10 Days of Hiking to Margherita Peak
Activities; Mountain hiking to Margherita Peak.
Destinations: Mt Rwenzori,
Day 01: Transfer to Kasese
You will be picked from the Airport or hotel and proceed to Kasese for relaxation and overnight stay. Dinner and Overnight at Hotel Margherita – Full board
Day 02: Trekkers Hostel – Samalira Camp 1,667 – 3,171 Meters 8.6km 5-7 Hours
After breakfast you will start the trek at Trekkers Hostel in Kyanjiki 12 kilometers from Kasese past Kilembe. Meet your guides and briefing. You walk 2.2km to the UWA rangers post at 1,727metres where the rangers brief you on the day’s activities and rules of the National Park.
The first 2km climbs steadily through pristine montane forest, with tall trees thick undergrowth and a multitude of different species of birds and primates. As you leave the rangers post you walk along a path through tall grassland and ferns which gives way to magnificent pristine forests. As this is a new route the forests are untouched and carry a wide variety of trees and plants. Many species of birds can be heard and seen in this rich environment. The first few kilometers climb steadily crossing several small streams and rivers then we start climbing the ridge. As we climb the trees become taller and straighter and it is common to see and hear many types of primates, on the left you may hear troupes of chimpanzee echoing around the valleys. Particularly around our lunch spot at 2,570m it is possible to see troupes of 20 or more black and white Colobus monkeys or Blue monkeys as they dash through the trees.
After lunch we continue to climb steadily passing a rock shelter (2,785m) previously used by poachers to hunt primates and dika (small antelope). After the rock shelter the climb enters the bamboo zone and becomes steeper. As we near the top we break out of the bamboo to fantastic views of the valleys and hills below looking across to Lake George and Queen Elisabeth National Park in the distance. The equator lies just north of Lake George. Samalira Camp is at 3,147 metres, meaning views or lookout and offers great views of the surrounding landscape and Kasese town. Dinner and Overnight stay at Samalira Camp. Full board
Day 03: Salamira Camp – Kiharo Camp 3,171 – 3,588 Metres, 6.9 Km 4-5 hours
After a hearty breakfast we commence walking at 8am and initially climb steadily then cross a small stream and the climb becomes steep for about 200 meters up a narrow moss covered ridge. The thick moss covering the ground and rocks under the giant heather trees is spectacular and we ask you to help preserve this pristine environment by keeping to the pathway. The views give us the impression that we could fly as we look across the many ridges and valleys far below. You can see Kilembe village deep in the valley and across Lake George. After a relatively short climb the trail becomes less steep as we pass over Chavumba (meaning heaven) at 3,316m them cross a small flat valley to climb up a steady ridge through moss covered trees and misty forests to the top of the ridge at 3,515 meters. Here we descend steadily for about one kilometer before descending a steep drop of 200 meters into the Nyamwamba valley and a well earned lunch break at Polies Rock Shelter 3,249 meters.
