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Ruwenzori Mountains

As early as 150 AD Ptolemy had written of the "Mountains of the Moon", where snows fed the lakes, sources of the Nile". The Rwenzori range lies along the western border of Uganda and represents a true mountain range composed of several massifs; it includes Africa's third highest summit, Point Margherita (5109m). These massifs offer great attractions to climbers, walkers and naturalists. There are several endemic species of birds including the brilliant Rwenzori turaco, also monkeys, red forest duiker, hyrax and leopard. Some elephant and buffalo live in the lower valleys. Though the flora is similar to other East African mountain ranges it is exceptionally luxuriant mainly as a result of the high rainfall in the area; however, from mid-December to the end of February and from mid-June to mid-August there is little rain and good climbing weather.

On this trip we complete the Mubuku - Bujuku circuit with time to explore or to climb two of the main summits, Margherita and Speke. This is a tough, fully porter-supported trek involving some difficult terrain comprising bogs, deep undergrowth & boulders. The difficulties underfoot are easily made up for by the exotic vegetation and scenery. The main summits require the use of an ice axe and crampons on Margherita and possibly on Speke. On each mountain there are short steps involving climbing (grades I to II, French PD).

Our trip finishes with a visit to the rolling plains and lakes of Queen Elizabeth National Park. Take a boat journey on the Kizinga Channel with its abundant animal life by the water's edge. Then we transfer to the Bwindi Forest famous for its habituated mountain gorilla population. On the way we stop off to hopefully see chimpanzees in the Kyambura river gorge.

Gorilla tracking is a major tourist attraction in Bwindi Forest. Four gorilla groups are currently available to be visited on daily basis. Book at least 3-6 months in advance to ensure that requested dates are available. Gorilla tracking is strenuous but after the Rwenzori you will be in top condition for it. Bwindi is also a beautiful reserve with a checklist of 350 birds, it boasts of more than 300 species of butterflies and 100 species of mammals.

5 days Ruwenzori Mountain Climbing
9 days Ruwenzori Mountain Climbing

Mountain Cuisine: The menus for all climbs are specially prepared to provide a balanced diet of fresh fruit, vegetables, plenty of protein and carbohydrates. We have tried to choose food items that are easiest to digest at high altitude. Our cooks undergo extensive training and we have ongoing workshops to review menus. The cooks are particularly vigilant in  their hygiene practices as contracting stomach bugs is common for visitors to the developing world.

Dinners are typically a main course with vegetable and salad. Chicken and fish are served at some of the days during the climb, with pastas and rice dishes being served in the middle of the climb while up high. Lunches are often on the trail and usually consist of cold cuts and  vegetables laid out on a table so you can make your own sandwich. Fresh  hot vegetable soups are served at every meal, and packet soup is  available on request between meals as is coffee and tea. Breakfast is  your choice: granola, toast, fruit, eggs, and sometimes pancakes or French toast. While hiking some people have a favorite snack that they like; it is a good idea to bring this from home.

Fit to trek. The Machame Route is a strenuous, but not technical, climb and no mountain-climbing experience is necessary. But there's no avoiding the steep ascents and high altitudes that make robust physical fitness (and a minimum age of 16 years) a prerequisite for this trip. You'll want to consult your physician before undertaking this unforgettable adventure. Alternative independent itineraries. These include the more remote anddemanding Rongai, Shira, Umbwe and Western Breach routes - ask for details.

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