10 DAYS - RWENZORI MOUNTAIN HIKING
Overview: Mount Rwenzori, famed as the “Mountains of the Moon” for its numerous snow-capped peaks, is beaten in altitude by Kilimamjaro and Kenya. Unlike the latter, the Rwenzoris were formed as a result of faulting of tectonic plates, the same geological processes responsible for the formation of the Great East African Rift Valley. Some of the most outstanding peaks include: Margherita (5109m), Alexandra (5083m), Speke(4890m), Emin(4727m), Gessi(4715m) and Luigi da Savoia(4627m). Many hikers find climbing a worthwhile challenge. The mountains boast of a diversity of mammals and 177 bird species, some of which are endemic to endemic to the Abertine Rift.
Day 1: Entebbe – Kasese
Meet and greet by a representative at Entebbe International Airport. Depending on time of arrival, transfer to Kasese Town. You will pass through Fort Portal Town which has an outstanding backdrop of the fabled ‘Mountains of the Moona’, the Rwenzoris. Dinner and overnight at Hotel Margherita. (HB)
Day 2: Start Hike (5400 ft/1646m) – Nyabitaba Hut (8700ft/2652m)
After early breakfast, drive to the park headquarters at Nyakalengija to ready yourself for this adventurous 5- 6 hour hike! Picnic lunches will be served. Walk past typical homestead and garden, proceed across the Muhoma River and climb through steep equatorial vegetation arriving at Nyabitaba Hut for dinner and overnight.
Day 3: Nyabitaba – John Matte Hut (3350m)
After early breakfast, climb through the Kurt Shafer Bridge that crosses the Mobuku River confluence. This is the long and strenuous 6 – 7 hour walk taking you through bamboo, lobelia, moorland and heath and finally winding up at John Matte Hut.
Day 4: John Matte – Bujuku Hut (3997m)
Cross the Bujuku River to the Bigo boggy grounds which run knees-deep. You will literally skip from tussock to tussock to avoid damaging the bogs further. Walk through panoramic landscapes of giant lobelia, heather and giant groundsels through the Cooking Pot rock shelter for overnight at Bujuku Hut. 4.5 – 5 hours.
Day 5: Bujuku – Elena Hut (4372m)
After breakfast, ascend through a muddy steep stretch characterized by giant lobelias and groundsels typical of higher altitudes. Proceed to Elena Hut, a perfect base to launch you final challenge to the highest peak of Margherita.
Day 6: Elena – Margherita (5109m) – Kitandara Hut(4023m)
Rise early before sunrise and hike up to Margherita, pinnacle of the Rwenzoris. Best location for priceless photos if sunrise finds you there. Later descend to the Kitandara Lakes. Overnight at Kitandara Hut.
Day 7: Kitandara – Yoeman Hut (3261m)
After hearty breakfast, its time to descend to ground-zero! Descend through spectacular views of Congo through the Bujongolo and Kabamba rock shelters, 6 hours hike. Overnight at Guy Yeoman Hut.
Day 8: Yoeman – Nyabitaba Hut (2652m)
Descend further down passing through heath zones, Mobuku river and the Bamboo forest before heading to your final hut in the mountains, about 6 hours. Picnic lunch served. Dinner and overnight at Nyabitaba Hut.
Day 9: Nyabitaba – Nyakalengija (1646m) / Queen Elisabeth National Park
Make the final descend of 2 – 3 hours to Nyakalengija park headquarters (1646m). You have an option of driving to Queen Elisabeth National Park arriving in time for lunch and a well-earned rest. Take an afternoon boat launch cruise on the Kazinga Channel to come upclose with yawning hippos, crocodiles, buffaloes, elephants driving from the water and hundred of bird species. Overnight at Mweya Safari Lodge or Katara lodge (FB)
Day 10: Queen Elisabeth – Entebbe Airport
After a hearty breakfast, go for unforgettable game drive to spot wildlife at the crater lakes and Kasenyi mating grounds– lions, elephants, buffaloes, elusive leopards, warthogs, bushbuck and waterbucks. Have a lunch stop-over at the Equator for a photo opportunity. Later, proceed to Entebbe International Airport to catch your evening flight back home.