Packing List for Rwenzori Mountain Hiking , Rwenzori Mountaineering Service
The Rwenzori “mountains of the moon” located in western Uganda is shared by Uganda and D.R Congo. It is the third highest mountain in Africa and the highest in Uganda. There are various mountains in the Rwenzori of with mount Stanley being the highest which has Margherita as its highest peak at 5109 meters above sea level. It has 5 vegetation zones of which all have something unique to offer. Below are some of the things you need not to forget to add into your pack as you plan your Rwenzori safari.
Anything that is quick drying and wicks away moisture is going to be your best bet. About how many shirts to pack, I would recommend taking half of your total trekking days. You don’t need a shirt for every day. There some places to give a shirt a good rinse along the way (at John Matte hut there’s a river so close).
Long sleeve shirts
Long sleeve shirts will keep you warm and wearing one is a great way to keep the sun from burning you. Two can be enough for your Rwenzori trip. Forget about the cotton long sleeve that’s just going to absorb your sweat and stink up your bag and room; replace it with lightweight, breathable polyester.
Waterproof hiking boots
On your Rwenzori adventure you are going to be crossing streams, climbing stairs, and navigating soggy open meadows. So do your feet a favor and get waterproof hiking boots that are capable of getting wet but still keep your feet from getting wet.
Pairs of pants
You can either pack trekking pants or jeans depending on what you wish. Jeans are only fine when they are not tight and when it doesn’t rain. Whichever you bring I would recommend packing more than one. Hiking in shorts while in lower altitude is highly recommended because as you move your body sweats a lot and pants would make you feel sweaty and hot.
After a long day moving, your feet will not want to be in boots. Adding sandals in your pack will help in the evenings. They will as well help you move around the hut, visit the latrines as well as take a shower in the bathrooms.
A water proof jacket with a hood will serve a basic job of keeping you dry in case of rain. It can be added on the long sleeve shirt.
Rwenzori is a rain maker and it would be wise to at least pack a pair of these. Those trekking in the rainy season, you will have to pack them since it will be raining any time.
Pairs of socks
You will socks that are able to absorb moisture from your feet. Since there are a few washing places, the number of pairs to pack I would recommend should be equivalent to the number of days you will be spending on the mountain. You will as well need socks for the nights to keep your feet warm.
You will need a good back pack to carry a few things that you will need to use during the day. The rest of your property should be in a duffel style bag to make carrying easier for the porters. All the bags should be water proof.
Good sleeping bag
The usual outdoor sleeping bags don’t work in the Rwenzori because it’s really cold up there and temperatures can go below -3 degrees at some camps. You should do yourself a favor and invest in a good sleeping bag. I recommend a mummy style 0 degree sleeping bag that’s warm enough even at higher altitude.
There is no electricity in the huts you will need a head lamp or flashlight help you find your way in the night. For those going to Margherita peak the hike from the hut starts at 2am, so you will need to invest in a good head lamp with that has a long life battery because you will be hiking through bare rocks and ice in the dark.
Microfiber towel (or a handkerchief)
As you go higher, it will get colder and colder, you will get a running nose. A cotton towel would be best but since it takes long to dry, forget about it. Instead, go for a soft quick drying microfiber towel.
First aid kit
You will need a first aid kit because as you move anything might happen more especially in the rocky areas, you might accidentally slip and get injured. The kit should have essentials like a bandage for any twists, antidiarrheal like Imodium or some other sort, iodine wipes for any cuts, pain killers, moleskin for blisters, high altitude medication in case you are concerned about altitude sickness.
Extra camera battery and extra memory cards
When visiting Uganda’s highest mountain, you will have to take lots of photos because it has a lot of beauty to offer (beautiful scenery, plants, rivers, lakes and waterfalls). Your camera battery and space will go down so it would be wise to carry extra camera battery and memory cards.
The Rwenzori hiking service providers provide hikers with a little snack but you can as well add some personal favorite snacks. Such that in case you don’t like what they provide, you can eat what you packed. You can pack protein bars, multivitamins, or anything that is good for your health as you hike.
These are pretty straightforward. No one likes sunburn. Remember to bring protection for your lips, as well as lip moisturizer for the higher, drier altitudes.
As you hike the Rwenzori, you will not be provided with bottled water. You will get the water from the rivers and streams in the mountains because it’s clean. The locals drink it and they are okay. But if you don’t trust it, it’s okay to add some water filters to your water to avoid any inconveniences.
These are good in areas where the temperatures are too low. You can wear them during the cold nights, when moving on the glacier areas since it’s too cold. They as well protect your palms as you use the ice ask.