A hike up the Rwenzori, Africa’s highest mountain range, is not for the faint of heart. It is an exhilarating and rewarding achievement to reach the 5,109 meter summit of Mount Stanley – the tallest of the six “mountains of the moon”. To get there, climbers face the risk of altitude sickness, aching limbs and unpredictable weather.
Mounting Rwenzori is also one of the most expensive expeditions in Uganda, costing around $1,200 for a seven-day expedition. day hike. These are some of the factors that have discouraged many adventurers from climbing Uganda’s legendary snow-capped peaks.
However, for those who are not up to the challenge but still want to get a close look at the Ruwenzoris, there are hiking trails in the foothills of the mountains that offer almost as exciting an adventure – on less crowded, off-the-beaten-track trails.
The one-day Kabango The hiking trail at the foothills of the Gesa and Karangwa Mountains is one of the available alternatives.
Unlike hiking the Ruwenzoris, there is a risk of altitude sickness on Kabango Hill in the Kabarole District – which rises 1,790 meters above sea level. is slim, the cost is affordable and no technical climbing skills are required.
Moreover, no acclimatization is required and the trek only takes between one and two hours: the Ruwenzoris take between seven and nine days to complete it in one the summit.
At least 10 percent of climbers never climb the Rwenzori Mountains, according to our guide Joseph Amanyire, who also runs the Rwenzori Unique Campsite, the only accommodation facility in the Kabango Hill area.
Not a walk in the park
Nevertheless, the paths continue, the foothills of the Ruwenzori are not a walk in the park. I climbed Kabango Hill with two of my friends and quickly realized that you need to be physically fit to make it to the top.
The steep stairway took us about an hour, step by step step, gulping air deeply. When we finally got there, we were extremely tired.
The climb was worth it because the panorama was impressive. In the distance we could see Fort Portal City, iridescent creeks and Kibale Forest National Park.
Because the Kabango Hill Trail is outside the boundaries of Rwenzori National Park, a guide costs $10.
With more than 6,000 hikers attempting to scale the Rwenzori Mountains each year, the footpaths are less frequented, allowing travelers to discover the wilderness.
From a humanitarian perspective, a trip to Kabango is worthwhile contributes to the economic prospects of the local Bakonjo people who farm on the slopes of Ruwenzori and earn extra income as tour guides and porters.
If you spend time here, you will get to know their way of life.< /p>