15 Days Rwenzori hiking, Gorilla & Chimpanzee tracking

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The Rwenzori Mountains is a World Heritage Site and offers the opportunity to see nature at its best. The plant life varies from heavy tropical rainforest, bamboo forests, montane cloud forests to alpine vegetation and the scenery is truly spectacular. Above 4,500 metres the snow and glaciers add that special dimension to the wondrous views throughout this pristine mountain range.

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Day 1: ARRIVAL AT ENTEBBE AIRPORT

You will arrive at the airport, picked and transferred to the hotel ( Anderita Beach Hotel) which you have been booked by Weismann Safaris & Expeditions-Uganda where you will be briefed by our tour guide and share any other related issues to the trip then dinner and an overnight

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Day 2: MURCHISION FALLS NATIONAL PARK

In the morning, you will picked from the hotel with our company representative-guide, He will transfer you to Murchison falls national Park. The biggest and largest national park in Uganda. Known as the most powerful waterfall. You will have en-route lunch in masindi and continue to the park gate. During this drive, you may see birds and animals like raptors, Rock Pratincole, Crested Francolin, White crested Turaco, White-headed Barbet, Narina Trogon, Red-throated Bee-eater, Rufous-sided Broadbill, Silverbird, Red-cheeked Cordon blue, waxbills, finches, sunbirds and canaries, water bucks, oribis, warthogs among others.Upon arrival, you will have 1-2 hours evening game drive then Dinner and peaceful overnight in Murchison falls national park at either Paraa Safari Lodge or Red chilli tented camp.

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Day 3: MORNING GAME DRIVE AND AFTERNOON LAUNCH CRUISE TO THE BOTTOM OF THE FALLS .

On this day, take pleasure in a morning game drive towards the Albert and Victoria Nile and experience a great deal of wildlife and birds. Along the way, look out for herds of elephants, giraffes, antelopes, the Uganda Kobs, buffaloes, waterbucks, lions, and several bird species. Later on in the day after lunch, embark on a launch cruise to the base of the falls. This 3 hour cruise from Paraa is a rewarding trip that will expose you to many various wildlife species like hippos, crocodiles, elephants (though quite occasional along this side) and a variety of the bird life that may include the African fish eagles. You will then return to the lodge or for wonderful dinner and peaceful overnight.

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Day 4: DRIVE FROM MURCHISON –KIBALE NATIONAL PARK

After morning healthy breakfast, prepare for the journey from Murchison to Kibale national park. This will be connecting from Murchison falls national park connecting via Masindi-Hoima-Fortportal then to Kibale national park. On reaching Fortportal, you will stop for Lunch at Gardens Restaurant which offers both local and foreign meals on both buffet and ala’carte. This day is a long drive that takes 8-9 hours on a murram rough road. On the way, you will be enjoying the cultural houses of the Banyoro people, baboon, white and black colombus monkeys, forest squirrels etc. Then to Kibale national park to Primate lodge for dinner and overnight.

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Day 5: CHIMPANZEE TRACKING – KASESE TOWN

Take an early breakfast and then start your primate tracking adventure in the forest The park’s site guide will take you through this adventurous experience where you may be blessed with enormous encounters of various forest primates like the L’hoest, black faced colobus monkeys, baboons and other forest species. After tracking, then drive to Fortportal for Lunch and continue to Kasese town at TJ Global Hotel to arrange your Rwenzori hiking equipment.

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Day 6: NYAKALENGIJA TO NYABITABA HUT, 2.652 M.

