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Hiking in Uganda

by Laura

From stunning mountain landscapes to remote savannahs, Uganda is a hiker’s paradise. Are you ready to explore Uganda on foot? This is our guide to the best mountain hikes, nature walks, and even triathlons in Uganda!

Mountain hikes in Uganda

1. Hiking the Rwenzori Mountains

The Rwenzori Mountains are Uganda's highest mountains and are renowned for their exceptional hiking and mountaineering opportunities. Margherita Peak, standing at 5109 metres, is the highest point in the range. Unlike Mount Kilimanjaro, it won't cost you a fortune to reach the summit, and you'll likely have the mountains all to yourself. Prepare yourself for a challenging climb though, as the Rwenzori is more technical and muddy than Kilimanjaro, and altitude sickness is a risk not to be taken lightly.

If you’re not an experienced hiker, other shorter, non-technical walks still offer beautiful views and scenery. Regardless of which route you choose, you’ll enjoy mountain views, different vegetation zones, and a diverse array of animals. The surrounding park is home to around 70 different mammals and nearly 220 bird species – some of which can only be found in this particular mountain range.

The best time to summit the Rwenzori Mountains is during the driest months - from December to February and June to August.  

To learn more about which trail is right for you, contact Rwenzori Trekking Services or the Rwenzori Mountaineering Services.

2. Hiking Mount Elgon

Many travellers find Mount Elgon a fun and exciting alternative to the more challenging treks in East Africa. The summit stands at 4321 metres. The shortest and most direct route is the Sasa route. This route is a four-day roundtrip, with the first day being the hardest. Prepare yourself for rain and chilly nights! 

The best time to summit Mount Elgon is during the driest months - from December to February and June to August.  

3. Hiking Mgahinga National Park

Mgahinga National Park protects the Ugandan side of the Virunga Mountains. The Virunga Mountains are a chain of extinct volcanoes which are part of a larger nature reserve that extends into Rwanda and the DRC. 

Since the nature reserve extends over national borders, mountain gorillas roam freely between Rwanda and Uganda. Mgahinga National Park is also home to the endangered golden monkeys, and the vulnerable Batwa pygmies - Uganda’s indigenous hunter-gatherers.

If you're interested in hiking the Virunga Volcanoes, you can join guided day hikes that depart on demand daily from the UWA park entrance gate. Keep in mind that all hikes require a good level of fitness and take around 7 to 9 hours to complete.

The most popular hike is the ascent from Ntebeko Gate to Sabyinyo. Don’t look down! With several challenging ladder climbs, this hike isn’t recommended for those fearing heights. Another hike is the climb from Ntebeko to Mount Gahinga, which includes a trek through the bamboo zone, where many types of plants and animals can be observed.

4. Hiking Mount Moroto

The last in our top four mountains to hike in Uganda, is probably only known by a few people. Mount Moroto is an ancient, extinct volcano located in Karamoja that rises to over three thousand metres. It is the home to approximately 40,000 Tepeth people who are possibly the earliest inhabitants of Karamoja. Reaching the highest peak is a two to three-day trek. You'll be rewarded with cave paintings, waterfalls, and various bird species. Not up for a multiple-day hike? You can take a short and peaceful walk instead, taking you through Tepeth homesteads. 

If you're interested in taking a guided tour of Mount Moroto, you can contact Kara-Tunga Tours.

Nature walks in Uganda

If leisurely strolls are more your cup of tea, continue reading to learn about scenic nature walks in Uganda.

Lake Mburo National Park

Lake Mburo is a great place for a walking safari in Uganda, and should not be missed! The landscape is covered with extensive acacia woodlands and dotted with many lakes. Lake Mburo is also the smallest of Uganda’s savannah national parks – but don’t let its size fool you. The park is home to nearly 350 bird species including zebras, giraffes, impala, eland, buffalo, Defassa waterbuck, leopards, hippos and hyenas. You can also explore Lake Mburo Park on horseback or mountain bike.

Sipi Falls

Enjoy gentle walks in the surrounding hills of the Sipi Falls. If you're looking for a longer hike, a day trek is available from the main waterfall to three smaller falls upstream. Both options will offer amazing waterfall views and sweeping valley landscapes. You’ll need a local guide to be able to access some of the key sites. Think of it as a nice way to support the local landowners and community.

Lake Bunyonyi & Lake Mutanda

If you want to enjoy beautiful lake views and meet friendly locals along the way, you should check out Lake Bunyonyi and Lake Mutanda. The trail at Lake Bunyonyi starts at Crater Bay, which is situated near the Bunyonyi Overland Camp. To reach the starting point, you can take a leisurely 40-minute canoe ride. Mutanda Lake Resort offers cultural walks that allow you to visit a local healer, a school, and other places of interest. It's also safe to explore both areas on your own - just keep the lakes in sight, and you won't get lost.

The best triathlons in Uganda 

Did you know that Uganda has an active triathlon community? Activate Uganda offers a variety of events throughout the year that include running, mountain biking, swimming, and other multi-sport events. 

The well-known Kyaninga Triathlon usually takes place in May and includes swimming across a crater lake, cycling through villages, and running through the Rwenzori hills. There are 1/8 and Olympic distances to choose from. Once you’re finished, you can rest your feet at the stunning Kyaninga Lodge. Does a triathlon seem too much? You can also opt for two out of three activities, or just run the 5 km. Proceeds from the triathlon go to disabled children in Uganda. Check the Kyaninga website for more info and to subscribe. 

Ready to explore Uganda behind the wheel and by foot? Pack your bags, rent a 4x4 car and Drive your Own Adventure!*

*Just a quick note – please be aware that it is required to maintain your vehicle rental with Roadtrip Africa during hiking and camping days. 

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