Rwenzori mountains offers one of the most rewarding experiences in Uganda. It is good news to the visitors who want to go off the beaten track to explore new beauties. Rwenzoris’ highest point is 5109 meters above sea level, on mount Stanley, the highest point in Uganda. The mountain covers around 1000 sq km and hold the third highest point in Africa. It is a Ramsar site, a world heritage site and holds a unique ecosystem from all the other east African mountains. Rwenzori is still a hidden treasure from many travelers. In the same line, many people still think that trekking Rwenzori mountains is hard, expensive, time consuming or requires fitness. This is probably the reason why Rwenzori Mountains is still the least explored park of Uganda.
In the past, Rwenzori mountains was trekked through only one route; the central circuit trail that takes seven to eight days. Of recent, more trails, activities and experiences have been opened on this unique mountain landscape to accommodated different budgets, level of fitness and interests. The infrastructure on the mountains has also been greatly improved. At the moment, Rwenzori mountains can be explored in a short time starting from one day or hours. It is even possible to explore the lower foothills through the multiple community experiences that have been developed outside the park, that allow visitors to experience the mountains without paying park entrance fees. I have listed some of the Rwenzori trekking experiences currently available to choose from;
Nature walks: This is a one days activity. It involves going in the park and return to the lodge. It is mainly in the forest and bamboo zone as you experience the thick forest and canopy, unique forest and mountain wildlife, rivers and scenery. The park has opened and developed multiple nature walk trails that take you on the lower parts of the park the farthermost goes up to Nyabitaba camp at 2632m above sea level. This experience requires you to pay park entrance fees, nature walk fee and guiding fee for just one day. On the lower parts of the park, you will likely be walking in the lush green equatorial forest vegetation, taking the breathtaking scenery, spotting assorted species of unique birds including the endemics, different types of monkeys, small animals’ like the elusive three horned chameleons and reptiles. On some trails, you will also find tracks of mountain elephants and you may spot some mountain antelopes.
A variety of trails on the mountains: New trails to the high peaks have been opened on Rwenzori Mountains offering different trekking packages to supplement the historical one, Ibanda central circuite trail in the Mubuku valley. In general, a total of four trail heads have been opened all leading to the high snow peaks. These long trails are also supplemented by the shorter routes, nature walks and community tours. The kilembe trail, South of Nyakalengija, with multiple packages of climbing ranging from 1 – 10 days. The Mahoma loop 3-days 2-nights wilderness trail has been developed on the central circuit entrance at the Nyakalengijo gate. The latest trail has been developed on the northern part holding two different entrances, one called Bukurungu trail and the other called Kinyampanika trail in Kabarole district. Both entrances to the northern trail also offers opportunities for short trails in and outside the park. One of these is the Kinyampanika wilderness chimp trail that has been developed inside the park and a village walk outside the park gate in Kinyampanika community.
Community tours and experience: This is a chance to explore Rwenzori from the community through the community encounters and visitations. The community has established very rich cultural, social and nature based tourism activities that anyone can participate in. These include day and overnight treks or the hill treks that will take you up to 2400m above sea level. On some of these community trails, you can be able to view margarita peak if the day is clear. The forest walk that has been created alongside the park on a community natural forest reserve. In this forest you will find the small animals like the three horned chameleons, birds, other reptiles and sometimes monkeys and chimps crossing from the park. The other experience is a village walk. In the village walk you will be guided through the local residential areas as you participate in some household demonstrations to learn the local way of life. The experiences in the village walk include basket weaving, traditional story telling, traditional healer, a black smith making local tools and a farmer tending to his crops and domestic animals. All these village tour points are a true life experience that show cases how the local people earn a living while passing on the cultural values to the succeeding generations.
Other than the three village walk options, other experience include traditional dances or leisurely walking the village to meet the people. In any case you can stay at the lodges within the community to take the beauty of the mountains without climbing or trekking. The villages are abundantly gifted with scenic beauty of the mountains. Though the community tours appeal to all levels of visitors, they are more suitable for those on budget, as you can participate without paying park entrance fee, yet learn more about the mountains through the eyes of the locals. For those who want to spend just a night or two off their Kibale, Queen or Bwindi trips, the community accommodations are available to host you. The available accommodation options include Rwenzori turaco view campsite, Rwenzori homestay, Ruboni community camp, RMS safari lodge, tours holiday inn or Equator snow lodge for the up market class.
With these opening opportunities, Rwenzori Mountains, the once known to be most expensive trek can be experienced at a low budget of one’s choice. In the past, one needed 7 to 8 days to explore Rwenzori, had to be fit to climb the mountains or had a budget to pay all the compulsory costs. At the moment, even when you have a minimum of one day it will be enough to enjoying the outstanding beauty of this mountain. Rwenzori mountains is the only unique attraction over Uganda, east Africa and central Africa, as you will find out during your visit. This creates an opportunity and reason for all visitors to add Rwenzori Mountains on their holiday plan. For all those who may have climbed Kilimanjaro or Kenya, you will still find Rwenzori unique and more challenging, hence offering Africa’s unique mountain experience.
So what are you waiting for? Book your space now or contact us for more information about how to add this challenging and hidden treasure on your trip.
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