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Gorilla Trekking & Rwenzori Mountain Hiking tour

Rwenzori Mountaineering Service - 12 days

  • Gorilla Trekking & Rwenzori Mountain Hiking tour
  • 12 days / 11 nights
  • Max. group: 0 Persons
  • Difficulty: Medium
Overview
Route
What's Included
Accommodation
FAQ
Packing List
Rwenzori Mountaineering Service
Safety
How to book

Overview

> Go Gorilla tracking in Bwindi Forest national park 
> Conquer Mount Stanley's summit, the highest peak in Uganda
> Visit Queen Elizabeth National Park and look for the tree-climbing lions

If you are looking for a combined gorilla trekking tour & Rwenzori Mountains Hiking tour, look no further. This 12-day Rwenzori & Gorilla expedition will lead you to either Bwindi Impenetrable forest national park or Mgahinga National Park for Gorilla trekking and chimpanzee tracking in Kibale forest national park , wildlife viewing in Queen Elizabeth national park to spot the tree-climbing lions and hike the Rwenzori Mountains up to the top of Margherita Peak, the highest point in Uganda.

Book our 12-Day Gorilla Watching & Rwenzori Mountaineering tour for an ultimate trekking experience in the wilderness of Rwenzori mountains National Park. Our expert guides will make sure you have a great time!

Route

What's the plan?

Day 1: Kampala/Entebbe to Bwindi national park

Upon arrival at the airport, you will be welcomed by our guide or else he will pick you from your hotel in Entebbe and then transfer to Bwindi impenetrable forest National Park. The drive to Bwindi will take 7-8 hours. You will have a stopover at the equator for breakfast (and also take photos) and a lunch stopover in Mbarara town. As you drive, you will be able to see Uganda’s countryside and the beautiful views of the Kigezi highlands. Dinner and overnight at gorilla mist camp or Rushaga Gorilla Camp.

Day 2: Gorilla tracking in Bwindi Forest national park

Have early morning breakfast at the lodge and then drive to the park headquarters to have a short briefing about the gorilla trekking rules and regulations, and later enter into the jungle to start the search for the endangered species (Mountain Gorilla Trekking). Gorilla Trekking in the jungle will take you around 4 hours or more and you will be allowed to spend an hour with the gorillas. You will then return to the park headquarters for the gorilla trekking certificate. Then you will be driven to Lake Bunyonyi to relax at Bunyonyi Overland Resort.

Day 3: Transfer to Kasese-Nyakalengija

After Early morning breakfast, you will drive to Rwenzori National Park passing through the Queen Elizabeth national park for short game drive to search for the tee climbing lions, buffalos, warthogs, elephants, and different antelopes like waterbucks, kobs, and topi among others. You will then proceed to Nyakalengija. Check-in at Mihunga lodge

Day 4: Nyakalengija (1600m)-Nyabitaba hut (2660m)

After breakfast at the camp, you will go to RMS headquarters where you will be briefed about the whole hike. Start the hike from Nyakalengija through the Bakonzo settlements to the Rwenzori Mountains National Park gate where you will be registered before entering the park. You will start the central circuit trail trek through the thick tropical forest with high elephant grass and dense bushes.

This forest is home to various animal species like forest elephant, chimpanzee, hyrax, black-and-white colobus, L'Hoest's monkeys, duiker, and three-horned chameleon among many more. Some of the bird species include Handsome Francolin, Rwenzori Turaco, Long-eared Owl, Barred Long-tailed Cuckoo, Cinnamon-chested Bee-eater, Strange Weaver, Archers’ Robin-chat, Rwenzori Batis among many others as well as various tree and plant species. You will probably see some of them on the way.

It’s about 8km from Nyakalengija to Nyabitaba hut. Dinner and overnight at Nyabitaba hut.

Day 5: Nyabita hut (2660m)-John Matte hut (3420m) Between 5-6 Hours

After having breakfast at the hut, you will move through thick shrubs and forest for about 30 minutes to the Kurt Shafer bright which is at the confluence of the Mubuku and Bujuku rivers. You will then move through the bamboo mixed with montane forests and slippery moss-covered rocks for a couple of hours. As you hike you will also expect to see various bird species that live in the forest.

You will continue to move up to Nyamulejju rock shelter where the first hikers used to at times camp and also spend the night. You will have a stopover here for lunch. At this point, you will have a view of Mount Stanley and Mount Speke if the weather is clear. You will then continue to move through the alpine forest to John Matte hut where you will have dinner and spend the night. The hut is near river Bujuku and most hikers take a bath there, the water is cold but very refreshing as well. You will also have a view of the Margherita glacier which is on mount Stanley between Alexandra and Margherita peaks.

