Mount Rwenzori, also known as Ruwenzori is located between the border between Uganda and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). These mountains are believed to have formed about three million years ago as a result of an uplifted block of crystalline rocks including gneiss, granite, quartzite, and amphibolite. Mount Rwenzori mountains national park is 99k square kilometers and consists of six distinct mountains that are Stanley (5,109m), Speke (4,890m), Baker (4,843m), Emin(4,797m), Gessi(4,715m) and Luigi da Savoia(4,627m).
Mount Stanley on 5,109m Margherita peak is the third highest point in Africa after Mt Kilimanjaro and Mount Kenya. History has it that the oldest person to reach Margherita’s peak was Ms. Beryl Park aged 78 years. In AD150, the Mount Rwenzori Mountains were named the ‘Mountains of the moon by Alexandrine geographer Ptolemy.
The hike to Magerhita peak takes the tourist through five vegetation zones that is the grassland zone between 1,000-2,000m above sea level, montane forest zone (2,000-3,000m a.s.l), bamboo zone (2,500-3,500m a.s.l), health/apnea zone (3,000-4,000m a.s.l) and afro-alpine moorland zone as you cross 4,00meters above sea level. As the day begins, the air temperature and radiation levels rise rapidly hence putting demands on exposed plant parts as they try to meet the transpiration demands of leaves and maintain proper water balance.
As tourists begin their journey to the mountains, there are different stopover points where they may rest before reaching the highest peak at Mt Stanley. These huts or stopovers are as follows on the central circuit.
Before you start the hike to Nyabitaba hut, you will be first briefed by a guide on the rules and guidelines of climbing the mountains of the moon. The hike will first take you through the terraces slopes of Mount Rwenzori as well as the plantations. The hike starts from Nyakalengija to Nyabitaba and is about ten kilometers. This takes about a 4-5hour hike. Two room wooden structures and tap water are found at the Nyabitaba hut point together with a pit toilet.
As you go through the mountain woodlands, you get to see the early settlements of the people of the Kasese district commonly known as the Bakonjo. On the way to Nyabitaba hut, you can also be able to spot different primates like chimpanzees, monkeys, and some bird species most especially Mount Rwenzori Turaco.
John Matte hut is located on the hillside of River Bujjuku. This hut was named after the first president of the Mountain Club of Uganda. It consists of a three-room structure made out of timber with a pit latrine on the site. This is the second day’s journey to Mount Rwenzori and marks the start of giant lobelia. Other typical plants are also found here, especially along the Bujjuku River. The journey from Nyabitaba hut to John Matte takes approximately 6hours. Here you get to enjoy the beautiful views of Mount Stanley and Elena peak.
Bujuku Hut (3962m)
This takes you through the mountains by crossing the Bujuku River as you enter into the grassy bog. You later proceed to Lake Bujuku as you start the alpine savannah zone of little vegetation. The hut was renovated in 2009 and is situated next to the tin structure. This hut was named after Lake Bujuku which is close to the hut. Eco toilets and spring water can be accessed while at Bujuku hut. Altogether this hike takes approximately 5 hours whereby you will have to enjoy the beautiful views of Mt Stanley, Baker, and Speke peaks.
Elena hut (4540m)
This hut is located on top of Mt Stanley’s rocky terrain and includes a climb through moss groundsel vegetation. Most tourists usually opt to spend a night at this hut before climbing Mt Stanley. This hike usually takes 5-7hours and also offers you beautiful views of Mount Baker and Mount Speke.
Kitandara Hut (4023m)
The day’s trek from Kitandara hut starts as early as 2 am. Tourists should be reminded that at this particular point and time of the night it is extremely cold in the mountains so should put on heavy and warm clothes. This is one of the areas with beautiful views and spots of Mount Rwenzori.
Guy Yeoman Hut (3261m)
At this particular hut, you get to see coniferous trees surrounding the Mubuku River. The hut has two rooms constructed out of timber and a pit latrine. The Kabamba waterfalls next to the cabin add beautiful scenery to the hut area.
As you plan your holiday to the Mountains of the moon, different service providers can help in taking you to Mount Rwenzori and these include the following
This starts the mountain trek from Kilembe and offers excellent services to the tourists while on their trek to Mount Rwenzori.
RMS offers the client the best as they plan for their hike to the Mount Rwenzori mountains. Mostly the hike with RMS starts from Nyakalengija and is mostly referred to as the Central circuit.
This association starts their trip to the mountain from Kazingo village and descends to 800m and the rift valley floor to Bundibugyo. Book this trip to the Mountains of the moon for a memorable hiking experience.