Hiking in Uganda: Best Mountains to Climb
Uganda is the perfect place to take your travels one step at a time. From stunning mountain landscapes to roaming the savannah, Uganda is a hiker’s paradise. Read our guide to the best hikes, treks, and even triathlons Uganda has to offer.
As a quick note – you’ll need to continue renting your vehicle from Roadtrip Africa when you hike and camp overnight.
The Top 4 Mountains to Climb
1. Rwenzori - Mountains of the Moon
The Rwenzori Mountains offer world-class hiking and mountaineering experiences. The Rwenzori hike takes around nine to twelve days, and you’ll be able to visit the Margherita summit, the highest peak in the range at 5109 metres. You’ll probably have the mountains to yourself, and you don’t need to break the bank to reach the summit, as with a Mount Kilimanjaro experience. But be warned, getting to the peak is no easy feat. The upper Rwenzori is tougher to climb than the Kilimanjaro as its more technical and muddy and you might be subject to altitude sickness.
If you’re not an experienced hiker, there are other shorter, non-technical walks that 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. This park is home to around 70 different mammals and nearly 220 bird species – some which can only be found in this mountain range.
Best time to summit the Rwenzori Mountains are during the driest months - from December to February and June to August.
2. Mount Elgon & Sipi Falls
Many travellers find Mount Elgon and Sipi Falls to be a fun and exciting alternative to the more challenging climbs available in East Africa. It has many of the same attractions, with a milder climate and lower elevation. Because this hike requires no special equipment or technical experience, you can choose between a long hike or a short day hike. To climb this peak, you’ll need to take a Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA) guide with you from the park gate.
The shortest and most direct route is the Sasa route. This route is a four days roundtrip, with the first day being the hardest. Come prepared for rain and chilly nights.
Best time to summit Mount Elgon are during the driest months - from December to February and June to August.
3. Virunga Mountains in Mgahinga National Park
Mgahinga National Park protects the Ugandan side of the Virunga Mountains. The Virunga Mountains are a chain of extinct volcanoes which form part of a larger nature reserve that extends into Rwanda and DRC.
Mountain gorillas get a special pass from Customs & Border control. They roam freely between Rwanda and Uganda since the nature reserve extends over national borders. Mgahinga National Park is also home to the endangered golden monkey, and the vulnerable Batwa pygmies - Uganda’s indigenous hunter-gatherers.
Guided day hikes to each volcanic peak of the Virunga Volcanoes leave on demand daily from 7 am at the UWA park entrance gate. All hikes require a good level of fitness and go on for around 7 to 9 hours.
The most popular hike is the ascent from Ntebeko Gate to Sabyinyo. Don’t look down! With several challenging ladder climbs up rock faces, this hike isn’t recommended for anyone with a fear of 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.
For more information, get in touch with Lake Mutanda Resort, which has a variety of hiking and village walk activity packages to choose from.
4. Mount Moroto
Mount Moroto is an ancient extinct volcano in Karamoja, that rises to over three thousand metres. The mountain is a scenic landscape to some, but home to many. Around 40,000 Tepeth people (possibly the region's earliest inhabitants of Karamoja) live in Mount Moroto’s hills.
You can choose between a 2-hour round trip hike that takes you through Tepeth homesteads or do a three-day trek to its highest peak. If you make the journey up, you’ll be rewarded with cave paintings, waterfalls, and a variety of bird species.
To organize a guided tour of Mount Moroto, get in touch with Kara-Tunga Tours.
Best Nature Walks in Uganda
If peaceful walks are more your speed, than read on to find out about good areas for nature walks in Uganda.
Walk among the zebra's in Lake Mburo National Park - If you’re looking for walking safari in Uganda, Lake Mburo should not be skipped on your road trip. Coking from Kampala, the park lies en-route in between Bwindi and Queen Elizabeth National. If you’d like to get off your feet, there are also options to explore the park by horseback or on mountain bikes.
Sipi Falls is a peaceful and pretty spot and offers gentle walks in the surrounding hills. You can also take a day hike from the main waterfall to three smaller falls that are upstream. Both options will offer amazing waterfall views and sweeping valley landscapes. Sipi also has a variety of accommodation options, ranging from upmarket to more budget options.
You’ll need a guide to be able to access some of the key sites and to enjoy coffee tours. Think of it as a nice way to support the local landowners and community.
To admire some lake scenery on your hike, try out Lake Bunyonyi. The trail starts from Crater Bay near Bunyonyi overland camp, where you take a relaxing 40-minute canoe ride to get to the starting point. Your walk will take you through local communities and villages where you can wave hello to the locals.
For the Dedicated Athlete: Try a Triathlon in Uganda
If you’re ready for the ultimate physical challenge – there are fantastic triathlon options available in Uganda.
Kyaninga Triathlon - usually happens in May and includes swimming across a crater lake, cycling through villages, and a run through the Rwenzori hills. They do 1/8 and olympic distances. 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 children living with disabilities in Uganda. Check their site for more info and to subscribe.
Activate Uganda - offers a variety of thrilling and challenging activities. They host events throughout the year that include running, mountain biking, swimming, and other multi-sport events. Browse their exciting event calendar here.
Ready to explore Uganda behind the wheels and by foot? Pack your bags, rent a 4x4 car and Drive your Own Adventure!