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Hiking & mountaineering

Rwenzori Mountain

The mountain with the highest peak in Uganda, also known as Rwenzori Mountain is a sight for sore eyes. The Rwenzori Mountain is found in the Rwenzori Mountains National Park covers nearly 100,000 hectares in western Uganda and comprises the main part of the Rwenzori mountain chain, which includes Africa’s third highest peak (Margherita: 5,109 m) after Mount Kilimanjaro and Mount Kenya. This is the highest peak in Uganda and the mountain is a block mountain. The region’s glaciers, waterfalls and lakes make it one of Africa’s most beautiful alpine areas. It also has other peaks like Stanley that can also be hiked for those who cannot make it to the top. The sights are quite amazing from the top but very few can only tell this tale. The park has many natural habitats of endangered species and a rich and unusual flora comprising, among other species, the giant heather. The Rwenzori Mountains are the highest and most permanent sources of the River Nile, and constitute a vital water catchment. This increases in the rainy season and is enjoyed by the habitants of these areas. Some of the habitants of the Rwenzori Mountain which are the Golden Mole, the Rosette fruit Bat, Hoest’s Monkey, Rwenzori Colobus Monkey, Lesser Cane Rat, Tree Sun Squirrel, , Rwenzori Leopard, Bush Elephant, Giant Forest Hog, African Buffalo, Harnessed Bushbuck and the Red Forest Duiker. The mountains are well-known for their unique alpine flora which includes many species endemic to the Albertine Rift in the higher altitude zones including giant heathers, groundsels and lobelias. The Park also supplies local communities with various wild resources and is an important cultural heritage. It is important to know ones health and medical conditions before going for the hike.

There are porters who carry the bags up the mountain during the hike and since the Margherita hike cannot be done in one day, hikers are given accommodation in cabins or huts when they get to a resting point. Food is cooked and provided at a fee during the hike. Mainly canned food is encouraged. It gets colder and colder as you get to the top so also carrying the right clothes should is encouraged. If you feel the climb is too high for you then there are lower climbs like 2 days, 3 days and 4 day hikes. These also give you a clear picture of the mountain without having to reach the top.

Mount Elgon

With its highest Peak, Wagagai at 4321metres high, Mount Elgon is the 4th highest mountain in second highest mountain in Uganda, 4th highest mountain in East Africa and the 8th highest mountain in Africa. This mountain has suffered quite some erosion over the years with a number of landslides during heavy rains but still has the largest volcanic base in the world. The other name for this mountain is Mount Bamasaaba. This mountain, found in eastern Uganda is a volcanic mountain (extinct volcaoe) that makes up part of Mount Elgon National Park. For Mount Elgon one can do hiking of the Mountain which can be either a full day hike, half day hike which sometimes involves just visiting part of the areas around the mountain or a hike to the top that can be a 5-6 day hike. Also the Sipi Falls which are formed due to the water that flows through the mountain and pours out at some points on the northern and eastern part can be a beautiful site and the various falls can be seen clearly in Kapchorwa at different points. The first fall pours over a 100m cliff and looks like milk spilling from a cup, the other called the Simba spills over a 69 metre gap has a cave where one can view the falls from the cave and the third Ngasire over an 87 metre gap. The Bagisu and Sabiny tribes majorly known for their practice of circumcision are interesting cultures to explore especially in the even years when they have the circumcision ceremonies that are complete with the celebrations and drama involved in them. Coffee growing is the main economic activity and this crop that is grown on the slopes of this mountain by the communities that live around. On some of the tours, a client can visit some of these coffee growing community projects or even buy some coffee from the local communities.

Mount Mgahinga

Mount Mgahinga found in south western Uganda is also an extinct volcanoe and is part of the three volcanoes that cover the borders of Uganda, Congo and Rwanda. This mountain has its altitude between 2227 metres and 4127 metres high. These three make up part of the Virunga ranges; Mount Sabinyo (old man’s tooth), Mount Muhavura (the guide) and Mount Mgahinga (piles of volcanic stones cleared from farmland at the foot of volcanoes). The hike up this mountain can be done in Uganda but also golden monkey trekking can be done in the national park. Mount Mgahinga is also famous for the endangered mountain gorilla. The gorillas here keep moving between Uganda and Rwanda and also the trail to the former habitants of this forest and mountain the Batwa pygmies can be done in Mgahinga National Park.