Discover Uganda’s Magnificent Mountains of the Moon (Ruwenzori Mountains)
When most people think of a Ugandan safari, they only consider Gorillas, Chimpanzees and the big five. However a holiday in Uganda can be so much more than just that. The country has such a rich and varied landscape, holds some of the most colossal landmarks on the continent including Lake Victoria Africa’s largest lake, Lake Albert and lake George, River Nile the longest in Africa and of course the magnificent Mountain Ruwenzori also known as the Mountains of the Moon, the highest mountain range in Africa. Ruwenzori Mountain is non volcanic unlike other major mountains in East Africa. It is a block of rock up faulted through the floor of the Western Rift Valley which is accessible for almost anyone to climb and it can easily be incorporated into your Uganda safari. Although it is not as technically challenging as many of the bigger mountains, you will need plenty of enthusiasm. The Ruwenzori’s are a world-class Hiking and Mountaineering destination; a nine- to twelve-day trek will get skilled climbers to the summit of Margherita – the highest peak – though shorter, non exhaustive treks are possible to scale the surrounding peaks.
The Kilembe Trail
The Kilembe Trail was opened in June 2009 and is one of the best trails in Africa, linking Kilembe to the various peaks in the Ruwenzori Mountains. The trek is a challenge to be enjoyed by nature lovers; mountaineers will enjoy fantastic views, stunning valleys and a wide variety of plants and trees unlike Kilimanjaro and Mt Kenya which are stand alone mountains with relatively short and direct in climb. Ruwenzori Mountain is the highest mountain range in Africa, and as such there are many ups and downs in climbing to the peaks.
Trekking in the mystic Ruwenzori Mountains National Park in Uganda is a truly fantastic and unique experience, the wonder of the high glaciers, the beauty of the valley of nine lakes, the bearded lichen hanging from giant heathers with a backdrop of rocky cliffs, crags and snow capped peaks. The wide variety of flora and fauna with several biospheres as you ascend through different vegetation zones creates the ultimate experience for trekking. This unique and beautiful Kilembe trail is available, totally untouched and undoubtedly one of the most beautiful treks in the world.
Ruwenzori mountains offers a variety of trekking and climbing options from one to twelve days to suit your style of adventure and your schedule. The Ruwenzori range is a true mountain range with many climbs and descents making it a tough climb however the scenery and beautiful vegetation are incredible. The high rainfall of more than two and a half millimeters per year, moss covered rocks, the dense vegetation, tall peaks and cliffs towering above to the moss covered valleys and meandering streams create a ‘Alice in Wonderland atmosphere’ which changes through several biospheres as you climb making the “Rwenzori Mountains” a truly unique experience.
Ten days to Margherita Peak at 5, 109 metres takes you to Mt Stanley in the Ruwenzori Mountains, however the real beauty is in the climb up the Kilembe route, the forests and valleys, the flora is diverse from giant heather trees and valleys of ferns. Climbing Margherita Peak is now technical due to the ever increasing number of crevasses. However scaling the actual peak is more of a hard scramble than a climb and when it snows it is difficult however the rewards and exhilaration of reaching the top is enormous as you look across Albert Peak to the DRC (Congo) then East across the spectra of the Ruwenzori Mountains.
Nine days trek to the highest point of the Stanley glacier (Plateau) takes you to the highest apex just below Alexandra Peak to get excellent view of Magherita Peak looking across Magherita glacier. A fantastic view point which anyone with good fitness can achieve safely and experience all the wonders of this magnificent mountain range. This climb is higher but easier than the Mt Baker climb.
Eight days Trek Mt Baker at 4842 Meters is a fantastic climb mainly of hard rock and basically non-technical however you will use ropes and harnesses for safety reasons. On a clear day you can see breathtaking views of Margherita and Alexandra Peaks and panoramic views of the Rwenzori range. This trek to the top of Mt Baker is relatively easy for anyone with reasonable fitness and a head for heights. Truly amazing experience!
Six days Climb to Weismann’s Peak at 4, 620 Meters is the most popular; it involves strenuous walking, steep but nothing really so difficult that requires ropes, non technical. During the months of April, May and September, October, it is common to experience snowfalls on the peak transforming the landscape into an incredibly beautiful environment with snow covered plants creating a feeling of euphoria and intense excitement as the scenery is absolutely stunning. You may choose to climb Bamwanjara Pass instead of Weismanns as it is an easier climb and at 4, 450 metres gives great views of the main peaks.
The one to five day treks takes you through prestine montane forests, bamboo forests and as you climb above 3, 000 metres, high cliffs tower above the valley, giant heathers covered in bearded moss hanging from the trees and the giant lobelia which is a fascinating plant dating back to prehistoric times.