Nyabitaba to John Matte is about 11km.

Day 6: John Matte hut (3420)-Bujuku hut (3930m)- Between 4 -6 hours

After breakfast at the hut, you will cross river Bujuku and you will walk through the forest to the Lower Bigo Bog. This is a swampy area in a valley and is home to the giant lobelias. This area used to be the hardest part of the Rwenzori since the area is so boggy, jumping from one tussock to another was not so easy for most hikers.

Currently, there is a walk board up to the end of the boggy area which makes the walk much easier for trekkers. As you move you will expect to see giant lobelias, everlasting flowers, and groundsels. You will then take a steep hike along a ridge which will lead you to the start of the upper Bigo Bog.

There is also a boardwalk up to Lake Bujuku. After the boardwalk you will try to move through the remaining small boggy area with no walk boards to Bujuku hut. At this point, you will have a view of Lake Bujuku, Mount Speke, Mount Baker, and Mount Stanley. From this point, you are able to ascend mount Speke and Mount Stanley.

Distance from john matte to Bujuku is about 5km. Dinner and overnight at Bujuku.

Day 7: Bujuku hut (3930m)-Elena hut (4563m)

Have breakfast at Bujuku hut and then continue with the hike to Elena hut, which is 5-7 hours hike. You will move through the sides of the upper Bigo bog. You will then hike through the steep slopes of Lake Bujuku. Elena hut is at the rocky part of Mount Stanley and the area is too cold. At this point, you are at the highest mountain of the Rwenzori and you will have a direct view of Mount Baker and Mount Speke.

Sometimes it is hard to view these two mountains because they are covered by fog. Have dinner at Elena hut then spend the night.

Day 8: Elena hut (4563m) - Kitandara (3979m); Full Day 10-12 hours

This day you will have to wake up as early as 2 am, have breakfast at Elena hut, and then hike to the top of Mount Stanley, Margherita peak, through the Stanley plateau and Margherita Glaciers. The guide will teach you how to use the equipment while on the ice. At the top, you will have a view of Irene Lake, Mount Speke, and the surrounding environment.

Then descend to Elena Hut for Lunch and later proceed to descend to Kitandara through the Scott Elliot pass to Kitandara. This is the most beautiful point of the Rwenzori. Have dinner at Kitandara and then spend the night. If the group is big, you might spend another night at Elena hut and continue the following day.

Day 9: Kitandara hut (3979m) - Guy Yeoman hut (3505m)

Have breakfast at Kitandara and then move through the base of Mount Baker, which can be slippery, so you will need to be careful. From Kitandara, the trail ascends steeply up the headwall, spreading out from the base of Mount Baker and continuing along the south side of the Rwenzori Mountain to Fresh field pass. From the pass, the long muddy descent continues, passing the rock shelter at Bujangolo, the base camp for the historic expedition by the Duke of Abruzzi in 1906. This will take you around 4-6 hours. Then you will reach Guy Yeoman hut which is located at the banks of river Mubuku, have dinner and spend the night.

Day 10: Descend back to Nyakalengija- Kibale Forest

Have breakfast at Guy Yeoman hut and then descend back to Nyakalengija which is about 6 hours. The Safari Guide will be ready to pick you up from Nyakalengija and transfer you to Kibale Forest National Park, passing through the crater lakes and arriving at the hotel in the late evening. Dinner and overnight at Kibale Forest Camp.

Day 11: Chimpanzee tracking

On this day, you will drive to Kibale Forest National Park headquarters after breakfast at the lodge where you will be briefed about chimpanzee trekking and the park in general. Most tourists visit the park to see chimpanzees. Apart from the chimps, the forest is home to other primates like monkeys, mangabey, baboons, wild pigs, various fish species among others. Chimpanzee trekking can be done in the morning, at 8 am; mid-morning, at 11 am; and in the afternoon, at 2 pm.

You will then start the trek through the forest to look for the chimps. Unlike gorillas, chimpanzees keep moving around the forest and jump from one tree to another as they go about their daily life, so do not expect to find them in one place. As you trek, you will expect to see other primates that live in the forest as well as various bird species like the great blue turaco. You will then return to the lodge to refresh and have lunch. Dinner and overnight at the lodge.

