12 Days Gorilla watching & Rwenzori Trek, Hike the Margherita Peak
Planning for Gorilla Trekking & Kilembe hiking Rwenzori Mountains? Select the 12 days primate watching (Mountain gorillas, Chimpanzee) & Climbing Rwenzori Mountains in Uganda with the destination manager in Trekking tours in Uganda. During this 12 Days is using Kilembe route an alternative for 12 days Rwenzori trek , central circuit trail
12 Days Rwenzori trek & Gorilla watching takes you through chimpanzee trekking in Kibale forest national park where you will expect to see chimpanzees, hike Rwenzori mountain up to Margherita peak on the Kilembe trail, game drive en route in Ishasha queen Elizabeth national park where you will expect to spot lions, buffalo, kobs, elephant among others and gorilla trekking in Bwindi impenetrable national park.
Day 1: Transfer from Kampala to Kibale (Kibale forest camp)
The guide will pick up from your hotel in Entebbe at around 8am and transfer to Kibale forest. The journey will take around 5-6 hours with a lunch stopover along the way. As you drive you will have a see part of Uganda’s country side. Dinner and overnight at Kibale forest camp.
Day 2: Chimp trekking (Kibale forest camp)
On this day, you will drive to Kibale forest national park headquarters after breakfast at the camp. You will be briefed about chimpanzee trekking and the park in general.
You will then start the trek through the forest to look for the chimps. Unlike gorillas, chimpanzees keep moving around the forest and jump from one tree to another as they go about their daily life. So do not expect to find them in one place. As you trek the chimps, you will expect to see other primates that live in the forest as well as various bird species like the great blue turaco. You will then return to the camp refresh and have lunch. Dinner and overnight at the lodge.
Day 3: Kilembe (1,450m) to Kalalama Camp (3147m)
This is the first day of this masmerising trip that will start from the rangers post and head straight to the Rwenzori national park entrance point into this park and this will mark the official beginning of this hike. This walk takes you 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. You will proceed and reach Sine camp where you will have a stopover and enjoy your lunch and other refreshments. Then you will proceed and reach the first overnight camp at Kalalama which sits at 3,147 m.You will spend the first night at this camp in the cabins where you will be served dinner, get briefed about what will transpire the following day and then sleep over.
Day 4: Kalalama Camp (3.147m) to Mutinda Camp (3.688 m)
On this second day of this hike, you will be up by 7 AM and get ready for the days hike. You will enjoy your breakfast and at exactly 9AM you will set off for this hike that will see you pass through the bamboo-mimulopsis zone, which is steep climb with many high steps. You will reach a resting point where you will a cup of tea and some refreshments.
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. You will reach this camp late in the evening and check into the cabins for dinner and overnight. You will be briefed about the following day and then retire to your beds.
Day 5: Mutinda Camp to Bugata Camp (4.062 m)
Still on the hike to the peak, here comes day 3 of this trip that will begin at exactly 9 Am that straight away startswith going through the boggy terrain with the typical wet vegetation and tussocks.
You enter 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 which is 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.
This walk also takes you via Lake Kitandara that stretches up to the Democratic republic of Congo.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. You will be briefed about the following day and then retire to your cabins for the night.
Day 6: Bugata Camp to Hunwick’s Camp (3.974 m)
On this day you will wake up and have your breakfast and begin on the hike to the almost the epitome of this hike that started four days ago. 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 snowcapped peaks where we have a small shelter for you to rest and enjoy the scenery.
This walk leads you down to both lower and upper Kachope Lake which is steep and often very muddy but offers fantastic views of Kachope Lakes and McConnell’s Prong. Hunwick’s Camp (3,974m) is the arrival point of the day. The Camp is set on a ridge overlooking snowcapped Mt Baker.
Day 7: From Hunwick’s Camp to Margherita Camp (4,485 m.)
This is the most important walk of this hike to the Margherita camp which will be followed with making it to the summit the following day.This a walk along the ridge before crossing several wet areas and small rivers coming from Mt Baker and Fresh fields Pass.
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 of the Rwenzori mountaineering services.
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.
The day’s hike to this camp is 4.2 kilometers. So you will reach here late in the evening and relax a little bit. Then you will prepare and go through what will transpire the following summiting day. So this exercising will entail preparing the ropes, the hiking shoes, ice breaking axes as well as crampons. So you will pass through how to use these equipment and attires. Then you will retire to your cabins for a night.
Day 8: Hike to the Summit and back to Hunswick Camp
This is the D-day of this hike and it will turn out to be the longest and most hectic day yet the most sought after day on this entire hike. So this day will entail waking up as early as 3AM and have your breakfast.
So you will set off at exactly 4AM hiking to Margherita peak of Mt Stanley. This early movement is aimed at making it through the glacier before sunrise as it sunshine makes the glacier totally impassable as it melts.
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 enjoy the scenic of almost the whole coun5ry as you are now at the highest point in the country. You will eat your special food package that you carried from day one at the starting point.
Day 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 from where you will be awarded your Rwenzori hiking certificate and this will mark the end of this mesmerizing hike.
Day 10: Transfer to Bwindi impenetrable national park - through Ishasha
After breakfast at the lodge, you will check out and transfer to Bwindi through the Ishasha sector (the southern part of Queen Elizabeth national park). Ishasha sector is a home to the famous tree climbing lions. You will do a game drive in Ishasha where you will expect to see animals like lions, buffalos, warthogs, elephants, and different antelopes like waterbucks, kobs, topi among others. Check in at Gorilla Mist Camp where you will have diner and spend the night.
Day 11: Gorilla Watching in Bwindi Impenetrable national park
After breakfast at the camp, the guide will drive you to the gorilla trekking headquarters where your permit will be verified. You will be briefed by the park guide about the activity and then drive to the starting point of the gorilla group you will be trekking and start the trek.
As you trek the gorillas you will expect to spot some of the other primates that live in the forest and also various bird species. The activity will take between 4-6 hours depending on where the gorilla group you are trekking will be that day. When you find them, you will be given an hour to see the gorillas as they go about their daily life, and also take photos. You will then return to the camp, refresh and have lunch. Dinner and overnight at the camp.
Day 12: transfer to Kampala ( Entebbe Airport) / Kigali (Kigali Airport )
After breakfast at the camp, you will check out and transfer back to Kampala or Kigali. The Kampala Journey takes you approximately 8 – 9 hours with a stopover along the way for lunch. The driver will drop you at your hotel in Entebbe or at Entebbe airport for your flight back home.
You may as well decide to fly out through Kigali international airport. The drive from Bwindi to Kigali takes approximately 3-4 hours.