Uganda Safaris featuring the Rwenzoris provides exhilarating rewarding experience but one, which just be Well planned.
The key to an enjoyable Uganda tours must be prepared! The central circuit hike takes six nights/seven days and reaches an altitude of 14,000ft(4,267m) above sea level.
The conditions on the mountain are a challenge to even an experienced hiker because this mountain is known for its un-engeneered, steep and slippery trails, frequent rainfall, cold temperatures, bogs, mud, steep terrain and high altitude.
However you can try it, it's an exciting experience and since the periods of July-August, December-February are relatively dry for inexperienced hikers.
During any season, raingear, good sleeping bag, warm hat, gloves, heavy socks, gum boots, gaiters and a walking stick for balance are recommended plus a basic first aid kit.
Porters will be carrying your heavy equipment and food, leaving you with a small pack, rain gear, warm clothes, camera water and any other light luggage.
You can purchase your own food and Rwenzori mountaineering service can provide cooking utensils and cooks.
THE CENTRAL CIRCUIT TRIAL
Plan to arrive at Rwenzori Mountains National Park and the Rwenzori Mountaineering Services (RMS) offices at Nyakalengija in the morning so as to have ample time to rent equipment and be availed with guides and porters.
Hiking begins from the park headquarters 5,400ft(1,646m) walking past typical "mud and wattle" Bakonzo homes and gradually moving upward through elephant grass and garden plots. It takes approximately 40minutes to reach the park boundary.
The trail then follows the Mubuku River crossing recent landslide areas and involves climbing over rocks and a bluff, before reaching the Mahoma River in about two and half-hours. After crossing the river there will be a steep climb through open bracken fern slopes and Podorcarpus Forest up to Nyabitaba hut 8,700ft(2652m).
The total time for an average hiker from Nyakalengija to Nyabitaba is about 5-7 hours and total elevation gained is 4,000ft(1,200m). Slower hikers could take considerably longer so it is better to leave park headquarters before noon to avoid being on the trail after dark.
During this part of the trip, you may be able to hear chimpanzees and sometimes you may have a glimpse of the black and white colobus and blue monkeys behind the hut or the brilliantly coloured Rwenzori Turaco bird.
From Nyabitaba Hut the trail leads West ward for half a kilometer then drops steeply to Kurt Shaffer Bridge, crossing below the confluence of the Bujuku and the Mubuku rivers. By turning right to the bridge you begin to climb the central circuit anti-clockwise since the clockwise direction is much more difficult and risky.
After the Kurt Shaffer Bridge, the muddy slippery trail climbs steadily up through bamboo forest. After one and a half-hours you encounter an area of slippery boulder hopping which some hikers consider the most difficult and dangerous footing of the circuit.
After 5hrs of travelling from Nyabitaba you reach the hut at Nyamuleju and its accompanying rock shelter which may be a good night stop over. This point also marks the start of giant lobelia and groundsel zone, this remarkable vegetation type is found no where in the world except high-altitude tropical mountains.
The 1hour walk to John Matte hut (11,200ft/3,414m) is through a challenging bog, full of extra ordinary plants and the slow pace can be a delightful chance to examine and photograph this unique environment. Typical time to reach john matte is 7 hours. Some hikers consider this to be the most tiring and longest day of the circuit so an early start is important.
The loss of altitude to Kurt Shafer Bridge means the total elevation to be gained on this day is about 3,000ft(915m). Hikers who feel they have reached their limits by this point should consider john matte as a reasonable stopping point.
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