In the morning after breakfast, you will be picked by your guide and then head to the Rwenzori Mountains National Park Head Quarter at Nyakalengija, 1.646 m. At this point you receive briefing from your guide or the tourism officer. The hike starts through the plantations and homes of the Bakonzo, the people of the mountain, gradually reaching garden plots and elephants grass and then join the forest zone . You follow the Mubuku river, until crossing the Mahoma river. The trail passes through an open bracken fern slopes and a beautiful Forest canopy, up to Nyabitaba Hut, 2.652 m. which is the arrival point for the day. From the location, you are facing on the North the Portal Peaks 4.627m, in front Mount Kinyangoma. During the day, you might see monkeys, the Rwenzori Turaco, three horned chameleons which is endemic in the Rwenzoris, common bulbul birds, yellow eyed tinkle birds, wood pecker, mountain elephants and hearing the voices of the chimpanzee, Kasese town. This hike takes between 5-6 hours.

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Day 7: NYABITABA HUT TO JOHN MATTE HUT, 3.414 M.

From Nyabitaba Hut you cross the Kurt Shaffer Bridge, through a muddy area. Then the trail climbs up through the bamboo forest. During this day, it takes you to the forest zone up to Kurt Shaffer bridge and then you start the bamboo/memolopsis zone up to Nyamuleju camp which is the old hut before John Maate camp. This point marks the start of the heather zone where you will see the Ericaceous trees, everlasting flowers, giant lobelia and groundsel and its at this point where you can see red duikers, rock hyrax and white Columbus monkeys. The way proceeds through a bog full of typical plants along the Bujuku river. The final point is John Matte Hut, 3.414 m. for spending the night. From Nyabitaba Hut to John Matte it can take approximately 6-7 hours. Enjoy the view of Mount Stanley and snow capped Margherita and Elena Peaks if the weather is clear.

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Day 8: FROM JOHN MATTE HUT TO BUJUKU HUT, 3.962 M.

From John Matte Hut you cross the Bujuku River and enter the lower Bigo bog, a grassy bog where you experience how to jump from tussock to tussock. Currently, there is a constructed walk board on both lower and upper bigo bogs that makes a clear view of the mountain sceneries. And this is the point where you start the alpine savannah zone of little vegetation. During this day you will be able to see the beautiful gardens of gaint lobelia, asanasio black berries, wild carrots, Alcamilla, lake Bujuku, sun birds, red duikers, rock hyrax and more.

Depending on the weather, you may be able to view the peaks of Mount Stanley, Mount Baker and Mount Speke. You finally arrive at Bujuku Hut, 3.962 m. From Bujuku, here starts the diversion for whom intends to climb Mount Speke. For those climbing Margherita and Alexandra peaks it is advised to proceed to Elena Hut for overnight. This day hike takes between 4-5 hours.

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Day 9: BUJUKU HUT – ELENA HUT (4541M).

From Bujuku, the trail takes you through more bog, while climbing the steep slopes west of the lake and through the magical Groundsel Gully as it ascends to Scott-Elliot Pass at 4372m. At the head of the gully a metal ladder takes you over a steep section after which the trail is divided into two. The trail on your right leads up to Elena Hut and Mount Stanley on a steep trail over large boulders, while the trail on your left leads to Scott-Elliot Pass and down to Kitandara Lakes. During this day, you be able to see Mount Speke glacier on Victoria Emmanuel, Margerita peak on Mount Stanly and the nice view of Lake Bujuku, amazing rock path and so many others. Finally you will reach for an overnight at the Coolly & Icy Elena Hut. This day hike takes between 4-5 hours.

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Day 10: ELENA HUT – MARGHERITA PEAK (5109M) AND THEN KITANDARA

For those aiming at reaching Margherita peak (5109m), continue to the base of the Stanley Glacier. To reach the summit of Margherita, the climb takes about 5-7 hours depending on the weather conditions and the pace of climbing this mountain. This tough walk takes you over three glaciers, slippery rock, ice and very exposed areas which are open on many sides. Note that this climb is for only physically fit and technical climbers. Climbing on to the glaciers, cross the Stanley Plateau and proceed with the ascent. Acclimatized to fog, altitude sickness and coolly weather, scramble up to the summit of Margherita the highest peak of the Rwenzoris. Given the high altitude and the tough conditions even if you do not reach the peak, don’t get disappointed.

