Have an early breakfast and transfer to Kasese with a lunch stop in Fort portal town. Arrive in Kasese in the Evening.
Dinner and overnight stay at:
Drive Time: 8 to 10 Hours
Rwenzori Mountains National Park is a Ugandan national park and UNESCO World Heritage Site located in the Rwenzori Mountains. Almost 1,000 km2 (386 sq mi) in size, the park has Africa’s third highest mountain peak and many waterfalls, lakes, and glaciers. The park is known for its beautiful plant life.
Rwenzori Mountains National Park was established in 1991. It was designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1994 because of its outstanding natural beauty. Rebel militias occupied the Rwenzori Mountains from 1997 to June 2001. The park was inscribed on UNESCO’s List of World Heritage in Danger between 1999 and 2004 because of insecurity and a lack of resources in the park.
Rwenzori Mountains National Park is located in south-western Uganda on the east side of the western (Albertine) African rift valley. It lies along Uganda’s border with the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) and borders the DRC’s Virunga National Park, also a UNESCO World Heritage Site, for 50 km (31 mi). It is situated in the Bundibugyo, Kabarole, and Kasese districts, 25 km (16 mi) from the small town of Kasese. It is 996 square kilometres (385 sq mi) in size, 70 percent of which exceeds an altitude of 2,500 metres (8,200 ft).
The park is 120 kilometres (75 mi) long and 48 kilometres (30 mi) wide. The park includes most of the centre and eastern half of the Rwenzori Mountains, a mountain range rising above dry plains located just north of the equator. Those mountains are higher than the Alps and are ice-capped. Mount Stanley is located in the park. Margherita Peak, one of Mount Stanley’s twin summits, is Africa’s third highest peak with a height of 5,109 metres (16,762 ft). Africa’s fourth and fifth highest peaks (Mount Speke and Mount Baker) are also located in the park. The park has glaciers, snowfields, waterfalls, and lakes and is one of Africa’s most beautiful mountain areas.
The park has many species that are endemic to the Albertine Rift system, and there are several endangered species in the park. It has a high diversity of plants and trees. The park is noted for its botany, which has been described as some of the most beautiful in the world. There are five distinct vegetation zones in the park, which change according to changes in altitude. The park has 89 species of birds, 15 species of butterfly, and four primate species. The park’s wildlife varies with elevation, and its species include the forest elephant, chimpanzee, hyrax, black-and-white colobus, L’Hoest’s monkeys, duiker, and Rwenzori turaco.
The park is owned by the Ugandan government through Uganda National Parks. It is protected, although extraction may be sanctioned by a board of trustees. Kasese, 437 km (260 mi) west of Uganda’s capital Kampala, is the gateway to the park. The town has hotels and lodges, while the park has camping, a good trail network and huts for hikers. The park has trekking and climbing routes, several with unusual scenery. The most popular trek is a seven-day circuit of the park.
Kasese district was formed in 1974 under the Provincial Administration of Rwenzori district that was curved out of Kabarole District. Prior to this, it was part of Toro kingdom that comprised the present districts of Bundibugyo, Kabarole, Kyenjojo, Kamwenge and Kasese. It is composed of two counties (Busongora and Bukonzo), five constituencies, twenty three rural sub counties, 3 Town Councils and one Municipality which has three divisions.
Kasese District is located in Western part of Uganda bordered to the North by the district of Bundibugyo, the North East by Kabarole, to the South East by Kamwenge, to the South by Rubirizi partly Rukungiri and to the West by the Democratic Republic of Congo. It lies between latitudes 0o 12�S and 0o 26�N; longitudes 29o 42�E and 30o 18�E. Kasese is a multi-ethnic district with many people of different ethnic backgrounds. The main languages and ethnic groups that dominate the area are the Lukonzo and Lutooro of the Bakonzo and Batooro people respectively.
But there are also other groups in the district who include the Banyankole, Basongora and Bakiga. There is also common usage of English, Swahili and Luganda.
Like most districts in Uganda, Kasese district is predominantly agricultural, relying on farming for employment and income. The people keep livestock including cattle, goats, sheep and pigs.
The district also has industrial potential with two operational mining operations currently mining sulphur, copper and cobalt at Kilembe. There are a number of industries in the district, which have greatly contributed to the availability of employment to the population.
Although Lake Katwe Salt Project has taken long without bearing fruits, it has significantly contributed to the welfare of the local people involved in mining. Agricultural production is high owing to the rich soils and reliable rainfall. But lack of proper information about markets denies farmers the opportunity to sell their produce profitably.
The presence of a tarmac road linking Kasese to other districts like Kabarole and Bushenyi, however, enables the district to transport its produce to other parts of the country.
Most of the produce from Kasese gets markets in urban centres in the western and central regions of Uganda. Passion fruits for example are one of the main crops from Kasese sold in most urban areas throughout the country. Kasese�s position along the border with the Democratic Republic of Congo encourages border trade.
