Have you been looking for a chance to experience Rwenzori Mountains? It is now possible that you can add the visit to these mountains on to your wildlife safari in Queen Elizabeth national park. On the same trip, now guests can be able to take off some time and visit the Rwenzori without interrupting the activities planned for the wildlife safari.
About Rwenzori mountains:
Rwenzori mountains is the most beautiful landscape in Uganda. It is snow caped with the highest point being margherita peak at 5109 high meters on Mount Stanley. This mountain range stretches over 64km wide and 120km long, laying over the edge of five districts of western Uganda and forms the border between Uganda and Congo.
The mountain is home to welcoming people on its foothills beside the unique wildlife. In its five exclusive vegetation zones where you will find a variety of bird and mammal species totaling to over 280. These species include up to 19 endemics that are only fond on these mountains. Besides, the culture on these mountains is still unknown to every traveler who come to Uganda.
With the new short trails opened, Rwenzori mountain experience can be the highlight of every trip to Uganda. Geographically, Rwenzori mountains is located next to queen Elizabeth national park. These mountains form a beautiful backdrop in the west and it is visible throughout the wildlife safari in Kasenyi and Mweya.
The local community living on the mountain foothills have designed three trails with the support of Uganda Community Tourism Association (UCOTA). With these mountain community trails, it is a great opportunity to meet the people of Uganda. All these trails are community owned and run, to supplement the longer multi-day traditional treks to the high peaks of these mountains run by the park. Involvement of community in these tours makes them both Eco-friendly and affordable.
Scenery on these trails is as good as trekking the high mountains even though they require very slow time and fitness as the high mountains. Guests do these community trails without entering inside the park. Therefore, no park entrance fees are charged, making them affordable and easy to arrange. Each of the trails takes 3-4 hours on these stunning foothills. This experience can also be taken by visitors on transit to other destinations passing in the area of Queen Elizabeth National Park. It is such an opportunity to go off the beaten path during a visit to Queen Elizabeth national park.
The available trails:
A number of trails are on offer in this category of day excursions. Besides options of overnight camping treks is also available, for those who want to share the local life with the indigenous people over the night campfire under the stars. The different day and overnight trails start at different entry points to Rwenzori mountains. The areas where you can start these treks are;
- Kazingo community,
- Kinyambanika community,
- Ibanda – Nyakalenginjo gate,
- Kilembe gate
- Nyamughasana community.
The most popular of these trails are located at Ibanda-Nyakalengijo and Nyamughasana community.
Nyakalengijo gate is located 17km off Kasese fortportal road branching from Nkenda electric terminal, 9km before Kasese town (if you’re coming from fort portal). Nyamughasana community is located 20km from Mpondwe road. Both roads lead to Queen Elizabeth national park, north and south respectively. Transfer time by road from queen Elizabeth national park to the starting point of these trekking trails is a minimum of 20 minutes and maximum of 40 minutes. Other options of day treks are up north on in Kinyampanika and Kazingo gates.
Undoubtedly, these fabulous mountains trails offer a unique presentation of the Ugandan nature and culture than you will not find anywhere else. They are suitable for travelers looking for nature, scenery, indigenous people’s culture or heritage. You will be trekking through the indigenous forests, rustic villages or the local farms while you learn how the local people live their daily life on the Rwenzori foothills.
Did you know that most of the fresh waters in the lakes and wetlands of queen Elizabeth national park flow from Rwenzori mountains? During these treks, you will learn allot about the Rwenzori mountains itself and realize how they give a good background to the survival of wild life in queen Elizabeth national park ecosystem. This means, without visiting the Rwenzori’s, the story of queen Elizabeth wildlife safari is incomplete. During the excursions, the community will share with you a full story as you track the rivers flowing from the Rwenzori glaciers.
An opportunity to look for chameleons:
You will meet the local guides who are experienced of their village nature and culture, proudly showing you everything of their heritage. It is an opportunity to go looking for the unique wildlife. As a key highlight of the forest walk, you will be looking for a selection of chameleons. Rwenzori mountains is home to seven types of chameleons including;
- Tolley’s forest Chameleon
- Strange horned chameleon,
- Carpenter’s chameleon,
- Johnston’s three horned chameleon,
- Elliot’s Groove-throated Chameleon,
- Montane side-striped chameleon and
- boulenger’s pygmy chameleon.
Trek arrangement and accommodation:
These treks are easy to arrange. Since it involves community households, it is necessary to book in advance. The latest you can make your booking is 12 hours before the preferred trekking time. All tours can start from any lodge in Queen Elizabeth National Park or Kasese town. No special equipment is needed for these community treks. A packing list can be shred on request, to prepare you for the trek. If you have a full day available, you can choose to have the first night at the base camp in any of the community-run accommodation facilities in these areas. If you want to use community lodges, you can elect from;
Prices are charged per person but can also be charged per group on request. For the treks of the foothills, prices range from
- 25$ for day excursions,
- 100$ for overnight treks and
- 125$ for two nights three days trek experience.
Included in the price are; all camping gear (for overnight treks) and packed lunch for day treks. Guests can buy mineral water from the starting point.
Treks that involve entering into the national parks can also organized by the same communities. However, they may cost a little higher since they will include the park fees charges at the gate entry.
Please contact us if you have any questions or to arrange you experience on these short treks.