Mountain hiking tours and safaris in Uganda take you to beautiful landscapes and breathtaking scenes during your hiking trails on the different mountains. Best multi-day hikes in Uganda are done in the protected areas of mount Elgon national park in Eastern Uganda and Rwenzori mountains national park however, the country also offers half day and 1-day trips to several mountains and volcanic features such as Sipi falls, Mount Muhabura, Mount Sabinyo and Mount Gahinga.
Hiking Rwenzori Mountains In Uganda
Mount Rwenzori has two hiking experiences that is to say the high altitude and low altitude excursions. The low altitude treks don’t go beyond 4,000 metres and normally scheduled between 2-4 days whilst the high-altitude treks take climbers to peaks above 4,000 metres; normally takes between 4-12 days.
A visit to mount Rwenzori can be a standalone adventure, however, some guests opt to combine this tour with other Uganda safari experiences such as travelling to Queen Elizabeth national park for wildlife encounter, Kibale forest national park for chimp tracking and Bwindi Impenetrable National Park for mountain gorilla trekking.
Rwenzori mountain national park offer standard wooden huts, constructed along the trails and each fitted with simple beds and a separate toilet hut.
Mountain Rwenzori hosts the highest point in Uganda that is Margherita Peak at 5,109m located on Mount Stanley. Adventure travelers looking for mountain hiking tours in Uganda to the highest peak of If Margherita must spend a minimum of 7 days hiking this beautiful landmark.
Hikers to this mountain must be physically fit because it only explored on foot to undertake this challenge. Most climbers recommend to have some technical hiking skills if you intend to climb up to Margherita Peak; be ready to face the glaciers at the summit.
Rwenzori hiking routes can be customized for private groups to provide more opportunity to familiarize to the altitude or to simply enjoy the peace, privacy and beauty of the stunning mountains.
Currently, the Rwenzori has 2 trekking circuits to enable climbers to the peaks that is to say; the Central Circuit out of Nyakalengija and the Southern Circuit out of Kilembe. However; we recommend our guests to take the southern circuit because it provides remarkable experiences accompanied outstanding landscapes, sights and sounds of the wilderness.
A trek to Rwenzori takes you through different altitudinal zones of vegetation that is to say; Afro montane vegetation zone at 1765m – 2600m, Bamboo zone at 2600m – 3000m, Heather zone at 3000m – 3800m, Moorland at 3800m – 4500m and Rocky glacier at 4500m and above.
Hiking Mount Elgon in Uganda
Mountain Elgon is also another exciting hiking destination in Uganda for adventure travelers. The mountain can be explored throughout the year and it is less crowded compared to any other travel destinations in Uganda with a milder climate and lower elevation. Hiking to the summit doesn’t require any special equipment or technical experience. Just be ready to take on the pearl on any of the trails mentioned below;
The Sasa trail is the shortest but hardest route to the peaks of mount Elgon. It takes travelers through the community land to explore BaMasaba farming settlements and their unique culture. This adventurous journey starts from Budadiri town at an elevation of 1,250m and takes 4 days. Yes, the toughest hike of over 1,600m is done on the first day of your trip before crossing the park’s largest bamboo forest and transiting through the Jackson’s Pool on the way to the highest peak of Wagagai.
The Sipi trail takes 4 to 6 days and covers a round trip of 56km. This trail starts from Kapkwai Forest Exploration Centre at 2,050m. Sipi trail is the longest trail on mount Elgon to the highest peak of Wagagai. The trail takes you through the northwestern mountainside via Tutum Cave to enter the caldera before reaching Wagagai. Sipi trail starts with ease but becomes tougher on the 3rd day from Kajeri Camp.
The Piswa trail is another adventurous trail that takes 7 days; covering a round trip of 49km. It starts form Kapkwata village; north of mountain Elgon. Hikers trail through the soft wood plantation to the Podocarpus forest. Encounter a number of wildlife and spectacular views of the Karamoja plains in Uganda, the Nandi and Kapeguria hills in Kenya. The Piswa trail also takes you to the hot springs on the way to the caldera and the mountain peaks.
The higher slopes of Mount Elgon are shared with an adjacent national park in Kenya and a transboundary hike can be arranged on request. After hiking to the caldera with a Uganda Wildlife Authority guide, hikers can cross the border to descend with a Kenya Wildlife Service escort.
Hiking Mount Sabinyo in Uganda
Mount Sabinyo is an extinct volcano located in Uganda and one of the mountains under the Virunga massif. Other mountains within the Virunga ranges include Mount Muhabura & Gahinga in Uganda; Karisimbi & Bisoke in Rwanda and mount Mikeno, Nyiragongo and Nyamuragira in DR Congo. A crater lake which is 20 meters in Diameter separates Mount Sabinyo from its closest neighbor Muhabura.
Climbing Mount Sabyinyo is one of the best mountain hiking experiences destined in Mgahinga gorilla national park Uganda.
Before commencing your hike to the summit, you will register with the park authorities, sign the guest book, later clear any required payments and receive a quick briefing about what to expect, history of the mountain and what to carry for your hiking experience. Travelers are expected to be at the top of the mountain by 3pm and if you fail to make it, you are advised to descend back because it would be too late to complete the activity.
Porters are available for hire for travelers with heavy equipment such as cameras.
Mount Sabinyo climbing permit costs $85 per person per trek and it is inclusive of ranger guide and park entrance fees. Permits can be purchased from Uganda Wildlife Authority offices in Kisoro or through your tour operator.
Best Time To Visit Uganda for Mountain Hiking Tours
Mountain hiking safaris and tours in Uganda can be done throughout the year however, the best time for the mount climbing in Uganda is during the dry season that runs from June to September and from December to February. Weather in Uganda is unpredictable so just be ready for sunny, rainy, windy and muddy, foggy conditions.
Wet season happens from March to May and October to November hence wet season means more rain at lower mountain slopes, but more snow at higher altitude for the case of mountain Rwenzori.
What To Pack For Mountain Hiking Tours In Uganda?
Summer shirts and shorts to be used for walking in the heat at the start of the trek
Warm long walking trousers. Please don’t carry jeans
Warm long-sleeved shirts to be put on when it gets cold
Warm hat and a sun hat
Waterproof and windproof jacket and trousers
Rain jacket & rain pants
Fleece jacket to add warmth when it gets colder
Mountain hiking boots
At least 4 pairs of warm and cushioned socks
Lightweight walking shoes to be used at the start of the hike
Crampons to be used at the summit day more so if you intend to climb mount Rwenzori.
Backpack to keep your personal gear
Head torch and batteries
Water bottle to hold 3 litres per days
Day bag to carry your daily water, lunch box, camera, among others
Water treatment tablets / iodine
Wash kit and a small towel
Basic First Aid kit
External protective cover for backpack and day bag