Kilembe – Rwenzori Mountains trail Safari
This Kilembe-Rwenzori Mountains trail Safari is a challenge to be enjoyed by nature lovers and mountaineers; with fantastic views, stunning valleys. It also includes a wide variety of plants and trees and unlike Kilimanjaro and Mt. Kenya which are stand alone mountains and relatively short and direct in climbing, the Rwenzori is a mountain range, in fact the highest mountain range in Africa, and as such there are many ups and downs in climbing to the peaks. Even when coming down from the main peaks you have to do a lot of climbing. The Rwenzori Mountains receives about three (3) meters of rain per year resulting in the lush and varied plant life and many wet areas and bogs.
The Kilembe rail was opened in June 2009 and is one of the best trails in Africa , linking Kilembe to the various peaks in the Rwenzori Mountains.
Day 1: Airport pick up
Your driver guide will pick you up from the airport and transfer you to your comfortable lodge in Kampala or Entebbe.
Luxury: Serena Lake Victoria Resort
Midrange: Cassia Lodge
Budget: Commonlens Inn
Day 2: Transfer to Bwindi Impenetrable national park.
After breakfast, drive to the southwestern part of Uganda, close to the borders with Rwanda and Congo. You cross a beautiful part of the country, where you will view scenic crater lakes, forests, bamboos and great sceneries over the Virunga Mountains. You will stay in a nice lodge with a wonderful view over the volcanoes and the impenetrable forest.
Luxury: Gorilla Safari lodge
Midrange: Bakiga Lodge
Budget: Broadbill Forest camp
Day 3: Gorilla trekking in Bwindi Impenetrable Forest
On this day, prepare yourself for an encounter with one of Bwindi’s gentle giants, the rare mountain gorilla. For most people this is the absolute highlight of their tour in Uganda. Bwindi Impenetrable Forest boasts of being home to more than half of world’s total population of mountain gorillas; the only forest in Africa which can make this claim in fact. It also hosts five other species of primates, 113 species of mammals, over 200 butterfly species and about 360 bird species.
Your trek will be an exciting journey along forested slopes, entwined vines, bushes and bamboo before you eventually reach the gorillas’ habitat. The time taken to track the gorillas can be as little as 2 hours to as much as 7 hours before one returns to the camp. Once the gorillas have been located, your group will be allowed a maximum of one hour with them. Coming face to face with a mountain gorilla is truly a humbling and emotional experience. This is a fantastic and privileged opportunity to get up close and personal with Uganda’s very own ‘Gorillas in the Mist’.
Luxury: Gorilla Safari lodge
Midrange: Bakiga Lodge
Budget: Broadbill Forest camp
Day 4: Travel to Kyanjuki, Kilembe.
Depart early today, because it’s a fairly long drive to Kilembe. The meandering Nyamwamba River and the valley of Kilembe trail follows deep into the Rwenzori Mountains National Park. The surroundings are delightfully green and you can enjoy the cool weather as the hostel is situated at 1,450 meters which is nearly 500 meters in height above Kasese town. But make sure you bring something to drink and to bite on the way.
Luxury: Equator Snow Lodge
Midrange: Ihamba Safari Lodge
Budget: Simba Safari Camp
Day 5: Start Ruwenzori Trekking
Meet your guides for briefing at 9 am. Then you walk 2.2 km to the UWA rangers post at 1,727 metres. Today’s walk 8.6 km expected time 5 to 7 hours. Starting height is 1,667 meters climbing to 3,171 meters. The first two kilometers climbs steadily through pristine montane forest, with tall trees, thick undergrowth and a multitude of different species of birds and primates. Then a fairly strenuous climb up to a main ridge with few rocks and firm footing except immediately after a heavy downpour climbing to your first night at Samalira Camp. As you leave the rangers post, walk along a path through tall grassland and ferns; which gives way to magnificent pristine forests. As this is a new route, the forests are untouched and carry a wide variety of trees and plants.
