Day 1: Kasese, Uganda. Arrival, transfer to Kasese (Margherita hotel).
Days 2-8: Rwenzori Mountains National Park, Uganda. After breakfast, transfer to park headquarters at Nyakalengija. This is the starting point, where you can rent equipment and hire your porters and guide. The charges for these services depend on the length of your stay. The day's hiking is fairly easy to Nyabitaba. On your way to the park boundary, you will go through coffee plantations, garden plots and homesteads. After the park boundary, the trail follows the River Mubuku on your right and you will cross small rivers, rocks and bluffs before reaching River Muhoma. Make a climb through ferns and the forest and then finally to Nyabitaba hut (2652 m). A 5-7 hour climb. Sippi Falls, Mt Elgon.
Day 3: Hiking up to John Matte (3414 m). It is considered to be the longest and most tiring day of the circuit, so an early start is vital. From Nyabitaba Hut, move westward and drop steeply at River Mubuku which you cross at Kurt Shaffer bridge. After the bridge, move anticlockwise and use the muddy, slippery trail that climbs to the bamboo zone. Enter the moorland zone with giant tree heather and groundsel. Have a stop at Nyamileju Hut for lunch and to enjoy the view of Mt. Speke and Mt. Stanley if the day is clear. After lunch proceed following River Mubuku, go through giant Robelia, groundsel and challenging bog and finally to John Matte.
Day 4: Leave John Matte hut and head for Bujuku (3962 m). The hike takes up to 5 hours depending on the conditions of the Bigo Bog. Crossing the Bujuku river, you will enter into the Lower Bigo Bog. This involves a tough track and experience of jumping from one grassy tussock to another. The trail is muddy but eventually leads to the Bigo Hut. Past the Bigo Hut is Upper Bigo Bog before reaching the beautiful Lake Bujuku. At the southern end of this lake is a majestic setting with Mt. Baker in the South, Mt. Speke in the North and Mt. Stanley in the west. Take the lake trail and at the north end is a rock shelter called cooking pot and a short distance further is Bujuku Hut. If you intend to climb Mt. Speke (requires climbing experience skill and special equipment) make Bujuku Hut your base, allowing an extra night's stay to do this climb.
Day 5: Elena Base - Kitandara Hut.
a) If you intend to scale the highest point in the Rwenzoris (Margherita 5109 m) then make Elena your base. It is 3-4hours from Bujuku Hut and 2 km off the central circuit trail. (Requires climbing experience skill and special equipment).
b) If you are not climbing the Margherita peak, move south from Bujuku Hut to Kitandara (4023 m). This takes you to the highest point on the circuit trail, Scott Elliot Pass (4372 m), then go through the giant groundsel and descend to Kitandara Lakes. Kitandara huts are positioned on the shores of the lakes and it takes 3-4 hours from Bujuku hut.
Day 6: (Optional) Climb Margherita in the Mt Stanley complex and then descend to kitandara hut. To scale Margherita you need special equipment e.g ice axe, ropes, boots and crampons.
Day 7: Descending to Guy Yeoman Hut (3450 m). An early start from Kitandara is advisable in order to avoid overheating on the steppes. Go through fresh fields which traverse through beautiful alpine mossy glades. The trail can be very slippery and difficult to trace, especially when it's rainy and misty. Bujongolo and Kabamba rock shelter can be an optional overnight stopover. Alternatively, it is best to push on through the endless mud of Kabamba bog to Guy Yeoman Hut.
Day 8: Last day on the circuit trail. Descend down the steep valley to Kichuchu rock shelter. The trail is difficult and muddy in some spots so help each other and descend slowly. Go through the bamboo forest and the bog, cross Mahoma river and two other minor streams, finally descending back into tropical vegetation. Follow a ridge down to Nyabitaba Hut (5 hours). Depending on the condition of your knees, you may decide to push on to Nakalengija (2-3 hours).
Day 9: Kampala, Uganda. Return to Kampala.
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