Mountain Climbing in Uganda and Rwanda

Mountain Rwenzori

The Rwenzori mountains are found along the border of Uganda and the Democratic Republic of Congo, covering a length of 120km and width of 65km. They have Africa’s third highest mountain, Mt. Stanley that stands at 5109m, and are also one of the only three on the continent with permanently snow-capped peaks.

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The Rwenzoris support an array of rare and endemic wildlife, stunning glaciers, beautiful waterfalls, rivers and lakes. Basing on the stunning beauty and block type formation, the Rwenzori were ranked the best in Africa and ninth in the world for mountain climbing and hiking adventures.

There are a number of trails travelers can take to for exciting treks into the mountain. The longest trail, called the Central Circuit, is 8 days (7 nights) and includes the chance to climb to the highest peak of Margherita for those who can manage. There other shorter trails that offer easier treks.

Safety Tips

Uganda is generally a very safe destination today, Kampala is known as one of the safest capital cities in Africa. However, as a traveler always be careful to your belongings.

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Mt Elogon

Mountain Elgon

Mountain Elgon, 4321m, lies in eastern Uganda on the border with Kenya, its highest peak Wagagai situated on the Ugandan side. It was one time, thousands of years ago, Africa’s highest mountain but was gradually eroded at the peak reducing it to the current height of 4321m – 8th in Africa, 4th in East Africa. The mountain also possesses the the largest caldera in the world measuring 50km by 80km. Climbing Mt. Elgon is not one of simply targeting to reach the summit, it is more about discovering the fascinating wildlife along the slopes.

 

The varied vegetation zones harbor plenty of wildlife that you may encounter during the trek. There are also fascinating features such as caves, water pools, falls, and wonderful scenery. There are two major trails that lead to the peaks, taking 4 to 5 days. One is called the Sasa trail (Budadiri trail head), accessible from Mbale, is the more direct to the peaks and goes through the largest area of bamboo forest. The second trail is called Piswa and is known to be a more gentle hike than the Sasa.

The Sipi Falls

 

The Sipi Falls is a set of three waterfalls (85m, 75m and 100m) situated along the foothills of Mountain Elgon. They arguably are the most beautiful waterfalls in Uganda and have become one of the iconic attractions of the eastern region. Sipi, easily accessible from Kampala, has become very popular for day hikes. The trek to visit all the three waterfalls covers a trail of about 7km and on average takes up to 3 hours to complete.

Virunga Volcanoes

Uganda shares 3 of the main 8 Virunga mountain volcanoes. The 3 are located in southwestern Uganda along the border with Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of Congo. They offer excellent day hikes filled with some of the best views in Africa. The Virungas harbor lots of unique and rare wildlife which you have chance of encountering such as the Mountain Gorillas, Golden Monkeys, endemic birds and mountain vegetation.

 

Mount Muhabura 

Lies at 4127 m and is the highest peak in this park. The name means “The Guide” in the local language. The top has a clear lake about 36 m wide and provides panoramic views into Rwanda and Uganda with amazing photographic moments. The hike takes about 8 hour’s round trip covering 12 km.

Mt Karisimbi 

Is the highest of the Virunga volcanoes at 4507 m above sea level and fifth highest in Africa. It is along the Rwanda and DR Congo border on the western rift valley. It derives its name from ‘amasimbi’ which means “white shell” in Kinyarwanda because of the white-capped summit due to hail and sleet accumulating. The Karisimbi hike is strenuous but rewarding taking two days for the total journey. You have chances of sighting birds, several primates including gorillas on rare occasions and remarkable scenery

Mount Sabinyo

lies at 3660 m with the second highest peak in the park. The name translated from the local language ‘Old Man’s Teeth’, because of the rugged summit divided by deep gorges. A climb up the mountain to the peak involves walking a ridge with striking drops into gorges in Rwanda and Uganda with the final hike having ladders. Once at the top you will be in Rwanda, the DR Congo, and Uganda at the same time. The journey takes about eight hours round-trip to cover the 14 km stretch.

Mount Gahinga 

Lies at 3474 m and is the smallest of the Virunga Volcanoes. The name translated from the local language means “Small Pile of Rocks”.  A hike takes you about six hours round-trip, going through a pure Bamboo forest. Mt Gahinga once had a Crater Lake on top but it since transformed into a lush swamp.

Mount Bisoke 

Lies at 3711 m high, has a beautiful crater lake at the top, which makes hiking this volcano a rewarding adventure. The round trip hike of Mt Bisoke takes about 6 hours. Expect beautiful scenery and exotic bird species as you hike up towards the peak.