Destinantions: Margherita Peak - Rwenzori National Park

Safari Overview

The Mountains of the Moon reach heights up to 5,109 meters (16,762 ft). The highest Rwenzori peaks are permanently snow-capped, and along with Mount Kilimanjaro and Mount Kenya are the only such ones in equatorial Africa.

Tour Highlights

  • Road trip through Uganda and Rwanda
  • Gorilla trekking in Bwindi National Park
  • Boat trip on Kazinga Channel
  • Chimpanze trekking in Kibale National Park
  • Nyungwe Canopy Walk
  • Kigali City Tour

Detailed Itinerary

Day 1: Arrival at the Airport

Our company guide will pick you up at the airport and drive you to the boma guest house for your overnight stay.

Day 2: Entebbe - Rwenzori Mountains National Park

After breakfast, you will embark on your fascinating journey to Rwenzori one of the largest Mountains. You will see many plantains, swamps and bush land towards Mubende, where we stop for a lunch enroute. Then continue to Kasese near the Rwenzori Mountains National Park. You will reach your accommodation in the afternoon. Overnight in Hotel Magherita

Days 3 to 11 - NINE DAY TREK to Margherita Peak 5,109 metres

Margherita is Africa's third highest peak, the real beauty is in the climb up the Kilembe route. The forest and valley flora is diverse with trees and valleys of ferns. The trees are alive with many species of birds and primates and as you walk up the trail you will see chimp nests high up in the tall trees; if you are lucky you may catch a glimpse of a resident chimpanzee as they scamper away.

We provide all the equipment necessary for the climb: crampons, ropes, harnesses, and carabinas. You need to bring good hiking boots, warm clothing, a warm sleeping bag and rain gear. We do also hire sleeping bags.

Day 1: Kyanjuki – Sine Hut

Steady walk with a steep climb for the last kilometer. Start at Trekkers at 1,450 meters and sleep at Sine Hut at 2,596 meters: height gain of 1,146 meters.

Day 2: Mutinda Camp

After a good breakfast, trekking starts at 8.30am and you soon enter the Bamboo-Mimulopsis Zone which is a steep climb with many high steps. In the wet season the bamboo area is rather muddy and slippery, making the going slow. However the atmosphere and the forest is beautiful as you climb 551 metres altitude and a distance of 1.8km to Kalalama Camp at 3,147 meters which is in the Heather-Rapanea Zone. Here you can take a rest and enjoy a quick cup of tea or coffee before heading on to Mutinda Camp. The trail meanders up and over several small knolls along a ridge top then drops down the side of the valley before climbing again, and in doing so crosses several small streams, passing close to moss covered waterfalls. You then climb steadily along the side of a beautiful mossy river which tumbles down over the rocks under the Giant Heather trees whose trunks are covered in green moss with old man beards (Usnea lichen) hanging from the branches. The trail twists and turns as you climb up the deep valley, which has an enormous variety of plants and flowers. This valley is unique with many Giant Heather trees creating a beautiful atmosphere, often shrouded in mist. Eventually you get to Mutinda Camp which is set near a small river that drops off a waterfall and offers a chance to wash, refresh and relax or, you may wish to climb up to the top of the Mutinda Lookout (one and a half hours up and one hour down). The view and the atmosphere are amazing as you stand on moss covered rocks at 3,925 meters with views across the Rwenzori Mountains, down to Kasese town and Lake George.

Day 3: Bugata Camp

4.9 km starting at 3,688 meters climbing to 4,062 meters.

Alpine Zone. The trail here is boggy, particularly in the wet season but with a little skill you can step from tussock to tussock to make the going easier. You cross the Mutinda valley through the tussock grass and everlasting flowers interspersed with many Giant Lobelias before climbing a steep section up to the Namusangi Valley (3,840 meters), which ends abruptly with sheer waterfalls and fantastic views of Mutinda Peaks. The Namusangi Valley is wide, with many ups and downs and crossing several bogs as the trail climbs steadily to Bugata Camp at 4,062 meters. Bugata Camp is situated way up Bamwanjara Pass high above Bugata Lake with views across Lake Kopello to Weismann’s Peak, which is often covered with snow; from here you have valley views of Lake Africa and Lake Kanganyika and the many small peaks towards Mutinda Camp. The area is covered with tussock grass, everlasting flowers (Helichrysum), St John’s Wort (Hypericum becquaeritii), giant groundsel (Senecio adnivalis) and Giant lobelia (Lobellia gibberoa). There are many Red Forest Duiker (Cephalophuc nigrifrons rubidus) which are a sub-species only found in the Rwenzori Mountains. In the past they have been very hard to see due to the thick vegetation but since the fire, which burnt across the alpine region of the Rwenzori Mountains, they are now easier to see in the new shorter growth.

