UGANDA MOUNTAIN TREKKING SAFARIS|HIKING IN UGANDA|UGANDA MOUNTAIN HIKING & CLIMBING SAFARIS, RWANDA & CONGO
Hiking in Uganda offers you adventurous Uganda mountain trekking and climbing safaris. For over 10 years we have organized tailor-made Uganda mountain hiking safaris or mountain hiking tours in Uganda to the Rwenzori Mountains (Mount Rwenzori). Mount. Elgon, Mount. Mgahinga, and Mount. Sabinyo in Uganda. Some of our Uganda mountain trekking safaris feature;- Volcanoes mountains, and Diana Fossey tomb hikes as well to Mount Nyiragongo Volcano in Congo.
Some of our popular Uganda mountain climbing safaris include;- 8 days Mountain Elgon trekking safari, 9 days Rwenzori Mountains climbing safari, 4 days Mount Elgon hiking safari, and the 10 days Rwenzori Mountains trekking and climbing safari. Uganda mountain hiking and trekking safaris can be conducted at any period of the year though it is more ideal in the dry season which captures the months of June to August and from December to March. The mountain features impressive features that range from Caves to waterfalls, luxurious vegetation, and fauna not forgetting counts of birds.
Our Uganda Mountain climbing and hiking Safaris are the true Africa mountaineering adventure trips to raise your adrenaline and enable you to explore all the thrilling peaks of the Mountain Rwenzoris. These Uganda hiking safari trips to Mount Rwenzori give you a golden opportunity to explore the magical Mahoma trail, climb any of the three Virunga Volcanoes namely Gahinga, Muhabura, and Sabyinyo which are part of the greater Virunga chain of eight Mountains.
4 Days mountaineering safari in Uganda takes you to the tallest in Africa. enjoy this thrilling experience. Read More
Experience this Uganda mountain climbing adventure tour & hiking to all the thrilling peaks of the Rwenzori mountain. Read More
Mt. Rwenzori Climbing Adventure safari to the legendary mountains of the moon as described by Ptolemy in the year 150AD. Read More
The 14 Days Uganda Safari Adventure to Rwenzori Mountains & Gorilla trekking is a fort night safari in Uganda. Read More
The 16 Days Uganda Safari allows one to climb Mount Rwenzori for three days exploring the magical Mahoma trail, climb any of the three Virunga Volcanoes namely Gahinga, Muhabura and Sabyinyo. Read More
The 18 Days Primate, Wildlife & Mountaineering Safari in Uganda features Mount Rwenzori Climbing with Margarita peak as the prime activity supported by gorilla trekking in Bwindi, Chimpanzee trekking in Kibale National Park and Wildlife viewing. Read More
Mountain Climbing in Uganda | Hiking in Uganda Safaris | Mountain Trekking in Uganda Tour Experiences
Mountain Climbing in Uganda Safaris – Overview
It is well known that Uganda is home to half of the world’s mountain gorilla populations, multiple Chimpanzee habitats, the Big 5, unrivaled traditional cultural activities, and 50% of Africa’s total bird species. However, not many people are aware of the incredible mountain climbing/hiking/trekking in Uganda tour experiences.
The East African mountain climbing and trekking scene have been dominated by Mount Kilimanjaro and Mount Kenya, but more and more seasoned mountaineering experts are visiting Uganda have been fascinated with the landscape diversity, scenic beauty, and technical challenges.
There are 4 top destinations for hiking and mountain climbing in Uganda; the snow-capped Rwenzori Mountains or the Mountains of the moon’ in Rwenzori Mountains National Park, Mount Elgon (4,321m) in Mount Elgon National Park, Virunga Mountains including Mount Sabyinyo at 3,669m, Mt Gahinga at 3,474m, and Mt Muhabura at 4127m in Mgahinga Gorilla National Park, and hiking in the Karamoja region.
