The Ultimate Guide to Climbing Mount Ruwenzori
Opting for this journey is a reason to rejoice! For many, it is one in a lifetime dream on their bucket list.
The Ruwenzori Mountains are the highest non-volcanic, non-orogenic mountains in the world. In this guide we feature information about Rwenzori Trekking and discuss important tips including trip highlights, activities, trek difficulty, trekking costs, best routes, best time to hike and more. We also share important information on altitude sickness, mountain trekking guide, what to pack, and other things you should not do during trekking.
Trekking Mountain Ruwenzori is a fantastic adventure that takes you to the Africa’s highest place, i.e., to the Margherita peak the third Africa’s highest mountain. Opting for this journey is a reason to rejoice! For many, it is one in a lifetime dream on their bucket list;
Brief Information about the Rwenzori
The Rwenzori Mountain lies along the Uganda-Congo border in western Uganda. The Rwenzori consist of six distinctive mountains namely, Stanley, Speke, Baker, Emin, Gessi, and Saviola. Mt Stanley’s 16762 ft. Margherita peak which stands on the Uganda –Congo boarder, is the third highest point in Africa.
The Ugandan section of the mountain was gazzetted as the 995km2 Rwenzori Mountains National Park in 1991 and was recognized as World Heritage site in 1994 and a Ramsar site in 2008.
The park is home to 18 mammal species such as elephant, buffalo, giant forest hog, bushbuck, chimpanzee and leopard that are present in the forest zone but rarely seen, 217 recorded bird species, 9 species of reptiles and 6 species of amphibians. The region’s glaciers, waterfalls and lakes make it one of Africa’s most beautiful alpine areas
Trekking in Rwenzori Mountains
The Rwenzoris must be explored on foot, and you must be of above the average fitness. You must also be used to challenging hikes and outdoor activities. The Margherita Peak has recently been reclassified as a technical climb and although you do not need to be an expert climber in winter conditions, some experience is recommended.
A good variety of treks, from one to twelve days, are available to suit different interests from ‘peak baggers’ to birders keen to trace the region’s endemic species.
Two trekking circuits provide access to the Rwenzoris Peaks: the Central Circuit out of Nyakalengija and the Southern Circuit out of Kilembe. While the Southern Circuit was the route first followed by Professor Scott Elliott in 1895, it is the central circuit, pioneered by Luigi di Savoia in 1906, that for many years provided the only access to the mountains.
Best Route for Climbing Rwenzori
There are two etablished routes for you to capture the highest summit of the Rwenzori Mountains. The most popular trail is the Rwenzori Central Circuit Trail that is run by Nyakalegija-based Rwenzori Mountaineering Services located in the Mubuku valley at mihunga 22km from fort portal – Kasese road. The other route is the Kilembe Trail that ascends the southern slopes of the Rwenzori from a trailhead at Kilembe. This route is operated by the Rwenzori Trekking Services.
Mount Rwenzori Trek Difficulty Level
Most hikers classify the Rwenzori Mountain trekking as a moderate-level trek. One needs to walk for around six to seven hours on average for approximately twelve days. There are many difficulties in the hiking routes. It requires no techniques or experience for the trek, but a previous experience may be an advantage.
Walking is peaceful, but sustaining the rising elevation can be hard sometimes. It’s hard for an average hiker but the altitude is definitely more difficult to manage than the distance with several rest days and acclimatization days
Rwenzori Mountain Training Guide
Although training is not a compulsion for the trip, it requires a level of stamina and endurance capacity. Here, we will guide you to train for the Rwenzori Climbing Expedition;
- As the hike demands a continuance capacity, routine exercise like walks, aerobics may help you maintain your body stamina. Likewise, we recommend hiking to some hilly areas for a few weeks before trek to Rwenzori. Besides, you can work on your cardio and strength endurance at a gym center.
