As you ascend the Rwenzori range, the swamplands, lakes and bamboo forests are replaced by glaciers, snow, and ice-clad peaks. Mount Stanley is the pinnacle of these heights. Trekking here is reserved for those seeking a true off-the-beaten-track adventure.
How hard is climbing Mount Stanley?
This trek is - as you might expect - no walk in the park.
You need to have a good level of physical fitness and ideally some experience with high-altitude trekking. The hike to Mount Stanley involves long days at altitude, passing through some challenging terrain.
The route to the summit involves ice-hiking, so experience with this is also recommended, but not essential. You will also be working with ropes and crampons as part of the ascent, and the team will train you on how to use these prior to your trek, but as always experience helps.
The trekking is generally considered tougher than Mount Kilimanjaro.
How long does it take to hike Mount Stanley?
A typical Mount Stanley climb involves ascending to the summit of Margherita Peak (the highest of the mountain’s two peaks), with 8 days of trekking and 7 nights spent in camps up in the mountains.
Although it is possible to do the trek in less time, we don't recommend it, as you need enough time to acclimatise.
We do a substantial amount of trekking each day, but not at a breakneck speed, which allows us to stop at amazing viewpoints along the way.
What does a typical itinerary look like?
After flying in from Entebbe, we begin the trek from Kilembe, the base camp. We trek up 1,146 metres to Sine Camp, at 2,596 meters, where we will spend the night. On the second day of trekking, we hike up to Mutinda camp at 3,588 meters, where there is a spectacular viewpoint.
The following day we will hike to Bugata camp at 4,062 meters, passing through a valley of beautiful fauna, streams and waterfalls. At this point, the trek gets tougher, with steep ridges and bogs to traverse. However, this is one of the most beautiful parts of the trek.
On the fourth day, we head up to Hunwick’s camp at 3,974 meters, passing through the Bamwanjara pass, where views of the towering snow-capped peaks are epic. The next morning we begin the hike up to Margherita camp at 4,485 meters, passing through the valley overlooking the stunning Lake Kitandara.
The sixth day is the longest but most rewarding: we begin at 2:00am (tough at first, but you'll be raring to go after breakfast and a good cup of coffee) and climb Mount Stanley, passing through dramatic glaciers and ice walls to reach the top of Margherita Peak at 5,109 metres. After revelling in the panoramic views, we descend back down to Hunwick’s camp.
The following day, we continue our descent, passing through Oliver's camp and ending up at Kiharo camp at 3,430 meters, a lovely spot surrounded by dense vegetation and imposing cliffs.
On the final day of trekking, we pass bewitching forests and rivers, until we reach the base camp and continue on to Kasese. The night is spent in a local hotel, a welcome sight with four walls and a hot shower!
Is Mount Stanley always included in a Rwenzori mountains trek?
Many people visit the Rwenzori mountains without scaling Mount Stanley.
A popular option is to take the circular route through the mountains over the course of a few days. This allows you to get up into the mountains, do some good hiking, and see many of the great viewpoints of the range, without ascending Mount Stanley.
Get in touch with our team, and we can help you decide which route to choose that suits your interests, budget, time constraints and fitness levels.
Ready to explore the Rwenzoris?
The tours below showcase just some of what is possible. Use these itineraries as starting points, or to draw inspiration. Then get in touch, and let our expert team help craft the perfect itinerary for you.