Trekking in the Rwenzori Mountains
There are five other significant massifs, all of which are covered in snow year-round. There are nine lakes found in the valleys here, which are an important source for the River Nile.
The lower slopes have moorlands, bamboo forests and tropical forests, where species such as blue monkeys are found.
On the higher slopes, the spectacular glaciers are found amid a surreal ‘Alice in Wonderland’ landscape, filled with giant heathers, giant lobelias with bearded lichen hanging from them and colourful mosses: what’s more, the rare Rwenzori leopard is occasionally spotted here.
Two trekking circuits provide access to the Rwenzori mountains: the Central Circuit, which begins at Nyakalengija, and the Southern Circuit out of Kilembe.
While the Southern Circuit was the route first followed (largely) by Professor Scott Elliott in 1895, it is the Central Circuit, pioneered by Luigi di Savoia in 1906, that for many years has provided the only access to mountains.
At Brilliant, we only organise treks for the Southern Circuit. This is because it provides the best experience of the landscape of soaring peaks and stunning lakes and glaciers, as well as rich flora and fauna found here.
The Southern Circuit is also a longer route that makes it easier for trekkers to acclimatise.
Our local partners have opened trails in areas long closed to all but the wildlife, and work with local communities to understand the area and build strong relationships with the neighbouring Bakonjo villages.
The Rwenzoris were referred to as the ‘mountains of the moon’ by Claudius Ptolemy, the famous Greco-Roman mathematician, astronomer and geographer: when you gaze out at night at permanent glaciers aglow with reflected starlight, it is not hard to see why.
There are a number of different trekking and climbing routes ranging from one day to twelve days to suit your preferences.
During the treks, simple, healthy and tasty meals will be provided, and porters will help you with luggage. At night, we stay at some beautiful campsites where you can take in an unpolluted night sky ablaze with starlight.
The local trekking guides receive comprehensive general mountaineering training and specific ice climbing training. They are trained in mountain first aid and so can spot and respond to the first signs of altitude sickness. Rescue procedures are practised and reviewed regularly. Their equipment is well-maintained and frequently checked.
Since the trails opened in 2009, RTS has continued to share the benefit that tourism brings with local communities in the area. $5 from each climb cost goes towards local development projects, such as the construction of community trails outside the national park to spread the benefit of tourism, and the building of school classrooms in multiple locations.
For those who have a reasonable level of fitness and can handle long days of trekking through some fairly challenging terrain, the rewards of doing so in the Rwenzori Mountains are immense. You’ll see some of Africa’s most beautiful mountain scenery and otherworldly landscapes, all the while having the area almost to yourself.
Ready to explore the Rwenzori Mountains?
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.
Introduction to the Rwenzoris
The forested slopes, clouded valleys, and snow-capped peaks of the Rwenzori Mountains call out for exploration. Combine this perfect introductory trek with other destinations in the southwest to create a magical Ugandan…
- 5 Days
Climbing Margherita Peak
Mt. Stanley's Margherita Peak, at 5,109 metres, is the highest point in Uganda and the third-highest point in Africa after Mount Kilimanjaro and Mount Kenya. This 10-day trip includes 8 days on the mountain, summiting Margherita Peak on day 6.…
- 8 Days
Snow Capped Peaks & Mountain Gorillas
Trek the Rwenzori Mountains where forests morph into ice-clad mountain peaks, cut through jungle thickets to hang out with mountain gorillas, and finish your trip relaxing lakeside amongst the staggering beauty of Lake Mutanda. This is Uganda.…
- 15 Days
Seven Days to Margherita Peak
Journey to the roof of Uganda on this 7-day trek, summiting Margherita Peak (5,109m) on day 5. An epic trek across lush forests, cascading waterfalls, and mountain passes; climbing ever-skyward towards the Rwenzoris icy peaks.…
- 7 Days
3 Days in the Rwenzoris
For those who want to experience the Rwenzoris without spending too long, a 3-day hike is the perfect add-on to a wider adventure across the country.…
- 3 Days
The Rwenzoris at a Glance
A quick 2-day visit to the Rwenzori Mountains. You'll trek from the base camp to Sine Hut at 2,596 metres. Stretch your legs, spend the night amongst stunning landscapes, catch a glimpse of the Rwenzoris.…
- 2 Days
Waterfalls of the Rwenzoris
A new route pioneered while the mountains were quiet during the pandemic, this 4-day hike takes you to some of the most beautiful areas of the Rwenzoris, including over 8 stunning waterfalls.…
- 4 Days
Hike to the Mutinda Lookout
Climb skyward towards one of the Rwenzoris most beautiful viewpoints: the Mutinda Lookout at 3,975 metres. A great 4-day hike that works great as a standalone trip or as part of a wider itinerary.…
- 4 Days
Hiking Mount Baker
One of the highest peaks in the range, Mount Baker sits at 4,842 metres. Over 7 days, you pass through some of the most extraordinary areas of the park - including some tough sections - and summit Mount Baker on…
- 7 Days
The 4 Peaks
Take on the 4 peaks of the Rwenzori Mountains over 10 days: Mount Baker (4,842m), Margherita Peak (5,109m), Mount Speke (4,890m), and Weismann's Peak (4,620m).…
- 10 Days