The “Southern Circuit” of the Rwenzori was open for tourism in recent years after a conocession was granted to “Rwenzori Trekking Services” and after the construction of new huts in this region of the National Park. It takes about 8 days 7 nights to complete this trekking if you wish to reach up to Margherita Peak on Mount Stanley. Please enquire about the current quotations for this program.

rwenzori kilembe trails

rwenzori kilembe trails

Itinerary: Rwenzori Trekking Southern Circuit

Day 1 – Stage 1: Sine Hut (2,585 m)

On day number one, you are supposed to start the trekking either sleeping the day before in the hotel in Kasese or staying at the Trekkers Hostel (1.450 m), which is actually considered the camp base. Today you will walk through the mountain forest zone, where you might have encounters with species of monkeys like the colobus monkeys and the blue monkeys, then birds like the Rwenzori Turaco. Before reaching Sine Hut, the arrival point of the day at 2.585 meters altitude, you stop over at Enock’s Falls, a beautiful scenery. The Sine Hut is located between forest trees. You will be served the dinner and spend the night.

Day 2 – Stage 2: From Sine Hut to Kalalama Camp (3.147m) to Mutinda Camp (3.688 m)

After breakfast, trekking starts at 8.30 Am and you soon enter the bamboo-mimulopsis zone, which is steep climb with many high steps. After about 1.8 kilometers you reach Kalalama Camp (3.147 meters), which is located in the heather –rapanea zone. Here you will have a rest and a cup of tea.

From this point you proceed along the heather zone, passing by several streams and even waterfalls, all covered by the typical green moss vegetation. You will see a lot of Giant Heather trees, sometimes in a misty atmosphere. The arrival point of the day is Mutinda Camp, at 3.688 m named after the Mutinda Peaks. From this point, you can climb further to Mutinda Lookout, 3.925 m, about one hour and half walk plus one hour to descend back to the camp. The place is worth a visit as you stand on moss covered rocks with views across the Rwenzori Mountains, down to Kasese town and Lake George

Day 3 – Stage 3: From Mutinda Camp to Bugata Camp (4.062 m)

The trail from Mutinda Camp is a bit boggy, with the typical wet vegetation and tussocks. You entered the Alpine vegetation zone, with the presence of the giant lobelias (Lobellia gibberoa), the groundsel (Senecio adnivalis) and the everlasting flowers as you cross the Mutinda valley. You later climb a steep section up to Namusangi Valley (3.840 m), from where you will enjoy the best view of the Mutinda Peaks. Along the Namusangi Valley you cross various bogs as you climb to Bugata Camp at 4.062 m, the arrival point of the day. You will have a view of the Weisman’s Peak of Mount Luigi of Savoy, often covered by the snow. The vegetation area is covered with tussock grass, everlasting flowers, giant groundsel and giant lobelia. From the nearby Plozza Rock you will get fantastic views of nine lakes down the valley and Lake Nusuranja. Bugata Camp has good facilities with solar lights, eco-toilets and bathroom. You have dinner and spend the night.

Day 4 – Stage 4: From Bugata Camp to Butawu Camp (3.974 m)

After breakfast you will start your hike to climb up Bamwanjara Pass, the trail climbs steadily with several long flat bogs. As you climb you look back to see the glacial lakes far down in the valley. On reaching the top of Banwamjara Pass (4.450n) you get excellent views of all the main snow capped peaks where we have a small shelter for you to rest and enjoy the scenery. The walk down to Kacholpe Lakes is steep and often very muddy but offers fantastic views of Kachope Lakes and McConnell’s Prong. Butawu Camp (3,974m) is the arrival point of the day. The Camp is set on a ridge high above Butawu River which flows down from Scott Elliott Pass through Kitandara Lakes and has excellent views of the snow capped Mt Baker. Today trekking is about 6.2 kilometers.

Day 5 – Stage 5: From Butawu Camp to Margherita Camp (4,485 m.)

Walk back along the ridge before crossing several wet areas and small rivers coming from Mt Baker and Freshfields Pass to join Butawu River. The walk up Scott Elliott Pass is enjoyable as you climb through the pass and up the ridge of Mt Stanley to Margherita Camp at 4,485 meters which is below Elena Hut. It is sheltered with a ring of high rocks and it is the original camp used by the Italian Prince Luigi Amadeo di Savoia, Duke of the Abruzzi. From here you have great views of Mt Baker, Scott Elliot Pass and some of the high glaciers on Mt Stanley. Note: The days hike is 4.2 kilometers.

Day 6 – Stage 6: From Margherita Camp to Margherita Peak (5.109 m) down Butawu Camp (3.974 m)

Today you have the final ascent to Margherita Peak of Mount Stanley. You wake up at 4.30 am, have a quick snack before starting the trekking, so that you arrive in the Stanley glacier before sunrise. The climb up Margherita glacier is steep and requires that you are fit. On getting near to the top of the glacier you then climb around an exposed section of rock, which is also bolted and roped, to get on the ridge running up to the top of Margherita Peak (5.109 m). After reaching the summit you then descend directly to Butawu Camp.

Today distance covers 3.5 kilometers to the peak then 3.5 kilometers return to Margherita Camp plus 4.2 kilometers down to Butawu Camp. Total day distance is 11.2 kilometers.

Day 7 – Stage 7: From Butawu Camp to Bugata Camp

A late breakfast and then you will start the climb up Bamwanjara Pass which is steep and in wet weather can be rather boggy making it slow going and tiresome. While crossing the pass you get the chance to see hyrax sitting at the entrance to their rock shelter warming in the sun. Their main predator is the Rwenzori leopard, which is rarely seen, but occasionally people do get a glimpse. The leopard has been heavily poached for its skin 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. Dinner and overnight at Bugata Camp.

Day 8 – Stage 8: Descend to Kiharo Camp (3,460 m.)

Early morning set off around Lake Bugata and the outlet of Kopello Lake then climb 200 metres to the confluence of the two valleys. As you descend down the upper areas of the Nyamwamba Valley there is a large area of thick Giant Groundsel with dense evergreen undergrowth and moss with the rocky peaks towering above. As you descend the valley you will notice the terrain is made up of several flat boggy areas where millions of years ago glaciers sat and melted leaving a wall of big rocks in front of where it lay. The valley is home to many Red Forest Duiker (Cephalophuc nigrifrons rubidus). Overnight stay in Kiharo Camp at 3,460 metres. At night the air is filled with the calls of the rock hyrax as they sit in the rocky cliffs high above.

Day 9 – Stage 9:  Descend back to the Ranger post

Wake up to the shrill calls of the Ruwenzori Turaco (Ruwenzorornis johnstoni) and other birds. After breakfast you walk down the valley which is home to many species of birds that dive in and out the thick vegetation. Chameleons are a common sight as they crawl along the branches of the thick vegetation feeding on insects. In the clear areas you may catch a glimpse of a Duiker quietly feeding surrounded by Giant Lobellias and a variety of flowering plants. After descending a few kilometers, you climb two hundred metres height to a ridge overlooking the valley, before crossing several small valleys and streams to Kyalavula. Walk back to the Base Camp.

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