Rwenzori Trekking Expeditions – Rwenzori Kilembe Trail
Rwenzori trekking. Rwenzori mountains is a home to six of Africa’s 10 tallest peaks and the least climbed owing to its challenges. The park is not only home to Margherita peak but it is also the play ground for six of the 10 tallest mountains a fact that is less known.
Rwenzori Mountains is a mountain range of eastern equatorial Africa located on the border between Uganda and the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). These mountains support glaciers and are one source of the Nile River which is second longest in the world which also attracts a big number of both international & local travelers to Uganda as it’s known that its source is found in Uganda.
The Rwenzori Mountains reach heights up to 5,109 meters (16,762 ft). The highest Rwenzori peaks are permanently snow-capped. The Rwenzori Mountains are found in two national parks one in Uganda called Rwenzori Mountains National Park and Virunga National Park in DR Congo.
Rwenzori Trekking can be done starting from Uganda side or DR Congo side however to enjoy the scenic view of the vegetation cover and other plants found on the mountains, it’s advisable to use the Uganda side that also has two routes for trekking (Kilembe Trail and Rwenzori Central Circuit)
Flora of Rwenzori Mountains
The Rwenzori Mountains are known for their vegetation, ranging from tropical rainforest through alpine meadows to snow. The range supports its own species and varieties of giant groundsel and giant lobelia and even has 6 metres (20 ft) tall heather covered in moss that lives on one of its peaks.
There are five overlapping vegetation zones in the Rwenzori Mountains: the evergreen forest zone (up to 2,800 metres (9,200 ft)); the bamboo zone (2,800 to 3,300 metres (9,200 to 10,800 ft)); the heather zone (3,000 to 3,800 metres (9,800 to 12,500 ft)); the alpine zone (3,500 to 4,500 metres (11,500 to 14,800 ft)); and, the nival zone (4,400 to 5,000 metres (14,400 to 16,400 ft)). At higher altitudes, some plants reach an unusually large size, such as lobelia and groundsels. The vegetation in the Rwenzori Mountains is unique to equatorial alpine Africa.
Rwenzori Trekking Trips
Are you planning to trek Rwenzori Mountains in mountains of the moons in Uganda? Rwenzori Mountaineering service has tailored 9 Days Rwenzori Trekking expeditions with optional visit to Margherita peak (Snow Capped peak) in Rwenzori Mountains national park! Rwenzori Mountaineering service a destination management company that is known for tailoring Rwenzori treks & other addition safari extensions like Gorilla trekking & Rwenzori has designed the best offers different trips to trek Rwenzori with experienced guides and porters.
These Rwenzori trips can be private or group tours for University students, Colleges and secondary schools, please take a key note that children below the age of 15 years are not allowed to enter the park for hiking experience but they can go for nature walk which can be shorter than the Rwenzori hike to peaks.
Sample 9 Days Rwenzori Trekking Trip.
Rwenzori Mountaineering Service has tailored this 9 Days Rwenzori Trekking tour that starts from Kampala Uganda and ends in Entebbe with option extensions to go gorilla trekking & Chimpanzee watching in Kibale Forest National Park and once these extensions are considered, you can see the 12 Days Rwenzori Mountains & Gorilla Trekking Experience.
Day 1. Transfer from Kampala or Entebbe to Kasese.
The Experienced Tour guide of Rwenzori Mountaineering Service will pick you in the morning from either your hotel in Entebbe or from the airport and drive to Kasese which is the nearest town to Rwenzori Mountains National Park. The drive Journey will take you approximately 8 hours with lunch stopover in fort portal and then proceed with your journey to kilembe. You will check in at Sandton Hotel, have dinner and Overnight.
Day 2. Transfer the starting point of Sine Camp
After morning briefying about the Rwenzori trekking rules and regulations, you will Start at Trekkers at 1,450 meters and sleep at Sine Hut at 2,596 meters being a height gain of 1,146 meters, or those who are fit and want to proceed to Kalalama Camp at 3,134 metres may do so and apart from the fantastic views gives you more time at Mutinda Camp where you may climb up to Mutinda Lookout at 3,975 metres.
