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Combined Gorilla Trekking & Rwenzori Expedition

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Uganda is the home of the legendary Mountains of the Moon and the magnificent Mount Rwenzori. This adventure holiday takes you to south western Uganda to trek this breath-taking mountain range and to see the amazing endangered mountain gorillas.

Primate Safari Experiences Limited is a company that has been specializing in Primate watching and its expanding its boundaries to covering luxury Rwenzori trekking & Gorilla watching in Uganda while on the most exciting Uganda safaris. Tourists enjoy hiking Mt. Rwenzori and trekking Gorillas in Bwindi Impenetrable & Mgahinga National Parks. The experience in Uganda, many tourists especially those that love hiking and trekking create a lot of memories. Get the experience of the Bakonjo culture, great people as you start your hike to the great Rwenzoris, climbing up to John Matte camp specie it up with gorilla trekking Bwindi impenetrable & Mgahinga National Parks.

GORILLA TREKKING IN BWINDI & MGAHINGA NATIONAL PARK

Gorilla trekking is one of the famous safari activities in Uganda. It has been observed that the population of mountain gorillas has increased thanks to the conservation efforts of various non-governmental and government support. These areas are safe for tourists and gorillas alike with minimal or no poaching incidences reported because of alternative sources of incomes available to communities in the area due to increase revenues from gorilla tourism.

There are two gorilla trekking spots in Uganda: Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park and Mgahinga Gorilla National Park. Gorillas don’t pay mind to political borders, so populations across the Virungas are relatively fluid. Uganda has an edge, however, since Bwindi alone is home to half of the world’s mountain gorillas.

The mountain gorillas are often found in the undergrowth feeding on the vegetation as they rest and or groom each other. The leader of each gorilla family or group is a silver-back which is very protective of the family, if frustrated it will grunt and beat its chest before moving off with the females, offspring and mature males.

To enjoy the experience of gorilla trekking, you need to prepare adequately starting with choice of tour operator to plan the entire safari, lodges and purchase of gorilla permits. The minimum age for trekking gorillas is 15 years. You require purchasing your permit much earlier especially if you want a specific date because only 8 people can trek a gorilla family per day.

Gorilla trekking happens in Bwindi impenetrable national Park and Mgahinga gorilla national park. Uganda currently has 21 gorilla families available for trekking. The trekking in Bwindi is slightly different from Mgahinga because of the nature of the landscape. Bwindi is a rain forest with thick undergrowth and varying landscape, you will have experiences of both uphill and downhill on your hike. Bwindi is divided into different sectors each with a number of gorilla families. Before you book your lodge it is important to know which sector you will track because the location is quite far apart. The sectors are Buhoma, Ruhija, Nkuringo and Rushaga sectors.

Gorilla trekking safari preparation tips

  • Uganda is a tropical country with unpredictable climate, rain gear is a must have
  • Insect repellent
  • Recommended clothing – long trousers and long sleeved sweaters or shirts while in the forest to avoid insect and plant stings.
  • Sturdy hiking boots are essential, especially ones you have used before.
  • Drinking water, however eating, drinking and smoking near the gorillas is strictly forbidden – your guide will communicate designated time and place.
  • Photography is permitted, although you must not use flash
  • Porters are available to help you carry your day-pack for a small charge.
  • You will not be allowed to trek gorillas if you have communicable disease like flu or cough

Mountain gorillas live at high altitude and this may cause difficulties in hiking up for some visitors. You should pace yourself, walk slowly, drink plenty of water and prepare adequately for this experience. Primate Safaris Experiences Limited will purchase your gorilla trekking permits for you in advance for proper planning.

RWENZORI CLIMBING

Mount Rwenzori is the 3rd highest mountain just after Mount Kilimanjaro and Mt Kenya. Several mount climbers find it challenging to hike it to the summit however from the many reviews we get from them, all say that the mountain offers excellent views and scenery than the two highest peaks in Africa.