Day 12: Transfer from Kibale forest national park-Kampala

After Morning breakfast, you will start the journey back to Kampala. You will arrive at Kampala in the afternoon. 

What's Included

Included:

Transport
You can start this trek either from Kampala
or from Entebbe. On your first day of the trek,  you will be welcomed by our guide or else he will pick you from your hotel in Entebbe and then transfer to Bwindi National Park. You will be driven back to Kampala on your last day. All other transportation needed during the trek, between national parks, is included.

√ English speaking trekking guide and Porters
During the trek, you will be accompanied at all times by a Rwenzori Mountains guide. Porters will join the group as well to help to carry the luggage. There will be 1 porter per hiker to carry his/her personal luggage. The other porters carry food, charcoal, cooking utensils, and a gas cylinder among others. 

 Accommodation
Accommodation during the trek is included in the price. You will spend your nights in different types of accommodation. You will spend most of your nights camping or in huts along the main circuit of the Rwenzori, such as the Nyabitaba hut, the John Matte Hut or the Bujuku Hut. You will spend nights 2, 3 and 11 in lodges.

 Meals 
All meals are included during the trek. Breakfast, lunch, and dinner are served every day while on the trek. There is always powdered milk, chocolate drink, bread, sausages, packed juice, apples, chocolates, beef, rice, Irish potatoes, peas, and sandwiches. 

 Permits and Entrance Fees
In order to trek in the Rwenzori Mountains national park and to trek with gorillas and chimps, you need a hiking permit and you need to pay the park's entrance fees. These are included in the price of the trek.

 Hiking Equipment
Hiking equipment at Rwenzori such as ice ax, harness, helmet, and ropes are included in the trek.

Not included:

× Airfare
You will have to make your way to Kampala, the starting point of this trek. Flight tickets to Uganda are not included in the price of the trek. In order to know which airlines fly to Entebbe International Airport (EBB), you can have a look at their website.

× Accommodation before and after the trek
Before and after the trek you have to take care of your own accommodation in Kampala.

× Travel Insurance
Your international travel insurance is your own responsibility. It is important that your travel insurance also covers adventures at a high altitude. Discuss your itinerary with the insurance company before your trek.

× Sleeping bag and other equipment
Sleeping bags are not included in the trek, you will have to bring your own. Other necessary trekking equipment such as trekking boots, crampons, and gumboots are not included.

× Personal expenses
Any personal expenses that may take place during the trek, such as buying snacks, souvenirs or alcoholic drinks are on your own account.

× Water
As you hike the Rwenzori, you will not be provided with bottled water. You will get the water from the rivers and streams in the mountains because it’s clean. The locals drink it and they are okay. But if you don’t trust it, it’s okay to add some water filters to your water to avoid any inconveniences (these won't be provided by your trekking company).

× Tipping
Tipps for the guide and porter are not included in the price of the trek. You decide how much to tip, but if you got a good service from your guide, be generous.

Accommodation

Accommodation

During the trek you will spend your nights in different types of accommodation:

At Rwenzori National Park:

There is an extensive system of huts along the main circuit of the Rwenzori. These include Nyabitaba hut at 2650 meters, John Matte Hut at 3380 meters, the Bujuku Hut at 3977 meters, Elena Hut high on the flanks of Mt. Stanley at 4540 meters, the Kitandara Lake Hut at 4027 meters and the Guy Yeoman Hut down the Mubuku River Valley at 3260 meters.

Accommodation @Mt. Rwenzori Uganda

There are five huts on the Western side of the range in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. These include Kyandolere at 1700 meters, Kalongi at 2140 meters, Mahungu at 3310 meters, Kyondo at 4303 meters and the Moraine hut at 4500 meters. All were built in 1942 (Osmaston, 2006). If you are going off the main circuit, it is possible to camp in tents and frequently under rock overhangs that are very common in the range.

Remaining Nights:

You will spend your first night of the trek at Gorilla Mist Camp or Rushaga Gorilla Camp. Your second night will be at Bunyonyi Overland Resort. You will sleep at Mihunga lodge on the third night of the trek. After trekking in Rwenzori National Park you will return to Nyakalengija, where you will camp at Kibale Forest. You will spend the last night of the trek at a Lodge.

FAQ

Frequently Asked Questions

When is the best time to visit the Gorillas in Rwanda or Uganda?

Generally speaking, one can take the gorilla trekking trip all year round. In the rain forest climate zones where the mountain gorillas live, it is wet any day of the year. Of course, there are particular times of the year when it rains the most. This is during the months of April and May. If any time is to be avoided, these would be the months to avoid.

