HIKING AND NATURE WALKS IN THE RWENZORI MOUNTAINS
Rwenzori Mountains National Park offers an opportunity for hikes and nature walks within the central circuit zone. Most of the trails within this park lead to Lake Mahooma and Buraro Chimp Camp, nature walks through the local communities of Kichwamba to get to the Karangura ridge and hiking also involves going to Bundibugyo area through Bwamba pass.
The Ruboni Village walk leads to the communities of Ruboni and the Turaco view also provides guided forest walks of various lengths just outside the Rwenzori Mountains National Park. Tourists can also go around the River Mubuku and sight the views of Mount Baker and the portal Peaks as they hike up to over 2300 meters above Sea Level. On a good day, it is even possible to view the snow-capped Margherita Peak, one of the most spectacular views. Along the way, you should keep your eyes and ears open as you look out for the Squirrels, Chameleons, primates like the Vervet monkeys and several bird species. Explained are some of the popular hiking trails within Rwenzori Mountains. They include;
The Mahoma Trail
This trail leads you up in an elevation to the spectacular Mahoma Lake and offers great views of the Peaks, because you hike through the various Afro-Montane areas/regions where you will see large Giant heathers, Groundsel and lobelias. It is a comparatively new hiking trail but it does not require Mountaineering Service and can be handled by expert local guides from Ruboni. Tourists who use this trail have to hire a porter to support you while hiking and carry your luggage since many hikers find this trail to be strenuous. If you are lucky, you are likely to encounter some elephants and Chimpanzees on this trail.
Ruboni Village walk
Ruboni is a small Village comprised of about 2000 people who belong to the Bakonzo tribe. This magnificent Village walk will allow you to explore about these people, their lifestyles and daily activities. This walk is normally for 3 hours and will allow you to see how the Village women weave baskets and you will also try it out, you will also be introduced to the blacksmiths who fold different tools traditionally with open fire into knives, pangas and saucepans among others. This Village walk also leads you to the traditional healer who treats several ailments using assorted plant and tree species gathered from the Forest, you will also visit some of the Village elders who are also story-tellers and you will be amused by their ancient stories and finally you will visit one of the village homesteads where traditional foods are prepared over open fire (using firewood)
Ruboni Hill Hike
This all day hike or two-day hike starts from Ruboni Village and the experienced tour guides (well versed in several wildlife and bird species) will take you through the verdant forest. Ruboni means “clear water” in the local dialect-Lukonzo and you follow a certain mountain stream and get to meet some of the community members as they collect firewood and crops from their gardens. While hiking though this trail, you are likely to see the beautiful Rwenzori Turaco, Cinnamon-chested Bee-eaters and tinny sunbirds. Once you reach the top of Ruboni Hill, you will enjoy the dazzling views of the Mountains of the Moon (Rwenzori Mountains)
Before a road was constructed in 1938 to connect Fortportal to the remote town of Bundibugyo, most of the local community members followed the easiest and most direct path/route between the Settlements, that was a difficult 1500 meter high hike/trek over the steep North Rwenzori Mountain range referred as the “Bwamba Pass.” The Abanya Rwenzori Community group guides tourists over the Mountain through remote Mountain Villages to explore the Bamboo Forest and relish the majestic rift valley views.
The Forest Hike
The Forest Hike is a must-do hike for majority of tourists and allows tourists to see the impressive three-horned Chameleon, primates such as Colobus monkeys and interesting bird species such as the Rwenzori Turaco. This hike is done in the company of an expert tour guide who is well versed with the attractions within the area and some of the wildlife species you are likely to spot include bush-bucks and Giant forest Hogs among others.
What to Carry/Wear for Hiking and Nature Walks Within Mountain Rwenzori
Intending hikers have to wear long sleeved shirts, long trousers, should wear waterproof hiking boots, wear a rain jacket; cameras and binoculars are handy and carry a daypack for the camera and binoculars.
Hiking and nature walks within Mount Rwenzori leads tourists through different trails such as the Bwamba pass, Ruboni hill hike and Ruboni village walk to explore the culture and traditions of the Bakonzo people, primate species and several bird species like the Rwenzori Turaco and Cinnamon-chested bee-eaters among others.