Here Are The Top Uganda Mountain Climbing Safari Destinations /Uganda Hiking (Trekking) Safari Tour Experiences
Rwenzori Mountains – Rwenzori Mountains National Park
A UNESCO World Heritage, Rwenzori Mountains National Park has the highest mountain range in Africa and the third highest point on the continent at 5109m. The national park is famed for being able to cater for casual walkers to technical climbers.
Mount Rwenzori lies astride the equator with 6 peaks and 3 of these are permanently covered with snow; Mt. Baker at 4,843m, Mt. Speke at 4890m, and Mt. Stanley at 5,109m. About 70% of the park is above 2500m in altitude, making it Uganda’s highest park. The diverse nature of the mountain range enables visitors to be able to do anything from a 1-day hike to a 10-day trek.
The Rwenzori Mountains have been dubbed the “African Alps,” the “Mountains of the Moon” and the “snowy source of the Nile” (the latter two descriptors were ascribed in 150 A.D. by noted astrologer and geographer Claudius Ptolemy). In the local Lukonzo language, Rwenzori means “Rain Maker” or ‘Cloud King.
Climbing The Rwenzori Mountains
While almost 800m lower than Tanzania’s Mount Kilimanjaro, the Rwenzori Mountains offer a more technical climb and are much less crowded.
It is traversed by two hiking trails:
- The Kilembe Trail, the longer and newer trail.
- The Central Circuit Trail, a more established trail that is shorter and slightly cheaper.
On these trails, you can enjoy a variety of treks, ranging from easy scenic day hikes on the lower slopes to challenging multi-day hikes that involve ascents of the Margherita peak, a feat accomplished by a few dozen people every year.
A trek to the Margherita Peak passes through 5 fascinating altitudinal vegetation zones with distinct microclimate, flora, and fauna. You traverse through astonishingly lush and green, like a prehistoric wonderland, with huge and unusual-looking plants. White heather hangs from branches like old men’s beards and dramatic snow-peaked mountains can be glimpsed between the trees.
As you climb, the scenery changes, becoming grander and more tropical. Bamboo shoots up from the forest floor and high in the canopy you can see the beautiful endemic birds and hear the chant of monkeys. The final ascent is by far the hardest part, with climbers trudging through the snow in total darkness, scrambling at ropes fixed to the rock face.
When you reach it, though, the Margherita Peak is likely to be free of other climbers, providing time and space to enjoy the incredible views across mountains, lakes, rivers, waterfalls, valleys, and the Democratic Republic of Congo, which lies on the other side of the ridge.
But even if you don’t hike in the Rwenzori range, you will still see it – cloud permitting. The little town of Fort Portal, which is the jumping-off point for chimpanzee trekking in Kibale Forest, nestles in the shadow of these mountains, while the road from Kibale to Queen Elizabeth National Park runs along the eastern length of the range.
If the weather is fine, you can see their glaciated peaks. The range looms large in the distance behind Queen Elizabeth NP, a fittingly dramatic backdrop for the tree-climbing lions, elephants, Buffalos, and thousands of hippos living here.
Where to stay at the Rwenzori Mountains National Park?
On a multi-day Rwenzori mountains trekking tour you will be sleeping in simple mountain huts along the route. There are also places to stay before or after your Rwenzori Mountain Climbing safari, including:
- Equator Snow Lodge – Luxury
- Sandton Hotel Kasese – Midrange
What You Carry For The Rwenzori Mountains Trekking Tour?
- Extra warm clothing
- A rain jacket
- A water bottle
- Camera gear
- Personal items such as sunscreen, lip balm, etc.
- Walking boots and a spare pair of shoes for around camp
- A walking pole helps balance over rocky bits
- Rope, harnesses, and crampons for those trekking to the summit
- A comprehensive gear list is included in the pre‑departure information provided on booking.
