Mt. Rwenzori – sometimes referred to as the Ruwenzori Mountains or “Mountains Of the Moon”, is located on the border between Uganda and the Democratic Republic of Congo. With heights of up to 5,109 m (16,761 ft) at WikiMiniAtlas0°23′09″N 29°52′18″ECoordinates: 0°23′09″N 29°52′18″E, its highest peaks are permanently snow-capped similar to Kilimanjaro mountains and Mount Kenya being the only such in Equatorial Africa. The Ruwenzoris consists of six peaks with permanent snow caps and three glaciers.

The highest being Margherita Peak is the third-highest peak in all of Africa at an altitude of 5,109 meters above sea level. Mountain Ruwenzori offers a memorable experience to both experienced and ordinary hikers.

Day 1: Kampala – Kasese

Drive from Kampala to Kasese Town stopping at Equator crossing, lunch stop in Mbarara town and continue to Kasese. Arrive in the early afternoon, and carry out food shopping for all food needed up in the mountain for the days you will be trekking. Dinner and overnight.

Day 2:Nyakalengija – Nyabitaba Hut (8,7000-ft, 2500m)

Arrive at Ibanda, the park headquarters, and the Rwenzori Mountaineering Services (RMS) concession building at Nyakalengija in the early morning to have ample time to arrange payments, rent equipment and select guides and porters. Begin your hike by leaving park headquarters, located at 5,400ft. The trail then follows the Mubuku River, crossing recent landslide areas and requires scrambling over rocks and bluffs before reaching the Mahoma River. After crossing the river you will have a very steep climb through open bracken fern slopes and podocarpus forest up to Nyabitaba Hut (8,7000-ft2, 652m). Slower hikers could take considerably longer, so insist on leaving park headquarters before noon to avoid on the trail after dark (7 PM all year round).

Day 3: Nyabitaba Hut (8,7000-ft, 2500m) – John Matte Hut (11,200 ft, 3,414 m)

From Nyabitaba Hut the trails lead westwards for a half – km then drop north (right) steeply to Kurt Shafer Bridge, crossing below the confluence of the Bujuku and Mubuku Rivers. You reach the poor-condition hut at Nyamileju and its accompanying rock shelter. Walk to John Matte Hut (11,200 ft/3,414 m) which is newly constructed, large, and comfortable through mud around the site. Many hikers consider this 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 at least 3,000ft (915m). Hikers who feel they have reached their limits by this point should consider John Matte a reasonable stopping point. You can just enjoy the unique vegetation in the bog and the great views and the following day begin your return to Nyabitaba.

Day 4: John Matte Hut (11,200 ft, 3,414 m) – Bujuku Hut (13,000ft, 3,962m)

You leave John Matte to cross the Bujuku River and enter the lower of the Bigo Bogs. The trail is very muddy and follows the left (southern) edge of lower Bigo Hut and its shelter. Have a lunch break at the upper edge of the Bigo beyond the north end of Bujuku Lake is a rock shelter called Cooking Pot and a short distance further to Bujuku Hut (13,000ft/3.962m). The shaded location and mists can make Bujuku Hut uncomfortably cold for hikers and especially guides and porters with simple blankets and light clothing.

Day 5: Bujuku Hut (13,000ft, 3,962m) – Elena Hut (14,700 ft/4,372m)

Continue the circuit you leave directly west from Bujuku Hut towards Scott Elliott 14,345 ft (4,372 m) after a right-hand branch would lead you to Elena Hut (14,700 ft/4,372m). As you leave the Elena and Savoia Glaciers, and Mt. Baker (15,889 ft/4,843 m). The trail descends past upper Kitandara Lake through bad mud to the lower lake and Kitandara Hut (13,200 ft/4,023 m). The elevation gain to the pass from Bujuku is a modest 1,400 ft (425 m) but ups and downs nearly double that of a mount. And because Scott Elliott is the high point so far, some hikers will be slower due to the greater effort required at these altitudes. Watch especially for signs of altitude sickness.

Day 6: Elena Hut (14,700 ft/4,372m) – Guy Yeomen Hut (10,700-ft/3,261 m)

Climb from the lake to a 14,050-ft (4.292m) Fresh field Pass. Fresh field is a long flat traverse through beautiful high alpine mossy glades (and more mud) until after half an hour the trails begin the circuit’s long two-day descent. Rock shelters at Bujongolo and Kabamba are optional overnight stops but it is best to push on through the seemingly endless mud to the newly constructed Guy Yeomen Hut (10,700-ft/3,261 m).

Day 7:Guy Yeomen Hut (10,700-ft/3,261 m) – Nyabitaba Hut (8,7000-ft, 2500m)

Begin very early if you have decided to make it all the way to park headquarters and complete your trek. An alternative would be to stay another night at Nyabitaba Hut. In any event, the path from Guy Yoeman is quite dangerous in spots. Helping each other and descending very slowly facing the slope instead of facing outward are recommended especially as you approach Kichuchu down a dry and dusty crevice. From Kichuchu the trail parallels and twice crosses the Mubuku River mostly in deep mud until the last few kilometers of good dry trail follow the ridge down to Nyabitaba, which completes the circuit. Should you decide to continue to park headquarters it is another two or three hours depending on the condition of your knees and your desire to reach a comfortable bed and bath.

Day 8: Nyabitaba Hut (8,7000-ft, 2500m) – Kasese Town

From Nyabitaba Hut, descend to Nyakalengija the park headquarters. You will meet your driver to drive you back to Kasese town to your Hotel/Queen Elizabeth National Park Mweya Safari Lodge/ Institute Hostel. Take warm showers and relax. Dinner and overnight.

Day 9: Kasese Town – Kampala/Entebbe

After breakfast drive to Kampala or Entebbe in case your flight falls on this day. If you spend the night in Queen Elizabeth Park, the morning will start with a game drive and then proceed to Kampala or Entebbe. End of Central Circuit.

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