Mountain Rwenzori is undoubtedly one of the best hiking destinations in Africa. Standing at an impressive 5,109m, the mountain ranges are the third tallest mountain on the African continent. These mountain massifs are snowcapped throughout the year and they feed the 9 lakes found on the mountain. The waters from the glaciers feed into the Nile. While the lower slopes of the mountain are characterized by moorlands, tropical and bamboo forests, the upper slopes are comprised of giant lobelias, heather, groundsels and spectacular views of glaciers. Primates like chimps, blue monkeys, black and white colobus monkeys are some of the wildlife in the lower slopes of the mountain. On occasion, the rare Rwenzori leopard is spotted on your hike. This 7 days Rwenzori Hike to Margherita safari package takes you through the different vegetation zones to the summit of the mountain.
7 days Rwenzori Hike to Margherita itinerary
Day 1: The Adventure Begins!
We start the adventure walking up the valley and through the lush Afro Montane Forest Zone to Margherita peak. This is a steady climb teeming with wildlife to look out for, including groups of Colobus and L’Hoest monkeys.
Immerse yourself among the flora in the Bamboo-Mimulopsis Zone as you begin to navigate the much steeper climb that reaches Kalalama Camp (3,147 metres). Now in the serene forest of the Heather-Rapanea Zone, keep an eye out for the beautifully vibrant Rwenzori Turaco bird – a must-spot for avid birdwatchers!
Day 2: Kalalama Camp to Bugata Camp
Bypassing Mutinda Camp and continuing up to Bugata Camp (4,100 metres), the trail takes you through the grassy knolls of the ridge and down through the serene valley before climbing back up again. This route takes you over the trickling streams and close to the beautiful photo opportunity of moss-covered waterfalls.
Step over boardwalks in the more boggy areas among the Heather trees and cross the Mutinda Valley – rich with flowers and Giant Lobelias – before the steep climb up to Namusangi Valley (3,840 metres). This vantage point offers stunning views of the Mutinda Peaks and reaches up steadily to Bugata Camp (4,062 metres), situated high up in Bamwanjara Pass overlooking Bugata Lake and Lake Kopello. This camp also offers views of Weismann’s Peak (often covered with snow) and the chance to spot the Red Forest Duiker, a sub-species of antelope only found here in the Rwenzori Mountains.
Day 3: Bugata Camp to Hunwick’s Camp
Leaving Bugata Camp, pass along a ridge before ascending to Bamwanjarra Pass (4,450 metres). On a clear day, there are excellent views of the three main peaks of the mountains.
The trail passes down through the valley, around the edge of bogs and thick evergreen vegetation. This is one of the best places in the Rwenzori Mountains to spot the Malicite Sunbird feeding on the Lobelia flowers.
The trail navigates through some steep sections before a steady climb up and over a ridge to Hunwick’s Camp, situated on the top of a deep valley. This spot boasts views of Mt. Stanley, Mt. Baker, Weismann’s Peak and McConnell’s Prong.
Day 4: Hunwick’s Camp to Margherita Camp
From Hunwick’s Camp, pass down and across the valley floor to Lake Kitendara, with stunning deep waters and beautiful flora.
From here you’ll climb up Scott Elliott’s pass, then along the ridge to Margherita Camp (4,485 metres), situated between impressive rock formations that offer some shelter from the strong winds. This is the very spot where the Duke of Abruzzi camped when making his climb to Margherita Peak in 1906.
Day 5: Mt. Stanley
Start the day off early by climbing Mt. Stanley at 2.30am to ensure the best weather conditions, aiming to safely reach the Margherita peak by 10am.
For those clients with less mountaineering experience we suggest that you stay on Stanley glacier and climb up to a good vantage point on a rocky outcrop on the southern edge of Alexandra Peak to enjoy fantastic views over Congo and the lower mountain ridges.
After ascending the Margherita peak (5,109 metres) you then pass directly back down to Hunwick’s Camp at (3,874 metres).
Day 6: Hunwick’s Camp to Kiharo Camp
From Hunwick’s Camp, start the day by climbing up towards McConnell’s Prong where you get the best views of all three peaks and Scott Elliott’s Pass before reaching Oliver’s Pass (4,505 metres). The trail then cuts back below Weismann’s Peak to the confluence of the Nyamwamba River, which flows down through Kilembe and Kasese to Lake George in Queen Elizabeth National Park.
If you wish to climb Weismann’s Peak (4,620 metres) from Oliver’s pass you have the chance to do so here. On a clear day, there are impressive views of the surrounding mountains that are not to be missed.
After crossing the confluence of the river, the trail leads down to Kiharo Camp, situated in a deep and serene valley with high cliffs and lush vegetation.
Day 7: Returning
Take the trail downhill to the Nyamwamba Valley, taking in the beautiful and unique views of the wildlife. The cascading waterfalls, deep valleys and rich forests are among the best the Rwenzori Mountains has to offer.
A few kilometres from Kiharo Camp, the path turns off to pass along the river. In some areas you may get the chance to catch another glimpse of the Duiker quietly feeding in small clearings.
Following a narrow ridge to bypass steep sections, meet the river again and rest a while beneath natural rock shelter. After crossing a small stream, climb up a gentle slope before coming back down to the river to avoid the impassable waterfalls. This section of forest at the end of the trail are magnificent and full of life – overflowing with birds, primates, Duikers and Hyrax. Return to base camp and this will mark the end of your 7 days Rwenzori Hike to Margherita.