7 Days Rwenzori Trekking tour using the Rwenzori Central Circuit is always the best way to explore Rwenzori Mountains with relaxed extension to go gorilla trekking a  combined gorilla & Rwenzori Climbing with Rwenzori Expeditions. The Rwenzori Hike starts from Nyakalengija head office and ends at the same point, below is the detailed hike day by day.

Day 1: Hike from Nyakalengija head office to Nyabitaba hut                                         

The first day of climbing mountain rwenzori using the central circuit trail is a hike from Nyakalengija head office the starting point of the hike to Nyabitaba hut, the hike between these two points is of a distance of 8 kilometers through the elevation range of 1500 meters to 2500 meters above the sea level.

Today’s climb starts with breakfast at your lodge and then drive to Rwenzori Mountain headquarters where you will be briefed about the experience, from the briefing you will head to Nyakalengija head office where the hiking starts from. From Nyakalengija head office you will hike through the Bakonzo community heading to the main gate of mountain rwenzori national park for registration. The hike takes you through thick tropical forests and dense bushes which are a habitant to many forest animals such as forest elephant, chimpanzees, hyrax, L’Hoest monkey, black and white colobus monkeys, three horned chameleon, duikers and bird species such as handsome francolin, rwenzori Turaco, barred long tailed cuckoo, strange weaver, rwenzori batis and many more which can be spotted on the hike. The hike ends at Nyabitaba hut where you will have dinner and spend the night.

Day2: hike from Nyabitaba hut to John matte hut

The second day of climbing mountain rwenzori using the central circuit trail is a hike from Nyabitaba hut and matte hut, the hike is of approximately 11 kilometers between these 2 points in the elevation range of 2500 meters to 3380 meters above the sea level.

This day’s hike begins with early breakfast at the hut then start with the hike heading to John matte hut, this trail passes through thick shrubs and forests heading to Kurt Shafer bright the confluence of River Mubuku and Bujuku. The trail leads through bamboo and montane forests with sights of numerous rocks leading to Nyamuleju rock shelter which was formerly used as a camping site by early hikers of mountain Rwenzori, at Nyamuleju rock shelter you will have lunch and from this point you uninterrupted views of mount speak and mount Stanley. From the rock shelter you will continue hiking up through Alpine forest until you reach John matte hut where you will have dinner and spend the night. John matte hut is situated near river Bujuku and while at the hut you get views of Margherita peak situated on mount Stanley amidst Alexandra and Margherita peaks.

Day 3: hike from John matte to Bujuku hut

The third day of climbing mountain rwenzori using the central circuit trail is a hike from john matte to Bujuku hut, the hike is done on a trail of 5 kilometers laying in the elevation range of 3380 meters to 3977 meters.

The day’s hike starts with leaving the camp/hut after breakfast then head on a trail running through the forest and crossing river Bujuku leading to lower bigo bog which a swampy area in a valley and it is filled with giant lobelias, formerly this area was the hardest stretch of the hike because of its boggy nature involving jumping from one tussock to another which was hard for hikers most especially female hiker. Today the area has a walking board which makes it easier to cross the swamp and as you cross you are rewarded with sights of giant lobelias, everlasting flowers and groundsels. From the swamp you will hike through a steep ridge heading to the upper bigo bog, there is a walking board of a trail leading to Lake Bujuku and from the lake you hike through boggy area with no walk boards heading to Bujuku hut. The night is to be spent at Bujuku hut and so is dinner, at this point you are able to ascend to both mount Speke and mount Stanley.

Day 4: hike from Bujuku hut to Elena hut                                      

The fourth day of climbing mountain rwenzori using the central circuit trail is a hike from Bujuku hut to Elena hut on a trail laying in the elevation range of 3977 meters to 4563 meters and the whole hike between two points takes for about 5-7 hours, from Bujuku hut after breakfast the hike continues through the upper Bigo boy to steep slopes of Lake Bujuku in the East. The trail ascends to Scott-Elliot pass standing at the elevation of 4372 crossing swamps and the ground gully, to the reach the top of the gully you hike through a steep section using a mental ladder. The he trail divides into two trails that is the left trail which leads to Elliot pass descending to Kitandara lakes and the right trail which heads to Elena hut, and on a steep trail above large boulders it heads to the mount Stanley. Elena hut sits on a rocky part of mount Stanley and since this point is the highest point of mountain rwenzori it is extremely cold. At this point you get direct views of Mount Speke and Mount Baker but because of fog it is sometimes hard to get clear views.  The night is to be spent at Elena hut after dinner.

