Uganda Journals

A Trip to the Moon: Uganda's Mountains of the Moon

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A December 2006 trip to Uganda by fallschirmhosen

Rwenzori Mountains Photo, Rwenzori National Park, Uganda More Photos
Quote: The Rwenzori Mountains are some of the most rugged mountains in all of Africa. Venturing here is no walk in the park.

Tour Holiday Inn—Ibanda

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Hotel

Ibanda Town Photo,
Quote:
For those few who travel to the Rwenzori Mountains, most will find that finding a place to stay can be somewhat challenging near the park’s entrance at Nyakalengija. The Rwenzori Mountaineering Services office does have a few rooms to stay in, or you may camp on their grounds. Though, during my visit the rooms were not open, and I did not feel like camping. A few miles away, though, is the town of Ibanda. In it you’ll find the Tour Holiday Inn.There are a few types of sleeping options to choose from, including camping, a private room with shared bath, or a private room with your own bathroom. I stayed in one of their clean, quiet, private rooms (about 7x7 feet) with shared bath. The bathro...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on February 13, 2007

Rwenzori Mountains

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Attraction | "Hiking in the Rwenzori Mountains—Preparations"

Rwenzori Mountains Photo, Rwenzori National Park, Uganda
Quote:
The Rwenzori Mountains are not your typical park to take a stroll in. Unlike Rocky Mountain National Park, there is no parking lot, and no cleared trails for hikers of all ages and abilities to use. The Rwenzoris are a rugged place that require a high level of fitness and endurance in order to hike the trails there successfully. Hiking into the Rwenzoris without proper preparations could be a costly mistake.There are a few trails that you can hike in the Rwenzoris. The most popular route is known as the Central Circuit. Other routes are very rough and you may find it difficult to find a guide who is willing to do them. On average, it takes 7 days to complete the Central Circuit. If you mak...Read More

Member Rating 5 out of 5 on February 13, 2007

Rwenzori Mountains

Nyakalengija, Uganda

Rwenzori Mountains

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Attraction | "Hiking in the Rwenzori Mountains—Day Five"

Rwenzori Mountains Photo, Rwenzori National Park, Uganda
Quote:
Day five was the day I was to summit Margherita Peak on Mount Stanley, Africa’s third highest mountain. It is both an exciting feeling, and nerve-wracking, too. I awoke at 5am to find myself not feeling well. I had to use the bathroom a few times, then tried to replenish my energy after that. But, because of the altitude sickness, I had no appetite. I felt a little nauseous, and I knew that was not good. I looked outside at the peak, and all I saw was clouds and lightning. It did not look good, and I felt pretty bad.At 5:30am my guide walked in, very excited. He asked if I was ready to go to the peak (which is 4 hours to the top, then 2 hours down, then another 3 hours to the next hut). I ...Read More

Member Rating 5 out of 5 on February 13, 2007

Rwenzori Mountains

Nyakalengija, Uganda

Rwenzori Mountains

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Attraction | "Hiking in the Rwenzori Mountains—Day Four"

Rwenzori Mountains Photo, Rwenzori National Park, Uganda
Quote:
My guide had pointed out the path we would be taking today from Bujuku Hut. It seemed simple: climb to a specific point along the mountain in front of us, then turn and head to the highest hut in the circuit: Elena Hut.We started this day by hiking through mud. The mud was really starting to annoy me at this point. At times the trail disappeared, and all we did was follow the streams flowing around us. To help preserve the land we were hiking on, we had to hike in the stream itself (and not on the surrounding land/mud). As interesting as this was, it caused my boots to get soaked.After climbing for over an hour, we came to a strategically placed metal ladder in the middle of th...Read More

Member Rating 5 out of 5 on February 13, 2007

Rwenzori Mountains

Nyakalengija, Uganda

Rwenzori Mountains

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Attraction | "Hiking in the Rwenzori Mountains—Day One"

Rwenzori Mountains Photo, Rwenzori National Park, Uganda
Quote:
It’s hard to sleep the night before you start hiking in the Rwenzoris. It’s a daunting and exciting place to be, as relatively few tourists venture into this area of remote Uganda. I was too excited to finally be here hiking the trails regarded to be the toughest in all of Africa.After having all of my equipment weighed and checked by the officials at the Rwenzori Mountaineering Services office, I was on my way into the Rwenzori Mountains. You start by walking through the village of Nyakalengija, which then leads into the park and main gate. You must show your proof of payment at this point, and sign in to the park.After signing into the park, the train heads down to a river, w...Read More

