Rwenzori Trekking Services

The 8days Trek To Cheptegei Peak At 4907 Metres

$1,400 plus $35 per night UWA (Uganda Wildlife Authority) gate entrance fee which is paid separately.
Price includes: guides, all porters, food (meals) and accommodation whilst in the mountain and equipment.

NOTE: FOR THOSE CLIMBING CHEPTEGEI PEAK YOU MAY TAKE THE ADDITIONAL OPTION TO CLIMB MT BAKER (WHICH IS A DIFFICULT SCRAMBLE) ON THE DAY YOU TREK FROM HUNWICK’S CAMP TO MARGHERITA CAMP OR YOU MAY CLIMB WEISMANN’S ON THE WAY DOWN

Mt Stanley is the third highest mountain in Africa however the real beauty is in the climb up the southern circuit, the forests and valleys, the flora is diverse with trees and valleys of ferns. The trees are alive with many species of birds and primates and as you walk up the trail you will see chimp nests high up in the tall trees, if you are lucky you may catch a glimpse of the resident chimpanzees as they scamper away. 

The summit to Cheptegei peak is non -technical and not so much of rock scrambling and can be done without ropes but due to safety precautions we carry ropes for this summit.

The peak boasts fantastic views of the valleys both on Uganda side and the Congo side plus excellent views of Alexandra peak with Margherita peak behind and Stanley glaciers below. The itinerary to explore peaks goes exactly like the itinerary to Margherita peak and the only difference is we donot go further to climb Margherita glacier, we only cross the Stanley glacier and then climb up Cheptegei peak at 4907m. 

 

Start at Trekkers at 1,450 meters and sleep at Sine Hut at 2,596 meters being a height gain of 1,146 meters, or those who are fit and want to proceed to Kalalama Camp at 3,134 metres may do so and apart from the fantastic views gives you more time at Mutinda Camp where you may climb up to Mutinda Lookout at 3,975 metres.

We start by walking up the valley floor through tall forest trees of the Afro Montane Forest Zone. This is a steady climb with multitudes of birds and a chance of seeing blue monkeys scampering off through the forest. At times visitors may see troupes of 15 to 20 black and white Colobus monkeys as they swing through the tree tops. There are rare sightings of the L’Hoest monkey which are part of the Bukonzo cultural emblems and are protected by the virtue of the King or Omusinga or you may hear wild chimpanzee in the distance. There is wide variety of plant species from forest trees to bamboos thickets, low shrubs, flowers, fungi, and with many moss and lichen covered vines hanging from the tall trees creating an awesome appeal. Enock’s Falls are just 200 meters from Sine Hut and offer a splendid opportunity to capture a great screensaver for your memories.

At Sine Camp 2,596 metres we have wooden huts set between tall forest trees on a narrow ridge where you may sit and enjoy the beauty of the Afro Montane forest while you look down at a fantastic waterfall crashing over the rocks far below. Some clients prefer to sit outside enjoying the warmth of the campfire and chat to the guides about the mountains and life in their community. Sine is just below the bamboo zone and the area around has many different bird species. 150 meters from the camp is Enock falls which is set in livid green vegetation and hanging vine. Truly beautiful. Sleep at Sine, or those who are fit and want to proceed to Kalalama Camp at 3,134 metres may do so and apart from the fantastic views gives you more time at Mutinda Camp where you may climb up to Mutinda Lookout at 3,975 metres.

Trekking starts at 8.30am and almost immediately you enter the Bamboo-Mimulopsis Zone which is steep climb with many high steps. In the wet season the bamboo zone is rather muddy and slippery making the going slow. However the atmosphere and the forest is beautiful as you climb 551 metres altitude and a distance of 1.8km to Kalalama Camp at 3,147 meters which is in the Heather-Rapanea Zone where you can take a rest and a quick cup of tea or coffee before heading on to Mutinda Camp. The trail meanders up and over several small knolls along a ridge top then drops down the side of the valley before climbing again, and in doing so cross several small streams and pass close to moss covered waterfalls. You then climb steadily along the side of a beautiful mossy river which tumbles down over the rocks under the Giant Heather trees whose trunks are covered in green moss with old man beards (Usnea lichen) hanging from the branches. The trail twists and turns as you climb up the deep valley, which has an enormous variety of plants and flowers. This valley is unique with many Giant Heather trees creating a beautiful atmosphere often shrouded in mist. 

In the afternoon you may wish to climb up to the top of the Mutinda Lookout (one to two hours up and one hour down) The views are amazing as you stand on moss covered rocks at 3,925 meters with views across the Rwenzori Mountains and down to Kasese town and Lake George. For those clients who are climbing to Margherita or any of the main peaks climbing Mutinda 3,975 meters is also an excellent way to acclimatise and reduce the risk of high altitude sickness

Sleep at Mutinda Camp at 3.582 metres

The trail to Bugata Camp is boggy particularly in the wet season but with a little skill you can step from tussock to tussock to make the going easier.  First you cross the Mutinda valley through the tussock grass and everlasting flowers interspersed with many Giant Lobelias before climbing a steep section up to the Namusangi Valley (3,840 meters), with sheer waterfalls and looking back you get fantastic views of Mutinda Peaks. The Namusangi Valley is wide, with many ups and downs as the trail climbs steadily to Bugata Camp at 4,100 metres.

