© Rwenzori Trekking Services

Margherita Peak

8 Day Uganda Tour - Rwenzori Mountains Hiking Package

Trek into the mountains of the fabled ‘Mountains of the Moon’ to summit snow-capped Margherita Peak, the fourth highest peak in Africa! You’ll be hiking through montane forest, lobelia gardens and spotting monkey troops, dikdiks and chameleons along the way with stunning views over glaciers, forest valleys and the savannah of Queen Elizabeth National Park below.

From $1,460 PP

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Highlights

- Summit Margherita peak the fourth highest peak in Africa!
- Panoramic views across mountains, lakes and savannah.
- Old world monkeys and other worldly flora.

Brief Itinerary

Day 1 - Montane forest and monkeys.
Day 2 - Bamboo forest and waterfalls.
Day 3 - Weismann’s Peak view.
Day 4 - Glacial lakes and snow capped peaks.
Day 5 - Batawu river and retracing history
Day 6 - Summiting Margherita Peak!
Day 7 - Hyrax and hiking.
Day 8 - The final decent from the mountains.
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A stream passing Kilemebe, your starting point for your trekking in the Rwenzori Mountains. Image © Rachel Landman

Day 1 - Montane forest and monkeys

The trek starts at Trekkers Hostel in Kilembe. It’s best to start your adventure by 9am but can leave as late as 11am. You walk 2.2km to the UWA rangers post at 1,727m, which takes about one hour. At the gate the rangers will brief you on the rules of the national park. You start by walking along the valley floor through tall forest trees of the afro-montane forest zone. This is a steady climb with a multitude of birds and a chance of seeing wild chimpanzees or blue monkey scampering off through the forest. At times visitors can also see troupes of 15 to 20 colobus monkeys racing through the treetops, as well as the chance of a sighting of the L’hoest monkey, which is part of the Bakonzo cultural emblem and are, protected by the virtue of the Omusinga (king). There are wide varieties of plant species from forest trees to bamboos thickets, low shrubs, flowers, fungi, and with many moss and lichen covered vines hanging from the tall trees, creating an amazing appeal. Enoch’s Falls are just 200m from Sine Hut and well worth the short stroll after your long day trekking to experience the white water as it streams down the mountains side. The wooden cabin at Sine Hut will be your first accommodation on the trek. It contains 10 beds and is set between tall forest trees on a narrow ridge, with a verandah where you may sit and enjoy the beauty of the afro-montane forest.

Starting Point: 1450M

End Point: 2596M

Highest Point: 2596M

Estimated Time: 5 - 8 Hours

Distance: 7.6KM

Day 2 - Bamboo forest and waterfalls

After a hearty breakfast, your day of trekking begins at 8.30am and you’ll soon enter the bamboo-mimulopsis zone. It will be a steep climb with many high steps. In the wet season the bamboo area is rather muddy making the going slow. However the atmosphere and the forest is beautiful as you climb 551m in altitude and a distance of 1.8km to Kalalama Camp at 3,147m. Here you’ll reach the heather-rapanea zone where you can take a rest and a quick cup of tea or coffee before heading on to Mutinda Camp.
The trail then meanders up and over several small knolls along a ridge top then drops down the side of the valley before climbing again. In doing so you cross several small streams and pass close to moss covered waterfalls. As you continue you climb steadily alongside a beautiful mossy river, which tumbles down over the rocks where giant heather trees, whose trunks are covered in green moss with old man beard hanging from the branches overhead. The trail twists and turns as you climb up the deep valley, which has an enormous variety of plants and flowers. This valley is unique with an abundance of giant heather trees creating a beautiful atmosphere, often shrouded in mist.
Once you reach Mutinda Camp, which is set near a small and waterfall and offers a chance to wash, refresh and relax. Or you may wish to climb up to the top of the Mutinda lookout (one and a half hours up and one hour down). The view and the atmosphere is amazing as you stand on moss covered rocks at 3,925m with views across the Rwenzori mountains and down to Kasese town and Lake George on a clear day.

Starting Point: 2596M

End Point: 3688M

Highest Point: 3688M

Estimated Time: 6 - 8 Hours

Distance: 7KM

Enoch's Falls, Rwenzori Mountains. Image © Rachel Landman
Waterfall in the Rwenzori Mountains. Image © Rachel Landman

Day 3 - Weismann’s Peak view

In the alpine zone the trail is boggy particularly in the wet season, but you can step from tussock to tussock to make the going easier. You will cross Mutinda Valley through the tussock grass and everlasting flowers interspersed with many giant lobelia. Then you climb a steep section up to the Namusangi Valley at 3,840m, which ends abruptly with sheer waterfalls and fantastic views of Mutinda Peak. Namusangi Valley is wide and undulating and you need to cross several bogs as the trail climbs steadily. Bugata Camp is situated way up Bamwanjara Pass high above Bugata Lake with views across Lake Kopello to Weismann’s Peak, which is often covered with snow. Down the valley you’ll get views of Lakes Africa and Kanganyika and the many small peaks towards Mutinda Camp. There is also plenty of red forest duiker, a sub-species only found in the Rwenzori Mountains. In the dryer season you may choose to walk directly up the valley but a more scenic trail meanders along the hilltops with fantastic views of Lake Nusuranja from Plozza Rock. From Plozza Rock you also get fantastic views down the valley across nine lakes, ringed by rugged peaks and ridges. Bugata Camp has good facilities, solar lights, good toilets and bathrooms where the guides will prepare some warm water in a basin for you to wash.

