15 Days Rwenzori Hike & Gorilla Safari.
Day 1: Kampala
You will be met at the airport by our safari guide who will transfer you to the hotel reserved for you in Kampala. Briefing about the safari will be done right before dinner at the hotel where you’ll spend the night.
Day 2: Whitewater Rafting in Jinja
You will have an early breakfast and travel to Jinja for the magnificent white water rafting adventure. You will be driving past acres of sugarcane and roadside stalls selling avocados, pawpaws, bananas and oranges.
The journey will take you through the tropical rain forest of Mabira, tea and sugarcane plantations plus several roadside markets.
After a couple of hours you’ll cross the Owen Falls Dam which was built several km’s down from Speke’s source of the Nile. The Nile flows freely below the dam and makes quick time of the trip down the river to Bujagali Falls which is the first major rapid on the river and is where you will start your rafting action! The following morning, you’ll raft from Bujagli to Bwekkwaso.
Each bend in the river brings yet another thunderous roar from the cascading falls ahead. This truly is whitewater rafting at its finest. We’ll lunch on our beautiful mid-river island beneath the shade of the trees. The back to back drops of “Overtime” and “Retrospect” provide some of the most technical and sustained rafting to be found anywhere. We spend the night on another beautiful mid-river island. The campsite comes alive after dark to sound of african music and dancing. In the morning you’ll raft down to Nabuganyi – the pools between the rapids are larger but don’t be fooled – the crashing waves of “Mulalu” and “Potali” will take your breath away!
You will crown your adventure with a visit to the source of the Nile and return to Kampala for dinner and overnight at Forest Cottages.
Day 3: Transfer to Fort Portal – Kasese
You will be transferred to Kasese via Mubende and Fort Portal. This is a long trip to Western Uganda. A stop is also foreseen at Fort Portal for some shopping.
After some shopping we will drive another hour to reach the Kasese where you will stay at Equator Snow Lodge or Rwenzori Base Camp – Ibanda
Day 4: Nyakalengija (1,646 m) – Up to Nyabitaba Hut (2,652 m)
After breakfast you will have a short drive to offices of the Rwenzori Mountains National Park and the Rwenzori Mountaineering Services (RMS) at Nyakalengija.
Time will be spend in the morning to rent equipment and be availed with guides and porters. Your hiking trip begins from the park headquarters at 1,646 m, walking past typical mud and wattle Bakonzo homes and gradually moving upward through elephant grass and garden plots. It takes approximately forty minutes to reach the park boundary.
The trail then follows the Mubuku River, crossing recent landslide areas (to be negotiated carefully), and involves climbing over rocks and bluff, before reaching the Mahoma River in 2 ½ hours.
After crossing the river there will be a steep climbing through open bracken fern slopes and Podorcarpus Forest up to Nyabitaba hut (2,652 m). The Nyabitaba hut is set on a ridge above the confluence of the Bujuku and Mubuku rivers with views over the Portal Peaks which rise above 4,627 m.
Total time for an average hiker from Nyakalengija to Nyabitaba is about 5-7 hours, and total elevation gained is 1,200 m.
Day 5: Nyabitaba Hut (2,652 m) – John Matte Hut (3,414 m)
From Nyabitaba Hut the trail leads west ward for half a kilometer then drops steeply to Kurt Shaffer Bridge, crossing below the confluence of Bujuku and the Mubuku rivers. By turning right to the bridge you begin to climb the central circuit anti-clockwise since the clockwise direction is much more difficult and adds considerable danger for you and your porters.
After crossing Kurt Shaffer Bridge the muddy, slippery trail climbs steadily up through bamboo forest. After one and a half hours you encounter an area of slippery boulder hopping which some hikers consider the most difficult and dangerous footing of the circuit.
After five hours of travel from Nyabitaba, you reach the hut at Nyamuleju and its accompanying rock shelter. Nyamuleju means “Place of beards” and refers to moss and lichen hanging from the trees. If you had a late start or know that there is a large group ahead of you at the next hut, you might consider spending the night here. On a rare clear day Mts. Stanley and Speke can be seen from top of the rock near the hut.
Nyamuleju also marks the start of the giant lobelia and groundsel zone, this remarkable vegetation type is found nowhere else in the world except high-altitude tropical African Mountains. The one-hour walk to John Matte hut (3,414 m) is through a challenging bog, full extra ordinary plants and the slow pace can be a delightful chance to examine and photograph this unique environment, typical time to reach John Matte from Nyabitaba is 7 hours.