In the dryer season you may choose to walk directly up the valley but a more scenic trail meanders along the hilltops with fantastic views of Lake Nusuranja from Plozza Rock. From Plozza Rock you also get fantastic views down the valley of nine lakes ringed by rugged peaks and ridges.

Bugata Camp has good facilities, solar lights, good toilets and bathrooms where the guides may prepare some warm water in a basin for you to wash. Bugata also has a heli pad (GPS reading N 18.312 E29 53.457) in case of any need for rescue by helicopter.

Day 4: Bamwanjara Pass

6.2 km starting at 4,062 meters climbing over 4,450 meters sleeping at 3,974 meters. Commence trekking at 8.30am to climb up Bamwanjara Pass, where the trail climbs steadily with several long flat bogs. The area is covered by everlasting flowers and Giant groundsel with the bogs being mainly tussock grass and Giant lobelia, whose nectar is the main food source for the Scarlet-tufted Malachite Sunbird (Nectarinia johnstonu dartmouthi) which is common in this area and unique to the Rwenzori Mountains. As you climb you look back to see the glacial lakes far below in the valley.

On reaching the top of Banwamjara Pass you get excellent views of all the main snow capped peaks where we have a small shelter for you to rest and enjoy the scenery. The walk down to Kacholpe Lakes is steep and often very muddy but offers fantastic views of Kachope Lakes and McConnell’s Prong. Butawu Camp (3,974m) is set on a ridge high above Butawu River which flows down from Scott Elliott Pass through Kitandara Lakes and has excellent views of the snow capped Mt Baker.

Day 5 – Margherita Camp

4.2 km Starting at 3.974 meters climbing to 4.485 meters.

Walk back along the ridge before crossing several wet areas and small rivers coming from Mt Baker and Freshfields Pass to join Butawu River. The walk up Scott Elliott Pass is enjoyable as you climb through the pass and up the ridge of Mt Stanley to Margherita Camp at 4,485 meters which is below Elena Hut. It is sheltered with a ring of high rocks and it is the original camp used by the Italian Prince Luigi Amadeo di Savoia, Duke of the Abruzzi, who mounted a very powerful expedition in 1906, composed of biologists, surveyors, a geologist and a photographer. The Italian led team, between June and July 1906 climbed the mountains, opening a new page in the history of mountaineering and exploration in Africa, and providing an answer to the most unresolved geographical questions in the region for centuries. Some of the peaks still have the names which the Duke chose to honor the Italian Kingdom and Queen Margherita - hence our naming this camp Margherita Camp. From here you have great views of Mt Baker, Scott Elliot Pass and some of the high glaciers on Mt Stanley.

Day 6: Margherita Peak 5.109m

Day starts at 4,485 meters with a climb to Margherita Peak at 5,109 meters; return to Margherita Camp then descend to Butawu Camp at 3,974 meters to sleep. Distance of 3.5km to the peak then 3.5km return to Margherita Camp followed by 4.2km down to Butawu Camp. Total distance 11.2km.

Wake up at 4.30am, have a quick snack and start climbing so as to be on the Stanley Glacier before sunrise. The climb up from Elena can be difficult if covered in snow and ice but it is classed as a difficult scramble. Once on the Stanley glacier the going is easy however, the climb to Margherita glacier can be challenging and slippery in bad weather. Rwenzori Trekking Services has recently installed a new fixed static rope with bolts every three meters leading down a ledge to the top of a six-meter aluminum ladder. This is a safe route and anyone with reasonable fitness and head for heights is able to pass. It is not classed as technical and it is easy in dry conditions. The climb up Margherita glacier is steep and requires that you are fit. On getting near to the top of the glacier you then climb around an exposed section of rock, which is also bolted and roped, to get on the ridge running up to the top of Margherita Peak. On a clear day the views from Margherita Peak are awesome and your goal is achieved!

After summiting you then descend directly to Butawu Camp or in the case of bad weather, you may need to stay in Margherita Camp; however, the following day it will be necessary to bypass Butawu Camp directly to Bugata Camp.

Day 7: Bugata Camp

6.2km hike starting at 3,974 meters, climbing over 4,450 meters and sleeping at Bugata Camp 4,062 meters.

A late breakfast at 8.30am to start trekking by 9am. The climb up Bamwanjara Pass which is steep and in wet weather can be rather boggy makes it slow going and tiresome. While crossing the pass you get the chance to see hyrax sitting at the entrance to their rock shelter, warming in the sun. Their main predator is the Rwenzori Leopard Panthera pardus ruwenzori, which is rarely seen; occasionally people do get a glimpse. The leopard has been heavily poached for its skin in the past and there are few left. There is a skeleton nearby in a small rock shelter for those who doubt the existence of leopard at those heights. However on a rare occasion on a misty or overcast day, you may be lucky to see one briefly as they move between the rocks. Sleep at Bugata Camp.