After lunch we climb steadily above the Nyamwamba River for 1.6km though old giant heathers covered in old man’s beard moss to Kiharo Camp at 3,588 meters directly at the base of some good granite rock climbs of 20 to 40 meters, with towering peaks above. Sleep at Kiharo Camp 3,588 meters. Full board
Day 04 : Kiharo Camp – Camp 3 (3,380 – 4,200 Metres, 6.8 Km 4-5 hours)
Today’s trek will be 6.8 kilometres 4 to 5 hours and the Start height is 3,380 metres climbing to 4,200 metres on the top of the confluence between the two valleys then dropping to Camp 3 at 4,030 metres.We start by ascending to pass through Bamwanjara Pass then descend to Kachope Lakes the top of the pass trail that offers spectacular scenery of the main peaks ahead particularly on a clear day. After an early breakfast we climb a short steep climb through the narrow valley with large moss covered rocks. This area is stunning as you weave through the narrow passes near the foot of towering peaks till you reach the wider upstream Nyamwamba River. From here you climb steadily along the valley floor with small bogs and many giant lobelias. Both sides of the valley are lined with sheer cliff faces as we near the confluence of the Nyamwamba and Namusangi valleys. Our third camp at 4,065 metres, is above Lake Kopello and has spectacular views looking down the valley of nine glacier lakes, the Namusangi valley. Sleep at Camp 3. Full board
Day 05: Camp 3 – Camp 4 (4,030 – 4,450 Metres, 4.6km 5-6 hours)
On this day the start height is 4,030 meters climbing to 4,450 meters on the top of Bamwanjara Pass then dropping to Camp 3 at 4,006 meters.We start by ascending to pass through Bamwanjara Pass then descend to Kachope Lakes the top of the pass trail that offers spectacular scenery of the main peaks ahead particularly on a clear day. We start by descending to pass through Bamwanjara Pass to Kachope Lakes a trail that offers spectacular scenery of the main peaks ahead where on a clear day you can see Mt Stanley, Mt Speke in the centre and Mt Baker. On the right one can see McConnell’s Prong named after a British explorer and geologist. The view is awesome!! The Kachope Lakes area is one of the three known areas where on a misty day one may catch a rare glimpse of the Rwenzori leopard. Little research has been done on this animal yet it is rarer than the snow leopard, which has gained so much attention in recent years. After passing Kachope Lakes we climb to Camp four at 4,006 meters. Sleep at Camp 4.Full board
Day 06 : Camp 4 – Camp 5 (4,006 – 4,333 Metres, 4.1km 3-5 hours)
The Start height is 4,006 meters climbing to 4,333 metres at Camp 5.Today is a relatively easy walk past Kitandara Lakes and climb through Sott Elliott pass to our camp situated on the right then pass with fantastic views down the valley to Lake Bujuku and Mt Speke. To the south you see Kitandara Lakes and Wiesmanns Peak. The camp is at 4,460 meters in a flat sheltered position covered with moss where you can get a good sleep before climbing any of the peaks on Mt Stanley including Margherita and Alexandra Peaks. Sleep at Camp 5.Full board
Day 07: Camp 5 – Margherita Peak – Camp 5 (4,460 – 5109 Meters 3.5 km 3 -5 hours)
Today we will trek3.5 kilometers 3 to 5 hours up to Margherita Peak and 2 to 3 hrs hours back down to Camp 5.Start height 4,460 meters climbing to 5,109 meters on top of Margherita Peak.It is best to start climbing no later than 3.30am. So is best to get up at
3am have a quick cup of coffee or tea and some light high energy snacks and set off. It takes about one and a half hours to reach Elena hut (4,540m) which we bypass on the way to the peaks. After Elena the climb is steep but firm underfoot as you are walking on hard rock. You reach the edge of the glacier at 4,765 meters where you will need to put on crampons and harnesses at set distances. Although there is few crevices the guide will lead the way as one never knows. The scenery is spectacular and as you start to reach the upper areas of the glacier and the saddle between the two peaks Alexandra and Margherita the sun will just be peeping over the horizon giving the chance of fantastic photographs of the two main peaks tip with sunlight. You then reach the upper weather station (4,830 meters) where you climb down to a ladder (4803 meters) onto the upper glacier leading to Margherita Peaks. First you climb up the glacier to a small saddle between Alexandra and Margherita Peaks at 5,025 meters where you do a steep rocky climb to the main peak. At times the rocks are covered with snow and ice and may be slippery but mostly it is firm rock. The exhilaration of reaching the top is enormous as you look across Albert Peak to the DRC (Congo) then east across the spectra of the Ruwenzori Mountains. After enjoying the scenery and signing the book, you descend using the same path down to Camp 5. Sleep at Camp 5. Full board