Trek to Hunwick’s Camp via Bamwanjarra Pass. As you leave Bugata Camp you pass up a ridge then drop down slightly before ascending to Bamwanjarra Pass at 4,450 meters where we have a hut should the weather turn bad. From the pass on a clear day you get excellent views of the three main peaks. The trail passes down the valley and around the edge of some bogs and thick ever green vegetation, moss. giant groundsel and lobelia. Here is possibly the best place in all the Rwenzori to observe the Malachite Sunbird as it feeds on the many lobelia flowers and a known breeding site. Farther on there is some steep sections before a steady climb up and over a ridge to Hunwick’s Camp which is situated on the top of a deep valley and has good views of Mt Stanley, Mt Baker, Weismanns Peak and McConnell’s Prong.

From Hunwick’s we pass down and across the valley floor to Lake Kitendara which is very stunning with deep water and beautiful vegetation. From here you climb up Scott Elliott’s pass then up the ridge to Margherita Camp 4,485 metres which is situated between some huge rocks and offering some shelter from the strong winds. This is the very spot where the Duke of Abruzzi camped when making his climb to Margherita Peak in 1906.

Catch an early breakfast this morning, we will be ready to depart between 4:30 to 5:30am (The setoff of time will be determined by the strength and speed of the Trekkers) 

From the beginning of the Stanley glacier we climb until the middle of the Stanley glacier, then we branch to the left and continue walking until right at the end of the Stanley glacier on the rocks. The rocks are right below the Stanley view point and it takes 20 to 30minutes crossing the glacier point to the rocks at the base of the view point.  Then we start a short rock scramble up the view point which isn’t tough but it takes between 30  to 40 minutes because one is struggling with the breathing (limited oxygen)  as they climb but a very nice climb

When at the top of Cheptegei peak at 4907m you view part of Alexandra , then more views of some of the towns in the Congo side, plus enjoy views of Mt Speke, Bujuku valley, the portal peaks and some peaks of Elena and a lake in Congo.

The summit is non -technical and not so much of rock scrambling and can be done without ropes but due to safety precautions we carry ropes for this summit.

After ascending the peak at 4905 metres you then pass directly down to Hunwick’s Camp at 3.874 metres.

Height gain: 422m then descend 933m

Approximate distance: 2km to the top then 7.1km descent

Approximate hours: 4 to 6 to the peak and back to margherita camp and 3 to 4 to Hunwicks Camp

Distance to Kiharo Camp 11km Time taken to walk 4 to 7 hours

From Hunwick’s Camp we start the day by climbing up a ridge towards McConnell’s Prong where you get the best views of all three peaks and Scott Elliott’s Pass before reaching Oliver’s Pass at 4,505 metres. The distance from Hunwick’s Camp to the top of Olivers Pass is 3km The trail then cuts across below Weismann’s Peak to the confluence of the Nyamwamba River which flows down thought Kilembe and Kasese to Lake George in Queen Elisabeth National Park.

If you wish to climb Weismanns Peak 4,620 metres from Olivers pass you may do so at an extra cost of $20 each. On a clear day you get fantastic views of Margherita and Mt Stanley, Mt Speke and Mt Baker.

After crossing the confluence the trail meanders down the valley to Kiharo Camp at which is situated in a deep valley with high cliffs and dense vegetation. On the way down the valley after each bog you will climb over a ridge of stones and earth which seems out of place but actually was pushed there by slow moving glaciers which eventually stopped moving, melted and left a pile of rocks and debris in front of where the glacier once stood.

Distance Kiharo Camp to the park gate 16km and another 2.8km down to Trekkers Hostel.  Time to walk 5 to 8 hours so those who need to connect to flights back to Kampala or travel on to other activities need to leave Kiharo early.

The trail down the Nyamwamba Valley is mostly downhill and absolutely stunning with beautiful views, moss covered rocks along the river, cascading waterfalls, deep valleys and forests are possibly the best in the Rwenzori Mountains. This part of the trail took us six years to find a way through and a route which is easy enough for tourists to use. In 1937 the explorer and geologist McConnell tried to find a way up this valley but failed and have to turn back and search for another route up the mountain but now you can experience this truly beautiful valley.

A few kilometres from Kiharo Camp the path turns off to the right to pass along the river. In the clear areas you may catch a glimpse of a Duiker quietly feeding in small clearings as you pass along the river. This area is possible the highest population of Rwenzori Red Duikers anywhere in the National Park  A few kilometres down the river it becomes  steeper with multitudes of stunning waterfalls.  After the waterfalls we climb up and over a high ridge then down though the dense forests with stunning views of the valley below.  We stop at Forest View Camp for lunch before proceeding back to Base Camp. A great experience and ending to a fantastic trek.

Some of the things you will explore