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Rwenzori Mountains

Frequently Asked Questions

How long does it take to climb Mount Rwenzori?

The Rwenzori Mountains is one of the top destinations visited by travelers that wish to explore the snow-capped mountains within Africa.

There are exciting tours for travelers looking to climbing the Rwenzoris. Whether you are a first timer or an experienced hiker, the Rwenzori Ranges offer First-class mountaineering opportunities.

Climbing the Rwenzori Mountains to Margherita peak (5,109m asl) takes 7 to 8 days depending on the Rwenzori Mountains climbing trail used.

Several short treks are available to explore the Rwenzori mountains in a shorter time such as a 3 days trek to John Maate camp or Mahoma Nature trail, 5 days trek to summit Mount Speke, 4 days trek to Bujuku camp, 5 or 6 days hike to Weismann’s peak, 6 days central circuit trail to explore the beauty of the Rwenzori mountains, etc

The standard time taken to summit to Margherita peak the highest point in the Rwenzori Mountains is 7 days for the Central circuit trail and 8 days for the Kilembe trail and the Bukurungu trail respectively.

However, a 5 days Rwenzori trek is available which also allows hiking mount Rwenzori to Margherita peak (5,109m asl) for those who are fit and with less time.

Trekkers who wish to explore go on simple hikes without summiting any peaks can also hike the Central Circuit Trail and the Kilembe Route. The popular Central Circuit Trail takes about eight days to complete, while the Kilembe Route has variations you can choose from. Trekking the green, mist-shrouded Rwenzori Mountains is like stepping into a wonderland. An incredible experience will stay with you for a lifetime when a person talks about the Rwenzori Mountains.

Where Are the Rwenzori Mountains?

Rwenzori Mountains National Park is located in South Western Uganda. It is shared by Uganda and Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). In Uganda, these mountain ranges are found in Rwenzori National Park while in Congo it found in Virunga National Park, Africa’s oldest national park.

The Rwenzori Mountains are composed of various ranges and they are located within the great Albertine Rift valley. The ranges run for 130 km north to south along the border between western Uganda and eastern DRC. The Ugandan portion of the mountains can be found in the southwest of the country. Visitors that visit Rwenzori Mountains can add-on wildlife safari in Queen Elizabeth National Park which is the closest Park.

The Rwenzori Mountains were gazetted in 1991 and are protected as a national park in Uganda. The word Ruwenzori means “rain-maker” and the mountains bring an average of over 5 meters of rainfall to the area each year. Rwenzori is 120 kms long and 43 kms wide and includes a fantastic icy world and afro-alpine vegetation.  The peaks lie in misty clouds, snow and glaciers

The Peaks of Rwenzori Mountains

The Rwenzoris can be trekked with a local guide. Depending on the duration of your trip, you will select on the peaks that you wish to explore on your Rwenzori Expedition;

  • Mt. Gessi (15,470 feet/ 4,715 m) – All of the glaciers have melted from this once ice-covered massif
    Mt. Emin (15, 741 feet/ 4,798 m) – There are no longer glaciers on this massif.
    • Mt. Speke (16,043 feet/ 4,890 m) – There used to be huge glaciers on the north side of Mt. Speke, but they have all melted.  The Speke Glacier on the south side still exists, albeit much smaller.  There are also several smaller glaciers near Ensonga Peak.
    Mt. Stanley (16,762 feet/ 5,109 m) – There are still many glaciers, including the Stanley Plateau which, at over one kilometer long, is the largest glacier in the Rwenzori Mountains.
    Mt. Luigi Di Savoia (15, 328 feet/ 4,627 m) – This was the first to lose its glacial ice.
    Mount Baker (15,889 feet/ 4,843 m) – There are no glaciers on the way to the peak.

The Best Route to Choose

The Rwenzori Mountaineering Services is the original operator,Owned by a local community comprised of the people that live adjacent to the mountain, this agency runs the popular Rwenzori Circuit Trail. This is the oldest trail that is used by trekkers interested in hikes to the Margherita Peak. This Company has Partnered with Reliable Tour operators like Rwenzori Expeditions , Active African Vacations Limited.

It’s the shortest trek to reach to the peak of the mountain in Rwenzori Mountains.  Though there can be some variations on the route, the trail will take typically 6-7 days to reach the peak and descend back

There are many advantages of one route over the other. You are advised to select the route that fits into your strength as well as interests.

The Central Circuit Trail enters the mountain ranges from the east and does a large, anticlockwise loop well as Kilembe Route. On the other hand, the trail takes you into the mountains from the south and follows a longer and narrower circuit, which runs in a northwest–southeast direction.

The Central Circuit Trail is considered a little prettier than the Kilembe Route but for the Kilembe Route, you can avoid the notorious Bigo Bog crossed on the Central Circuit Trail.

All in all, both routes are amazing and you will have a memorable trek to the third highest peak in Africa!

Rwenzori Trekking Costs

The Cost of trekking Rwenzori Mountains depends much on many factors and key focus is the route of the trek selected by the travelers, size of the group and the number of days you are looking to spending in the mountains.

  • A day trek in the Rwenzoris costs 50USD based on two pax and 45USD for three pax excluding the park entrance fee. A 7 Days trek to Margherita peak costs from 1400USD per person including the park entrance fees.
  • Those interested in combining a 12 Days gorilla trek with a climbing expedition, the price starts from 3550USD per person including the gorilla permit, chimpanzee permits and Rwenzori trekking permit. The accommodation is in Luxury Hotels

Note: You cannot go on a self-guided tour to Rwenzori Mountains. The policy is all mountain tours are accompanied by a mountain crew consisting of a local guide, porters and cook. It may be dangerous especially due to poor network as you may not be able to contact anyone for help in case you are lost or an accident.

How to get to the Rwenzori Mountains National Park

Find the complete guide of how to get around Rwenzori Mountains for Rwenzori Climbing Adventure.  The Rwenzori Mountains can be reached at the trailhead at Nyakalengija, 22km from Kasese, off Fort portal – Kampala Road.

At Nyakalengija are park offices from where you’ll pay some small park fees.

Flights to Kasese ( Rwenzori Mountains National Park ):  Charter flights are available from Entebbe to Kasese with Aero Link.

Other Interesting Safari Activities in Uganda after your Rwenzori Hiking safari.

Most travelers that select to go on treks have the option to explore the unique safari experiences including the mountain gorillas in Bwindi Forest and chimpanzee tracking in Kibale Forest and the best trip is 12 days primates & Rwenzori trek. On this trip, you get to visit the chimps in Kibale, Hike the Rwenzori Mountains and Visit the Mountain Gorillas in Bwindi Impenetrable national park.

Those interested in visiting the mountain gorillas are required to book their gorilla permits in advance to avoid being disappointed.

Never miss a stopover at the Equator line in Masaka or a lion tracking experience in the Kasenyi plains of Queen Elizabeth National Park 

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