Day 08: Camp 5 – Camp 3 (4,460 – 4006 Meters 10.1 km 5-7 hours)
On this day the start height will be 4,460metres walking down to Camp 4 at 4,006 meters where the trail drops a little more to pass just above Kachope Lakes at 3,985 meters and then over Bamwanjara Pass (4,450 meters) then dropping to Camp 3 at 4,006 meters.After a good breakfast you walk from Camp five down to Camp 4 which takes a couple of hours passing through Scott Elliot Pass. After a short break at Camp 4 there is a rather tough climb of 450 meters to pass over Bamwanjara Pass then down to Camp 3 at 4,030 meters while crossing the pass you get the chance to see hyrax sitting at the entrance to their rock shelter warming in the midday sun. The main predator is the Ruwenzori Leopard Panthera pardus ruwenzori which is rarely seen. The leopard has been heavily poached in the past and there are few left however on a rare occasion on a misty or overcast day you may be lucky to see one briefly as they move between the rocks. Sleep at Camp 3. Full board
Day 09: Camp 3 – Mutinda Camp (4,006 – 3, 688 Meters 5.8 km 4-6 hours)
Today we descend via the Namusangi valley across open moreland and large areas of tussock grass. As this is a valley floor it is relatively flat and water from farther up the mountains sweeps across the moors making the going wet and boggy. It is not soil but layers and layers of compressed tussock grass which over the years has transformed to
peat. It is a good idea to have rubber boots for this section although occasionally you may find your foot can sink deeper than a rubber boot. We continue down the valley passing several small waterfalls and moss covered valleys until we reach the steep rocky section above Mutinda with fantastic views of Mutinda Peaks directly ahead. We turn left just as before the river drops over a sheer cliff to the Mutinda valley to walk down several steep slopes until we reach the valley floor. Here we again cross the river before climbing to the Mutinda Rock Shelter. Although very beautiful this section can be tiresome as you scramble over huge boulders on your climb to Mutinda. Sleep Mutinda Camp at 3,688 meters. Full board
Day 10: Mutinda Camp – Kalalama Camp (3, 688 – Meters 4.2 km 3-5 hours)
In the morning you may decide to take the option of climbing to the top of Mutinda Lookout (3,975 meters), this takes about one hour and offers fantastic views as you stand on the moss covered peak. This climb is steep and near the top we have constructed a wooden ladder to enable you to climb more easily. There is no extra charge for this option and time wise it is easy to climb to the lookout and then walk down to Kalalama Camp. After taking in the views and unique atmosphere you then descend to the rock shelter and a cup of tea or coffee before descending to Kalalama. This adds about two hours or more to your trek. The walk down to Kalalama follows mainly down a rocky river where in places you are required to rock hop down alongside the stream. The atmosphere is truly unique as the valley is closed in and often misty creating the ideal environment for mosses and lichen. As we near Kalalama Camp we pass though a flat valley dotted with Gaint Lobelia. Some say this is one of the most beautiful sections of the entire trip. Sleep in Kalalama Camp which is perched on a high ridge overlooking the Kilembe valley and Kasese town. Full board
Day 11: Kalalama Camp to the Rangers Post(3, 688 – Meters 16.7 km 4-6 hours)
We will descend down through the bamboo forests which at times get boggy and slippery due to the mass of fallen leaves. During the wet season we cross to the ridge climbing to Samalira camp just above the lunch spot on day one as the river above Musenge Rock Shelter may be very deep and fast flowing, however during the dry season we continue directly down the ridge to Musenge shelter and down to the rangers postAfter debriefing, we sign off and walk down to Trekkers Hostel. Some fast walkers have descended to the rangers post by midday however the majority of people arrive at the rangers post around 1pm. After Lunch you will proceed to Kasese town. Dinner and Overnight at Hotel Margherita. Full board
Day 12: Departure
After breakfast, transfer to Entebbe with a stopovers enroute. Depending on the time of your flight, you transfer to the Entebbe International Airport for Your flight home. Breakfast & Lunch