Best Routes/Trails For Trekking Rwenzori Mountains

Rwenzori Trekking Routes: Rwenzori Mountains National Park has Central Circuit trail, Kilembe trail, & Bukurungu wilderness camping trail route in Uganda, and one other in Democratic Republic Of Congo. There are approximately 4 routes For trekking the Rwenzori mountains, though 99% of most climbers use either the Central Circuit or the Kilembe (southern circuit) trail route, yet all Rwenzori mountains routes can access the  Margerita peak and other peaks including: Mount Gessi(at 4715m), Mount Emin(at 4798m), Mount Baker(at 4843m), Mount Speke(at 4890m), Mount Stanley (at 5109m), and Mount Luigi di Savoia (at 4627m).

Both Kilembe trail & the Burungu trail routes join the Centrail circuit when climbing to Margherita  Peak, while the Democratic Repiblic of Congo trails which approach the mountain Joins both Kilembe & the central circuit trails when summiting Marghrita, hence allowing hikers to crossover to Uganda without obtaining a visa.

The Rwenzori Mountains measure 120km (75 m) long and 65 km(40 mi) wide. The mountain chain comprises of 6 mountains, set apart by deep gorges like; Mount Gessi(4715m), Mount Emin(4798m), Mount Baker(4843m), Mount Speke(4890m), Mount Stanley (5109m), and Mount Luigi di Savoia (4627m). Mount Stanley has various secondary peaks, with Magherita being highest above them all.

However, all routes (Central circuit, Kilembe & Bukurungu) traverse through glacial Lakes, impressive viewpoints & Magnificent Mountain passes & pristine valleys.

The central circuit trail Route

The Central circuit trekking trail/route is the traditionally established route which is under the management of the Rwenzori Mountaineering service (RMS). The trail approaches the Rwenzori Mountains from the Eastern side, and reaches Mount Speke, Mount Stanley, Mount Baker and Weismann’s  peak.

Though owned by locals, the central circuit route/trail remains the shortest, most affordable and easiest trail to reach margherita peak, despite the boggy  path between John Matte & Bujuku camps. However the trail traverses through 5 vegetation zones, passing through the upper  and the lower bigo bogs,  which are steadfastly supported by board walks  to make trekking easy.

From Mihunga trail head, the central circuit trail then follows the path through Nyabitaba hut at 2651m, John Matte at 3505m, Bujuku at 3962m over the Scott Elliot pass to Kitandara  hut at 4023m, which after proceed through fresh field pass and ends in Guy Yeoman.

The vegetation along this path is composed of  thick forests and bushes  which protects various mammals and species of birds like; hyrax, rare forest elephants, L’Hoest monkeys, Black and White colobus monkeys, the three horned chameleons, with a plethora of species of birds such as Rwenzori Turaco, handsome francolin, barred long tail cuckoo, strange weaver and more.

The  Kilembe Trail Trail Route For Trekking Rwenzori Mountains

9 Days Rwenzori Trekking To Mount Stanley Via Kilembe Trail

While the new Kilembe (Southern circuit) Trail Route is another optional route of trekking the Rwenzori  Mountains which approaches Rwenzori Mountains National Park from the south. The Kilembe route  was established in 2009, by Rwenzori Trekking Services, although it was first discovered by Professor Scott Elliott in 1895, yet he did not succeed to the summit. Unlikely, the Kilembe trail does not reach Mount Speke, but does access Weismann’s peak, Mount Stanley and Mount Baker.

Kilembe trail is the longest trail, but incorporated with enough time for acclimatization between days of hiking, hence providing the best Rwenzori trekking experience. The trail is also composed of beautiful lakes, attractive peaks and the imposing glaciers…

The actual climb climbing/hiking experience via the Kilembe trail of the Rwenzori mountains to any of its peaks from the base at 1450m takes  7-8 days depending on the pace of the climbing, as well as the level of fitness.

Around loop through the Kilembe trail starts from Kalama  at 3147m on day 1 break, through bamboo-mimulpsis zone to Mutinda camp at 4688m on day 2.  Thereafter continues to Bugata  camp on day 3, to Hunwick’s camp on day 4, while day 5  passes through the scott Eliot’s Pass to Margherita Camp at 4845m.

Day 6 is usually the summiting day, which rises high to Margherita peak, and ends at the base on the 7th days.

The Bukurungu Wilderness Camping Trail/Route of Rwenzori

The Bukurungu trail  is a thrilling route  for nature lovers who enjoy camping life. The route follows a scenic path with 4 beautiful lakes of Mughuli, Bukurungu, Bujuku & Irene, as well as mountain rivers, waterfalls, and the breathtaking scenery. This route offers an 8 days Rwenzori trek to Margherita peak.

Facts About Rwenzori Mountains Trekking Route

  • The Kilembe & the Bukurungu Trekking trail routes join the ancient Central circuit trail route when climbing to Margherita Peak.
  • Climbing Mount Rwenzori from Democratic Republic Of Congo, connects with both Central circuit & Kilembe trail routes in Uganda which guarantees crossing to Uganda, without Visa application, and then back to Congo
  • All routes have pros & cons when climbing the Rwenzori Mountains in Rwenzori Mountains National Park, that is, some offer spectacular views, but not good for acclimatization. Others have the best success rate to the summit.
  • The access route from Democratic Republic of Congo is very steep, with no trans-boundry rescue operations, like it is in Uganda offers easy rescue.