The Easy way to hike hills and mountains around Uganda
Yearning for an adventure that will renew and rejuvenate your positive energy, why not head out for a hiking encounter that will leave you with tears of joy. Here are some recommendations across Uganda. The one thing they share in common is that they are full of jaw-dropping scenery and gentle gradients. This makes “summiting” them possible even for those who are less physically fit. The experience they offer is perfect for team building and bonding with loved ones. Writes Solomon Oleny
At an altitude ranging from 2,227m and 4,127m, Mghahinga is a visual masterpiece soaring high in the clouds. It has three summits that will catch your eye and carry you into endless vastness of the sky.
Looking at them from a far, you are bound to think they offer the same hiking experiences as they are all have a pyramid shape. Make no mistake, they don’t! And no, there can never be a better way to find out than hiking them all. As matter of fact, if you are looking to shade some weight the adventurous way, Muhavura is a perfect “gym”. Due to its steep gradient, it offers a hike that is sweaty, though climbing it is an assured way of feeling the alluring freshness of the mountain. At its top is a crater lake with a scenic beauty that revitalizes the inner most being.
On the other hand, Mountain Mghahinga is hard to miss, if you are looking to take a gentle hike to relax the mind and stretch the muscles. It takes the average hiker five hours to climb it and 2-3 to descend it. Ever wondered what it is like to be in three countries at the same time? If the answer is Yes, Mt. Sabinyo is more than happy to make your dream come true.
At its summit is a vantage point where the borders of Congo, Uganda, and Rwanda unite in harmony. You can have one leg in Rwanda, the other in Congo, your hands in Uganda, and your heart in no man’s land.
You can never know Kamuli District is truly paradise unless you have had a bird’ view of it from Kagulu Hill’s towering summit. And that is where a two hours hiking challenge comes in. It has a clear trail that best suits the kind of traveler who likes pleasure without pain. It overlooks a peaceful green village, vast blue rivers, and Lake Kyoga. This trail is to be experienced, lived, savored. It will not disappoint, no! The thing that lures the most is that it has concrete steps. This provides an experience that is easy to tame. Kagulu is believed to be the first point the Basoga settled in—following their secession from the Bunyoro Kingdom in around the 17th Century.
It is not a must that everyone who goes to Rwenzori must hike it all the way to its highest summit. For that, the mountain has one to three days of hiking trails for the kind of adventurer who wants to just have a good time in the jungle. In general, they offer more of a mental challenge than a physical one. It is effortlessly easy to explore them thanks to the many bridges and ladders that had been erected over their impassable features like rivers. There are guides and porters to help out whenever need be, however, you could also complete it without any support. All one needs is a compass and a map of the park.
What to know?
Rwenzori has two main trails in the above regard, Rwenzori Central Circuit and Kilembe Trail. The former is for budget clients and the latter high end tourists. A day’s excursion will cost roughly $100 and $350 respectively. The fee covers for a full board excursion.
Thanks to its location in a semi-arid setting, the weather at Lira’s Got Ngetta Hill is not punishingly cold. This will lessen your vulnerability to altitude sickness.
Located in Ngetta, a rocky zone in the outer edge of Lira town, Ngetta is a magnificent solid rock standing at about 4,500ft above sea level. As you beat its hiking challenge, you will encounter several monkeys and birds. The natural attraction boasts of over 50 recorded butterfly species.
Legend has it that around the 16th century, the present day tribes of Teso, Karamojong, Acholi, Langi’s Kumams and Japhadola all belonged descended from this Hill. The best part of the story is that hiking it is free, like most of the other hills on this list.
Wanale is that hill with jagged slopes, located in the outskirts of Mbale Town and yes, it is from it that the town got its name. It is a grass green mountain that soars into the clear blue skies.
A visit to this place will leave you with immense respect for this hilly land upon whose soils Uganda’s favourite coffee is grown. Arabica is its name, an enchanting beverage with a crisp, sharp and pleasant aroma. Like Elgon, a Mountain to which Wanale belongs, its sheer size, clear waters, and green vegetation make it way better than any theme park. That is why I call it paradise. But as is typical of paradise, it’s towering summit is not easy to reach. Only those who are patient enough to endure a two hours’ hike get to experience the champagne panoramic views it offers. From the bottom, Mbale looks very well planned and organized. However, from the top, the town looks like a beautiful mess. It looks busy and crammed with buildings. It is surrounded by virgin swamps and farmlands.
In contrast to the tradition that the higher one climbs the cooler it becomes, the temperatures start to rise as you ascend Mountain Moroto, one of the highest Mountains in Karamoja(10115 ft above sea level). This makes scaling its serrated edges fun.
There isn’t much to see here in terms of scenery. Much of its trail is walled by a thick concentration of vegetation that blocks visibility across. This doesn’t translate into boredom though. The guides here are really funny storytellers with heaps of jokes.
Mountaineering is largely about attitude. If you go with a negative attitude, you will get knocked off very easily. Go with a positive mindset and I guarantee you, the results will be impressive.
Be sure to drink enough water as you ascend. It goes a long way in helping you acclimatize.
June is the rainy season in Uganda. If hiking this month, warm clothing and a boot with good treads are a must-have.