Central circuit trail

The central circuit trail takes you through the different vegetation zones to the summit of Mountain Rwenzori. This trail is the most popular route used when hiking the Rwenzoris. It is ran and managed by Rwenzori Mountaineering services. Standing at 5,109m, Mountain Rwenzori is the tallest in Uganda and 3rd in Africa after Mt Kilimanjaro and Mt Kenya. Although, it isn’t the tallest, its arguably the toughest mountain to summit. For those looking for that adventure challenge, Rwenzori is the destination.

The Rwenzori Mountains are located in the Western part of Uganda and Eastern part of DR Congo. The snowcapped peaks offer breathtaking viewing on your hiking safari in Uganda. The vegetation zones of moorland, heather, bamboo and tropical forests are home to primates, duikers and birds. On your hike through this central circuit, you are accompanied by porters to help with your luggage, chefs to prepare your meals and guides. Every camp has adequate accommodation facilities of cabins for a comfortable night.

The Trail.

NYAKALENGIJA (1,615m) – NYABITABA CAMP (2,651m.)

The hike through the central circuit trails always begins at the Rwenzori Mountaineering services. Here, you are briefed, get acquainted with your porters and get the proper equipment for your hike. The trail takes you through farm lands to the park headquarters. Tropical forests in this section are home to various primates. The vocal calls and the sight of darting monkeys in the trees are a thrilling encounter. Blue monkeys, chimps and the colobus monkeys are some of the primate on the trail. The Rwenzori Turaco is one of the rare bird species here. Hike past Mubuku river onto the sharp ridge that leads to Nyabitaba hut. This hut is the day’s hiking destination. The trail on this day covers a distance of 8km.

NYABITABA (2,651m) – JOHN MATTE CAMP (3,505m)

The trail from Nyabitaba hut takes you through the tropical forest to the Kurt Shafer bridge where the Mubuku and Bujuku rivers converge. Further up, the trail leads into a bamboo dotted by montane forest. The slippery rocks are covered with moss making it a grueling hike. At Nyamulejju rock shelter, the peaks of Mt Stanley and Speke are visible on a clear day. This is a perfect stop for a lunch break. Follow the trail through the alpine forest till you reach the John Matte hut. Enjoy a cool but refreshing bath in the nearby Bujuku river. The Margherita glacier on Mt Stanley is visible. This day’s hike covers 11km.

9 Days Rwenzori Hike

JOHN MATTE (3,505)- BUJUKU CAMP (3,962m)

The trail to Bujuku camp crosses the Bujuku river, through the forest onto the lower Bigo bog. This swampy section gives life to the Giant Lobelia, one of the amazing flora on the mountain. The walk boards that lead to the end of the bog greatly reduced on the difficulty of this hike. Large groundsels and everlasting flowers create an epic scenery in the bog. The trail then leads to a steep climb that leads to the upper Bigo bog. Follow the board walk to Lake Bujuku and finally to Bujuku hut. The views of the Lake, Mount Speke, Mount Stanley and Mount Baker are supreme. The Bujuku hut offers good accommodation for the night. The hike distance to the hut is 5km.

BUJUKU - ELENA CAMP (4,541m)

The 5-7-hour hike takes you from Bujuku camp to Elena camp. Follow the trail through the upper Bigo bog to the steep inclines of Lake Bujuku. Proceed to the Scoot-Elliot’s pass (4.372m) and into the swamps for a grueling hike. The ground gully leads to a sharp segment where a metallic ladder is climbed. Follow the right trail that leads to Elena camp. Elena camp is found on the highest mountain range of the Rwenzori. The freezing cold itches to the bone. However, you are rewarded with stunning views of Mounts Baker and Speke on a clear day.

ELENA HUT - MARGHERITA PEAK (5,109m) – KITANDARA CAMP (4,430m)

For those summiting, this day’s hike is always the culmination of the hard training and grueling trek. Although it is the toughest day on the mountain, it’s the most anticipated. The day begins as early as 2am. Breakfast is served and you prepare to encounter the highest point in Uganda. Put on your warm clothes, hand gloves, head sock and tighten your harness. Test your headlamps and helmets and venture onto the trail. Hike to the Margherita peak on Mount Stanley. The ropes anchored to the mountain rocks will help you along your trek. The guides will instruct you on how to navigate through the glacier using crampons and ice axes.

The view and feeling of accomplishment is overwhelming. The view is heavenly. Ireen Lake, Speke and the surrounding rugged terrain is an encounter that stay with you forever. Capture the moment in photos and videos and return to Elena hut. Here, you will have a nice lunch before you proceed with your hike to Kitandara camp. This camp offers the best scenic views on the entire mountain. Here, you get to enjoy the views and recover from your tough hike

KITANDARA CAMP (3.979m) – GUY YEOMAN HUT (3,505m)

The central circuit trail takes you to the base of Mount Baker and ascends sharply up the headwall which spreads out from Mount Baker’s base. Proceed through Fresh field pass, through the muddy slippery sections past Bujangalo. At the banks of Mubuku river, the Guy Yeoman hut offers shelter from the long day’s expedition. The hike time is 5-7 hours.

12 Days Rwenzori and Gorilla safari

GUY YEOMAN (3,505m) –NYABITABA –NYAKALENGIJA

This is the last day on the mountain and the trail leads straight back to the starting point in Nyakalengija. Descend through the bamboo forests, slippery and steep rocks to Nyabitaba. This descent takes up to 5 hours. The chefs will provide a nice hot meal after which you will hike the next 3 hours to Nyakalengija.

Accommodation on the central circuit trail

Central circuit trail
  • Nyabitaba camp (2651m)
  • John matte camp (3505m)
  • Bujuku camp (3962m)
  • Elena hut (4541m)
  • Kitandara camp (4023m)
  • Guy yeoman camp (3505m)

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