We started our journey with the transfer from Entebbe to Kasese town where the Rwenzori Expeditions had booked us an overnight stay at Sandton hotel on Bed and breakfast. During our transfer with Moses the appointed driver guide from the company, he discussed a lot of things that made us feel we had missed out on including the primate watching in Kibale and gorillas so we suggested to add an extension to visit the Mountain gorillas in the famous Bwindi impenetrable national Park for gorilla trekking.
The Drive from Entebbe international airport to Kasese with stop over at Fort portal city (the cleanest city in Uganda) took approximately 8 hours. Vote of thanks to Moses who managed to drive us carefully on the road.
Upon arrival at Sandton hotel, we were joined by Ronald our ground handler.
Halima, the reservations personnel at Primate Safari Experiences requested a deposit of 100$ per person through the company’s online payment platform. This was booking fee and we had to pay the balance upon our arrival at Kasese. (Recommended Flexible Booking Policy as marketed on their website!) I gave them bonus on this payment practice!!!
After the booking process, let me take you through the Mountaineering Journey in the Rwenzori Mountains National park.
Rwenzori Mountains National Park is located in South Western Uganda and its known for the glacier and the snowcapped peaks that are found within the Rwenzori Mountains. No single traveler has ever thought of visiting the Rwenzori Mountains without the idea of conquering the margherita peak found on Mount Stanley which is on the border of Uganda and Democratic republic of Congo.
The Ruwenzori Mountains are the third highest mountains in Africa after Mount Kilimanjaro and Mount Kenya although the hike to Rwenzori Mountains is a bit challenging compared to the Trek to Kilimanjaro in Tanzania.
The route we selected:
Any traveler planning to visit the Rwenzori mountains should be aware that there are three routes; the kilembe trail, central circuit and the Bukurungu trail. For us we selected the central circuit.
Rwenzori Central Circuit that is located close to Mihunga Gate on the foots of Rwenzori Mountains National Park. It’s the oldest route that was used by the first explorers that visited Rwenzoris and was the only one existing up to 2009 when the second route was created as partnership between Uganda wildlife authority and Rwenzori Trekking services.
Brief fact about the Glaciers and Treks
The Rwenzori Mountains consists of 6 distinctive mountains including, Stanley, Speke, Baker, Emin, Gessi, and Saviola. Mt Stanley’s 16762 ft which houses Margherita peak and stands on the Uganda –Congo boarder, is the third highest point in Africa. Mt Baker was named by Abruzzi in honor of Samuel baker a British explorer who discovered lake albert in the northeastern Rwenzori mountains in 1864. During our hike on the 9 Days Unique Rwenzori Climb, we hiked the series of Mount Stanley, Mount Baker and Mount Speke since our focus was to see the glaciers within the Rwenzoris.
Budget options for Rwenzori Mountaineering Tours.
The reservation team of Rwenzori expeditions recommended a variety of mountaineering tours ranging from the lowest to the most luxurious one and we selected the 9 days Unique Rwenzori tour that included Mount Baker, Mount Stanley and mount Speke at only 1780 USD per Person.
The shortest trip is the 6 days mountaineering that was discounted to around 950$$ and margherita Peak is 1407 USD including the Equipment, Park Entrance for the 7 Days Rwenzori hike. All these rates are for climbers using the Rwenzori Central Circuit which is the reliable Route and recommended for beginners to summit to Mount Stanley.
Then for the unique Bukurungu trail; the 10 Days Rwenzori trek Costs 2450 USD for the 10 days adventure in the Rwenzoris and you use ground tents, camping in the wilderness, don’t expect the luxury huts like those of Kilembe trail and Rwenzori Central Circuit, you will have to pin your own tents for the daily overnight stay and it can be too cold at times! This was expensive and it seemed to require a lot of experience to be undertaken by travelers like us.
The Kilembe Trekking tours; these are a bit expensive compared to the prices of Rwenzori Central Circuits as the company tends to quote excluding Park entrances which are paid separately. The Prices also include Rwenzori trekking permits, food, huts and the Rwenzori trekking equipment we hired separately at 100 usd per person.
Don’ts while in the Rwenzoris
During our briefing with Ronald the ground handler, briefed us abut the things we didn’t have to do while trekking.
- Do not trek alone.
- Avoid walking too fast.
- Do not go to restricted areas.
- Don’t leave plastics and other wastes on the trekking trail.
- Don’t trespass in excitement, seeing the high-altitude mountains around you.
Depending on the interest and reasons for visiting Rwenzori Mountains National Park, there are a variety of safari activities to be enjoyed starting with the Nature walk around the lower vegetation covers, Summiting margherita peak, Birding and community walks outside the park.
If you are fit, don’t miss to walk on the snow of the margherita Peak at 4:00am.
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