Can i climb Rwenzori mountains -uganda
Climbing the Rwenzori Mountains is one of the most amazing and challenging mountain ranges in the world. The Rwenzori Mountains are occupied by over 996 square kilometers of fantastical vegetation zones; cliffs, lakes, high glaciers, rocky outcrops, and snow-capped peaks still exist, which makes it a unique and mystical world where travelers can escape.
The Rwenzori Mountains may not be the tallest mountains in the world, but the highest point of Mount Stanley’s Margherita Peak stands at 5,109 meters above sea level, which makes it Africa’s 4th highest peak. The Rwenzori Mountains are remotely located with fluctuating weather conditions, startlingly diverse vegetation, wonderful viewpoints, and low visitor numbers, combining thrilling adventure trekking if you are looking for a special experience.
The Rwenzori Mountains were designated a national park in early 1991 and recognized as a World Heritage Site in 1994. These classifications attest to the Rwenzori mountains’ international scientific importance. The word "Rwenzori" means "rainmaker," which illustrates the importance of the Rwenzori mountains in Central Africa.
The atmosphere in the Rwenzori Mountains is wet; the mountains receive more than 3 meters of rainfall a year. This makes the lower slopes of the Rwenzori Mountains lush with vegetation layers and the higher summits covered in snow and ice layers. Although the Rwenzori mountains’ peaks are also covered with glaciers that have retreated endlessly over the past hundred years due to climatic change, hikers in the rainy months have to navigate within the ice walls and significant snowfall in order to access the peaks.
The Rwenzori mountains are explored on foot, so travelers must have above-average physical fitness and be used to the endurance of the trekking activities. The Margherita Peak has been recently reclassified as the most technical hike, and although travelers may not need to be experts in hiking in winter conditions, some experience is recommended for hiking the Rwenzori Mountains.
The Rwenzori Mountains offer a good variety of treks that range from one to twelve days and are available to suit different travelers’ interests, from "peak baggers" to bird watchers who want to trace the region’s endemic bird species.
The Rwenzori mountains hiking routes can be extended where it is necessary for any private groups that want to give climbers more chances of acclimatizing to the high altitude or simply relaxing, having peace and seclusion, and enjoying the beauty of the Rwenzori mountains.
Rwenzori Mountains trekking routes?
The Rwenzori Mountains offer two trekking circuits that give access to the Rwenzori Mountains’ peaks: the Rwenzori Central Circuit, which leads hikers out of Nyakalengija, and the Southern Circuit, which leads hikers out of Kilembe. The Southern Circuit was the first route that was followed (largely) by Professor Scott Elliott in 1895, and the Central Circuit route was pioneered by Luigi di Savoia and for many years provided only access to the peak of the Rwenzori mountains.
Which Trek is Right?
Besides other famous trekking destinations in Africa, the Rwenzori Mountains are a mountain range that offers a number of different hiking routes to choose from.
One of the benefits that visitors get from trekking in the Rwenzori Mountains is that the hiking routes are typically longer compared to many other high-altitude treks like Mount Kilimanjaro; this means travelers have longer to acclimatize and the risk of high-altitude sickness is low. Rwenzori Mountains treks range from 2 days to 12 days.
All the guides at the Rwenzori Mountains get comprehensive general mountaineering and specific ice climbing training. The guides are taught mountain first aid as well as being able to spot and respond quickly to the first signs of high-altitude sickness. The equipment used is well maintained and often checked.
$5 from each climb goes to the local development projects that have contributed over the past years to the construction of the local community trails outside the Rwenzori Mountains national park. This spreads the potential benefit from tourism and the construction of school classrooms in different locations.
Accommodation facilities within the Rwenzori Mountains
The Rwenzori Mountains and Kilembe Southern Circuit can be accessed from Kasese town. The best place to start and end the trek is the Rwenzori Trekkers Hostel, which is located in Kyanjuki Village, just 12 kilometers from Kasese. Rwenzori Trekkers is a well-renovated former copper mine building. The Rwenzori Trekkers hostel is overlooking the deep Nyamwamba river valley and offers amazing views of the Rwenzori Mountains. The Rwenzori Trekkers Hostel is located at 1,450 meters, and it has a lovely climate, whether in January or February.
Another famous option before trekking the Rwenzori mountains is to stay at the Sandton Hotel in Kasese, and then you are transferred to Kilembe the following morning (departing from Kasese at 7:30 am and arriving at around 8:00 am). Upon arrival, hikers are briefed alongside their guides before starting the trek to Sine Camp.