- Porters carry all group gear and your trek pack
Mgahinga Gorilla National Park
Mgahinga National Park is situated in south-western Uganda. It covers an area of 33.7 km2 and is contiguous with Virunga National Park in Congo, and Volcanoes National Park in Rwanda. It does not only offer Uganda gorilla trekking tours as its name suggests; the local word, ‘Gahinga’, refers to the array of volcanic rock found dotted around the various bases of the park’s 3 extinct volcanoes popularly known as the Virunga Mountains:
- Mount Sabyinyo: 3,669m
- Mount Gahinga Hike: 3,474m
- Mount Muhabura Hike: 4,127m
Straddling the borders of Uganda, Rwanda, and DR Congo, the Virunga Volcanoes are not a mountain range like the Rwenzori Mountains, but a chain of 8 isolated freestanding volcanic cones strung along a fault line associated with the same geological process that formed the Rift Valley.
The chain comprises 6 inactive and 2 highly active volcanoes including Mount Nyiragongo in Congo, a very dangerous beautiful volcano which is last erupted in May 2021 and is responsible for nearly 40% of documented volcanic eruptions in Africa.
The names of the 3 Uganda volcanoes in the Virunga chain reflect local perceptions. Sabyinyo translates as “old man’s teeth” in reference to the jagged rim of what is probably the most ancient and weathered of the eight volcanoes. Muhabura is “the guide”, and the Batwa Pygmies, the first people of the forest used to look for its high peak to help orient themselves in the forest. As noted above, Gahinga is variously translated as meaning “pile of stones”.
Aside from mountain gorillas, the Virungas also form the main stronghold for the endangered golden monkeys and several Albertine Rift endemic bird species.
Climbing The Virunga Volcanos In Uganda
Guided day hikes to each of the three volcanic peaks in Mgahinga leave on-demand daily from 07:00 to 07:30. A reasonable level of fitness is required for these hikes, all of which take between 7 and 9 hours.
Mt Sabinyo hike is the most popular ascent, starting from Ntebeko Gate and taking you through regenerating forest, home to bushbucks and buffaloes before entering a beautiful bamboo forest where you might be lucky and see the Golden monkeys.
You then trek through a fairy tale of an Afro-montane forest with various species of Albertine rift endemic birds including the striking Rwenzori Turaco. As you hike further, the upper slopes support a cover of alpine moorland vegetation dotted with bizarre giant lobelias and groundsels. At the peak, you have an opportunity to stand in Uganda, Rwanda, and Congo at the same time!
Where to stay near Mgahinga National Park?
- Mount Gahinga Lodge – Luxury
- Lake Chahafi Resort – Midrange
- Traveller’s Rest Kisoro – Midrange
- Birdnest @Bunyonyi Resort– Luxury
- Lake Bunyonyi Rock Resort – Midrange
What To Pack For The Virunga Volcano Hike In Mgahinga National Park
- Good waterproof hiking boots
- Rain jacket/poncho
- Warm clothes
- Hiking Boots
- Garden Gloves
- Rain Jacket
- Long-Sleeved Shirts / Blouse
- Energy Giving snacks
- Cameras and extra batteries
- Hat and Sun Glasses
- Pair of Binoculars
Mountain Elgon-Mount Elgon National Park
Mount Elgon National Park is another great destination for mountain climbing in Uganda, named after Mountain Elgon, an extinct shield volcano, featuring Africa’s 8th highest peak, rising 4,321m. Mt. Elgon is the oldest volcanic mountain in East Africa, believed to have erupted about 24 million years ago and remained active for at least 10 million years, standing far higher than Kilimanjaro does today in its explosive prime
At 4,000km², Mt. Elgon has the broadest base of any free-standing mountain anywhere in the world. It also has several other extraordinary including Afro-montane forest and moon-like moorland zone blanketed by tree heaths, massive groundsels, and lobelias; cliffs, caves, rivers, waterfalls, hot springs, gorges, and of course amazing peaks, in addition to birds and mammals.
About 2 million years after its last major eruption, the top of Mt. Elgon collapsed, creating the world’s largest mountain caldera. Covering about 40km, the caldera resembles a large ‘bowl’ and is surrounded by a ring of rugged peaks including:
- Wagagai Peak – 4,321 Meters
- Sudek Peak – 4,302 Meters
- Mubiyi Peak – 4,211 Meters, and
- Jackson’s Peak – 4,161 Meters
Hiking Mountain Elgon.
