The features of this fascinating mountainous area in the western Rift Valley include geothermal activity, numerous lakes and jagged, volcanic mountains. Astride the mountains sits Ruwenzori National Park. This 996 sq. km national park protects the upper slopes of the Rwenzori Mountains which run for almost 120 km along the Congolese border west of Kasese and Fort Portal. The Rwenzori Mountains are thought to have been the source of the legend Nile by the Roman geographer Ptolemy cAD 150. Arthur Jephson and Thomas Parke were the first Europeans to see the legendary mountains.
The Rwenzori is the highest mountain range in Africa. Its loftiest peaks, Margherita (5,109m) and Alexandra (5,083m) on Mount Stanley, are exceeded in altitude elsewhere in Africa only by Kilimanjaro and Mount Kenya, both of which are extinct volcanoes standing in isolation above the surrounding plains. The Rwenzori Mountains are unique among the east Africa’s major peaks in that they are not volcanic in origin, but they do rise directly from the rift valley floor and their formation, like that of Mt Kilimanjaro and Mt Kenya, was linked to the geological upheaval that created the Rift. In addition to Mount Stanley, there are four other glacial peaks on the Rwenzori - Mount Speke (4,890m),Mount Emin (4791m), Mount Gessi (4,715 m) and Mount Luigi da Savoia (4,627 m).
Known primarily for its challenging hiking and climbing the Rwenzori Mountain Range also support a diversity of animals, including 70 mammals and 177 bird species, several of the birds being Albertine Rift Endemics. The forest zone is home to a diversity of birds, including Rwenzori Turaco, barred long-tailed cuckoo, long eared owl, handsome francolin, cinnamon-chested bee-eater, Archer’s ground robin, Lagden’s bush shrike, golden-winged sunbird, apalis, illadopsis and many more. These legendary mountains exhibit spectacular scenic beauty and provide a unique habitat for many rare and indigenous plants and animals. The highest mountain in the range, Mt. Stanley, is the third highest in Africa after Mt. Kilimanjaro and Mt. Kenya. The giant lobelia and the groundsell are hallmarks of the Ruwenzori. All of the above make this park an unforgettable visitor destination. Decreasing temperature with increasing altitude have resulted in marked zoning of vegetation, which is of great interest to scientists and a delightful experience for visitors. In fact, more people visit the Ruwenzori to explore and experience the fascinating vegetation than to climb the peaks and glaciers. The usual trip lasts not less than 6 days, just long enough to hike the Central Circuit Trail. Longer and shorter trips can be arranged. No special climbing equipment is necessary unless you intend to climb one of the summits. However, hiking the trails is arduous work, and weather conditions are unpredictable and rainy. The driest months are July, August and December, January and February. Hiking should be undertaken only by the physical fit.
Day 1: Kampala – Kasese
A full scenic days drive from Kampala takes you across the equator and through the Rift valley to your overnight stop at Kasese.
Day 2-4: Trekking Days
Assisted by guides and porters you hike up to one of the seven intermediate stages. There is a great diversity of vegetation, the chance of sporting some wild animals and breath taking views. The route chosen for you will be based on the skill and experience you have. The camp cook will prepare meals and accommodation is in mountain huts or tents.
Day 5:Return to Kampala
Make a slow descent into Kampala via Mbarara passing through small villages with their Ankole Cattle and viewing numerous mattock plantations arriving in Kampala late afternoon.
Note: This package can be extended to 10-12 days depending on how high one would like to climb. If you are serious climbers Baker (15889) and Margarita (16763 ft) peaks are worth visit. There are numerous rugged cliffs. Rock climbing equipment is needed.
Contact us to learn more, for a price quote, or to book this wonderful experience