We start by walking up the valley floor through tall forest trees of the Afro Montane Forest Zone. This is a steady climb with multitudes of birds and a chance of seeing blue monkeys scampering off through the forest. At times visitors may see troupes of 15 to 20 black and white Colobus monkeys as they swing through the tree tops. There are rare sightings of the L’Hoest monkey which are part of the Bukonzo cultural emblems and are protected by the virtue of the King or Omusinga or you may hear wild chimpanzee in the distance. There is wide variety of plant species from forest trees to bamboos thickets, low shrubs, flowers, fungi, and with many moss and lichen covered vines hanging from the tall trees creating an awesome appeal. Enock’s Falls are just 200 meters from Sine Hut and offer a splendid opportunity to capture a great screensaver for your memories.
At Sine Camp 2,596 metres we have wooden huts set between tall forest trees on a narrow ridge where you may sit and enjoy the beauty of the Afro Montane forest while you look down at a fantastic waterfall crashing over the rocks far below. Some clients prefer to sit outside enjoying the warmth of the campfire and chat to the guides about the mountains and life in their community. Sine is just below the bamboo zone and the area around has many different bird species. 150 meters from the camp is Enock falls which is set in livid green vegetation and hanging vine. Truly beautiful. Sleep at Sine, or those who are fit and want to proceed to Kalalama Camp at 3,134 metres may do so and apart from the fantastic views gives you more time at Mutinda Camp where you may climb up to Mutinda Lookout at 3,975 metres.
Day 3. Climb to Mutinda Camp
Trekking starts at 8.30 am and almost immediately you enter the Bamboo-Mimulopsis Zone which is steep climb with many high steps. In the wet season the bamboo zone is rather muddy and slippery making the going slow. However the atmosphere and the forest is beautiful as you climb 551 metres altitude and a distance of 1.8km to Kalalama Camp at 3,147 meters which is in the Heather-Rapanea Zone where you can take a rest and a quick cup of tea or coffee before heading on to Mutinda Camp. The trail meanders up and over several small knolls along aridge top then drops down the side of the valley before climbing again, and in doing so cross several small streams and pass close to moss covered waterfalls.
You then climb steadily along the side of a beautiful mossy river which tumbles down over the rocks under the Giant Heather trees whose trunks are covered in green moss with old man beards (Usnea lichen) hanging from the branches. The trail twists and turns as you climb up the deep valley, which has an enormous variety of plants and flowers. This valley is unique with many Giant Heather trees creating a beautiful atmosphere often shrouded in mist.
In the afternoon you may wish to climb up to the top of the Mutinda Lookout (one to two hours up and one hour down) the views are amazing as you stand on moss covered rocks at 3,925 meters with views across the Rwenzori Mountains and down to Kasese town and Lake George. For those clients who are climbing to Margherita or any of the main peaks climbing Mutinda 3,975 meters is also an excellent way to acclimatize and reduce the risk of high altitude sickness.
Day 4. Trek to Bugata Camp
The trail to Bugata Camp is boggy particularly in the wet season but with a little skill you can step from tussock to tussock to make the going easier. First you cross the Mutinda valley through the tussock grass and everlasting flowers interspersed with many Giant Lobelias before climbing a steep section up to the Namusangi Valley (3,840 meters), with sheer waterfalls and looking back you get fantastic views of Mutinda Peaks. The Namusangi Valley is wide, with many ups and downs as the trail climbs steadily to Bugata Camp at 4,100 metres.
Day 5 Hike to Hunwik’s Camp
Trek to Hunwick’s Camp via Bamwanjarra Pass. As you leave Bugata Camp you pass up a ridge then drop down slightly before ascending to Bamwanjarra Pass at 4,450 meters where we have a hut should the weather turn bad. From the pass on a clear day you get excellent views of the three main peaks. The trail passes down the valley and around the edge of some bogs and thick ever green vegetation, moss. giant groundsel and lobelia.
Here is possibly the best place in all the Rwenzori to observe the Malachite Sunbird as it feeds on the many lobelia flowers and a known breeding site. Farther on there is some steep sections before a steady climb up and over a ridge to Hunwick’s Camp which is situated on the top of a deep valley and has good views of Mt Stanley, Mt Baker, Weismanns Peak and McConnell’s Prong.