Mount Elgon is traversed by 3 major routes and a descent into the vast caldera is a must. Traditionally, the most popular has been a 4-day round trip from Budadiri to Wagagai following the Sasa route in both directions. These days, however, it is probably best to ascend via the newer Piswa or Sipi routes, which start at a much higher altitude than Budadiri, making for the more gradual and far less strenuous ascent, then to return using the Sasa route.
Aspirant hikers need to be reasonably fit, but no specialized equipment or skills are required to reach the peaks, and there is no serious risk of altitude-related illness. A noteworthy attraction to Elgon is the relatively low cost compared with other larger East African mountains.
Scenic Day Hikes On Mount Elgon
An alternative activity to those who do not wish to summit Elgon is to explore the foothills of this volcano. There are caves to visit as well as the pretty cascading Sipi Falls and endemic plants. Lucky hikers can see elephants, buffalos, Deffessa waterbucks, oribi, bushbucks, duikers, forest hogs, bush pigs, black-and-white colobus monkeys, baboons; red-tailed monkeys, vervet monkeys, De Brazza’s monkeys, and blue monkeys.
Sipi Falls Hike
The 99m-high Sipi falls is last in a series of 3 pretty waterfalls formed by the Sipi River as it cascades downhill from the upper slopes of Mount Elgon into the Kyoga Basin.
The waterfall is surrounded by beautiful hiking trails, lush green hills and offers breathtaking water drops. Besides nature in abundance, your hike to sip falls can include a tour of a small local coffee-producing farm. This is the perfect time to pick up some high-quality Ugandan coffee to take home to your friends and family.
Where To Stay In Mount Elgon National Park
- Sipi River Lodge – Luxury
- Mbale Resort Hotel – Midrange
- Kapkwai Forest Cottages – Budget
What To Pack For Mount Elgon Trekking?
- Warm clothing
- Plenty of drinking water
- Waterproof gear (Good raincoat, waterproof over-trousers, etc.)
- Bring plastic bags to separate wet and dry clothing in your rucksack
- Sturdy walking boots
- Insect repellant.
- Sun hat and Sunscreen
- Plenty of energy-giving snacks
- Camera and extra batteries
Hiking Mount Morungole In Uganda
Also known as the Ik land, Mount Morungole stands at 2,750 meters on the eastern border of Kidepo Valley National Park in north-eastern Uganda.
The forest-swathed mountain is best known as the main stronghold of Uganda’s last population of around 10,000 Ik people (the smallest ethnic group in Uganda, with their own unique culture) who hold the mountain sacred. There hiking trail up Mount Morungole where you visit the 1k villages on the mountain. It is an 8-hour hike.
Where to stay near Mount Morungole?
- Apoka Safari Lodge – Luxury
- Kidepo Savannah Lodge – Midrange
- Apoka Rest Camp – Budget
Other Things to Do Your Mountain Hiking Tour in Uganda
If you are looking for what to add to your Uganda mountain hiking or climbing safari itinerary, you have plenty of options.
You can perfectly combine your Rwenzori Mountains hiking tour with a western Uganda safari circuit. The Rwenzori is about 30km from Queen Elizabeth NP. And it is near the great chimpanzee trekking destination of Kibale Forest National Park and the Uganda birding destination of Semuliki National Park.
Also, the Rwenzori gateway city of Kasese is easily accessible from Entebbe, Kampala, or if you’re coming south down from Murchison Falls National Park, Uganda’s largest savannah park.
Rwenzori Mountains National Park is also not very far from the Uganda gorilla trekking safari destinations of Bwindi Impenetrable National Park and Mgahinga National Park. In fact, few people undertake Uganda safaris without trekking to see its mountain gorillas.
