Margherita Peak, at a glance

Lying above Africa's largest ice sheet, the ascent leads past the Margherita Glacier, up a final rock scramble to the summit of the Mount Stanley - the third-highest mountain in Africa - in the Rwenzori Mountains. Margherita Peak is the highest peak in Uganda. 

The summit was first scaled in 1906 by the Duke of Abruzzi, J. Petigax, C. Ollier, and J. Brocherel. 

The route many guides use - via Elena Hut - is similar to the one taken by those pioneers all those years ago. Due to dramatic ice melting over the last decade from global warming, the glaciers in the Rwenzoris are rapidly retreating - visit now before it's too late. 

Margherita Peak

Hiking the snow-capped peaks of the Rwenzori Mountains.

Getting to the peak

The trekking routes in the Rwenzoris can be roughly divided into two categories: high-altitude and low-altitude. 

The low altitude treks typically run over 3-4 days and reach a maximum altitude of around 3,100 metres. The high altitude treks run from 5-12 days, and reach peak altitudes of 4,600 metres and above. If you are summiting Margherita Peak, you'll be in the mountains for a minimum of 7 days, and reach 5,109 metres. 

The ascent will take you via Elena Hut, heading south past the outhouse to a spilt in the road. It is possible to approach this climb from the Moraine Hut in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), however political instability in the region means this route is often closed at short notice.

From this bifurcate, several routes can be followed to the Stanley Plateau. One option is to climb straight up cracks and crevasses, heading west through a line of steep rocks to more moderate slopes above.

A second option is to continue south from the small pond in the direction of the steep cliffs of Kitasamba and the Coronation Glacier, reaching a sharp west turn, which leads up slabs in the direction of the glaciers of the Rwenzoris.

Once at the glacier, climb steep snow or ice to reach more gradual slopes beyond, onto the Stanley Plateau, just north-west of this point.

From the top, views are generally limited by the weather, with the majority of what lies north-west from the Stanley Plateau covered in thick layers of fog. However, if you do catch a glimpse of the peaks in front of you, the closest on the left is Alexandra Peak. Below lies the beauty of the Afro Montane forest, intersected by an ever-flowing waterfall crashing over the rocks far below.

Margherita Peak
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Brilliant says

The Rwenzoris are one of the most exciting mountain regions to climb. It's the sheer variety in landscapes, flora, and trekking routes that blow you away. The Margherita Peak summit is the crown jewel, and when you're clinging to your ice axe, rope climbing up 60% gradients surrounding by icicles and snow, it's easy to forget you're in the heart of Africa. 

Preparing for the summit climb

Summiting Margherita Peak means navigating icy passes, outcrops, and steep inclines reaching 60% gradients. It's generally considered more challenging than Kilimanjaro, so it's important that you are of good fitness and some experience hiking at high altitude is recommended. 

The trek to Margherita Peak has recently been classified as a technical climb, although this only applies to the final day when you reach the summit. 

You will be accompanied by an expert mountaineering team, and all equipment (apart from crampons which you should bring yourself), will be provided for you.

For more information on what to bring, how to prepare, and how to choose the Rwenzori trek that's right for you, check out our ultimate guide to the Rwenzori Mountains

Margherita Peak
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Brilliant says

Our summit success rate is 98%, and while experience with crampons and ice axes is beneficial, it's certainly not a requirement. What's important is some experience hiking at high altitude, and a good level of fitness and determination. 

Ready to visit the Rwenzori Mountains?

Below are a few examples of how the Rwenzoris can feature in your Ugandan adventure. These trips can be booked directly, adjusted to suit you, or we can start with a blank sheet of paper and build a completely tailor-made itinerary.

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Get in touch and we can help you understand your options, design an itinerary that's right for you, and then get you set up and ready to go. 

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