- Although it is not a mountaineering activity and any marathon run, it might be hard sometimes. Waking at high altitudes with a scant amount of oxygen can challenge you with no experience of trekking. So aerobic training can be helpful for you to walk at high altitudes with low oxygen.
- We have the habit of not carrying any heavy bags unless it is a long adventure journey. So, hiking to some nearby hills with a rucksack on your back for at least a week before the commencement of the Rwenzori trip is commendable.
- Training for your desired treks in Rwenzori depends on your health and physical fitness. Besides, mental preparation and a powerful will to reach the destination are what you need to have for your successful journey ahead.
The best time to hike Rwenzori Mountains
You can hike the Rwenzori Mountains any time of the year and enjoy fantastic and magnificent scenery, but the best months to trek the Rwenzori Mountains is the dry season, and this is between June-August and December-February. These months are the driest months in Uganda.
In the dry season, all trekking routes to and within the park are passable. Hikes during the dry season is better than during the wet season. However, note that even in dry months, it may rain because weather is unpredictable. Even during rainy seasons you can experience light rain fall hence it is good to first know the best season to travel so that to avoid the bad conditions during your hiking safari.
How much does it cost to Trek to Rwenzori Mountains?
The total cost of the Rwenzori Trek Package is from US$1290. A 7 Days Central Circuit Trail to capture the Margherita peak costs from US$ 1200 per person excluding the park entrance fees.
It includes the cost of trekking permits, food, accommodation cost, transportation cost, guide, Rwenzori trekking equipment, and porter cost. However, prices may vary from US$1250 to US$3000 per person based on trek and number of days. The value offered by a travel agency excludes visa fees, travel insurance, and other personal expense costs
Rwenzori Mountain guide to prevent Altitude Sickness
We have the following guide to help you prevent altitude sickness during Rwenzori Trek;
- Ascend slowly and gradually. Do not rush on the trail. Maintain your average speed while walking.
- Proper acclimatization is vital to avoid altitude sickness.
- Avoid the intake of alcohol, tobacco, and cigarettes because these products’ consumption may decrease the water level in your body and make you feel tired and lethargic.
- Drink plenty of water
- Take plenty of healthy food
- Prepare your mind mentally for the trek.
Guide to things not to do in Rwenzori Mountains
- Do not trek alone. Always travel with a friend or a guide. We never know what might happen and when at the high altitude regions. High altitude regions are risky zones.
- Avoid walking too fast. Take your time and stroll and gradually. Walking fast may tire you at once and make you unable to accomplish the journey. It may harm your health.
- Do not go to restricted areas. Always stay on the trail.
- Don’t leave plastics and other wastes on the trekking trail. Ask your guide to dispose of it for you.
- Always respect locals and behave pleasantly.
- Don’t trespass in excitement, seeing the high-altitude mountains around you. Everyone feels excited and happy to see the World high mountains right in front of you. Enjoy the adventure, but do not trespass on the risky areas. Otherwise, it may keep you at risk and ruin your trekking journey.
What to Pack for Climbing Rwenzori
It is not a good idea to pack too much in your bag, for the heavy bag will destroy your Mount climbing experience. However, it is necessary to pack some climbing gear and personal living articles, such as down jackets, boots, gloves, sleeping bags, snow glasses, and toilet tissues. Check out your pack bag carefully before the climbing begins.
If you want to get an ideal packing list for climbing Rwenzori, you’d better depend on the suggestions of an experienced travel operator and obtain the gear they suggest as best.
As the most revered mountain in Africa by trekkers and climbers, Mount Rwenzori is the pinnacle of trekking and climbing in Africa. The third highest peak in Africa, there is an intense sense of achievement to reaching the summit, or even just reaching the Base Camp after an arduous 3-day Mahoma trek. If you are thinking of heading to Rwenzori to trek or climb, then Pamoja Tours and Travel has amazing tours that can cater to everyone’s needs, and we can provide you with all you need to make your trip to Uganda for Mount Rwenzori trekking and climbing the best experience of your lifetime.