Mahoma Trail: Mountain Rwenzori, originally known as Ruwenzori, is the tallest mountain in Uganda and third highest in Africa. At 5,109m, Margherita is the tallest peak on the mountain ranges. Summiting this mountain is reserved for professional hikers because it’s the most technical mountain in Africa. The mountain is shared by the 2 countries of Uganda in the west and DR Congo in the east.
Mountain Rwenzori is renowned for remarkable flora and beauty. The mountain side is lined with different vegetation zones of moorland, bamboo and tropical forests and alpine vegetation. The giant lobelias, groundsels, heather and unending flower plants are some of the flora on the mountain side. Furthermore, a number of wildlife species call this mountain home. Forest elephants, duikers, chimpanzees, colobus monkeys, blue monkeys and the rare Rwenzori leopard can be spotted on your hiking safari. The melting glaciers feed the streams and in turn the rivers. The waters from these glaciers give and sustain life on the mountain and end up in the river Nile. A total of 9 fresh water lakes are found on the mountain.
Mountain Rwenzori has several trails one can follow on their hiking expedition. Mahoma trail is one of the new trails that allows you to explore the spectacular scenery on the mountain. Although the trail doesn’t take you to the summit, the hike takes you to through the tropical and bamboo forests, through the giant lobelia and garden of everlasting flowers to Lake Mahoma.
The Mahoma trail is one of the trails taken just to explore the mountain side. For those intending to summit, the central circuit trail and the Kilembe trail take you right to Margherita peak. The Mahoma trail allows you to spend 3 amazing nights hiking from one camp to another.
Nyakalengija (1,615m) – Omu’ka Kizza camp (2,977m)
The hike begins with a briefing at the park headquarters. The Mahoma trail starts from Nyakalengija and ascends through the lush green rainforest on the Kyambogho ride. The views of the Mubuku valley is breathtaking. At this section of the trail, expect to see some primates like chimps, blue monkeys and colobus monkeys. The primates’ vocal calls coupled with the chirping of the birds is surreal. The rare Rwenzori Turaco is spotted here. Forest elephants though rarely seen are in this area too. More often, hikers have to settle for their foot tracks. The hike takes you to the Omu’ka Kizza camp. This camp offers a good night’s accommodation and amazing views of Kasese town and the towering Rwenzori mountains.
Omu’ka Kizza Camp (2,977m) – Lake Mahoma (3,515m)
The trail further leads through more heather and bamboo forests. More elephant footprints announce the presence of the big mammals. On a lucky day, you will encounter them quenching their thirst from the hot springs. Follow the trail on the ridge leading to the Rukenga Valley. The valley is brightly colored with unending everlasting flowers and giant lobelias that grow up to 8 meters high. Proceed to lake Mahoma for dinner and a good night. All meals are simple but tasty and freshly made by the chefs. The views on the shores of the lake are calming and soothing. The sound of the birds cuts through the serenity. The whistling of the wind as you gaze over the vast mountain side is magical. Enjoy a remarkable time on this trail.
Lake Mahoma (3,515m) – Nyakalengija (1,615m)
An early breakfast gets you really to descend to the base of the mountain. Retrace your steps through the tropical and bamboo forests, take in the magnificent views of the Mubuku river and arrive at your accommodation in Nyakalengija.
Accommodation on Mahoma Trail.
The trail only has 2 camps. Lake Mahoma and Omu’ka Kizza camp. These camps are fitted with warm, cozy and comfortable sleeping facilities for a good night’s rest. The chefs prepare simple yet tasty and healthy meals. They act as a springboard for your next section of the trail.
Other Trails on Mountain Rwenzori.
Apart from the Mahoma trail, there are various trails on the mountain. Although some don’t lead to the summit, they offer spectacular hiking adventures and other attractions like the local culture.
The southern circuit (Kilembe trail) starts from Kilembe and is one of the routes used to explore the mountain ranges. Run by Rwenzori trekking services, it is the longest of the circuits. This gives hikers the opportunity to acclimatize on their summiting hike. This southern circuit offers day, multi day and summiting hikes. Depending on your preference, you can spend up to 12 days on the mountain side.
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.