Hiking and Trekking in Uganda
If you love adventure, unique and beautiful landscapes, and areas seldom visited by tourists, trekking either the Rwenzori Mountains or Mount Elgon is a 'must-do' when visiting Uganda. Along with some stunning scenery, challenging climbing and a range of flexible trips on offer, all you have to do is ensure that you are on 'peak' form!
Matoke Tours can arrange anything from a 1 day - 12 day excursion, including transportation, accommodation, climbing equipment and food. Just bring an appetite for a challenge (and a good raincoat...)
Mount Elgon is the eighth highest mountain in Africa, a relic of an extinct volcano which first erupted over 20 million years ago. At 4,321 meters, the Wagagai summit is the second highest peak in Uganda and the mountain also boasts one of the largest calderas in the world - an impressive 8km, surrounded by a series of jagged peaks. Straddling the Kenyan border, the mountain is also dotted with crater lakes, giant heathers and lobelias and hot springs.
As you ascend the mountain, you will come across some distinct vegetation zones including: lush, evergreen montane forest, dense bamboo, spectacular moorland hyraces, fascinating and rare endemic plant species, (including giant lobelia elgonensis) and dotted clusters of peculiar groundsels, which are unique to Africa. The main ethnic tribes living around the mountain are the Bagisu and Sabiny, who earn their living through agriculture.
Trekking Mount Elgon is also a bird lover's paradise, and to date, there are approximately 300 recorded species. These include: the endangered Lammergeyers, the rare Jackson's Francolin, Guinea fowls, Sunbirds and the Turaco. There is also a high concentration of primates, as well as Bushbuck, Antelope, Civet, Wildcat and the elusive Leopard. Bush duiker, Hyena, Jackal, Rock hyrax, Buffalo and Elephant also roam between the forest and the moorland.
Visiting Mountain Elgon National Park presents an exciting setting for extended hikes, interesting and unique flora and fauna, magnificent water falls, enormous caves, scenic peaks, gorges and hot springs which bubble up to 480 Celcius! The best times to visit are during the drier seasons (June to August) and March to December. No technical climbing equipment or skills are required, as all major peaks are accessible.
Rwenzori Mountains ("Mountains of the Moon")
Fancy climbing Africa's highest mountain range and straddling the equator at the same time? Head to the Rwenzori and try your hand at reaching the Margherita (5,109 meters) or Alexandra (5,083 meters) Peaks which are exceeded in altitude only by Mount Kenya and Mount Kilimanjaro, both of which are extinct volcanoes standing in isolation above the surrounding plains.
The Rwenzori Mountains are unique among East Africa's major peaks in that they are not volcanic in origin, but they do rise directly from the Rift Valley floor and their formation, like that of Mount Kilimanjaro and Mount Kenya, was linked to geological glacial peaks in the Rwenzori: Mt. Speke (4,890 meters), Mount Emin (4,727 meters), Mount Gessi (4,715 meters) and Mount Luigi da Savoia (4,627 meters). These mystifying 'Mountains of the Moon' have often been regarded as the Source of the Nile - a legend which began in cAD 150 with the Roman geographer, Ptolemy.
Known primarily for their challenging hiking and climbing possibilities, the Rwenzori also supports a diverse range of animals including 70 mammals and 177 bird species, several of the latter being Albertine Rift Endemics. The ever-changing landscape gives way to an extraordinary variety of flora and fauna, forests of bamboo, giant heathers, lobelias and swampland. On the lower regions of the mountain, Forest Elephants and Chimpanzees meander and crash through the undergrowth and if you're lucky, you may spot a shy Bushbuck or Golden Cat.