Starting Point: 3688M

End Point: 4062M

Highest Point: 4062M

Estimated Time: 4 - 6 Hours

Distance: 4.9KM

Day 4 - Glacial lakes and snow capped peaks

This morning you will commence trekking at 8:30am to climb up Bamwanjara Pass. The trail climbs steadily with several long flat bogs. The area is covered by everlasting flowers and giant groundsel with the bogs of tussock grass and giant lobelia. The nectar is the main food source of food for the scarlet-tufted malachite sunbird, which is common in this area and endemic to the Rwenzori Mountains. As you climb you’ll look back to see the glacial lakes far down in the valley. On reaching the top of Bamwanjara Pass, you’ll get excellent panoramic views of all the main snow capped peaks where there is a small shelter for you to rest for a while and enjoy the scenery. The walk down to Kacholpe Lake is steep and often very muddy but offers fantastic views of the lakes and McConnell’s Prong. Butawu Camp at 3,974m is set on a ridge high above Butawu River which flows down from Scott Elliott Pass through the Kitandara Lakes and has excellent views of the snow capped Mt. Baker.

Starting Point: 4062M

End Point: 3974M

Highest Point: 5109M

Estimated Time: 8 - 11 Hours

Distance: 11.2KM

Banwamjara Pass. Image © Rwenzori Trekking Services
Main peaks of the Rwenzori Mountains. Image © Rwenzori Trekking Services

Day 5 - Butawu river

This morning you’ll walk back along the ridge before crossing several wet areas and small rivers coming from Mt. Baker to join the Butawu River. Then walk up Scott Elliott Pass is enjoyable as you climb up over the rocks and up to Margherita Camp at 4,485m. The camp is sheltered with a ring of high rocks and is the original camp used by the Italian Prince Luigi Amadeo di Savoia, Duke of the Abruzzi, who mounted an expedition in 1906, composed of biologists, surveyors, a geologist and a photographer. The Italian led team climbed the mountains, opening a new page in the history of mountaineering, and providing an answer to the most unresolved geographical questions in the region for centuries. Some of the peaks still have the names, which the Duke chose to honor the Italian kingdom and Queen Margherita hence naming this camp Margherita Camp. From here you have great views of Mt. Baker, Scott Elliot Pass and some of the high glaciers on Mt. Stanley. You need to sleep early at Margherita Camp to prepare for a very early start tomorrow!

Starting Point: 3974M

End Point: 4485M

Highest Point: 4485M

Estimated Time: 3 - 6 Hours

Distance: 4.1KM

Day 6 - Summiting Margherita Peak!

Rise early at 4am, have a quick snack and start climbing so as to get onto the Stanley glacier before sunrise! The climb up can be difficult if covered in snow and ice and it is classed as a ‘difficult scramble’. Once on the Stanley Glacier, the going is easy however the climb down to Margherita glacier can be challenging and slippery in bad weather. Your guides and porters will be right beside you in case you require a helping hand! There is an installed fixed-static rope with bolts every two meters leading down a ledge to the top of a 6m aluminum ladder. There are a couple of steel steps or rungs on the trickier bit to assist when icy. All in all, this is a safe route and anyone with reasonable fitness is able to pass. It is not classed as ‘technical’ and it is easy in dry conditions. The climb up Margherita Glacier is steep with the first part around 30 degrees but the toe of the glacier is much steeper and requires effort. Generally you walk across the newly exposed rocks to the other side of the glacier where it is less steep. On getting near to the top of the glacier, you need to climb around an exposed section, which is also bolted and roped, to get on the ridge running up to the top of Margherita Peak. On a clear day the views from Margherita Peak are truly splendid and your goal is hereby achieved! After summiting you then descend directly to Butawu Camp or in the case of bad weather, you may need to stay in Margherita Camp but the following day it will be necessary to pass Butawu Camp directly to Bugata Camp.

Starting Point: 4485M

End Point: 3974M

Highest Point: 5109M

Estimated Time: 8 - 11 Hours

Distance: 11.2KM

Stanley plateau, Rwenzori Mountains. Image © Rwenzori Trekking Services
Sunrise across western Uganda from the Rwenzori Moutains. Image © Rachel Landman

Day 7 - Hyrax and hiking

Enjoy a later start to the day with breakfast at 8.30am and start trekking by 9am. The climb up Bamwanjara Pass is step and in wet weather can be slippery making it slow going. While crossing the pass you get the chance to see rock hyrax sitting at the entrance to their rock shelters warming up in the sun. Their main predator is the Rwenzori leopard, which is rarely seen, but occasionally people do get a fleeting glimpse. Don’t worry, you’re perfectly safe! Tonight you’ll sleep at Bugata Camp and descend directly to the base camp in one day tomorrow.

