About mountain hiking in Uganda
When one visits Uganda usually its associated with doing a tracking experience with the Gorillas, chimps or the Golden monkeys and even wildlife safaris but only those that know how great Mountain Hiking Safaris is will buy a package, anyone on a hiking trip should know that they are in for a treat with some of the best hiking experiences done here, Uganda boosts a number of mountain ranges that make it a hiking destination. Some of the most famous mountains for hiking include Mountain Rwenzori, Mountain Elgon, Mount Gahinga, Mount Muhavura and Mount Sabinyo among others.
located in the Eastern part at the border of Uganda and Kenya is an extinct volcano that erupted more than 24 million years ago which makes it the oldest extinct volcano in East African Region, the mountain has five major peaks, with the highest point in Uganda called wagaggai which stands at 4,321 meters, Sudek 4,302 meters at the border of Uganda and Kenya, Koitobos 4,222 meters in Kenya, Mubiyi 4,211 meters in Uganda and Masaba at 4161 meters in Uganda. The area was later gazetted into a national park in 1968 in the Kenya side and in Uganda was gazetted in 1992 and covers a total area of 1,279 square kilometres between the two countries.
Mountain Elgon is one of the best mountains for hiking in Uganda and can take you days to get to the peak, as you ascend on the mountain, expect changing vegetation and finding the largest caldera in the world at 7sq.km in diameter. At its height, the mountain poses a good challenge to the trekkers but also an enjoyable experience to do.
What to see while hiking Mount Elgon.
In terms of what to see while on the hike which makes this a must visit spot for those planning to do hiking experience in Uganda.
Sipi Falls visit. A must-visit for anyone doing any kind of trip through the Eastern part of Uganda, the waterfalls are a joy to watch and breathtaking for viewers, beauty and the roaring sound of the waters as they fall to the rocks is breathtaking and also you get to visit the caves here behind the falls with a trail that takes you to the top of the falls. There is a route from here that you can follow and will take you to Mount Elgon to start your hike.
Vegetation. The vegetation of the Mountain is comprised of grasslands, Bamboo Forests, open woodlands, giant heathers of grass and flowers, Afro-montane zones and rocks. With changing climates as you hike, this could be a great experience for the hiker since its not every day that you go through this in a single day as you hike.
The caldera. Mountain Elgon has the largest caldera in the world of 7sq.km, this can only be seen if you take the chance to hike up and from here still you can view the peaks as well.
How to get there.
From kampala the park is located 235km in Eastern Uganda and can be accessed by road through Jinja and Mbale towns to Kapchorwa to start the hiking of the mountain. A 4×4 wheel drive vehicle is advised for this trip.
Best time to visit.
This is an all-year experience for those interested in the hike but still, we advise you do the hike during the drier months of the year which is June to August and December to March which are much vibrant and beautiful. Encounter Africa Safaris is dedicated and always available to book for you this trip and can arrange it for you any time of the year.
Located in the western part of Uganda in Kasese district at the border of Uganda and DR Congo with its highest peak at 5,109m and at the highest peak on mountain Rwenzori it’s snow-capped. This is the 3rd highest mountain in Africa. Mountain Rwenzori is found in the Eastern Rift Valley. The snowcapped mountain has glaciers which are one of the sources for water supplying to River Nile. The peak of Rwenzori is Margherita at 5,109m which is the 3rd highest in Africa, other peaks include Mount Speke at 4,890m and Mount Baker 4,843m. Mountain Rwenzori is classified as a UNESCO World Heritage site and was gazetted into a national park in 1994, the park covers an area of 1000sq.km.
Encounter Africa safaris specializes in organizing tailored tours to our clients and we have vast experience in designing itineraries for Rwenzori National Park and hiking. So fill free to inquire here.
What to see while hiking Mountain Rwenzori.
The mountain is made up of different vegetation types as you ascend to the top at the base of the mountain. That the base you will start with Savannah grassland between 3,000m to 5500m here you will find animals including monkeys, elephants, Zebras. The vegetation is mainly grassland, rainforests, banana plantations, lianas and ferns. Bamboo Forest follow thereafter at 5500feet to 9500feet, this is followed by the heath and moorland follows and extends up to 12,000feet, Alpine Zone starts from 12,000feet to 14500feet and at the top the glaciers which rise up to the Margherita peak which is at 16,763feet.
How to get there.
Rwenzori Mountain is easily accessed by road from Kampala through Fort Portal to Kasese then connect to the park on a 369k drive or the alternative route from Kampala through Mbarara to Kasese on a 421km drive to the park.
It is based advised that you travel in a 4×4 safari vehicle which is based suited for the drive, the roads have sections of both murrum and tarmac roads with gravels and very bumpy sections.
Alternatively, there are flights from Entebbe to Kasese for one and a half hours and then from there connect to the park on a 40 minutes road drive to get to the start point to hike the mountain. Flights operating in this region include Areolink and FlyUganda among others and they operate daily in the region. If you want internal flights arranged for you, contact us and we will check availability and book a package for you.
Best time to visit.