Land tenure in the district is mostly customary and freehold and there is a high potential for agricultural mechanization.
Have an early breakfast and transfer to the park head quarters at Nyakalengija.
The Central Circuit starts at the Rwenzori Mountaineering Services offices at Nyakalengija. You should arrive in the morning to allow ample time to rent equipment and meet your guides and porters. The trail begins by passing through farmland to the park boundary beyond which it follows the Mubuku River , crossing its Mahoma tributary before starting a long, steep climb up onto a massive ridge to reach Nyabitaba hut.
The hike takes around 6 -7 hours.
During this part of the trip you may hear chimpanzee and see black and white colobus, blue monkey and the brilliantly coloured Rwenzori turaco.
From Nyabitaba follow the trail that drops down through the forest to the Kurt Shafer Bridge , just below the confluence of the Mubuku and Bujuku rivers.
Passing through the bamboo forest, traverse through a long and exhausting stretch of slippery moss-covered rock.
From the Nyamileju rock shelter, Mount Stanley and Mount Speke can be seen before passing into the zone of the giant heather, lobelia and groundsel.
Finally reach John Matte Hut after passing through the tiring bog, for Dinner and Overnight at the Hut.
From John Matte Hut the trail drops down to cross the Bujuku River and enters Lower Bigo Bog, the home of giant lobelias. Jumping from tussock to tussock, the bog is finally crossed but rarely without the feet sampling some of the freezing ooze below.
The Upper Bigo bog gives way to Bujuku Lake, with views of Mt Baker to the South and Mt Stanley to the West. Bujuku Hut, well located in the shadow of Mount Baker and Mount Speke , is set in a narrow valley below Stuhlmann Pass.
Dinner and overnight at Bujukuhut.
Leaving Bujuku, the trail takes you through more bog, while climbing the steep slopes west of the lake and through the magical Groundsel Gully as it ascends to Scott-Elliot Pass at 4372m. At the head of the gully a metal ladder takes you over a steep section after which the trail is divided into two.
The trail on your right leads up to Elena Hut and Mount Stanley on a steep trail over large boulders, while the trail on your left leads to Scott-Elliot Pass and down to Kitandara Lakes the trail on he left leads those who are not climbing Margherita Peak to Kitandara Hut.
Those climbing the peak will have their Dinner and Overnight at the coolly and Icy Elena Hut.
For those aiming at reaching Margherita peak (5109m), continue to the base of the Stanley Glacier. To reach the summit of Margherita, the climb takes about 5-7 hours depending on the weather conditions and the pace of climbing this mountain. This tough walk takes you over three glaciers, slippery rock, ice and very exposed areas which are open on many sides.
Note that this climb is for only physically fit and technical climbers. Climbing on to the glaciers, cross the Stanley Plateau and proceed with the ascent.
Acclimatized to fog, altitude sickness and coolly weather, scramble up to the summit of Margherita the highest peak of the Rwenzoris. Given the high altitude and the tough conditions even if you do not reach the peak, don�t get disappointed. Prepare for you return through the Scott-Elliot pass, where there are spectacular views back to Bujuku Lake and Mount Speke , up to Mount Stanley and down to the Kitandara Lakes .
After the trail that passes you through an alpine zone of sparse vegetation and rough boulders, descend past the Kitandara Lakes for dinner and overnight at the Kitandara.
From Kitandara, take on the trail that ascends steeply up the headwall, spreading out from the base of Mount Baker and continuing along the south side of the mountain to Fresh field Pass.
At this point you can view into the Congo to the west and Mount Stanley to the north. From the pass, take on the long trail passing the rock shelter at Bujongolo, the base camp for the historic expedition by the Duke of Abruzzi in 1906.
Over night at Guy yeoman.
The descent to Nyabitaba takes around 6 -7 hours but with an early start it is possible to make it all the way down to Nyakalengija. Below Guy Yeoman, the route descends the cliffs of Kichuchu.
Beyond Kichuchu the muddy path crosses the Mubuku River twice before climbing upwards to Nyabitaba to complete the circuit.
NB: Car arrives from Kampala
The descent from Nyabitaba to Nyakalengija takes 3-4 hours we travel a short distance from the base of Rwenzori Mt. on the floor of the Western Rift valley to Margherita Hotel.
Transfer to Margherita hotel and reflect on your adventure.
Overnight stay at Margherita Hotel. B,L,D
Kampala is the capital and largest city of Uganda.
The city is divided into five boroughs that oversee local planning:
Surrounding Kampala is the rapidly growing Wakiso District, whose population more than doubled between 2002 and 2014 and now stands at over 2 million.
Kampala was named the 13th fastest growing city on the planet, with an annual population growth rate of 4.03 percent by City Mayors and has been ranked the best city to live in East Africa ahead of Nairobi and Kigali by Mercer, a global development consulting agency based in New York City.