Some hikers consider this to be the most tiring and longest day of the circuit, so an early start is important. The loss of altitude to Kurt Shafer Bridge means the total elevation to be gained on this day is about 915 m.
Day 6: John Matte Hut (3,414 m) – Bujuku Hut (3,962 m)
Leave John Matte Hut to cross the Bujuku River and enter the lower Bigo bog, where your first real experience of jumping from tussock to tussock on grassy bog begins. The trail is muddy and follows the left (southern) edge of lower Bigo bog until eventually it reaches the round metal “uniport”. A steep section past the hut leads to upper Bigo bog. In the last half of this bog, a boardwalk has been constructed. Though some may think it is an ugly intrusion, it makes walking easier and prevents the hikers from further damaging the bog. A beautiful narrow stream at the upper end of the bog makes good lunch break.
An hour and a half beyond the upper bog, and after climbing through drier ground and crises-crossing the river, you reach lake Bujuku. The southern end of the lake is in a majestic setting, with Mt. Baker to the south, Mt. Stanley to the west, and Mt. Speke to the north.
The trail route along the lake’s northeastern shore crosses the worst mud on the trip. Beyond the north end of the lake is a rock shelter called cooking pot and a short distance further is Bujuku hut (3,962 m), favorably located for parties climbing Mt. Speke (which requires technical skills and special equipment).
Time to reach Bujuku from John Matte is typically 5-6 hours, and the elevation gained is 560 m. But the long stretches of bog, and the mud along the lake make this another challenging day. The shaded location and frequent mists can make Bujuku Hut quite cold.
If one moved around on a nature walk, the chances of seeing Red duikers are high and at night, calls of the rock hyraxes are common.
Day 7: Bujuku Hut (3,900 m) – Elena Hut (4,541 m)
From Bujuku Hut you climb through moss draped groundsel vegetation to Scott Elliot Pass, 4,372 m, between Mt. Baker and Stanley.
Here you divert to Elena Hut, 4,540 m. for spending the night before climbing Mt. Stanley.
Estimated hiking time: 4 hours
Day 8: Elena Hut (4,541 m) – Kitandara Hut (4,023 m)
Early morning traverse of the Elena Glacier to the Stanley Plateau where crampons may be required. Cross this in a north-west direction and follow the Margherita Glacier to the col and to the summit (3 hours).
Descend to Elena Hut and after you descend to Upper Kitandara lake and through thick mud to Lower Kitandara lake where is located Kitandara Hut, 4.023 m. Time to complete the hike about 3 hours more. Enjoy the view of Mt. Luigi di Savoia.
Day 9: Kitandara Hut – Guy Yeoman Hut (3,261 m)
From Lake Kitandara you climb to Freshfield Pass, 4,282 m, a long flat of high alpine mossy glades, before descending the circuit among rocky and boggy areas. The panorama is dominated by the glaciers of Mounts Stanley and Baker and Mount of Savoy.
A muddy trail leads to Akendahi, Bujongolo and Kabamba rock shelters, where starts the Kabamba valley down to Guy Yeoman Hut, 3.261 m. This can take up to 6 hours. The hut is surrounded by a beautiful landscape of mountains, vegetations and rivers.
Day 10: Guy Yeoman Hut – Nyabitaba Hut
Drop very steeply alongside the Mubuku River, past Kichuchu, another rock shelter and join our original route near the confluence of the Bujuku River. (3 1/2 hours)
Day 11: Nyabitaba-Nyakalengija Base Camp
Descend steeply off the ridge and enter the warm rainforest. Look for the tropical forest birds and monkeys. (2 hours)
After, your driver picks you for transfer to Kibale National Park.
Day 12: Transfer to Bwindi impenetrable national park
Through the queen Elizabeth national park you go to the mighty gorillas of uganda. along the way you can have a chance to view some animals in the park and the tree climbing lions of Isasha.
Relax at the park and accommodation with dinner at…………
Day 13: Gorilla trekking
Follow guides on foot through the forest in search of the gorillas.
Expect to see other primates, incredible species of bird and listen for the sounds of the gorillas. When a group is found, we will spend about an hour with them.
Forest treks normally vary between 2 and 6 hours.
Day 14: Transfer to kampala .Estimated time: 9 hours.
End of 15 Days Rwenzori Hike & Gorilla Safari.