Your 12 days trek takes you through all the 6 mountains of Rwenzori using the central circuit trail. You will hike to the top of mount Gessi, Emin, Speke, Stanley, Luigi Savoia and Baker, without missing the chance to reach Margherita the highest peak in the Rwenzori is on mount Stanley which is snow capped most of the year. The other peaks are mostly rocky which makes the hike challenging because the rocks are slippery sometimes. These peaks all offer beautiful views of the Rwenzori massif.
The hike will Start the hike from Nyakalengija (RMS park headquarters) through the Bakonzo settlements to mount Rwenzori national park gate where you will be registered before entering the park. You will start the central circuit trail trek through the thick tropical with high elephant grass and dense bushes.
This forest is a home to various animal species like forest elephant, chimpanzee, hyrax, black-and-white colobus, L’Hoest’s monkeys, duiker, and three horned chameleon among many more. Some of the bird species include; Handsome Francolin, Rwenzori Turaco, Long-eared Owl, Barred Long-tailed Cuckoo, Cinnamon-chested Bee-eater, Strange Weaver, Archers’ Robin-chat, Rwenzori Batis among many others as well as various tree and plant species. You will expect to see some of them.
It’s about 8km from Nyakalengija to Nyabitaba hut. Dinner and overnight at Nyabitaba hut.
Have breakfast at the hut, you will move through thick shrubs and forest for about 30 minutes to the Kurt Shafer bridge which is at the confluence of the Mubuku and Bujuku rivers. You will then move though the bamboo mixed with montane forests and slippery moss covered rocks for a couple of hours. You will continue to move up to Nyamulejju rock shelter where the first hikers used to at times camp and also spend the night, you will have a stopover here for lunch.
At this point you will have a view of mount Stanley and mount Speke if the weather is clear. Through the alpine forest, you will reach john matte camp. The hut is near river Bujuku and most hikers take a bath there, the water is so cold but so refreshing as well.
You will also have a view of the Margherita glacier which is on mount Stanley between Alexandra and Margherita peaks. Nyabitaba to John Matte is about 11km.
After breakfast at the lodge, you will start the trek through the alpine forests to the base of mount Emin. You will then hike to the top of mount Emin. The top will meet you with beautiful views of the Rwenzori massif. Return to the camp where you will have dinner and spend the night.
After breakfast at the camp, you will start the trek and then hike to the top of mount Gessi. This is a rarely trekked mountain so the path might not be so clear. Hike to the top and then descend back to the camp.
After breakfast at the hut, you will cross river Bujuku and through forest to the lower bigo bog. This is a swampy area in a valley and is a home to the giant lobelias. This area used to be hardest part of the Rwenzori since the area is so boggy, jumping from one tussock to another was not so easy for most hikers more so females.
Currently, there is a walk board up to the end of the boggy area which makes the walk much easier for trekkers. As you move you will expect to see giant lobelias, everlasting flowers and groundsels.
You will then take a steep hike along a ridge which will lead you to the start of the upper bigo bog. There is also a board walk up to Lake Bujuku. After the board walk you will try to move through the remaining small boggy area with no walk boards to Bujuku hut. At this point, you will have a view of Lake Bujuku, Mount Speke, Mount Baker and Mount Stanley.
At this point you are able to ascend Mount Speke and Mount Stanley. Distance from John matte to Bujuku is about 5 km. dinner and overnight at Bujuku.
After breakfast at the camp, you will start the hike to the top of mount Speke. This trek is a bit challenging because of being rocky. The top will offer you beautiful views of the Rwenzori features. You will then descend back to the camp where you will have lunch.
You will move through the sides of the upper Bigo bog. You will then hike through the steep slopes the steep slopes of Lake Bujuku. While climbing Lake Bujuku’s steep slopes on the west, the trail ascends to the 4372 meter Scott-Elliot pass, and you will pass through more swamps and the thrilling Ground gully. You will go over a steep section at the top of the gully using a metal ladder. The trail is then divided into two.
The two trails, the left trail leads to Scott-Elliot pass descending to Kitandara Lakes while the right trail heads to the Elena Hut and on a steep trail above large boulders to Mt Stanley. Elena hut is at the rocky part of Mount Stanley and the area is too cold. At this point, you are at the highest mountain of the Rwenzori and you will have a direct view of Mount Baker and Mount Speke. Sometimes it is hard to view these two mountains because they are covered by fog. Have dinner at Elena hut then spend the night.
This day you will have to wake up as early as 2am, Have breakfast at Elena hut, be ready in your warmest gear, put on your harness, warm hand gloves and headstock, have your headlamps and helmets and make sure you have sunglasses in the day pack on. Hike to the top of mount Stanley, Magherita peak, through the Stanley plateau. On steep rocky areas, you will use the ropes to help you move. The guide will teach you how to use the equipment while on the ice. On the glacial parts you will be required to use you, crampons, and ice axe.
After moving for a couple of hours after the Stanley plateau glacier, you will reach the bottom of the Margherita glacier. This is the most challenging part of the entire hiking Rwenzori experience. You will hike through this glacier uo to the top of mount Stanley, Margherita peak (5,109m). At the top you will have a view of Ireen Lake, mount Speke and the surrounding environment.
Then descend to Elena Hut for Lunch and later proceed to descend to Kitandara through the Scott Elliot pass to Kitandara, it is the most beautiful point of the Rwenzori. Have dinner at Kitandara then spend the night. If the group is big, you might spend another night at Elena hut and continue the following day.
After breakfast at the camp, you will start the trek to the start of Mount Baker hike. Mount Baker is mostly rocky and sometimes the top is covered by snow. You will need good boots since the rocks get wet and slippery, you also have to always watch your steps. While at the top, you will have a view of mount Stanley and Speke as well as beautiful views of the pf the Rwenzori valleys and vegetation. Dinner and overnight at Kitandara Camp.
After breakfast at Kitandara camp, you will start the trek to the top of Luigi Savoia. The hike involves a steep ascent on solid rock – it is important to follow the advice of your climb guides and not to rush during the ascent. It is normally safe to climb without ropes, but in the event of icy conditions, your guides will employ fixed ropes to ensure a safe ascent. Your reward for summiting will be wonderful views towards the Kachope Lakes below and to Mts Baker and Stanley in the distance.
Have breakfast at Kitandara then move through the base of Mount Baker, which can be slippery so you will need to be so careful. From Kitandara, the trail ascends steeply up the headwall, spreading out from the base of Mount Baker and continuing along the south side of the Rwenzori Mountain to Fresh field pass. From the pass, the long muddy descent continues, passing the rock shelter at Bujangolo, the base camp for the historic expedition by the Duke of Abruzzi in 1906.
This will take you around 4-6 hours then reach Guy Yeoman hut which is located at the banks of river Mubuku, have dinner and spend the night.
From Guy Yeoman, you will descend to Nyabitaba through the bamboo forests. The path down can be slippery and muddy with little to hold on to and requires careful balancing over the vertical mud or steep rock. Dinner and overnight at Nyabitaba. His takes between 4-5 hours.
After break you will descend for about 3 hours to Nyakalengija. You will pass through the tropical forests where you will expect to spot the three horned chameleon, black and white colobus monkeys, as well as bird species. Have lunch at Ruboni community camp and then rest. Dinner and overnight at the camp.