Accommodation on the treks is specially constructed with wooden huts, perfect for keeping out the worst weather and storing equipment required in different sections of the hiking trail. The treks are fully catered for, with the use of as much fresh produce as possible, as well as meeting the energy and hydration needs of high-altitude trekking.
Hiking in the Rwenzori Mountains can be done throughout the year. At all times of the year, climbers should be ready for a combination of sun, mud, ice, rain, fog, and snow. However, the best period for hiking starts from late June to September and late December to February, which tend to have lower rainfall amounts, which means that visitor numbers are high during this time.
The Rwenzori mountains make the region receive water everywhere in terms of being cloud-bound, heavy in the mist that fills the mountain streams, and making mirror-like lakes. Temperatures below 4,000 meters, which rarely exceed 15 degrees Celsius, stay above freezing point. This means that life is surviving and the plants are thriving. The lobelia is massive; heather stretches across all the valleys, while garishly colored moss creeps across gnarled trees that are draped with lichen.
Trekking Rwenzori Mountains takes climbers through different altitudinal vegetation zones, each with its own microclimate, flora, and fauna. The Rwenzori Mountains have 5 major vegetation belts, as mentioned below.
1. Afro-montane vegetation zone ranging from 1765m - 2600m
2. Bamboo zone ranges from 2600m - 3000m
3. Heather zone ranges from 3000m - 3800m
4. Moorland (Afro-Alpine zone) ranges from 3800m - 4500m
5. Rocky glacier ranges from 4500m+
Flora within the Rwenzori Mountains
The Afro-montane forest occupies slopes ranging from 1,800 m to 2,500 m and has a variety. The Afro-montane has a large, established tree canopy with dense thickets in the breaks. That ranges from 2,500 to 3,000 meters of dense forest, giving a way for bamboo stands, leaves covering the ground in the dense litter, and the beautiful flowers emerging only after 30 years. Aside from that, at 4,000 meters, hikers enter the heather zone, where the ground is covered in coral pink orchids. Bog-wet valley bottoms are highly populated with large tussocks.
Fauna in the Rwenzori Mountains
The Rwenzori Mountains vegetation zones protect over 70 mammal species and over 177 bird species. Rwenzori Mountains mammal species include elephants, chimpanzees, Rwenzori otters, and leopards, among others. Despite their presence, they are rarely seen due to the dense Afro-montane forest. Primate species include the colobus (both Angola and black-and-white varieties), blue monkeys, small antelopes such as bushbucks, and unusual reptiles such as the rare three-horned chameleon.
Rwenzori Mountains bird species present include several Albertine Rift endemic bird species, which makes the Rwenzori Mountains another important birding hub. The most diverse bird species found in the Rwenzori mountains' montane forest include the Rwenzori Turaco, long-eared owl, Barred Long-tailed Cuckoo, Cinnamon-chested Bee-eater, Handsome Francolin, Archers' Robin-chat, White-starred Robin, Montane Sooty Boubou, Rwenzori Batis, Laden's Bush Shrike, Golden-winged Sunbird, S
The nearest point to the Rwenzori Mountains is Kasese town.
Kasese can easily be accessed by air from Entebbe International Airport, with daily flights taking travelers over an hour. Alternatively, there is the road journey from Entebbe to Kampala via Fort Portal, which takes 6–8 hours.
Travelers can also access Kasese by flight from Entebbe International Airport. The flights depart from Entebbe at 7 am and 12:30 pm every day, which lines up well with all the hiking departures. The return flight departs from Kasese at 10:45 am and 2:45 pm every day. This domestic flight time is about 1 hour.
It's also possible to access the mountains by public transport like by using a bus from Kampala. The bus departs from Kampala city Centre every hour and costs about 50,000 UGX ($14-$15). We strongly recommend Link Bus or Kalita bus Transporters. From Kasese, travelers can hire a taxi to Kilembe.
Trekking in the Rwenzoris starts at Trekkers Hostel Kilembe which is also commonly known as Rwenzori Backpackers Hostel Kyanjuki). The treks start with an 8:00 am morning briefing from the climbing guides. The Rwenzori Trekkers hostel is located 12km from Kasese town which may take (30-40 minutes by road).
If a traveler is coming up from Queen Elizabeth National park it can take approximately an hour. Bwindi impenetrable forest national park the home of mountain gorillas the journey takes about a six-hours.