Four day trek to Mutinda Lookout at 3,975 metres
Return via Hunwick’s Pass and Kiharo Camp
Price: from $1800 per person
Plus UWA (Uganda Wildlife Authority) gate entrance fee of $35 per day which is paid separately in cash. Price includes all porters with one porter to carry your personal backpack, food (meals) and accommodation whilst in the mountain
Start at Trekkers at 1,450 meters and sleep at Sine Hut at 2,596 meters being a height gain of 1,146 meters.
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 Kalama 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.
After a good breakfast, trekking starts at 8.30am and 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. Mutinda Camp which is set near a small river and waterfall offers a chance to wash, refresh and relax . 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 to 3,975 meters is also an excellent way to acclimatise and reduce the risk of high altitude sickness.
We start the day by climbing up a rocky river bed then across a long stretch of bogs before climbing up to the top of a high waterfall. We have constructed boardwalks at the upper area and will be extending more as soon as we can. We then turn right and climb a little before descending down through Hunwick’s Pass which is a new trail which pass through two high peaks called Twin Peaks and where apart from the chance of spotting a Hyrax or Red Diker with a sharp eye you will see various species of hawks and eagles nesting high on the cliff faces. At the bottom you pass though a bog with many lobelia plants after which the trail passes through tall heather trees and many huge moss covered rocks to Kiharo Camp. About 200 meters from the camp is a high waterfall cascading down moss covered rocks which is worth a visit.
The trail down the Nyamwamba Valley is mostly downhill and absolutely stunning with beautiful views. The 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 kilometers 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. If you wish you may prefer to walk down the river itself hopping across the rocks as you pass down. A few kilometres down the river it becomes very steep with multitudes of waterfalls so we have to move away from the river and follow a narrow ridge to bypass steep sections.
At the bottom we again meet the river where there is a huge rock shelter and a place to rest for a while. After crossing a small stream you climb up a gentle slope before turning back down to the river to avoid another set of waterfalls which are impassable. The forest along this section is magnificent and full of life with many birds, primates, dikers and hyrax. A great experience and ending to a fantastic trek.