Day 5: hike from Elena hut to Kitandara hut

The fifth day of climbing mountain rwenzori using the central circuit trail is a hike from Elena hut to Kitandara hut on a trail laying in the elevation range of 4563 meters to 3979 meters, today’s hike starts as early as 2 am in the dark hours after breakfast and because of the extreme coldness wearing warmest clothing, arm hand gloves, headlamps to provide light, head sock and helmets is a must. The hike leads to the top of mount Stanley, Margherita peak passing through the Stanley plateau, on this hike you will need the use of ropes especially in rocky areas. At this point you will come in contact with the ice and the used of tools like crampons and ice axe is a must in the glacier parts, you guide will teach you how to use these tools.

After hiking for a couple of hours through the Stanley plateau glacier the trail leads you to the bottom of Margherita glacier, the hike to this point is the most challenging part of the whole climbing experience of mountain Rwenzori. The hike continues through the glacier leading to the top of mount Stanley Margherita peak at the elevation of 5109 meters, at this point you get views of Lake Ireen, mount Speke and the surrounding. From the top of mount Stanley you will descend by to Elena hut for lunch and after lunch the descending continues to Kitandara passing the Scott Elliot pass heading to Kitandara hut where you will spend the night.

Day 6: descend from Kitandara hut to Guy Yeoman hut

The sixth day of climbing mountain rwenzori using the central circuit trail is a hike from Kitandara hut to Yeoman hut taking about 5-7 hours, on a trail running through the elevation range of 3979 meters to 3505 meters. After breakfast the hike continues on a trail ascending steeply up the headwall and spreading out at the base of mount Baker, the trail continues to the south side of Mountain rwenzori leading to the Fresh field pass and from this point the hike continues on a muddy trail passing the rock shelter at Bujangulo which is the base camp for the historic expedition of 1906 conducted by the Duke of Abruzzi. The hike ends at Guy Yeoman hut where you are to have dinner and spend the night, the hut lies on the banks of river Mubuku.

Day 7: descend from Guy Yeoman hut to Nyabitaba then to Nyakalengija

The seventh day of climbing mountain rwenzori using the central circuit trail is a hike from Guy Yeoman hut to Nyabitaba then to Nyakalengija taking for about 8-9hours, from the hut after breakfast the descending continues to Nyabitaba on a trail running through bamboo forests and this path is fond of being slippery and muddy which requires you to be very careful as you balance on the vertical mud or steep rocks.  The trek to Nyabitaba hut takes approximately 5 hours and at Nyabitaba hut you will have a stopover for lunch and they continue trekking to Nyakalengija which takes about 3 hours, you are expected to arrive at Nyakalengija in the late evening, meet your safari drive and drive to your lodge.

It’s at this point when the trekkers decides if to continue to enjoy the gorilla trekking in Bwindi to make the dream come two of Primate Watching & Ruwenzori Hiking which is likely to last for 12 days. This is the reason we call it 12 Days Gorilla trekking & Rwenzori Climbing at Rwenzori expeditions a local firm managed by Primate Safari experiences that rewards you with the ultimate gorilla watching holiday.

Conclusion

Gorilla trekking and Rwenzori climbing in Uganda is once-in-a-lifetime journey to see the incredible mountain gorilla in Bwindi Impenetrable & Mgahinga National Park and Rwenzori climbing in Rwenzori National Park. Travelers that have been on this Uganda safari highly rate the activities and will gladly tell you how no other wildlife encounter in Africa matches the outstanding experience of spending time face-to-face with Uganda’s wild gorillas in a natural setting.

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