Margherita Peak Africa’s third highest peak in the world. The climb to this peak will take everything within you and the weather better cooperates with you. The journey to the peak is breathtaking as you pass various beauty points of forests, valleys, flora diversity, scenery of the mountains, streams of water and various lakes. You will also enjoy the various bird species, several primates like the chimps.
Day 1: Arrival for your Rwenzori Hiking Safari
Our friendly guide will welcome you to Uganda at Entebbe airport and transfer you to your hotel in Entebbe or Kampala depending on time of arrival. Enjoy the fresh breeze from Lake Victoria – 2nd largest lake in the world.
Drive time – 20 minutes
Day 2: Transfer to Rwenzori Mountains National park
Today you will be transferred to Kasese and continue to the foothills of the Mountains of Moon – the Rwenzori mountains. You will have time to rest and prepare to start your trek tomorrow.
Drive time – 7 hours
Day 3: Hike to Sine Hut Or Kalalama Camp
Start at Trekkers at 1,450 meters and sleep at Sine Hut at 2,596 meters being a height gain of 1,146 meters, or those who are fit and want to proceed to Kalalama Camp at 3,134 metres may do so and apart from the fantastic views gives you more time at Mutinda Camp where you may climb up to Mutinda Lookout at 3,975 metres.
There are wooden huts set between tall forest trees on a narrow ridge where you may sit and enjoy the beauty of the Afro Montane forest while you look down at a fantastic waterfall crashing over the rocks far below. This place is also rich with bird species being below the bamboo zone. Enjoy the waterfalls that are about 150 metres from the camp.
Day 4: Hike to Mutinda Camp
Trekking starts at 8.30am and almost immediately you enter the Bamboo Zone which is steep climb with many high steps. In the wet season the bamboo zone is rather muddy and slippery making the going slow. However the atmosphere and the forest is beautiful as you climb 551 metres altitude and a distance of 1.8 km to Kalalama Camp at 3,147 meters which is in the Heather-Rapanea Zone where you can take a rest and a quick cup of tea or coffee before heading on to Mutinda Camp.
In the afternoon you may wish to climb up to the top of the Mutinda Lookout (one to two hours up and one hour down) The views are amazing as you stand on moss covered rocks at 3,925 meters with views across the Rwenzori Mountains and down to Kasese town and Lake George. For those clients who are climbing to Margherita or any of the main peaks climbing Mutinda 3,975 meters is also an excellent way to acclimatize and reduce the risk of high altitude sickness
Mutinda Camp at 3582 metres
Day 5: Hike to Bugata Camp at 4100 metres
The trail to Bugata Camp is boggy particularly in the wet season but with a little skill you make it. First you cross the Mutinda valley through the grass and everlasting flowers interspersed with many Giant Lobelias before climbing a steep section up to the Namusangi Valley (3,840 meters). The Namusangi Valley is wide, with many ups and downs as the trail climbs steadily to Bugata Camp at 4,100 metres.
Day 6: Hike to Hunwick’s Camp
As you leave Bugata Camp you pass up a ridge then drop down slightly before ascending to Bamwanjarra Pass at 4,450 meters where we have a hut should the weather turn bad. Here is possibly the best place in all the Rwenzori to observe the Malachite Sunbird as it feeds on the many lobelia flowers and a known breeding site. Farther on there is some steep sections before a steady climb up and over a ridge to Hunwick’s Camp which is situated on the top of a deep valley with good views of Mt Stanley, Mt Baker, Weismanns Peak and McConnell’s Prong.
Day 7: Hike to Margherita Camp
Today you start the hike to the Margherita Camp at 4485 metres situated between some huge rocks and offering some shelter from the strong winds. You will move past Lake Kitandara which is very stunning with deep water and beautiful vegetation.
Day 8: Summit Margherita
Wake up at 2am and catch an early breakfast before heading off to climb Mt Stanley at 2.30am. This is necessary as the weather has changed a lot and often even during the dryer season the mountain is closed in with heavy clouds and snow falls from 1 pm to 4pm and this happens within a short period of 10 to 15 minutes as the clouds rise up from the extensive Congo rainforests. Due to this change in weather we have set a strict turnaround time of 10am so if you do not reach the peak before then you must turn around regardless of the disappointment in the interests of safety. Margherita glacier has also suffered with global warming and as the outer edges of the glacier recede the ice is becoming steeper with one section of about 200 meters more than 60% grade. Combined with this much of the blacker has melted underneath causing caves under the ice and as it get thinner eventually caves in. So is necessary that clients understand and take advice of where the guides suggest to pass.
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 peak at 5,109 metres you then pass directly down to Hunwick’s Camp at 3.874 metres.
Day 9: Descend to Kiharo Camp
Distance to Kiharo Camp 11km Time taken to walk 4 to 7 hours. From Hunwick’s Camp we start the day by climbing up a ridge towards McConnell’s Prong where you get the best views of all three peaks and Scott Elliott’s Pass before reaching Oliver’s Pass at 4,505 metres. The trail then cuts across below Weismann’s Peak to the confluence of the Nyamwamba River which flows down thought Kilembe and Kasese to Lake George in Queen Elisabeth National Park.
After crossing the confluence the trail meanders down the valley to Kiharo Camp at which is situated in a deep valley with high cliffs and dense vegetation. On the way down the valley after each bog you will climb over a ridge of stones and earth which seems out of place but actually was pushed there by slow moving glaciers which eventually stopped moving, melted and left a pile of rocks and debris in front of where the glacier once stood.
Day 10: Descend to the starting point and continue to your hotel
Distance Kiharo Camp to the park gate 12.2km. The trail down the Nyamwamba Valley is mostly downhill and absolutely stunning with beautiful views, moss covered rocks along the river, cascading waterfalls, deep valleys and forests are possibly the best in the Rwenzori Mountains.
A few kilometers from Kiharo Camp the path turns off to the right to pass along the river. In the clear areas you may catch a glimpse of a Duiker quietly feeding in small clearings as you pass along the river. If you wish you may prefer to walk down the river itself hopping across the rocks as you pass down.
Day 11: Transfer to Entebbe
Today morning after a restful night, your driver guide will transfer you to Entebbe international airport for your flight home.
B & L