba valley down to Guy Yeoman Hut, 3.261m. This can take up to 6 hours. The hut is surrounded by a beautiful landscape of mountains, vegetation and rivers.
Hiking Day 6
In this day you complete the central circuit by going back to Nyabitaba Hut. The trial is attractive along the valley of the Mobuku and Kichuchu rivers, rich in plants and flowers of the heather zone before reaching the bamboo forest. See Kabamba falls on the way. Time to reach Nyabitaba is about 6 hours. Eventually, you decide to terminate the trial by descending directly to Nyakalengija, adding 2 to 3 more hours.
Hiking Day 7
From Nyabitaba to reach Nyakalengija, it can take up to three hours. Nyabitaba starts the 40 minutes trail to see Lake Mamoha and back to the hut for descending to the Park Head Quarters. Transfer to the hotel
Day 9: Return
Transfer back to Kampala. We will make a stop in Kampala for shopping. Transfer to the airport for your departure.
- Airport/Hotel Transfers
- Park Entrance Fees
- Meals as per Itinerary
- 4×4 Safari Transportation to/from airport
- English Speaking Tour Guide/Driver
- Tourist Entry Visa
- International Flight Tickets
- Travel Insurance
- Items of Personal Nature
- Tips and Gratuities
Mount Rwenzori climbing
We offer affordable hiking & trekking expeditions to the Rwenzori mountains in Uganda & DR Congo. Plan your Rwenzori Mountains climbing expedition with us!
Mount Rwenzori Climbing
- The Rwenzori Mountains, or the Mountains of the Moon, are easily Africa's best kept secret. Rarely visited and isolated, they contain much of Africa's permanent ice and the most varied mountain scenery as we climb from tropical rainforest, through alpine valleys to the glaciers. Our trek in the Rwenzori includes a challenging ascent on Margherita (5109m), Africa's 3rd highest mountain. This is a demanding ascent with muddy conditions and variable weather almost guaranteed. The real beauty of the trip is the ascent up the Kilembe route where the diverse flora in the forests and valleys includes giant heather, lobelia, groundsels and exuberant ferns. Under the watchful eye of our experienced mountain guides, we attempt the final ascent up to the summit of Margherita, which will require us to rope up and use crampons. However scaling the actual peak is more of a hard scramble than a climb and the exhilaration of reaching the top is enormous, as you look across Albert Peak to the Congo then east across the chain of the Rwenzori Mountains.