These massifs offer great attractions to climbers, walkers and naturalists. There are several endemic species of birds including the brilliant Rwenzori turaco, also monkeys, red forest duiker, hyrax and leopard. Some elephant and buffalo live in the lower valleys.
Though the flora is similar to other East African mountain ranges it is exceptionally luxuriant mainly as a result of the high rainfall in the area; however, from mid-December to the end of February and from mid-June to mid-August there is little rain and good climbing weather.
On this trip we complete the Mubuku – Bujuku circuit with time to explore or to climb two of the main summits, Margherita and Speke.
The main summits require the use of an ice axe and crampons on Margherita and possibly on Speke. On each mountain there are short steps involving climbing.
Vegetation zones of Rwenzori
There are 5 different Vegetation Zones found in the Rwenzori Mountains . These are grassland (1000-2000m),
montane forest (2000-3000m),
bamboo/mimulopsis zone (2500-3500m),
Heather/Rapanea zone (3000-4000m) and
the afro-alpine moorland zone (4000-4500m).
The vegetation in the Rwenzori Mountains is unique to equatorial alpine Africa .
Arrival at Entebbe International Airport
You will be welcomed by a representative of Eden Adventures at Entebbe Airport. From here you will be transferred to Kampala for an overnight stay.
Equator and Base Camp
After an early breakfast start the journey heading for the foothills of the Mountains of the Moon via Mbarara and with a stop over at the equator. Have a lunch break in Mbarara and thereafter proceed to Kasese the town at the bottom of the mountains of the moon. Dinner and overnight at a pre arranged accomodation.
Nyakalengija – Nyabitaba Camp 2651m takes around 6-7 hours
You wake up in the cool air in the foothills of the mountains and after an early breakfast transfer to Nyakalengija (1615m) above sea level where the game begins. Hikers arrive in the morning to allow ample time to rent equipment and meet your guides and porters.
The trail takes you through a thick tropical forest and climb up a steep ridge with fields of ferns. it follows the Mubuku River , crossing its Mahoma tributary before reaching Nyabitaba camp ( 2651m) above sea level .
The hike takes around 6 -7 hours. During this part of the trip you may hear chimpanzee and see black and white colobus, blue monkey and the brilliantly coloured Rwenzori turaco. Duikers and mountain Elephents can be seen by chance. Overnight stay at a pre arranged accomodation.
Mubuku River John Matte Hut (3380m) takes around 6-7 hours
From Nyabitaba we follow the trail that drops down through the forest to the Kurt Shafer Bridge , just below the confluence of the Mubuku and Bujuku rivers. Passing through the bamboo forest, traverse through a long stretch of moss-covered rock.
From the Nyamileju rock shelter, Mount Stanley and Mount Speke can be seen before passing into the zone of the giant heather, lobelia and groundsel.After a beautiful streach you arrive for Dinner and Overnight at a pre arranged accomodation.
John Matte (3380m) to Bujuku (3962m) takes around 5-7 hours
From John Matte Hut the trail drops down to cross the Bujuku River and enters Lower Bigo Bog, the home of giant lobelias. Jumping from tussock to tussock, the bog is finally crossed.
The Upper Bigo bog gives way to Bujuku Lake, with views of Mt Baker to the South and Mt Stanley to the West. Dinner and overnight at a pre arranged accomodation..
Bujuku (3977m) to Elena Hut (4541m). takes around 5-6 hours
Leaving 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 Lake, the trail on the left leads those who are not climbing Margherita Peak to Kitandara Hut.
Those climbing the peak will have their Dinner and Overnight at a pre arranged accomodation.
Elena Hut (4541m) to Margherita peak– Kitandara hut (4027m) takes around 5-7 hours
For those aiming at reaching Margherita peak (5109m), we 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 us climbing this mountain.
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 somehow experience climbers. Climbing on to the glaciers, cross the Stanley Plateau and proceed with the ascent. Acclimatized to fog, altitude sickness and cool weather, scramble up to the summit of Margherita, the highest peak of the Rwenzoris.
Given the high altitude and the tough conditions even if you do not reach the peak, don’t get disappointed. Prepare for you return through the 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 .Dinner and overnight at a pre arranged accomodation.
Kitandara (4027m) – Freshfi eld Pass (4282m) – Guy Yeoman (3450m) takes around 6-7 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. 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 the rock shelter at Bujongolo. Over night at a pre arranged accomodation.
Guy Yeoman (3450m) – Nyabitaba (2651m)
The descent to Nyabitaba takes around 6 -7 hours but with an early start it is possible to make it all the way down to Nyakalengija. Below Guy Yeoman, the route descends the cliffs of Kichuchu. Beyond Kichuchu the muddy path crosses the Mubuku River twice before climbing upwards to Nyabitaba to complete the circuit.
Nyabitaba (2651m) – Nyakalengija (1615m)
The descent from Nyabitaba to Nyakalengija takes 3 – 4 hours and thereafter transfer to Hotel Margherita for relaxation, Dinner and over night stay.
Start the journey to Kampala via Fortportal.
overnight and dinner in Kampala
Depending on the time for the return flight can visit the African village for crafts and thereafter transfer to Entebbe for the flight back home.
Mountain Checklist (some witch are for hire at location)
1 day bag (for Small bag but enough to carry your packed lunch Rain gear drinking water and a camera)
1 sleeping bag
A pair of mountain boots 1 jogging suit
Pairs of woolen socks
Pairs of trekking trousers, cotton shirts warm
Woolen cap, gloves
A torch, headlamp including. Batteries
1 trekking bag
1 pair of jogging shoes
1 sun hat
4 Pairs of socks recomended
Leggingsup to the knee (Gaiters)
Rain proof and warm gear
Rubber boot (recommended not requiered, available for hire)
1 elastic bandage,
Water purification tablets
Vitamin C tablets
For summit climbers (available for hire)
1 ice axe
1 pair of crampons
1 climbing rope
The price includes; Ground transportation, park entrance fees, Hiking fees, Food/ meals, a cook, a porter a guide, accommodation
But it does not include the Hiking gear. Hiking gear available for hire at the Rwenzori Mountaineering Services.(such as sleeping bags and special equipment required for crossing the for the glaciers)