7 Days Rwenzori Mountaineering – Trekking margherita
Trekking Rwenzori Mountains is the top mountaineering experience that is available for trekking tours to Uganda. Car Rental Congo has tailored the best 7 Days Climbing Rwenzoris via Kilembe Trail located in Kasese town which is the alternative for the 9 Days Rwenzori Central Circuit. Mountaineering is a lifetime experience that is tailored by Reliable Safari Companies which are known for Africa Safaris that Encompass a visit to Uganda, Rwanda on Self drive, or Guided tour.
7 days mountain hiking to Margherita peak of mountain Rwenzori, you will have known how tougher it is to climb mount Rwenzori than Kilimanjaro or Mt Kenya, therefore, you should be fit. Ethically this trip takes 8 days to make it to the peak for most people of average fitness and climbing ability however there are people who can do this trek in seven days, hence the seven-day Rwenzori trek. But importantly for larger groups, we do not recommend seven days as in many cases there will be one person who cannot keep the pace.
This 7 days Uganda Safari trek starts from the Trekkers Hostel in Kyanjuki, Kilembe which is situated 1,450 meters above sea level and just 12 kilometers from Kasese town. It is best to start the trek by 9 am but you can leave as late as 11 am. You walk 2.2km to the UWA rangers post at 1,727 meters, which takes about one hour.
Day 1: Trek to Kalalama Camp 3147 Meters
This is the starting day of the trip, you will start the trek passing through various Vegetation covers and watching the forests zones and forest trees and 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 treetops.
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 a wide variety of plant species from forest trees to bamboo thickets as you enter the Bamboo 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 but not so bad if you are fit. However, the atmosphere and the forest are fantastic as you climb to Kalalama Camp at 3,147 meters which is in the Heather Zone with many tall Heather trees and a good chance to see the ‘Rwenzori Turaco which is bright crimson wings.
Day 2: Trek to Bugata Camp Via Mutinda Camp, 4100 Meters
After an early breakfast, you set off for the trek to Bugatat Camp via mutinda camp. The trail meanders up and over several small knolls along a ridge top then drops down the side of the valley before climbing again and in doing so crosses several small streams and passes 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’s beards 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. The trail here is boggy particularly in the wet season but with a little skill, you can step from tussock to tussock to make the going easier. We have put several boardwalks across the worst of the bogs and continuing to build more to make it a little bit easier.
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), which ends abruptly with sheer waterfalls and fantastic views of Mutinda Peaks. The Namusangi Valley is wide with many ups and downs and crossing several bogs as the trail climbs steadily to Bugata Camp at 4,062 meters.
Bugata Camp is situated way up Bamwanjara Pass high above Bugata Lake with views across Lake Kopello to Weismann’s Peak, which is often covered with snow then down the valley views of Lake Africa and Lake Tanganyika and the many small peaks towards Mutinda Camp. The area is covered with tussock grass, everlasting flowers, and Giant lobelia.
Bugata Camp will be the spot for the night which has good facilities, solar lights, good toilets, and bathrooms where the guides may prepare some warm water in a basin for you to wash.
Day 3; Trek to Hunwick’s Camp: 4450 Meters
Since the Mission is to get to the top of this magnificent Mount Rwenzori. You will leave Bugata Camp and 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 evergreen 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 are 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, and Weismann’s Peak.
Day 4: Climb to Scott Elliots
From Hunwick’s we pass down and across the valley floor to Lake Kitandara which is very stunning with deep water and beautiful vegetation. From here you climb up Scott Elliott’s pass then up the ridge to Margherita Camp 4,485 meters which is situated between some huge rocks and offering some shelter from the strong winds. This is the very spot where the Duke of Abruzzi camped when making his climb to Margherita Peak in 1906.
Day 5: Climb to Margherita peak
Wake up at 2 am and catch an early breakfast before heading off to climb Mt Stanley at 2.30 am. This is necessary as the weather has changed a lot and often even during the dryer season the mountain is closed in with heavy clouds and snow falls from 1 pm to 4 pm and this happens within a short period of 10 to 15 minutes as the clouds rise up from the extensive Congo rainforests. This is a very hectic day and the highlight of this whole trek.
So you will have to implore the use of your hiking boots, fit on your crampons from time to time, make good use of your ice axe plus your headlamp and glasses when it shines such that the glittering glacier does not affect your eyes. So you will climb up to the peak of this mountain. So this climb takes the advice on where the guides suggest passing. After ascending the peak at 5,109 meters you then pass directly down to Hunwick’s Camp at 3.874 meters
Day 6: Descend to Kiharo Camp
From Hunwick’s Camp, we 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 meters. 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 7: Descend to the Base
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 kilometers 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 are a huge rock shelter and a place to rest for a while. After crossing a small stream you climb up a gentle slope before turning back down to the river to avoid another set of waterfalls which are impassable. The forest along this section is magnificent and full of life with many birds, primates, dikers, and hyrax. A great experience and ending to a fantastic trek.