Starting Point: 3974M

End Point: 4062M

Highest Point: 4062M

Estimated Time: 5 - 6 Hours

Distance: 6KM

Day 8 - The final descent

This morning we recommend you rise early to take in the last sunrise of your time staying up in the Rwenzori Mountains. You can then take an early breakfast before you start on the long trek down to base camp at Kilembe. You’ll pass back through the montane forest, with its moss covered trees and rocks with monkeys scampering through branches above you. Enjoy the fantastic views across the valleys and over the savannah of Queen Elizabeth National Park. En route you will be passing Kiharo and Samalira Camp, one of which you’ll be stopping off at for your lunch before you exit the national park. Once you reach the park boundary, you will be stopping off at the rangers station where you’ll be debriefed by the rangers before you make your way on to your base camp at Trekkers Hostel for a relaxing evening and hearty meal.

Starting Point: 4062M

End Point: 1450M

Highest Point: 4062M

Estimated Time: 7 - 12 Hours

Distance: 22KM

Chameleons are common in some areas of the Rwenzori Mountains. Image © Rachel Landman
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Chimpanzee Tracking in Kibale Forest

Trek through one of Uganda’s pristine rainforests in the foothills of the Rwenzori Mountains. Here you can track our distant cousins, the wild chimpanzees of Kibale Forest National Park. Watch these noisy yet illusive creatures, swinging from the trees, foraging for food and observe their complex socialisation, adding a truly memorable experience to your travels in Uganda.

If you would like to add this activity to your tour, please contact us for more information.

Gorilla Tracking

Head into the highland rainforests of Uganda to track the famous rare mountain gorillas in Bwindi Impenetrable Forest, a UNESCO world heritage site. Bwindi is a wildly diverse ancient rainforest and protects around half of the world's population of mountain gorillas right here in Uganda. Trust us, you’ll never forget your experience of meeting our distant relatives!

If you would like to add this activity to your tour, please contact us for more information.

Private Transport

If you would like to add a private transport to this tour package we have several options for you to choose from. You can choose between 4x4 mini buses with pop top roofs (seats 8), land cruisers with pop top roofs (seats 5) and omnibuses (seats 20), which can be used for your tour. Then of course we have our classic VW campervans (6 seats) if you want a truly unique form of transportation on your travels through the ‘Pearl of Africa’!

If you would like to add one of these options to your tour, please contact us for more information.

Safari in Queen Elizabeth National Park

Uganda’s most popular savannah park, Queen Elizabeth National Park is bursting with highlights. From explosion-crater lakes, tree-climbing lions, elephants, game herds, boat safaris and chimpanzees in Kyambura Gorge’s sunken rainforest. Adding this park to your itinerary gives you a real feel of Uganda’s savannah and rainforest in one destination.

If you would like to add this destination to your tour, please contact us for more information.

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Based on 6 PeopleBased on 5 PeopleBased on 4 PeopleBased on 3 PeopleBased on 2 People
$1,460pp$1,460pp$1,460pp$1,460pp$1,550pp

Foreign Uganda Residents Discount: -$80 Per Person

East African Citizens Discount: -$250 Per Person

This Tour Includes

We use the following abbreviations our ‘Includes & Excludes’ section.
NP – National Park
NSC – Non Self Contained (communal toilets and showers)
SC – Self Contained (private toilet and shower)
UWA – Uganda Wildlife Authority

Accommodation
- 1 night at Sine Hut (wooden cabin, NSC)
- 1 night at Mutinda Camp (permanent tents, NSC)
- 1 night at Bugata Camp (permanent tents, NSC)
- 1 night at Butawu Camp (permanent tents, NSC)
- 1 night at Margherita Camp (permanent tents, NSC)
- 1 night at Batawu Camp or Margherita Camp (permanent tents, NSC)
- 1 night at Bugata Camp or Mutinda Camp (permanent tents, NSC)
All Meals (as specified in the ‘Meal Plan’ above)
Bottled Drinking Water (1.5 liters per person, per day in your vehicle)
All Activities
- Rwenzori hiking package x 8 days (Rwenzori Trekking Services)
Wildlife & Tracking Permits
- N/A
Park & Vehicle Fees
- Rwenzori Mountains National Park x 8 days (UWA)
Specialist Guides and Rangers
- Hiking Guides (Rwenzori Trekking Services)
- Hiking Cook (Rwenzori Trekking Services)
- Porter x 2 per person (Rwenzori Trekking Services)

This Tour Excludes

Items marked ‘(*for an additional cost)’
Transport to and from trekking start point (can be added for an additional cost)
Alcohol (unless provided as complimentary by the accommodation)
Laundry (unless provided as complimentary by the accommodation)
Souvenirs & items of a personal nature
Personal Insurance
International or Domestic Flights
Visas (refer to your embassy)
Gratuities/Tips
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