Mountain Hiking Safaris Fact Sheet: For those who have had a chance to visit Uganda, there are plenty of activities done but mainly trekking and tracking different primates. Alas, there is one wonderful adventurous and challenging activity done here and once you are involved in mountain hiking you will have a chance to share and enjoy a couple of mountain ranges as your hiking destinations. Uganda boasts of a number of mountain ranges; mountain Rwenzori, mountain Elgon, Mountain Sabinyo, Muhavura and Gahinga among others which are some of the most famous mountain ranges hiked in Uganda.
This is one of the best mountains for hiking in Uganda. This is because it is very challenging for any trekker due to its height. In line with the foregoing, this mountain lies in the Eastern part of Uganda bordering Uganda and Kenya. More to that, it is found in Mount Elgon national park which covers 1279 square meters. The park was gazetted in 1992 in Uganda and 1968 in Kenya. Note that this park lies between Kenya and Uganda.
Additionally, the mountain is famous for being the oldest extinct volcano in the East African region (having erupted 24 million years ago). Mountain Elgon has five major peaks with Wagagai peak being the longest of all baring 4321 meters. Sudek follows with 4302 meters, then Koitobos of 4222 meters, Mubiyi of 4211 meters and Masaba of 4161 meters. These are spread into two countries of Uganda and Kenya. This implies that one can hike to the other side of the country depending on the peak of interest.
What to see while hiking on Mount Elgon?
Sipi falls is a breath taking waterfall in the Eastern part of Uganda having its source in Mountain Elgon. More to that, it is a must visit for any trekker due to its spectacular nature. While there, you will also have a chance to see caves behind the falls and can as well camp there for a night.
Vegetation cover on the mountain is a bit amusing where you will be able to go through different mountain vegetation from grass lands, bamboo forests, open woodlands, giant heathers of grass and flowers, afro-montane zones and rocks. These are all good for photography and in the process of hiking, you will experience different climatic conditions as you continue trekking.
Mountain Elgon has the largest caldera of all mountains in Uganda. This covers a total surface area of 7 square kilometers which is also the largest in the world. The caldera can be seen as you hike mountain Elgon.
How to get there?
The mountain can be accessed by road via Jinja Sipi road from Entebbe/Kampala. Furthermore, the road trip is 5 hours’ drive if you start your journey early enough. On your road trip, you will stop in Mbale town for lunch. In addition, you will be able to see River Nile in Jinja and Mabira forest, as you make your way to Mountain Elgon.
You can also access Mountain Elgon from Kenya via Uganda-Kenya boarder. However, in that case you will need to acquire a Uganda Visa of USD50 or an East African multi-entry passport. This kind of East African visa helps you enter Uganda, Kenya and Rwanda without any extra charges.
Rwenzori Mountain (Mt Stanley) is in the Eastern Equatorial Africa with a peak as high as 5109 meters. The mountain is permanently snow-capped and glaciated. More to that, it is among the massifs that are believed to have been formed 3 million years ago. Other Rwenzori mountains (massifs) include; Mount speak, Mount Baker, Mount Emin, Mount Gessi and Mount Luigi di Savoia about 120 kilometers long and 60 kilometers wide. The Rwenzori Mountain are also called the Mountains of the moon. That name originated from a Greek explorer who was trying to locate the source of the Nile. The explorer’s merchant reported that the source of the Nile originated from a group of mountains which were snow-capped.
Hiking mountain Rwenzori is one of the most challenging but rewarding activity with life time memories. The adventure requires you to be physically fit because hiking the mountain takes a lot of energy to reach its peak. The mountain has a large number of plant life and wildlife species which vary the more you climb to its peak. All the way from heavy tropical rainforests, bamboo forests, and montane forests to alpine vegetation.
What to see while hiking Mountain Rwenzori
The mountain has different vegetation layers covering its surface. You will be able to see the savannah grass lands where you can even be able to spot different wild animals including elephants, zebras, and monkeys among others. As you continue hiking, you will reach the bamboo forest, heath and moorland, alpine zone and the glaciers.
Mountain Rwenzori is snow caped which poses a great challenge for every trekker. Here, you will be able to see the glaciers which are covering the whole Margherita peak which is 16763 feet above sea level.
The Virunga Mountains are along the border of Uganda, Rwanda and Democratic Republic of Congo. Additionally, they are chains of eight volcanoes most of which are extinct except for mountain Nyirangongo and Mountain Nyamuragira of Democratic Republic of Congo. More to that, the mountains are in the Albertine rift valley with Mountain Karisimbi being the biggest of them all. The other mountains are Mountain Gahinga, Muhavura, Bisoke, Karisimbi, Mikeno and Sabinyo.
Looking at mountains available for trekking in Uganda, our main concern is mountain Sabinyo, Muhavura and Gahinga. These are located in Uganda on the boarder of Congo, Uganda and Rwanda. Mount Muhabura is 4127 meters high, Mount Sabinyo (3674m) and Mount Gahinga is 3474 meters high. These provide the best views of the other Virunga Mountains and crater lakes around them as you hike.
How to get to Virunga Mountain ranges in Uganda
The ranges are in the Western part of Uganda, particularly in Kisoro district. Furthermore, you can access them through Rwanda and Uganda. From Entebbe in Uganda, the drive will take you 8-9 hours to access them given that its 540km distance. From Kigali, it’s a 4 hour’s drive, you can pass through Cyanika or Katuna boarder. It’s a 170km distance from the airport.
Minimum hiking age
There is a minimum age of 15 years and above for people allowed to hike to avoid any issues arising from the hike. Keep it in mind that hiking is a very challenging activity and it needs you to be in very good physical condition. Hikes can be challenging sometimes which needs you to have a good heart condition.
Mountain hiking gear
Hiking boots and sandals
These are a necessity when it comes to hiking any mountain. They should be water proof and light in weight to ease walking. Water proof boots keep moisture from the feet especially in the soggy grounds and rain. Sandals help you after a long day trip to allow your feet to be free.
You should carry/wear silk long sleeved clothes especially those that dry easily. These protect you from sunburn, insects and dry very fast. These should be able to cover you for half of the days you are going to hike.
This is an essential and is therefore something that you must pack on a hiking trip. The jack should be light and warming for the cases where it rains a lot. This jacket should also be able to protect your bag pack when it rains.
This is the most important tool on the trip which helps you to carry all your essentials and put them together.
Sleeping bags and tents
The hikes are outdoor activities therefore you should plan for accommodation. Sleeping beds or tents are very important to protect you where temperatures are extreme. For instance, hiking Mountain Rwenzori which is colder the higher you go.
Other necessities needed while hiking include; sunglasses or sun screen, snacks, pairs of socks, water filter, gloves, headlamp, extra batteries for the camera, face towel and a first aid kit.
Pamoja tours and travel company organizes budget, mid-range and luxury safaris to Mount Elgon, Mount Rwenzori and Virunga mountains which suite the interests and needs of the customer. We have different popular trips from which you can choose. Those with interest in hiking Mount Elgon and visiting the Eastern part of Uganda are more than welcome.
Our team is very helpful when it comes to planning, advising and giving the best services as we customize your trip to suite your interest. Contact us or visit our website for more information. We can help you plan for your safari, book for your accommodation and transportation and help you tailor a trip for a memorable experience. Please contact us for more information and inquiries or visit our website.