Here, we are looking at what it takes to climb the Rwenzori Mountains, the highest mountain range in Uganda.

Mount Rwenzori is located in the western part of the country, in Bundibugyo District, on the border of Uganda with the Democratic Republic of Congo. One of the biggest reasons people trek Mount Rwenzori is that it is home to the tallest point in Uganda, Margherita Peak.

Mount Rwenzori is often referred to as the “Mountains of the Moon” due to its snow-capped peaks. It has six peaks separated by deep gorges: Mount Stanley (5,109 meters), Mount Speke (4,890 meters), Mount Baker (4,843 meters), Mount Emin (4,798 meters), Mount Gessi (4,715 meters), and Mount Luigi di Savoia (4,627 meters).

Margherita Peak, at 5,109 meters, is the highest point and a dream destination for many hikers. Hikers can reach the peak via three constructed hiking trails on the mountain, and completing the hike typically takes 8 to 9 days.

There are a few circuits to climb the Rwenzori Mountains. The Central Circuit Trail is the oldest, the Kilembe Trail is the longest, and the Bukurungu Trail is the newest.

Here’s a quick summary of what we cover:

Climbing the Rwenzori Mountains

Hiking Mount Rwenzori is done every day, and it starts with a briefing at the starting point of the hiking trails to be used. There are three hiking trails on Mount Rwenzori: the Kilembe trail, the Central Circuit trail, and the Bukurungu trail. During the briefing, the hikers are taught about the rules and regulations of the hiking activity.

At the start of the hiking trails, rangers lead and protect the hikers. Porters help hikers carry their excess luggage. Before the hike starts, hikers are briefed and given hiking sticks, which help them balance throughout the hike.

Rwenzori Mountains in Uganda

The Rwenzori Mountain Hiking Trails

The oldest trail on the mountain is the central circuit trail, which can be used by both inexperienced and experienced hikers. It’s said that the trail is the shortest route to Margherita Peak, passing through five vegetation zones. The Kilembe trail was the second trail to be made. It’s the longest and is said to have great views of the lakes, rivers, waterfalls, glaciers, and wildlife.

The Bukurungu trail is the newest trail on Mount Rwenzori, created after the Central Circuit trail and the Kilembe trail. It has spectacular views of most lakes on the mountain, such as Bukurungu, Bujuku, Irene, and Mughuli. Like the Kilembe trail, it takes 8 days to complete.

Hiking Mount Rwenzori can be done on any of the three trails mentioned above. The hike takes 7 to 9 days to complete, and the time taken depends on the trail used. Armed ranger guides lead the hikers throughout the hike, making sure everyone is safe.

When the hiking has just began, the hikers will go through different vegetation covers where they have chances of meeting different wildlife species and vegetation of the park. Different birds, mammals, and primates are seen in the vegetation cover on the mountain.

Hiking involves traversing different vegetation zones and terrains. Each day, hikers spend about 7 to 8 hours on the trail, and they rest at different accommodations constructed on the slopes of the mountain. For 7 to 8 days, hikers visit different attractions on the slopes and in nearby areas.

Reaching the summit, which is at Margherita Peak, is every hiker’s dream come true, and those who get to reach there are the champions. At the summit of Mount Rwenzori, hikers take pictures and record videos of themselves at the tallest point in Uganda and the surrounding attractions and areas.

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Plan Your Hiking Trip To Mount Rwenzori

Climbing Mount Rwenzori requires some planning, here are our top tips to plan the best trekking trip.

What To Pack for Mount Rwenzori Hiking?

When coming for Mount Rwenzori hiking, it’s always good to pack most of the things necessary for the hiking to go on smoothly.

Here are some of the items to pack for your trip:

Hiking in the Rwenzori Mountains in Uganda
Hiking in the Rwenzori Mountains in Uganda

What Is the Cost of Hiking Mount Rwenzori?

The average cost of hiking Mount Rwenzori is $200 to $1400. The price varies depending on the number of days and the service providers used; some are budget, others mid-range, and others luxury. Other costs may also apply, such as hiring porters, tipping, and much more.

Mount Rwenzori hiking fees by UWA: Uganda Wildlife Authority put up a fee for hiking Mount Rwenzori for 24 hours. Each day, hikers must pay $50 for foreign non-residents, $40 for foreign residents, and UGX50,000 for East African Member States citizens. The hiking fee is not part of the entrance fee which is 35$ for foreign residents, $25 for foreign non-residents, and 15,000 citizens of East African Member States.

Related read: How Much Does a Uganda Safari Cost?

When is the Best Time to Hike Mount Rwenzori?

Mount Rwenzori is best hiked during the driest months of the year, which are June to September and December to February. These months have little rainfall and plenty of sunshine, which doesn’t affect the activity negatively. In the dry season, the hiking trails are dry and easier to walk through, so hikers reach different mountain levels in time.

In the dry season, tourists also find the vegetation on the mountain’s slopes short and scattered, which leads to clear views of the different attractions on the slopes. Hikers can still try out Mount Rwenzori during the rainy season from March to May and October to November; however, there will be too much rainfall, which can affect the activity.

Tourists who visit Uganda during the rainy season benefit from discounted packages but should be aware of the weather. The rain makes the hiking trails muddy and slippery, vegetation is always tall and thick which gives unclear views of some of the attractions on the mountain’s slopes and the roads leading to the mountain are muddy.

Related read: Tips for Planning a Safari in Uganda

How To Get to the Rwenzori Mountains

Tourists can reach mountain Rwenzori via road or air transport in a single day. Road transport is the quickest, taking less than 2 hours. Flights land at Kasese, the closest major town to the mountain. Aerolink Uganda and Bar Aviation Uganda have flights to the Rwenzori mountains every day using the Kasese airstrip from Entebbe in the morning, mid-morning, and afternoon.

Rwenzori mountains are well accessed by road transport, which is affordable to all travelers. From Entebbe, it takes 7 to 8 hours to get to Rwenzori, and the time taken depends on the speed of the driver and the number of stopovers. Tourists who use this mode of transport get great views of different attractions along the way.

From Entebbe to Rwenzori Mountain, tourists drive through Mityana, Mubende, Kyegegwa, Kyenjojo, Fort Portal, and then to Bundibudyo, where the park is found. Tourists can drive from Entebbe via Kampala, Mpigi, Masaka, Lyantonde, Mbarara, Bushenyi, Kasese, and then Bundibudyo however this route takes longer hours.

Get in touch with Africa Adventure Vacations to book your Rwenzori mountain hiking experience:

  • Africa Adventure Vacations

    Africa Adventure Vacations is a one-stop center for the best and most memorable African safaris. We are a renowned safari operator based in Uganda, offering exceptional tours throughout the East African region, ranging from wildlife adventures, culture, birding, luxury gorilla safaris to Kilimanjaro trekking tours. All our tours can be customized to best suit your travel needs, budget and time.