Southwestern Uganda: Mountains, volcanoes and gorillas

South western Uganda is a full of amazing features and interesting tourist adventures. Here are a few reasons why the region is growing in popularity as a tourist destination.

The Rwenzori Mountain ranges.

The Rwenzori Mountain range is the tallest mountain range in Africa. Many visitors come from various parts of the world to see these magnificent mountain ranges and some to even hike and climb up the mountains.

It is usually hard to fix a full mountain climbing or hiking experience in a busy safari schedule, or even work schedule, but there is a solution for that. The solution is day hikes up the foothills of the mountains.

rwenzoriWhat are some of the sights and sounds on a Rwenzori Mountain hike?

On these mountain hikes you can enjoy clear viewing of the thick green forests, see the pristine mountain streams, get a clear picturesque view of the Rwenzori Mountains and great photo opportunities, and learn how to catch fish with your bear hands with the help of the Bakonzo people.

The Bakonzo people’s village of Ruboni is the perfect place to end your hike. You will be able to enjoy all the above and meet some great people who know more about the mountains than anyone else.

Ruboni village is found a short distance from Kibale national bark and Queen Elizabeth National Park. A hike around the village with an experienced tour guide can get you some very striking views of the Rwenzori Mountains.

If you are not in a hurry, a day spend in this small village could be an adventure all on its own. You could spend a night in the village. Spend the day going on a village walk, learn some things about the ways of the Bakonzo people, take some drumming and dancing lessons from the locals, and generally just have an enjoyable time in on the foothills of the mountains of the moon.

More and more safari companies are encouraging visitors to incorporate activities such as village stays in their itinerary, and visiting Ruboni village is one way to do it. Such visits and experiences with the local people make the Uganda Safari experience richer. 

What else does a visit to southwestern Uganda have to offer apart from the Rwenzori mountain ranges?

Southwestern Uganda is quite rich with physical attractions. There are the 3 Virunga volacanoes which are a sight to behold. There is the Mgahinga gorilla national park which is found on the foothills of the Virungas. This small park has a number of activities such as gorilla trekking and hiking and climbing the volcanoes.

What are the activities that Mgahinga Gorilla National Park has to offer?

Activities in the park include:

Mountain Gorilla Tracking:Mgahinga Gorilla National Park has one group of habituated gorillas that visitors get to track and see.

Mgahinga is the only place in Uganda where you can go golden monkey tracking.

mgahinga1There are also guided walks along the nature trails in the shadows of the volcanoes. These trails go through various vegetation belts including bamboo forest.

You can also go birding. Mgahinga has quite the variety of bird species to see.

There is the Batwa trail which gives you an interesting cultural and historical experience. The Batwa pigmies are the original settlers in the area.

With three volcanoes in the vicinity, it is only fair that volcano climbing is included on the list of activities offered by Mgahinga national park. A volcano hike/climb can take up to 8 hours. You can climb up these three peaks with minimal climbing gear unlike Mount Elgon in the east where you need full gear to climb.

Volcano climbing in the virungas requires you to be fit and healthy. You can choose to climb up mount muhavura, mount Mgahinga, or mount Sabinyo where you can cross over to Rwanda and then back to Uganda.

Each of these peaks has it own amazing view. No matter which volcano you choose to climb the ascent into the afro montane zone which has plants and vegetation covering you have probably never seen before is exciting and worth the trip and the effort. And you are guaranteed an amazing view of the volcanoes and their surroundings at the end of your climb.

On your next Uganda safari, be sure to add southwestern Uganda and all its offerings especially the Rwenzori mountain ranges, and Mgahinga Gorilla National Park to your itinerary.