Looking for something very cool as a special add-on to your trip in the Gorilla Highlands region? A week-long trip to the magnificent Rwenzori mountains in western Uganda, bordering DR Congo, can be it! If you seek a physical challenge and thick slice of adventure, go conquer Mount Margherita at 5,109 m/16,795 ft — the highest point of both Uganda and Congo.
A formidable group of porters will be engaged, the local people whose strength and endurance will stun you as they carry everything necessary for the week ahead.
The incredible guides who lead you are likely to became your good friends, sharing laughter aplenty. (Don’t worry, they can endure a bit of nagging from their clients too.)
A long and very steep trail rises from the heat of Kasese to the welcome sight of the first basecamp. The uphill segments of the following days are more gradual and you get to enjoy the astonishing views of Rwenzori Mountains NP.
Several factors make this trip fantastic. Maybe the most important is the total absence of network connection, leaving plenty of mental space to align with the nature that surrounds you.
Another great aspect is the whole package: daily hiking, wild camping and good company. Relaxing around the campfire and sharing good food with the rest of the crew is perhaps the richest part of the adventure.
After some days of gently climbing, you arrive at the last basecamp (at around 4,500m/15,000 ft). The location is idyllic, but you won’t have much time to enjoy it. The 3am wakeup is the next step of your ascent to the summit. It can be a day of extreme challenges, due to altitude and weather conditions.
After many tough hours and numerous mental break-downs, you reach the beginning of the icy glacier and the very last leg of the ascent. Your final victory at the peak may well be tainted somewhat by weather, but it will be deeply fulfilling that you have made it!
Just don’t think that you already have the hardest part behind you, as the descent may well feature a couple of crashes …
This truly is the experience of a lifetime, with beautiful people, exceptional views and pristine environments.
Jens De Pauw completed his 6-month Gorilla Highlands volunteering over the weekend, and while he was our indispensable podcast editor, his final contribution is this first hand report from one of his trips. Yebare munonga, Jens!