Many species of birds can be heard and seen in this rich environment. The first few kilometers climb steadily crossing several small streams and rivers; then we start climbing the ridge. As we climb, the trees become taller and straighter; and it is common to see and hear many types of primates. You may hear troops of chimpanzees echoing around the valleys. Particularly around the lunch spot at 2,570m, it is possible to see troops of 20 or more black and white Colobus monkeys or Blue monkeys as they dash through the trees.
Continue to climb steadily passing a rock shelter (2,785 m); previously used by poachers to hunt primates and Duika (small antelope). After the rock shelter, the climb enters the bamboo zone and becomes steeper. Then as we near the top, we break out of the bamboo to fantastic views of the valleys and hills below looking across Lake George and Queen Elizabeth National Park in the distance.
Samalira Camp is at 3,147 meters.
Day 6: Start Rwenzori trekking at 6.9 kilometers – 4 to 5 hours.
After a hearty breakfast, we commence walking at 8.15am and initially climb steadily; then cross a small stream and the climb becomes steep for about 200 meters up a narrow moss covered ridge. The thick moss covering the ground and rocks under the giant heather trees is spectacular.
You can see Kilembe village deep in the valley and across Lake George. After a relatively short climb, the trail becomes less steep as you pass over Chavumba (meaning heaven) at 3,316m. Then cross a small flat valley to climb up a steady ridge through moss covered trees and misty forests to the top of the ridge at 3,515 meters. Descend steadily for about 1 Km before descending a steep slope of 200 meters into the Nyamwamba valley; and a well earned lunch break at Polies Rock Shelter – 3,249 meters. After lunch, continue and climb steadily above the Nyamwamba River for 1.6km through old giant heathers covered in old man’s beard moss to Kiharo Camp at 3,588 meters. This is directly at the base of some good granite rock climbs of 20 to 40 meters, with towering peaks above. Sleep at Kiha camp.
Day 7: 6.8 kilometers, 4 to 5 hours.
Starting height is 3,380 meters climbing to 4,200 meters on the top of the confluence between the two valleys; then dropping to Camp 3 at 4,030 meters. We start by ascending to pass through Bamwanjara Pass then descend to Kachope Lakes. The top of the pass trail offers spectacular scenery of the main peaks ahead; particularly on a clear day. After an early breakfast we climb a short steep climb through the narrow valley with large moss covered rocks. This area is stunning as you weave through the narrow passes near the foot of towering peaks till you reach the wider upstream Nyamwamba River.
Climb steadily from here along the valley floor with small bogs and many giant lobelias. Both sides of the valley are lined with sheer cliff faces as we near the confluence of the Nyamwamba and Namusangi valleys. The third camp at 4,065 meters, is above Lake Kopello and has spectacular views looking down the valley of nine glacier lakes, the Namusangi valley. Then sleep at Camp 3.
Day 8: 6 kilometers, 5 to 6 hours.
Start height is 4,030 meters climbing to 4,450 meters on the top of Bamwanjara Pass; then dropping to Camp 3 at 4,006 meters. We start by ascending to pass through Bamwanjara Pass then descend to Kachope lakes. The top of the pass trail also offers spectacular scenery of the main peaks ahead, particularly on a clear day, you can see Mt Stanley, Mt Speke in the centre and Mt Baker.
On the right, can see McConnell’s Prong named after a British explorer and geologist. The view is awesome! The Kachope Lakes area is one of the three known areas where on a misty day one may catch a rare glimpse of the Rwenzori leopard. Little research has been done on this animal yet it is rarer than any other snow leopard; which has gained so much attention in recent years. After passing Kachope lakes, we climb to Camp four at 4,006 meters. Then accommodation at Camp 4.
Day 9: 4.1 kilometers, 3 to 5 hours.
Start height is 4,006 meters climbing to 4,333 meters at Camp 5. Today is a relatively easy walk past Kitandara Lakes and climb through Sott Elliott pass to our camp situated right on the pass with fantastic views down the valley to Lake Bujuku and Mt Speke. To the south, you see Kitandara Lakes and Wisemans Peak. The camp is at 4,460 meters in a flat sheltered position covered with moss where you can get a good sleep before climbing any of the peaks on Mt Stanley; including Margherita and Alexandra Peaks. Then sleep at Camp 5.