However, there must be a time considered optimal. The best time to visit and trek mountain gorillas would be the months of January, February, and from June to September. In fact, during this season, you will have the opportunity to see various other types of wild animals well. During the above mentioned months, the region is experiencing the dry season and therefore accessing the animals is really simple.

Doing the Gorilla Watching Experience , is it sure deal to see the Gorillas in the Wilderness?

Even though mountain gorillas and eastern lowland gorillas are wild animals, it's a sure deal once you have the gorilla trekking permit that you will see the gorillas, irrespective of the destination your visiting the gorillas, there will be gorilla tracker and the gorilla rangers, the duty of both the parties will be to locate and guide the travelers during the gorilla watching experience. Instances of visitors trekking and getting back without having seen the gorillas are unheard of.

In both Rwanda and Uganda, the park authorities have developed a system that ensures that visitors have a chance to see the gorillas. The park authorities have trackers who report the location of the habituated gorilla families the previous evening to know the general are the gorilla group is likely to spend the night. And on the day of your trek, there are also advance teams that leave at dawn to locate the gorilla groups.

Once they trackers locate the group(s), they radio back the GPS co-ordinates to the park headquarters. This information is used by your guides so that before you set off, the guides know in which direction they should go.

When Should I Climb the Rwenzori Mountains?

For most people, it is July, August, and September. The next tier of good months consists of October, January, and February. These six months, plus December, are considered to be Rwenzori's high season. The shoulder season months are December, March, and June. Lastly, the rains come in April, May, and November. These three months are considered to be Rwenzori's low season, and many operators offer discounts during this time.

Climbing during the High Season. The greatest advantage of climbing at this time is that you can stay dry the entire time. Sure, you can always get rained on throughout the year, especially in the rain forest and moorlands, but typically the precipitation is low and infrequent. By staying dry, you stay comfortable and the overall trek will be more enjoyable. Removing the stress of being wet and cold also increases your chance of proper acclimatization. In the dry season, the views are better, with clear and sunny skies. The disadvantage is that the trails have many climbers, which can take away from the feeling of being on a big, remote mountain. However, some visitors look forward to socializing with other groups at camp. Not surprisingly, most people choose to climb during the dry season because the likelihood of nice weather trumps any misgivings they may have about encountering others on the mountain.

Climbing during the Low Season. The prospect of having the mountain to yourself is what draws people to climb during the low season. The mountain is very empty and it is possible to be the only party at a campsite. This quiet and solitude are what many people seek when going outdoors. Secondly, although it does rain quite a lot during the low season, most of the time the rains arrive in the afternoon. With Rwenzori's trekking schedule, most of the hiking can be done in the mornings, which means that the time spent on the trail while it rains can be minimized.

How do I get to Rwenzori National Park?

Rwenzori Mountains National Park lies a few kilometers north of the equator on the Uganda-Congo border. The park trailhead at Ruboni can be reached from Kampala from the north via Fort Portal (375km) or the south passing through Mbarara and Queen Elizabeth National Park (450km). Nyakalengija is 17km off the Kasese-Fort Portal road and 25km north of Kasese town.

Mt. Rwenzori National Park is suitably located in the South Western part of Uganda and can be accessed through any neighboring country to Uganda but Rwanda and Uganda are the most appropriate.

Mt. Rwenzori National park
By road

Rwenzori Mountains National Park lies a few kilometers north of the equator on the Uganda-Congo border. The park trailhead at Ruboni can be reached from Kampala from the north via Fort Portal (375km) or the south passing through Mbarara and Queen Elizabeth National Park (450km). Nyakalengija is 17km off the Kasese-Fort Portal road and 25km north of Kasese town.

By air

Charter flights to Kasese can be arranged from Kampala (Kajjansi) or Entebbe International Airport

Do I need to train for Climbing the Rwenzori Mountains? 

Hiking requires some physical fitness to hike up to the top. However, the local guide and porters are readily available to give you a hand. They are sourced from the adjacent areas to provide services for trekkers and they are experienced and enthusiastic in the field. Some of the park's peaks are incomparable, beautiful and mist-shrouded. They carry permanent snow and glaciers, while the slopes are covered with dense forest, inhabited by a wide variety of animal species and birds. The mountain slopes above 1,6000 m are the preserve of hikers who rate the Rwenzori to be the most challenging of the entire African mountain.