Day 8: Kiharo Camp or Samalira Camp

Descend to either Kiharo Camp 3,460 metres or Samalira Camp 3,170 metres.

Early morning set off around Lake Bugata and the outlet of Kopello Lake, then climb 200 metres to the confluence of the two valleys. As you descend the upper areas of the Nyamwamba Valley there is a large area of thick Giant Groundsel with dense evergreen undergrowth and moss with the rocky peaks towering above. As you descend the valley you will notice the terrain is made up of several flat boggy areas where millions of years ago glaciers sat and since melted, leaving a wall of big rocks in front of where it lay. The valley is home to many Red Forest Duiker (Cephalophuc nigrifrons rubidus). At night you may stay in Kiharo Camp at 3,460 metres, an area rich in evergreen plants and babbling streams. At night the air is filled with the calls of the rock hyrax in the rocky cliffs high above.

Note:- As it is necessary to skip one of the camps, you may either stay in Kiharo and enjoy the lush vegetation and rocky cliffs or may descend to Samalira Camp at 3,170 meters, making a shorter trek down to base camp the following day.

Day 9 of Trekking: back Hotel Magherita

Assuming that you slept in Kiharo Camp, you wake up to the shrill calls of the Ruwenzori Turaco (Ruwenzorornis johnstoni) and other birds. After a hearty breakfast you walk down the valley which is home to many species of birds who dive in and out the thick vegetation. Chameleons are a common sight as they crawl along the branches of the thick vegetation feeding on insects. In the clear areas you may catch a glimpse of a Duiker quietly feeding surrounded by Giant Lobellias and a variety of flowering plants. After descending a few kilometres you climb two hundred metres up to a ridge overlooking the peaks. In the evening you will have returned to the hotel to rest after an amazing journey.

Day 12 Rwenzori Mountains NP - Entebbe

In the morning we drive back to Entebbe. Your Safari Guide will wish you good bye and you can spend time relaxing after the exciting trekking and prepare for tomorrow’s flight.

Overnight at the Boma Guest House in Entebbe

Day 13 Entebbe

Transfer to the airport for your return flight back home.

End of Tour

Tailor Made Safaris

Planned to suit your personal trip plans, our Tailor Made Safari line blends fun, hands-on exploration, meaningful encounters with people and cultures, and more free time and choices—with the structure and security of traveling in a small group.

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Activity Level


Travelers should be in good health and comfortable walking or standing for extended periods of time. Daily activities may include city walking tours, visits to sites, game drives, or easy hikes, with options for more physical activities such as hiking, trekking, snorkeling and biking.

Cost Details

All trip prices are per person based on double occupancy. If you're traveling on your own, we'll pair you up with a roommate of the same gender so that you can pay the same rate as other travelers. Prices are subject to change without notice and do not include airfare. All prices and fares are quoted in U.S. dollars.

Gorilla permit costs $600 per Person and is included in the price.

My Own Room

During your trip, sometimes it's just more convenient and comfortable to have your own room. That's why we offer the "My Own Room" option - a single room all to yourself.

What's Included

  • Airport and hotel transfers
  • All meals as mentioned in the program
  • Transport in safari landcruiser
  • Mountain equipment, ranger, porters, cook, gas, cooker
  • tents
  • National Park entry fees
  • Local taxes
  • Bottled drinking water en route

This Trip Excludes

  • International flights
  • Airport taxes
  • Tips for guides
  • Any personal expenses
  • Entry visas
  • Travel insurance
  • Tips and gratuities to safari crew
  • Any sightseeing, excursions and optional activities other than those specified
  • Anything else not mentioned above

Optional Experience

You can do whatever you wish during your free time on tour, but if you're in need of suggestions, we've got them. Details about any optional experiences for this trip will be available during the booking process. Please note, these are at an additional cost.

Please observe our Additional checklist for Gorilla Tracking
  • Long sleeve shirts and trousers (old clothes recommended as they can get very dirty and torn from the thorns and jungle foliage)
  • Insect repellent and sunscreen
  • Hat and sunglasses (although once in the jungle you are in the shade)
  • Gardening gloves to protect your hand from the thorns and vines
  • Good ,comfortable sturdy hiking boots with good ankle support
  • Long socks to truck your trousers into
  • Rain jacket
  • Camera with lenses of different mill metres
  • Waterproof rucksack (or plastic bags inside your rucksack)
  • Plenty of water (the camp provides a packed lunch and lots of water
  • For evenings at the camp it is worth taking a warm fleece as evenings can be chilly. For the daytime light, casual clothes generally suffice.