Day 10: 3.5 kilometers, 3 to 5 hours up to Margherita Peak and 2 to 3 hrs hours back down to Camp 5.
Start height 4,460 meters climbing to 5,109 meters on top of Margherita Peak. Here, it is best to start climbing no later than 3:30am. So is best to get up at 3am have a quick cup of coffee or tea and some light high energy snacks and set off. It takes about one and a half hours to reach Elena hut (4,540m) which we bypass on the way to the peaks. After Elena, the climb is steep but firm underfoot as you are walking on hard rock. Then you reach the edge of the glacier at 4,765 meters where you will need to put on crampons and harnesses at set distances. Although there is few crevices, the guide will lead the way as one never knows.
The scenery is spectacular and as you start to reach the upper areas of the glacier and the saddle between the two peaks Alexandra and Margherita, the sun will just be peeping over the horizon; giving the chance of fantastic photographs of the two main peaks tip with sunlight. You then reach the upper weather station (4,830metres) where you climb down to a ladder (4803 meters) onto the upper glacier leading to Magherita Peaks.
First, you climb up the glacier to a small saddle between Alexandra and Margherita peaks at 5,025 meters where you scramble up a steep rocky climb to the main peak. At times, the rocks are covered with snow and ice; and may be slippery but mostly it is firm rock. The exhilaration of reaching the top is enormous as you look across Albert Peak to the DRC (Congo); then east across the spectra of the Rwenzori Mountains. After enjoying the scenery, proceed and descend using the same path down to Camp 5. Then sleep at Camp 5.
Day 11: 10.1 Kilometres 5 to 7 hours.
Start height, 4,460 meters walking down to Camp 4 at 4,006 meters where the trail drops a little more to pass just above Kachope Lakes at 3,985 meters and then over Bamwanjara Pass (4,450 meters) then dropping to Camp 3 at 4,006 meters.
After a good breakfast you walk from Camp five down to Camp 4; which takes a couple of hours passing through Scott Elliot Pass. After a short break at Camp 4, there is rather a tough climb of 450 meters to pass over Bamwanjara Pass then down to Camp 3 at 4,030 meters.
While crossing the pass, get a chance to see Hyrax sitting at the entrance to their rock shelter warming in the Middaysun. Their main predator is the Rwenzori Leopard Panthera pardus Rwenzori which is rarely seen. The leopard has been heavily poached in the past and there are few left. However, on a rare occasion on a misty or overcast day you may be lucky to see one briefly as they move between the rocks.
Then sleep at Camp 3.
Day 12: 5.8 kilometers 4 to 6 hours.
Today we descend via the Namusangi valley across open mooreland and large areas of tussock grass. As this is a valley floor, it is relatively flat and water from farther up the mountains sweeps across the moors; making the going wet and boggy. It is not soil but layers and layers of compressed tussock grass which over the years has transformed to peak. It is a good idea to have rubber boots for this section; although occasionally you may find your foot can sink deeper than a rubber boot. In the near future, we intend to construct a timber boardwalk.
However, this will be after construction of huts. We continue down the valley passing several small waterfalls and moss covered valleys; until we reach the steep rocky section above Mutinda with fantastic views of Mutinda Peaks directly ahead. Then we turn left just as before the river drops over a sheer cliff to the Mutinda valley to walk down several steep slopes; until we reach the valley floor. Here, we again cross the river before climbing to the Mutinda Rock Shelter. Although very beautiful, this section can be tiresome as you scramble over huge boulders on your climb to Mutinda. We have placed big tents under the rock shelter which is large enough for 80 to 100 people to take shelter from the weather. Sleep Mutinda Camp at 3,688 meters.
Day 13: 4.2 kilometers 3 to 5 hours.
In the morning, you may decide to take the option of climbing to the top of Mutinda lookout (3,975 meters). This takes about one hour and offers fantastic views as you stand on the moss covered peak. The climb is steep and near the top, we have constructed a wooden ladder to enable you to climb more easily. There is no extra charge for this option and time-wise, it is easy to climb to the lookout and then walk down to Kalalama Camp.