Packing List

Packing List

If you already decided which is the trek for you, then it is time to start packing your bags for trekking in Uganda. Rwenzori Mountaineering Service has prepared a list of some of the things you need not to forget to add into your pack as you plan your Rwenzori trek:

- Non-cotton shirts (quick drying)
- Long sleeve shirts
- hiking boots
- Pairs of pants
- Sandals
- Rain jacket
- Waterproof pants
- Pairs of socks
- Backpack
- Good sleeping bag
- Headlamp
- Microfiber towel (or a handkerchief)
- First aid kit
- Extra camera battery and extra memory cards
- Snacks
- Sunscreen/hat/sunglasses
- Water filter
- Gloves

Rwenzori Mountaineering Service

Rwenzori Mountaineering Service 

Rwenzori Mountaineering Service is managed by the destination expert safari company by names of Active African Vacations Limited that is based in Kampala Uganda with a team of experienced tour guides, Safari consultants ready to tailor-make your Rwenzori hiking trip either through the Kilembe trail or Rwenzori Central circuit.

Rwenzori Mountaineering Service has over 8 years of experience in leading hikers and climbers to the summit of Rwenzori Mountains either using the Uganda routes or Congo Hiking Routes in Virunga National Park Congo. Rwenzori Mountaineering service works in strong partnership with Mountaineering services or Trekking Services in Uganda and Virunga Foundations in Congo to create and tailor the best possible trip for you.  

Our professional tour consultants have all made successful summit attempts and are therefore in a position to provide you with advice and in-depth knowledge of the mountain. Essential advice on how to climb Rwenzori, how difficult/hard a Rwenzori mountain climb is and how long does it take for a Mount Rwenzori climb, is all knowledge that we possess in detail. 

Are you ready to climb the Rwenzori Mountains?! 

Meet Sarah from Rwenzori Mountaineering Service

Sarah is born & raised in the Kases region Close the Mountain Rwenzori National park and responsible for the customer service of Rwenzori Mountaineering Service 

Hi Sarah, why did you start working for Rwenzori Mountaineering Service
Since my childhood, I have loved nature, the tropical climate and wildlife conservation. These are the top reasons why my dad directed me to study tourism. so far I have explored most east African countries including Rwanda, Kenya, and Tanzania. I'm very familiar with the cultural practices of the local communities of the Bakonjo people in Kasese areas around the Mountain Rwenzori National Park.

What is your Educational Background? 
I'm a graduate from Makerere Business School with a Bachelors Degree in Tourism and management in 2015, which provided me with the required knowledge in tourism. My Internship practice was done with the Uganda Wildlife Authority in Queen Elizabeth National Park & Rwenzori Mountains National Park.

What are your hiking experiences? 
My first-time experience of Hiking was the Rwenzori Hike ( Margherita Peak) in 2015 ( May) and the Second Hike is Africa’s highest Peak (Uhuru Peak) on Mountain Kilimanjaro and Mountain Nyiragongo Hike in Democratic Republic Congo.



Safety

Safety

Safety is of the utmost importance to us. That is why this is an area in which we simply do not compromise when it comes to keeping the cost of our trekkings low. Our guides have been selected on the basis of their technical competence, proven safety performance, impeccable judgment, friendly attitude and ability to provide useful and expert instructions. They are also very professional and well trained in first aid and personal protection equipment. First aid kits are available on all treks.

How to book

How does it work?

On Bookatrekking.com you can find and compare the adventures of your dreams. Is this trekking adventure your match? In that case, you can proceed to book. At Bookatrekking.com you make a deposit of 15% of the total amount. You pay the remaining amount on location prior to the trek directly to the trekking company.

Bookatrekking.com uses only the safest payment methods. Once your booking has been received, your place is reserved, your place is safe and you can look forward to your chosen trekking.

After you have made your booking, you will receive an e-mail confirmation with all the necessary information and the contact details of the trekking company. If you have any questions or if you want to clarify something, you can obtain information directly from the right person. Of course, you can also always ask us your question. Send us an e-mail on support@bookatrekking.com

The trekking company will also receive your details and can therefore always contact you and provide you with extra information.

Cancellation Policy

You wish you didn’t have to, but there is no other way: You find yourself having to cancel your plans. In this case, you lose your deposit, but since you haven’t paid the large sum yet, you at least save that. Please do let us know if you cannot make it. A no-show can be a small disaster for your trekking provider, who did its best to block your dates. View our complete cancellation policy here.

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