Ruwenzori Massif, trek on the Mountains of the Moon
Region: Western and Southern Uganda
Type: High altitude trek and climbing
Duration: 12 days including 7 of trek/ climbing and 3 of game drives including 1 “gorilla tracking”
- 7 days of climbing the Ruwenzori Mountains
- 3 days of game drives including 1 of walking safari, in Queen Elizabeth and Bwindi National Park
Physical level: Difficult
Period: January-February then July-August
Group: from 4 to 8 participants
A sneak preview:
Our expedition starts with the tackling of this formidable fortress, the Ruwenzori massive. Impressive and wild, this authentic mountainous chain divided into 6 massifs has 24 summits of over 4000 meters! Our goal for the good mountaineers is climbing using the mixed alpine technique from Margherita point at 5,109 meters (3rd highest summit in Africa). The botanical and landscape benefits of our climb are extraordinary: from the bamboo zone to the afro-alpine world with giant senecios and lobelia, passing through immense arborescent heather adorned with lichens and moss, all overlooking gleaming peaks and glaciers of the Stanley group… We will complete this unique climb with an exceptional game drive: At Queen Elizabeth National Park that hosts reigning species like the lion, leopard, elephant, then have an encounter with the mountain gorillas, to share a rare and intense moment with our close cousins.
- The presence of a professional French guide residing in Uganda (Certified Mountain Climber) to ensure a successful climb and the trip in general
- A highly diverse afro-alpine landscape and unique flora on vegetation levels whose density is the greatest in the world
- A complete safari comprising the classic fauna and experiencing a rare species: the imposing mountain gorilla
Day by day plan:
Day 1: Entebbe > Kampala> Fort Portal: After exploring the capital with 7 hills, drive (7 hours) to reach the foothills of Ruwenzori Mountains. Night in lodge.
Day 2: Ruwenzori Trek 1: Nyakalengija (1600 m) – Nyabitaba hut (2650 m) (6-hour walk / 1000 m positive gradient/ night in tent or hut): 6-hour walk across coffee plantations then walking along the clear waters of the Mbuku, in the very dense and luxuriant rain forest on this massif of the Mountains of the Moon.
Day 3: Ruwenzori Trek 2: Nyabitaba (2650 m) – John Matte hut (3350 m) (6-hour walk / 800 m positive gradient and 100M negative gradient / night in tent or hut): 6 hours of walking across a fantasy world, peculiar to this massif: moss and lichen-carpeted forest and the bamboo zones, then the arborescent heather layers.
Day 4: Ruwenzori Trek 3: John Matte hut (3350 m) – Bujuku hut (3977 m) (6-hour walk / 750 m positive gradient and 100 m negative gradient / night in tent or hut): Having passed the astonishing high altitude peatland zone and walked along the river with the snowy peaks backdrop, we progress to the foot of the rocky slopes of Mount Stanley and through thickets of giant senecios.
Day 5: Ruwenzori Trek 4: Bujuku (3977 m) – Elena hut (4541 m) (4-hour walk / 600 m positive gradient / night in tent or hut): Crossing the afro-alpine grass with its giant senecios and lobelia, we will go across the rocks to reach the Elena hut, facing opposite to the glaciers of the now close Mount Stanley.
Day 6: Ruwenzori Trek 5: Elena hut (4541 m) – Margherita Peak (5109 m) – Kitandara hut (4023 m). We have 2 options this day, depending on each person’s aspirations: climbing Margherita peak for some, or direct walk towards Kitandara for the rest.
Climbing: This option is only open to persons in excellent physical states and who know the techniques for roped glacial climbing. 7 to 10 hours will be required depending on our pace and weather conditions, quite extreme on this massif subjected to heavy rain. The walk will be difficult; we will cross three glaciers as well as rocky, slippery sections and very exposed areas where you will need to have a sure footing. Descent via the Scott-Elliot col with spectacular views on the Speke and Stanley Mountains and on Lakes Kitandara where we will spend the night, it will be a day of 8 to 10 hours of walking.
Direct walk: Slowly crossing the thickets of giant senecios entangled with huge blocks of rock, we soon see the Butawu Valley to the west, opening towards the real close Congo and overlooking Savoia and Edward glaciers. To the right are the peaks of Stella and Weismann of Mount Luigi di Savoia that we will explore en route to the Freshfield pass (4280 m); a last glimpse of Mount Stanley and we will embark on the amazing Kitandare twin Lakes. 7-hour walk / 350 m positive gradient and 800 m negative gradient / night in tent or hut)
Day 7: Ruwenzori Trek 6: Kitandara hut (4023 m) – Guy Yeoman hut (3260 m) (6-hour walk / 800 m negative gradient / night in tent or hut): We go in the direction of Mbuku Valley, a visit to the Bujongolo cave as we pass through, (3798 m) whose prestigious past is engraved since the historical expedition of the Duke of Abruzzi (1906), a detour through the Kabamba waterfalls and we arrive at Guy Yeoman hut.
Day 8: Ruwenzori Trek 7: Guy Yeoman hut (3260 m) – Nyakalengija (1600 m) > Queen Elizabeth National Park (8-hour walk / 1600 m negative gradient and 2-hour drive): Stage is quite long and technical with sloping and rocky ground, then gets easy in the bamboo and dense vegetation of the misty forest, we arrive at Nyabitata hut (2650 m). From here, we walk freewheel up to Nyakalengija, from where we board a vehicle to Queen Elizabeth National Park; night of rejuvination at a bush lodge or similar.
Day 9: Queen Elizabeth National Park: Morning game drive in search of lions, leopards, hyenas, elephants and other animals. Here, there are over 600 species of birds and 95 species of mammals, including the endemic ones (Ugandan kob: population estimated at 17,000!) Boat ride on the Kazinga Channel in the afternoon, where buffaloes and elephants come to drink up. It will also be an opportunity to view, from our boats, hippos, crocodiles, plenty of herions, cormorants, fish eagles…
Day 10: Queen Elizabeth > Bwindi National Park: After viewing a panoramic sunrise on Lakes Albert and George, we leave the Mweya peninsula for the Ishasha Plains, famous for lions napping on the acacias and fig trees! Game drive then picnic en route to Bwindi. Night in lodge.
Day 11: Bwindi Impenetrable Forest: After a “security briefing” delivered by our rangers, we will penetrate the dense and humid Bwindi jungle, to find one of the “human-familiarised” mountain gorilla groups. Silent observation of our peaceful, vegetarian cousins; their families of 8 to 20 individuals comprise of a silver back dominant male weighing upto 250 kgs for 1.70 m height. And if time allows, we will do a visit of the neighbouring Batwa community (pygmies living in Uganda and Rwanda). Dinner and night in lodge.
Day 12: Bwindi Forest > Entebbe: Early breakfast then departure for Entebbe (9 hours on the road, with a stop at the equator and lunch on the way). Diner and transfer to the airport. Flight, night and services in-flight.
Option: flight from Bwindi to Entebbe (300 USD), then transfer for your international evening flight.Back to the tours list