Day 6: From Hunwick’s Camp to Margherita Camp (4,485 m.)
This is the most important walk of this hike to the Margherita camp which will be followed with making it to the summit the following day.This a walk along the ridge before crossing several wet areas and small rivers coming from Mt Baker and Fresh fields Pass.
The walk up Scott Elliott Pass is enjoyable as you climb through the pass and up the ridge of Mt Stanley to Margherita Camp at 4,485 meters which is below Elena Hut of the Rwenzori mountaineering services.
It is sheltered with a ring of high rocks and it is the original camp used by the Italian Prince Luigi Amadeo di Savoia, Duke of the Abruzzi. From here you have great views of Mt Baker, Scott Elliot Pass and some of the high glaciers on Mt Stanley.
The day’s hike to this camp is 4.2 kilometers. So you will reach here late in the evening and relax a little bit. Then you will prepare and go through what will transpire the following summiting day. So this exercising will entail preparing the ropes, the hiking shoes, ice breaking axes as well as crampons. So you will pass through how to use these equipment and attires. Then you will retire to your cabins for a night.
Day 7. Transfer to Kiharo Camp
From Hunwick’s Camp you will start the day by climbing up a ridge towards McConnell’s Prong where you get the best views of all three peaks and Scott Elliott’s Pass before reaching Oliver’s Pass at 4,505 metres. The distance from Hunwick’s Camp to the top of Olivers Pass is 3km The trail then cuts across below Weismann’s Peak to the confluence of the Nyamwamba River which flows down thought Kilembe and Kasese to Lake George in Queen Elisabeth National Park.
After crossing the confluence the trail meanders down the valley to Kiharo Camp at which is situated in a deep valley with high cliffs and dense vegetation. On the way down the valley after each bog you will climb over a ridge of stones and earth which seems out of place but actually was pushed there by slow moving glaciers which eventually stopped moving, melted and left a pile of rocks and debris in front of where the glacier once stood.
Day 8. Descend Upto the Base
Distance Kiharo Camp to the park gate 12.2km and another 2.8km down to Trekkers Hostel Time to walk 5 to 8 hours so those who need to connect to flights back to Kampala or travel on to other activities need to leave Kiharo early. The trail down the Nyamwamba Valley is mostly downhill and absolutely stunning with beautiful views, moss covered rocks along the river, cascading waterfalls, deep valleys and forests are possibly the best in the Rwenzori Mountains. This part of the trail took us six years to find a way through and a route which is easy enough for tourists to use. In 1937 the explorer and geologist McConnell tried to find a way up this valley but failed and have to turn back and search for another route up the mountain but now you can experience this truly beautiful valley.
A few kilometers from Kiharo Camp the path turns off to the right to pass along the river. In the clear areas you may catch a glimpse of a Duiker quietly feeding in small clearings as you pass along the river. If you wish you may prefer to walk down the river itself hopping across the rocks as you pass down. A few kilometres down the river it becomes very steep with multitudes of waterfalls so we have to move away from the river and follow a narrow ridge to bypass steep sections. At the bottom we again meet the river where there is a huge rock shelter and a place to rest for a while.
You will find the tour guide waiting to pick you from the base and transfers you to the hotel for Dinner and overnight at Sandton Hotel
Day 9. Transfer back from Kasese to Kampala
After morning breakfast, you will start the drive back to Kampala for the flight back home.
Other Optional Trek to Rwenzori Mountains
Once you have done the 9 days Rwenzori trekking using Kilembe trail, I can advise you to re trek Rwenzori Mountains using the Rwenzori Central Circuit that is managered by the local community with shorter time for hiking to the peak, it’s advisable to re consider this route as it takes only 7 days Trek to Rwenzori Mountains.
You too can start book your Rwenzori trek today by contacting Primate Safaris, one of the leading Rwenzori trekking company in the region.
Price Per Pax 1 Pax (US $2325) 2 Pax(US $1910) 3 Pax(US $1838) 4 Pax(US $1780)
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