Mountain Climbing in Uganda is among the thrilling adventures that one can opt for during a Ugandan safari. This beautiful country has geographical features such as hills, mountains, slopes, and valleys that influence remarkable hiking experiences. Uganda hosts Mountain Rwenzori (Africa’s 3rd highest peak), Mt. Elgon (Africa’s 8th highest peak), the magnificent Virunga Massif of Mgahinga and several others spread across the country.
Climbing Mountain Rwenzori (Mountain Stanley)
Mountain Rwenzori is Africa’s finest hiking spot and a UNESCO world heritage site. It is the continent’s 3rd highest mountain and is famous for its incredible hiking experiences. What is more, this snowcapped mountain is also referred to as the Mountain of the Mon. This reference came from Greek explorers trying to locate the source of the Nile. A merchant known as Diogenes reported that the source of the Nile came from a group of mountains the locals called the Mountains of the Moon due to their snow-capped whiteness.
Margherita Peak (the highest peak of Mountain Rwenzori)
The highest peak of Mountain Rwenzori is the Margherita Peak (5109m). It runs from the middle of Lake Albert towards the North and Lake Edward to the South on the Congo-Uganda border. Hiking to this peak is the longest trail, taking eight days (7 nights).
Formation of Mountain Rwenzori
Mountain Rwenzori formed about three million years ago due to an uplifted block of crystalline rocks, including gneiss, amphibolite, granite and quartzite. The range consists of six massifs separated by deep gorges, including Mount Stanley (5109 m), Mount Speke (4890m), Mount Baker (4843m), Mount Emin (4,798m), Mt. Gessi (4715m) and Mt. Luigi di Savoia (4,627m).
For hiking enthusiasts, there are various hiking trails. The trail ranges from one day to a maximum of 7 days, leading to the snowcapped peak. Different hiking trails lead into the valleys, caves, montane, savannah, afro-montane and bamboo vegetation.
Climbing Mountain Elgon
Mountain Elgon is an extinct shield volcano along the border of Uganda and Kenya. The mountain’s highest point and the 8th highest in Africa- Wagagai (4321m), is located entirely within Uganda. Although there is no concrete evidence of its earliest volcanic activity, geologists estimate that this mountain is at least 24 million years old, making it the oldest extinct volcano in East Africa. Additionally, the peak originates from its Maasai name, “Elgonyi.”
World’s largest caldera
Due to volcanic eruption, Mountain Elgon has the largest volcanic base in the world. It is a massive form of about 80km in diameter, raised to more than 3000m above the surrounding plains. The Caldera was formed due to magma being drained from the chamber. When it could not support the overlying volcanic cone any more, it collapsed into a depression-like shape.
Vegetation on Mountain Elgon
Mountain Elgon was declared a National Park and was approved as a UNESCO Man and Biodiversity Reserve in 2005. The mountain slopes support a wide variety of vegetation ranging from montane forest to high open moorland studded with lobelia and groundsels (the vegetation varies with altitude).
How long does it take to hike Mountain Elgon?
Climbing Mountain Elgon takes 4 to 6 days, depending on the trail one uses. There are three starting points – the Salsa Trail, the Pisa Trail and the Sipi Trail. It is important to note that the Pisa Trail (Buddukiro trail) is shorter but with steep climbs).
Climbing the Mgahinga Volcanoes (Virunga Massif)
The Virunga Massif is a popular hiking destination in South Western Uganda. Besides gorilla trekking and golden monkey tracking, Mgahinga Gorilla National Park offers tourists an exceptional volcano hiking experience. The park has three dormant volcanic mountains: Mountain Gahinga, Mountain Sabyinyo and Mountain Muhavura. All these mountains have trails named after them.
The hiking trails
This trail takes about six hours and involves climbing the base of Mount Gahinga. During your adventure, you may also visit some caves where you will learn more about the Batwa people.
Mount Sabyinyo and Muhavura trails
These trails require more than a day, covering 14 and 12 kilometres, respectively. Moreover, they are much steeper than the day hikes as hikers climb to the top of each mountain. However, the views at the top are unmatched. On a Sabyinyo hike, you will get a golden opportunity to stand in Uganda, Rwanda and DRC simultaneously!
Mountain Morongole is within Kidepo Valley National Park in North Eastern Uganda. It lies in the rugged, semi-arid Karamoja Province near the border with Sudan. Moreover, the mountain range at 2750m is the highest point in the park. Much of it is covered by lush montane vegetation. Hiking this mountain takes about 8 hours – to and from.
Due to its high altitudinal range from the rest of the Karamoja region, the mountain greatly influences climatic conditions and the drainage system in Kidepo Valley National Park. This, in turn, affects the wildlife movements, behaviours and the various tourism activities and attractions in the park.
One of the tourist activities is visiting the Ik people, a unique African community that calls this mountain their ancestral home. These people are the smallest ethnic group in Uganda and are famous for their traditional lifestyle.
Mountain Moroto (3083m) is an ancient volcano named “westward mountain” to the Karamojong people. This signifies the mountain they initially saw when settling in this remote corner of the country. It is in Moroto district, North Eastern Uganda (in the Karamoja sub-region). This mountain is also the most easily accessible one in the region. Several trails can take you up to the breathtaking ridges of this mountain, allowing hikers to spend one or more days exploring its beauty.
A mountain climbing adventure in Uganda will provide an excellent safari experience for you and your loved ones. Make your safari booking with us today, and let us turn your travel dreams into a memorable reality!