Those visiting the national park will probably be disappointed at the lack of visible wild life. Elephant, Chimpanzee, Forest Hog and Sitatunga is all here but very rarely seen. Such species are all very shy and equally rare. However the birding enthusiasts will be in their element. With several endemic sunbirds, Rwenzori Turaco and Mountain Buzzard all evident and obvious this is a veritable feast for the bird spotter.
The Circuit Route:
Day 1: Nyakalengija gate to Nyabitaba Hut 2600m, 5 hours, elevation gained 1200m.
Day 2: Nyabitaba Hut to John Matte Hut3515m, 7 hours, elevation gained 915m.
Day 3: John Matte Hut to Bujuku Hut 4075m, 5 hours, elevation gained 560m.
Day 4: Bujuku Hut to Kitandara Hut 4050m, 5 hours, elevation gained to Scot Elliot Pass 425m. Descend to Kitandara Hut.
Day 5: Kitandara Hut to Guy Yeoman Hut 3500m, 5-7 hours, elevation gained to Freshfield Pass 300m. Descend to Guy Yeoman Hut.
Day 6: Guy Yeoman Hut to Nyabitaba Hut 2600m, 5 hours.
Day 7: Nyabitaba Hut to Park HQ, 2-3 hours. Some trekkers incorporate this day into day 6 coming off the mountain a day early.
Longer treks can be arranged with time built in to attempt peaking on Mt. Margharita. This route involves a night spent at Elena Hut at 4540 m between Bujuku and Kitandara Huts prior to the assent. Use of crampons and an ice axe is essential but can be hired from the Park HQ.
Points to consider:
Altitude sickness is common and exaggerated when the rate of climb is too rapid for your body to adjust to. The terrain is incredibly muddy. When out of the mud there is bog and when out of the bog it is generally very wet under foot. The wearing of trekking shoes is impossible and most people wear these shoes only around the huts. For walking people resort to buying a pair of rubber boots (wellington boots/gum boots). Some choose to walk in running shoes but getting the shoes dry again is impossible during the trek. The porters and guides all wear rubber boots even with crampons on! A walking stick is imperative for stability and probing the depth of the mud.
The Parks HQ at Ibanda direct a 15 minute Rwenzori awareness presentation to alert you to the fragility of the mountain but also to assess that you are properly equipped for the trek.