Gorilla trekking in Uganda is one of the unique highlights of a Uganda safari holiday vacation. Adventure Uganda tours that include a full trek to the summit of Mount Stanley typically include a gorilla tracking experience, too. Spending an hour with these huge, majestic apes in their forested mountain habitat is a life-changing experience, and you will also get a warm-up for further trekking in the Rwenzori range since Uganda gorilla treks can lead you up and down steep, slippery paths.
A Uganda hiking safari to Mount Elgon National Park can also be combined with Jinja source of the Nile River tours and adventures and it can be done as a starting point of the Northern off-the-beaten-track to the remote Kidepo Valley National Park – a true African wilderness.
Here Is A List Of Other Great Things To Do On Your Mountain Hiking Tour In Uganda:
- Mountain Gorilla Trekking in Uganda – Bwindi Impenetrable Forest
- Tracking a community of wild Chimpanzees on Foot in Kibale Forest
- Golden monkey tracking in Mgahinga National Park
- Uganda Wildlife safari game drives in search of Lions, Leopards Elephants, Buffalos, Hippos, and other savannah games.
- Cruise on a boat safari along the Nile River in Murchison Falls NP and Kazinga Channel in Queen Elizabeth National Park
- On foot wild Rhino tracking in Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary
- Tracking Tree-Climbing Lions in Queen Elizabeth National Park
- Canoeing on Lake Bunyonyi, Africa’s second deepest lake
- Experience Batwa Pygmy Culture in Mgahinga National Park
- Adventure activities at the source of the Nile River in Jinja: White-water rafting, Kayaking, Tubing, Mountain biking, Bungee jumping, Horse riding, and Quad biking
- Uganda Community Cultural safari experiences on the slopes of Mt Elgon
- Uganda Birdeaching safaris to spot rare bird species like the Shoebill, great blue turaco, and more
- Chimpanzee viewing and feed at Mamba Island Chimpanzee Sanctuary in Lake Victoria
- Kampala City Tour
Best Time To Go For Mountain Hiking In Uganda
Although hiking safaris in Uganda can be undertaken at any time of the year, we recommend that you visit during the drier seasons of June to August and December to February.
Mountain trails are more slippery in the wetter months and this can make your hike more challenging. In the Rwenzori Mountains, the effects of rain, mud, snow, ice, and cold can be very strenuous on the body.
Many people visit in December for gorilla trekking in Uganda tours and Chimpanzee Tracking, as Uganda mountain trekking tour add-ons recommended by Prime Safaris & Tours Ltd. Note that weather can be unpredictable so these time periods may vary from year to year. Sometimes the rains come early, come late, are mild, or are torrential.
Uganda is a member of East African Federation a nd is one of the countries on the African continent that are gifted by nature which prompted the British premier to declare it the pearl of Africa in 1908. It contains ten national parks that are well set to be encountered on Uganda safari.
The amazing experience starts with Lake Mburo National Park – the smallest savannah park in Uganda located along Masaka- Mbarara road in the south west of the country well known for its populations of Impala, Zebra and Eland more than any other park. Proceed to gorilla safari destination of Bwindi Impenetrable National Park the home of the endangered Mountain gorillas well known for gorilla tracking. Find More about Uganda Safari Parks/ Safari Attractions
Read More / Read Less About Uganda National Parks
From there a Uganda safari undertaker can then proceed to the north to encounter Queen Elizabeth National Park – the world biosphere reserve to view the tree climbing lions of Ishasha, the famous boat ride of Kazinga Channel and the game drive along the Kasenyi track. Proceed to the north to encounter the 1,509m Mt Ruwenzori famously Known as Mountains of the moon suitable for Adventure safaris especially mountain climbing.
Continue to the primate capital of the world – Kibale national Park well known for populations of habituated chimpanzees thus a haven for chimpanzee trekking in Uganda before proceeding to Semuliki National Park well known for its prehistoric tree species and the Sempaya hot springs.