Like any other hiking safari, it’s an all year round experience that can be done at any time of the year but most favourable time to do a Rwenzori Hiking trip is during the drier months of the year which is June to August and then December to February, the roads are less slippery as same applies during the hike, fewer chances of rain are expected compared to the other months when its wet and more rainfall is expected.
These are found along the border of Uganda, Rwanda and Democratic Republic of Congo in the Albertine Rift Valley. The Virunga ranges is a chain of Volcanoes which consists of 8 volcanoes but most of which are extinct except Mount Nyamurangira and Mount Nyirangongo which are found in DR Congo, the others are Mount Karisimbi, Mount Visoke, Mount Mikeno, Mount Muhabura, Mount Sabinyo and Mount Gahinga. Mount Karisimbi is the highest of them all at 4,507m.
With the focus today being on Uganda we will look at Mount Sabinyo, Mount Gahinga and Mount Muhabura. They are located at the border of Uganda, Rwanda and DR Congo in the district of Kisoro. Mount Muhabura at 4127m high, Mount Sabinyo at 3674m and Mount Gahinga at 3474m. These have for a long time know to be good hiking spots and hikers here can hike top and back in one day.
How to get there.
These ranges are found in the western part of Uganda and can be accessed through Kisoro Distract for those starting there tour from Entebbe which is about which is 540km. Also you can access these mountains through Rwanda in Kigali which is just 170km from the Airport and you have to cross the border to get there.
Minimum age for Mountain Hiking.
To avoid any issues that may arise during the Mountain Hiking Safaris, there is a minimum age set for people doing hikes in Uganda and you should be 15 years and above, it’s advisable that one should be of good physical health and without any hart conditions as hikes sometimes can be very challenging mostly to those with health issues.
Equipment for hiking.
Recommended to carry silk clothes and those that dry very fast and wicks away moisture, long-sleeved shirts. This protects you from the sunburns and the number of clothes to carry depending on the number of days you have. In most cases, you would need to carry clothes that cover half the days you will be on the tour. Trousers you need tracksuits and those that are light and flexible while tracking. Also carrying less and lightweight makes it easy for you to carry. They should also be waterproof from rain.
These are a must for any hiking trip, specifically made to manoeuvre uphill, climbing stairs and navigating soggy grounds can be challenging if you have the wrong type of boots. They should be waterproof from rain and soggy grounds, also hiking boots are much comfortable in hot temperatures, so protect your feet and be able to complete your hike with easy.
With all the hiking and moving that is done all day, do your feet some justice and put on fresh sandals to feel free and allow your feet to breath. These are used after taking a bath and relaxing around a campfire before sleeping.
An essential and a must carry during a hiking trip, in Uganda, it rains a lot and chances of rain finding you on the hike are high and make sure to carry a rain jacket to protect your bags and camera equipment. If you don’t have any packed, you can buy one in Uganda in any town you’re in.
Pairs of stocks
You need these as you can’t put on shoes without stockings, it absorbs the moisture that your feet produce. You need to carry a couple of these. To keep changing them and not get smelly feet. Pack as much as you want for this trip and also during the need it gets very cold and you need to wear a very pair on your feet.
A backpack is important for your trip, to carry all your things together for the trip and since most hikes are for days you have a lot to carry. They are easy to carry and can be filled in with lots of these.
Sleeping bag and tents
Most of the hikes are outdoor with few places offering accommodation and temperatures can be extreme some time like in the Rwenzori, so most of the time tents are encouraged and a sleeping bag for the night.
With meals only provided at specific times you need to carry your snacks before you start the hike and carry enough that will take you the duration of your stay on the hike. These are very good at boosting your energy levels and keep you going when the food is not ready yet.
These are basic important from sunburns and heat. With many people having skin problems when they get exposed to the sun.
With a limited amount of water that you can carry with you on the hike, you are more likely to drink water from the streams coming from the mountain, so you need to carry with water purifier and water filter before you drink it.
To regulate your temperature and also protect you from cuts and bruises during the hike, this is basic importance for any hiking trip and in case you don’t have any you can buy from within Uganda before the trip.
With no electricity in these places, you need a headlamp or flashlight for the night time as you move from your tent. On some hikes, you need to start much early in the night and this is where it becomes helpful because you have to make up the ground to the next destination.
As you hike you sweat a lot, this is when you need this or during the cold times you tend to get a running nose hence need to blow. Also it’s important to always carry one no matter where you are going.
First aid kit
Accidents are very common during hiking trips and anything can happen at any time especially cuts and dislocations of joints. Your First Aid Kit should have all the essentials that you need like bandages, pills, moleskin, pain killers and medications for complications that arise because of the high altitude.
Extra camera battery and extra memory cards
There is no charge on which camera you carry for your trip and its only with memories that you can truly say the trip was a good one. You are allowed to carry with you your camera equipment and being that there are a lot of beautiful sceneries along the way opportunities for good photos are available hence an extra memory card and with limited charging on the mountain extra batteries will save your trip.
This is best recommended to be done by a recognized safari company to ensure that all services are booked and confirmed. Encounter Africa Safaris provides you with a solution to the search of a company to use. We offer quality service and are very reliable when it comes to arranging trips based on our experience over the years in handling this and you can always check on our TripAdvisor and Safari Bookings to know more about our reputation.