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An insider guide to hiking Congo’s Rwenzori Mountains

Rwenzori Mountains

Congo’s Rwenzori Mountains is a massif previously called the Ruwenzori Range (spelling changed around 1980 to conform more closely with the local name Rwenjura). It is a mountain range of eastern equatorial Africa. Congo’s Rwenzori Mountains are located on the border between Uganda and the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). These mountains support glaciers and are one source of the Nile river.
Congo’s Rwenzori Mountains reach heights up to 5,109 meters (16,762 ft). The highest Rwenzori peaks are permanently snow-capped. The Rwenzori Mountains National Park and Virunga National Park are located in the range.
Congo Rwenzori Mountains are Congo’s most interesting hiking destination and Africa’s most beautiful mountain areas. Congo’s Rwenzori mountains harbours 70 mammal species, 217 bird species and occupied with beautiful water falls, unique plat life, mountainous vegetation, snow fields and a couple of glaciers including Mt Stanley, Mt Gessi, Mt Baker, etc.
A trusted tour operator like Kwafrika Travel will provide you some equipment necessary for the climb like crampons, ropes, harnesses, carabinas, you need to bring good hiking boots, warm clothing warm sleeping bag, and rain gear. We do hire sleeping bags for those who need.
Climbing to Margherita peak is technical and knowledge of ropes and use of crampons, ascenders and knowledge of how to use an ice axe is advisable with ice sections of 60% steepness and changing rapidly due to climate change and melting of the glacier. All our guides are trained in ice climbing and rescue and can guide you up with little experience however you must be prepared to learn on the way up and to be able to fit your own crampons and at least tie basic knots and use of ascenders.
Getting to Congo’s Rwenzori Mountains

From Uganda

The mountains can be accessed by air transport where you can book a chartered flight from Entebbe airport to Kasese Airfield and later connect by road to Kasindi Customs.
The mountains can also be accessed by the road where you use public means or a private vehicle from Kampala via Fort Portal to the park or from Kampala via Mbarara and Queen Elizabeth National Park then go down to Kasindi Customs.
From Kasindi Border Customs, a guide from Kwafrika Travel, a Congolese trusted tour operator and member of ATOAV-RDC will pick you up from there to whisk you away to Mutsora Station. Mutsora Station is located at the foothills of Congo’s Rwenzoris Mountains. It takes half an hour to reach the station from the Kasindi Border Customs.

From Eastern Congo

If you are already visiting eastern Congo, you may decide to go for the Congo’s Rwenzori Mountains, if in Kinshasa you will have to take a flight to Goma city then another one from Goma to Mavivi Airport.
From Mavivi, a Kwafrika Travel representative will pick you up and bring you to Mutsora Station. You will be escorted with armed rangers and it will take you an hour to reach the station.

Attractions in Congo’s Rwenzori Mountains

Equatorial Snow Peak: Congo’s Rwenzori Mountains comprises of snow fields and a couple of glaciers including Mt Stanley, Mt Gessi, Mt Baker, etc.
Fauna: Congo’s Rwenzori mountains harbours 70 mammal species and, 217 bird species. As you climb up the mountains, you will spot Rwenzori Turaco, Guerrezzas monkey, Cercopithecus (Red tailed monkeyguenon), sunlight birds, Chimpanzee,… Wildlife are however difficult to spot due to the dense forests. 19 birds species are endemic to the Congo’s Rwenzori Mountain. They Include : Handsome francolin, Cinnamon chested bee-eater, Rwenroris Batis, Barred long tailed cuckoo, Golden winged sunbird, Slender billed starling, blue headed sunbirds among others.
Flora: Congo’s Rwenzori Mountains are occupied with beautiful water falls, unique plat life, mountainous vegetation, snow fields, the vegetation is pervasively covered with beautiful tropical rain forest, Bamboo, Afro-Alpine, Montane Forest, forest heather, podocarp forest and plant species like groundsel, lobelia among others.

Activities carried out in Congo’s Rwenzori Mountains

Mountain Climbing: Congo’s Rwenzori Mountains is one of the popular destinations for mountain climbing where visitors hike to the snow-capped mountain peaks. Mountain climbing is an adventurous activity in Virunga National Park which requires hikers to be physically fit.
Bird Watching: Congo’s Rwenzori Mountains harbors 217 bird species with 19 species endemic to only Rwenzori Mountains hence making it a birding area for birders. Birding in Rwenzori majority starts monring at Ruboni to the Montane forest where birders will be able to view differt unique species such as Blue headed sunbird, Long eared Owl, Rwenzori Turaco, Rwenzori Batis, Barred long tailed cuckoo, Crimson wings, Montane sooty bou bou, Purple breasted sunbird, stripe breast tit, western green tinker bird, Golden winged sunbird, Handsome francolin, Cinnamon chested bee-eater, Stranger weaver, Black and swift eagles among others.
Cultural encounters: You will have the opportunity to interact with the local communities around the park in Mutwanga village and its surroundings, Mutwanga is home to the Nande who live in the foothills of the mountain where you will learn about their daily activities like farming, animal rearing, taste their traditional dishes, visit traditional healers, craft shops and engage in entertainment such as traditional dances, music, dramas which make your visit rewarding.

Where to stay

Centre d’Accueil Touristique Mutsora: The best option during your Congo’s Rwenzori Mountains hike is a guest house erected just at the foothills of the mountains. It is a good option since it is a Park Station guarded 24h/7 by park rangers. The tented camps are equipped with all the basic amenities including hot water. As you sleep, you will have the impression that it is raining since you could hear the sound of water from a neighboring river, having its water hitting the ground and giving the impression that it is raining.
Guest House hosted by nuns: It is the sole accommodation built of durable materials. It is hosted by nuns who use the proceeds of what you will pay to support their orphanage located just contingent to the guest house. It lacks some amenities like hot water compared to Centre d’Accueil Touristique Mutsora.

Why visit Congo’s Rwenzori Mountains?
Congo’s Rwenzori mountains is an adventurous hiking destination in Congo where great hikers can climb for 7-8 days to reach the top of the mountain which offers great views of the peaks, vegetation, some animals and birds among others hence gaining lifetime experiences on your safari in DR Congo.

For more, heed on some of our Congo’s Rwenzori Mountains hiking package:
7 Days DR Congo Rwenzori Mountain hiking – Panoramic Views (4462 m alt)
8 Days DR Congo Rwenzori Mountain hiking – Touching the Glacier (4350m alt)
9 Days DR Congo Rwenzori Mountain hiking – Reaching Peak Magherita (5109 m alt)
13 Days DR Congo Nyiragongo volcano (3470m alt) and Rwenzori Mountain hiking (5109 m of alt)

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