The journey of your safari in Uganda still continues to Murchison falls National Park – the largest protected area in Uganda for the powerful Murchison falls, the big five, Giraffe and Nile River itself. Proceed far north east to Kidepo National Park – one most remaining wilderness parks in Africa to encounter endemics like Cheetah, Kavirondo bush baby, Ostrich among others plus the rewarding landscapes of the Karamoja region that will optimize your Uganda safari memories. Drive towards the south via Mount Elgon – the dormant Volcanic Mountain suitable for Hiking, viewing Sipi falls, the caves and paintings on the mountain side before announcing the end of your Uganda safari tour.
Bwindi Impenetrable National Park Uganda a home to the rare endangered mountain gorillas in Uganda, is strategically located at the edge of the western rift valley (Albertine rift valley), in South Western Uganda. Bwindi Impenetrable National Park Uganda is shared amoungest Rukungiri, Kisoro and Kabale Districts of Uganda.. Read More about Bwindi Impenetrable National Park
Mgahinga Gorilla National Park in Uganda only 33 sq km of size, is located in the far southwestern corner of Uganda bordering Rwanda and Congo,14 km from kisoro town in Bufumbira County about 540 km from Kampala-the capital. Mgahinga National Park was gazetted in 1991. Read More about Mgahinga National Park
Kibale National Park Uganda-the major Chimpanzee trekking safari tours in Kibale forest national park destination in Uganda, is located in Kabarole district of western Uganda near Fort Portal and measures 776 sq km in size.It is elevate between 1110 meters to 1590 meters and has a national park since 1993. Read More about Kibale Forest National Park
Semuliki National Park Uganda is impeccable a Uganda safari spot located in the extreme west of Uganda in Bundibugyo district along geo-graphical coordinates 0o 44′- 00 53′ N – 290 57-30o 11’E. It is an eastern extension of the vast Ituri forest, and forms part of the forest continuum during the climatic upheavals of the Pleistocene period. It forms one of the richest areas for both flora and fauna in Africa particularly birds.. Read More about Semuliki National Park
A Uganda Safari that features the Rwenzori mountain climbing adventure provides a memorable and rewarding experience but in order to have a smooth flow it should be Well planned and every tour must be well prepared. The central hike circuit can take about six nights/seven days and then reaches an altitude of 14,000ft(4,267m) above the sea level. Read More about Semuliki National Park
Mount Elgon National Park Uganda is home Mount Elgon a 4,321m high extinct volcano with Wagagai as it`s highest peak,that first erupted more than 24 million years ago and in prehistoric times stood taller than Kilimanjaro does today. Having a 50km by 80km area, Elgon is a great Uganda prime tour-safari destination, possesing the largest surface area of any extinct Volcano in the world but 4th highest mount in E. Africa. Read More about Mount Elgon National Park
Kidepo National Park; The 1,442 square kilometres Kidepo Valley National Park lies in the rugged semi-arid karamoja province valleys. It is one of Uganda’s prime most remote but spectacular national parks that harbors scenery unsurpassed in any other park in East Africa. Many tourists that visit this park comment on the scenery and often promise and do come back to re-visit Kidepo, for according to them this tour cant not be any better any where.. Read More about Kidepo National Park
Lake Mburo National Park; With a size of 260 sq km,Lake Mburo National Park in Uganda is situated near Mbarara district and forms Uganda wildlife tours and Safaris destination best for tourists to amazing wild game walks amidst chanting and grazing wild animal and this can be done here in the whole Uganda. Read More about Lake Mburo National Park
Wildlife safari tours in Queen Elizabeth National Park, Uganda wildlife safari game drives,boat cruises, nature walks,chimpanzee trekking when to visit, how to get there & where to sleep in Queen Elizabeth National Park Uganda. Queen Elizabeth National Park Uganda (QENP) is located in the southwest of Uganda near Kasese, covering 1978 sq km. Read More about Queen Elizabeth National Park
Here is a guide to Murchison Falls National Park Uganda– Wildlife safari tours in Murchison Falls National Park, Uganda wildlife safari game drives,boat cruises, nature walks,chimpanzee trekking when to visit, how to get there & where to sleep in Murchison Falls National. Read More about Murchison Falls National Park
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