Uganda is one of the African countries with a variety of relief features ranging from the plateau, Mountains, Valleys, Hills, and many other relief features. The western part of Uganda was highly affected by underground forces resulting in different relief features like volcanic mountains, rift valleys, hills, and crater lakes. Virunga in Uganda features three volcanoes like Mount Sabinyo, Mgahinga volcano, and Muhavura volcano all in Mgahinga Gorilla National Park. This park has inhabits the rare mountain gorillas and the rare golden monkeys. This is the reason why people refer to it as a place where gold meets silver. The western part of the country also has Rwenzori Mountain featuring a variety of vegetation types, animals, birds, and insects. The western arm of the rift valley also stretches through the western parts of the country together with its associated features like waterfalls, lakes, escarpments among others. Although the western parts of the country were highly affected by underground forces resulting in the magnificent physical features favoring hiking in Uganda, there are other areas where hiking can be done for example Mountain Elgon national park, Mabira forest, Murchison Falls National Park among others.
Hiking in Uganda
Uganda is a country with a vast landscape with varied scenery favoring hiking. For example, you can hike Mount Rwenzori, the three volcanoes in Mgahinga Gorilla National Parks, Sipi falls, Mount Muhavura, Mount Gahinga, Mount Sabinyo, and Murchison falls among many others. The package for hiking depends on our client’s time he or she is willing to spend and the amount of money he or she has prepared to spend on a safari. We organize safari packages for our clients depending on what he or she wants to experience and we make sure that our clients enjoy their safaris to the maximum.
Hiking places in Uganda
This is the third highest mountain in Africa after Mountain Kilimanjaro and Mountain Kenya, Mount Rwenzori is located in the western parts of Uganda bordering the Democratic Republic of Congo. Its highest peak is the Stanely peak which reaches an elevation of 5,109m above sea level. This mountain covers a length of 120km and a width of 65km. You shouldn’t forget that mountain Rwenzori also has snow-capped peaks.
The mountain is the third tallest in Africa, you should expect to see a variety of vegetation types like montane forests, bamboo forests, tree heath, Rapanea scrub, and afro-alpine moorland.
The Rwenzori peaks also feature beautiful mist, permanent snow, glaciers, beautiful waterfalls, rivers, and lakes while the lower slopes are covered with dense forests. All these natural physical features on this magnificent mountain plus its stunning beauty have made it to be considered the best in Africa and 9th in the whole world for hiking and mountain climbing adventures. Complete hiking of this mountain takes 8 days and 7 nights and this gives the chance hikers to climb to the highest peak of Margherita for those who can manage. It’s the central circuit and it’s the longest of all. There are also other shorter circuits like the Mahoma loop, 1-day chimpanzee trail, and the 1-day kilembe trail. The Mahoma loop is hiked for three days while the rest are for one day.
Hiking the free-standing volcanic cones
There are three main volcanoes found in the southwestern part of Uganda along the border with Rwanda and The Democratic Republic of Congo. These volcanoes include Muhabura, Mgahinga, and Sabinyo. The scenic beauty of these volcanoes offers beautiful views and excellent day hike experiences. The Virungas also harbor endangered species of wildlife like golden monkeys, mountain gorillas, endemic birds, and mountain vegetation which you may encounter while hiking.
It is the highest elevated at an altitude of 4127m above sea level and it’s situated on the Rwanda-Uganda border. It is a long hike to the summit and it takes 5 hours to reach the summit and almost the same time coming back. It is a tough activity but you won’t regret making complete hiking. There’s a crater lake that is 36m wide at the summit for viewing.
It’s the smallest of the three volcanoes elevating at an altitude of 3474m above sea level. It is situated between Muhavura and Sabinyo. It is the shortest and easier to hike. It has a bigger crater at the summit which is not so easy to move around to get better views.
It is situated on the border of the three countries which are Uganda, Rwanda, and the Democratic Republic of Congo. It elevates at an altitude of 3645m above sea level. It is the most challenging because it’s deeply eroded with a jagged crown, deep gorges, and ravines. It also has many craters and our clients get a lot of fun while hiking this volcano. This volcano has the best views of all the volcanoes in Virungas stretching across all three countries. It has three peaks which look like three spaced teeth hence the same ‘Sabinyo’ which means old man’s teeth.
The unique part about Sabinyo volcano is that it is lies at the meeting point of the three countries like Uganda, Rwanda, and The Democratic Republic of Congo while the rest of the volcanoes lie in one are shared between two countries. Meaning at the top of Sabinyo volcano, you get to set foot in all three countries. You should also remember that the Sabinyo volcano is found within Mgahinga national park.
Hiking the Sabinyo volcano is a one-day hike that takes 8 hours both hiking up until you meet the summit and coming back. The hike starts at the park office after briefing by the senior ranger guides.
While hiking, you will move through different vegetation zones like bamboo which inhabits the rare golden monkeys, birds, other mammals like elephants, buffaloes, and gorillas but the chances of seeing these big mammals are few.
It is found in eastern Uganda on the border of Uganda and Kenya. It is the 8th highest mountain in Africa lying at an altitude of 4321m above sea level and its highest peak being Wagagai. Thousands of years ago, it was the tallest in Africa but because of the continuous erosion, its peak kept on reducing up to the current height of 4321m making it the 4th highest in East Africa. This mountain also possesses the largest caldera in the whole world. Apart from hiking to reach the summit, mountain Elgon also has a lot to offer like fascinating wildlife along the slopes, different vegetation types that harbor a variety of wildlife you may encounter as you hike. This mountain also has got other geological features like caves, water pools, waterfalls, and beautiful scenery. To hike mountain Elgon, there are two major trails one can use for example the Sasa trail or Budadiri trailhead accessible from Mbale which takes 4 to 5 days to reach the peak then the Piswa trail which is gentler to hike than the Sasa trail.
The most common animal species usually seen along the hike are forest elephants, leopards, buffalo, sitatunga, De Brazza’s monkey, duiker, black and white Colobus, blue monkey, and bushpigs, the bird checklist stands more than 300 bird species and includes a rich variety of forest birds, as well as several Afro-montane woodland endemics. More than ten birds listed for Mountain Elgon occur in no other Park in Uganda namely the moorland francolin, Jackson’s francolin, red-throated wryneck, Black-collared Apalis, mustached green tinker-bird, weyn’s weaver, bearded vulture, lammergeyer, and marsh widow-bird.