Reaching back to Elena hut, prepare for sloping down to Kitandara hut through Scott-Elliot pass, where there are spectacular views back to Bujuku Lake and Mount Speke, up to Mount Stanley and down to the Kitandara Lakes. After the trail that passes you through an alpine zone of sparse vegetation with beautiful gardens of flowering Asanasios, giant lobelias, and rough boulders, descend to the twins Lakes of Kitandara where you will enjoy the shores of Kitandara Lake which is worthy beach life and overnight at the Kitandara Hut. This also takes you to 2-3hours but ascending down throughout the hut. However, basing on the time reached at Elena hut after margarita, you talk with your guide to have another night at Elena hut which will lead to an extra day.

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Day 11: KITANDARA HUT TO GUY YEOMAN HUT, 3.261 M.

From Kitandara, take on the trail that ascends steeply up the headwall, spreading out from the base of Mount Baker and continuing along the south side of the mountain to Fresh field Pass 4.282 m. At this point you can view into the Congo to the west and Mount Stanley to the north. From the pass, take on the long trail passing through bogy and slippery rocks that leads you to Bujongolo rock shelter the base camp for the historic expedition by the Duke of Abruzzi in 1906. The hut is surrounded by a beautiful landscape of mountains, vegetations dominated by the giant lobelias and rivers. Overnight at Guy yeoman and this takes 5-6 hours.

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Day 12: GUY YEOMAN HUT BACK – NYABITABA HUT, 2.652 M.

The trail is attractive along the valley of the Mubuku and Kichuchu rivers, rich in plants and flowers of the heather zone before reaching the bamboo forest. Time to reach Nyabitaba is about 4- 5 hours. Eventually, you decide to descend directly to Nyakalengija, adding 2-3 more hours or stay at Nyabitaba hut for an overnight. Here it may depend on the decision of the client to either make it a one way journey from Guy Yeoman Hut direct to Nyakalengija or to have an overnight at Nyabitaba. However most clients prefer to make it one way journey from Guy Yeoman Hut direct to Nyakalengija/Park Head Quarter. Picked by your driver to Kasese town for an overnight. However, depending on the time you are back from the mountain, you may continue to kabale tracking area and an overnight at Trekkers hotels.

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Day 13: GORILLA TRACKING-THE GREAT MEMORABLE EXPERIENCE

After breakfast, you will start your scenic journey through the beautiful terrain of the rolling hills with terraced landscape, an area referred as the “Switzerland of Africa” .Observe the systematic cultivation of the Bakiga along the mountain slopes and enjoy the experience of what has been referred to as the Switzerland of Africa because of its cool nature. You will then continue to Mbarara town the second city after kampala in Uganda then you will stop for lunch and continue to Lake Mburo in the afternoon and check into your choice of accommodation. Take a tranquil evening boat ride along the eastern banks of Lake Mburo as you view birds, crocodiles and hippos against the setting sun.

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Day 14: FROM BWINDI IMPENETRABLE NATIONAL PARK-LAKE MBURO

After morning breakfast, you will get ready ,along with your packed lunches and water to embark on the life time memorable experience in this magnificent forest for gorilla tracking.
The trail you use may reward you with exciting moments of the giant mountain gorillas; this will be a reward of the ultimate gorilla experience, as well as other primates that inhabit the forest. If time allows, you will have an evening community walk.
You will return to the lodge for dinner and peaceful overnight at the safari lodge, or drive to either Kabale or Mbarara for an overnight.

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Day 15: MORNING GAME DRIVE -ENTEBBE

Take a morning game drive and encounter zebras, buffalo, elands and impalas along with a great variety of birds such as Egyptian goose, Black winged Gonolek, little grebes, saddle billed stork, crested francolin among others. After the morning game drive then drive back to the hotel for breakfast and continue your journey to Entebbe for your flight

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