Member Rating 5 out of 5 on February 13, 2007

Rwenzori Mountains

Nyakalengija, Uganda

Rwenzori Mountains

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Attraction | "Hiking in the Rwenzori Mountains—Day Seven"

Rwenzori Mountains Photo, Rwenzori National Park, Uganda
Quote:
At this point in the hike, after failing to reach the summit, and feeling a bit sick from the altitude and amount of energy used the past week, I was glad to know that today would be my last day in the mountains. We had to wake up early (5:30am) to start the hike today, as we were going to hike more today than we had on any other day during the week, about 8 hours of hiking.It had rained for about 12 hours straight the night before, so the trail was already quite wet and muddy. My guide said it was not a very muddy trail today. But, I should have remembered that he had been wrong about things on previous days. Sure enough, within 10 minutes of hiking I was already getting wet and muddy. A ...Read More

Member Rating 5 out of 5 on February 13, 2007

Rwenzori Mountains

Nyakalengija, Uganda

Rwenzori Mountains

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Attraction | "Hiking in the Rwenzori Mountains—Day Six"

Rwenzori Mountains Photo, Rwenzori National Park, Uganda
Quote:
During breakfast on day six, as I had done every day of hiking, I asked my guide how the trail was today. He told me that it started out by climbing up to Freshfield Pass, then descending down to Guy Yoeman Hut. He was surely right about the trail climbing from the start. The first step, literally, from the camp is uphill.After climbing for an hour or so, in which I got amazing views of the Kitandara Lakes, I reached Freshfield Pass. Even though I was past the main peaks of the trail, and thought we would just be descending from now until the end of the hike, we still had to climb over some major passes. Freshfield Pass is over 14,000 feet high. And, at this point we were above the clouds ...Read More

Member Rating 5 out of 5 on February 13, 2007

Rwenzori Mountains

Nyakalengija, Uganda

Rwenzori Mountains

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Attraction | "Hiking in the Rwenzori Mountains—Day Three"

Rwenzori Mountains Photo, Rwenzori National Park, Uganda
Quote:
The third day is mostly spent crossing through various bogs and swampy areas, named the Lower Bigo Bog and the Upper Bigo Bog. Quite frankly, I hated both bogs. From the John Matte Hut, you descend down to the nearby river, then cross it. This was the first river crossing of the day, and I made it across without any real problems. After the river crossing, though, is when the mud in the bogs that I had been hearing about began.The Lower Bigo Bog is basically a swamp. To cross it, we followed the left side of it, but eventually we had to walk through part of it. If you’re not careful, you can sink up to your waist in the mud. Before stepping anywhere, though, I had to feel the ground with m...Read More

Member Rating 5 out of 5 on February 13, 2007

Rwenzori Mountains

Nyakalengija, Uganda

Rwenzori Mountains

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Attraction | "Hiking in the Rwenzori Mountains—Day Two"

Rwenzori Mountains Photo, Rwenzori National Park, Uganda
Quote:
Hiking in the Rwenzori Mountains—Day TwoI was told day two would be the hardest. So, I thought if I got through this day I could get through anything else. Unknown to me, I was wrong.The hike starts by making a rapid descent down to a river, then crossing the river on a bridge. Unfortunately, this descent means that you now have to ascend a lot during the day. For much of the morning, this trail is through thick woods, and then starts climbing over large boulders. I had heard about the boulders, but they did not seem as large as I had expected. Still, they were challenging because every single step had to be calculated precisely to avoid getting a sprained ankle. For a lot of t...Read More

Member Rating 5 out of 5 on February 13, 2007

Rwenzori Mountains

Nyakalengija, Uganda

Rwenzori Mountains

Best Of IgoUgo

Attraction | "Hiking in the Rwenzori Mountains—Porters & Guide"

Rwenzori Mountains Photo, Rwenzori National Park, Uganda
Quote:
Despite the fact that you pay hundreds of dollars to hike in the Rwenzori Mountains, the porters and guides tend to be unprepared to be hiking in the Rwenzoris. Their employer does not provide them with the proper clothing or equipment.Porters carry the gear by strapping the giant bags on their heads (not their arms/shoulders like a backpack). When I asked why they did it, the porter simply said they did not have any backpacks or other means of carrying the belongings. He admitted, too, that after each day of hiking his head "screams" in pain.Much of the hiking in the Rwenzoris is at a high altitude, which means it does get rather cold. Unfortunately, the porters are not prepared for s...Read More

Member Rating 3 out of 5 on February 13, 2007

Rwenzori Mountains

Nyakalengija, Uganda