After taking the views at the unique atmosphere, you then descend to the rock shelter and a cup of tea or coffee before descending to Kalalama. This adds about two hours or more to your trek.
The walk down to Kalalama follows mainly down a rocky river; where in places you are required to rock hop down a long side the stream. The atmosphere is truly unique as the valley is closed in and often misty; creating the ideal environment for mosses and lichen.
Near Kalalama Camp, we shall pass through a flat valley dotted with Giant Lobelia. Apparently this is one of the most beautiful sections of the entire trip. Finally, dine and sleep in Kalalama Camp which is perched on a high ridge overlooking the Kilembe valley and Kasese town.
Day 14: 10.7 kilometers 4 to 6 hours
Distance from Mutinda to Kalalama Camp is 5.1 km and from Kalalama to the Rangers post 11.6 km. Then descend down through the bamboo forests which at times get boggy and slippery due to the mass of fallen leaves. During the wet season we cross to the ridge climbing to Samalira camp; just above the lunch spot on day one as the river above Musenge Rock Shelter may be very deep and fast flowing. However, during the dry season we continue directly down the ridge to Musenge shelter and down to the rangers post. Then after debriefing, we sign off and walk down to the hostel. Fast walkers can descend to the rangers post by midday.
Day 15: Crater lake hike in Fort Portal and transfer to Kibale Forest national park.
After a 2 hour drive to Fort Portal, stretch your legs by making a nice hike around some of the most magnificent crater lakes in this Area. The views are stunning and with clear weather, you can even see the white peaks of the Rwenzori Mountains. After this hike, drive for 1 hour to Kibale Forest national park.
Upon arrival, enter a completely different world, and home to monkeys and other primates. Although chimpanzee trekking is the primary business here, the forest is also a proud home to at least 13 other primate species including: Red Tailed Monkey, Olive Baboon, Black and White Colobus Monkey, and the Blue Monkey. The bird life in the forest is also prolific and includes the beautiful Great Blue Turaco, a main resident in Bigodi wetland sanctuary. If you are very lucky, you may even catch a glimpse of the meandering herd of Forest Elephants. Relaxation and Overnight stay at the lodge.
Luxury: Primate lodge
Midrange: Kibale Forest Camp
Budget: Rwenzori view guest house
Day 16: Chimp tracking and Bigodi swamp walk
Kibale Forest boasts the highest number of primate species in the world; including our delightful cousins, the Chimpanzees. Today, in Uganda, there are approximately 4,950 chimps left in the wild, which makes it a perfect place to spot them. (Although it cannot be guaranteed to view chimps). During the trek, a ranger will point out the other species living in the forest, including birds, flora and fauna.
Bigodi swamp walk (2-3 hours) will take you through grassland, small communities and some beautiful scenery; where the locals are likely to greet you with enthusiastic waves. It is usual to spot 3 or 4 different primate species during this walk, though the highlight is catching a glimpse of the Great Blue Turaco.
Luxury: Primate lodge
Midrange: Kibale Forest Camp
Budget: Rwenzori view guest house
Day 17: Return to Kampala and Departure.
On the last day of this Kilembe-Rwenzori Mountain trail Safari after an early breakfast, return to Kampala. From Kampala we drive to Entebbe airport for an evening flight connection to your next destination.
Please book this tour now via our 24/7 hot lines – +256 772 633 920 / +256 712 157 128 OR via our email – firstname.lastname@example.org / email@example.com
We are warmly waiting for your inquiry!
OR: FIND US AT OUR PHYSICAL ADDRESS
PLOT 1490, GAYAZA ROAD
OFF KUBBIRI ROUNDABOUT
What is included in this safari:
- Hiking fees
- 4 WD Vehicle – with a pop – up roof for scenic viewing
- A professional English speaking driver guide
- Park entrance fees
- Porter fees
- Free Wi-Fi internet in the vehicle
- All ground transportation and fuel
- Accommodation and Meals
- All activities / service as per itinerary
- Drinking water in the vehicle
Exclusions of the safari:
- International air fares
- Activities / services not included in the itinerary
- Alcoholic drinks / wines
- Laundry and any service of personal nature