The Historical walk is back!
Wohoooo! This is the big one! Take on the famous Mountains of the Moon! A bunch of people are planning to take on three possible mountains: Stanley (Margherita Peak), Speke, and Baker. The trip will costs around 1300 USD, plus transport and park fees may apply. MCU member discounts with RTS will apply. Free park entry for those with a UWA Special Corporate Pass. Members from our partner club MC South Africa are joining as well, so this is a great chance to network with some other African climbers. The highest peak is 5109m. This is a serious climb including a glacial ascent on Mount Stanley, so good basic fitness is a must! Contact firstname.lastname@example.org if you are interested.
The Mountain Slayers are organising a 23km hike to the Sempaya hot springs in Bundibugo. For more details or to sign up call +256 0791 922 660 or email email@example.com
Are you looking to join a trip that is a little different and offers options for people of all levels of fitness and ability who like to get outdoors in beautiful surrounds?
If so….. then this is the trip you have been waiting for!!!!!
We are planning on heading to Mabira Forest, about 1.5 hours drive east of Kampala. The Mabira Forest is a rainforest area covering about 300 square kilometres (120 sq mi) (30,000 hectares (74,000 acres)) in Uganda, located in Buikwe District, between Lugazi and Jinja. It has been protected as Mabira Forest Reserve since 1932. There are options to bird watch, trek to see Mangabey monkeys, hike (both relaxing and long and adventurous options available) and bike through the forest and nearby sugar cane and tea plantations, or just simply come to relax with the sounds of the forest…
The trip will run from Saturday 27th August to Sunday 28th August, which gives ample time to explore the serene forest and surrounds.
We will stay at the basic, but peaceful, Griffin Falls camp (also known as Mabira Forest Camp). As part of the MCU, we have been fortunate to be able to negotiate some great savings off their normal prices and rates, and we have all been offered a FREE 2-hour forest walk! (Normal price UGX15k). Longer hikes are also available (UGX10k per person).
The accommodation options are:
- 3 x Self-contained eco-nests (twin) (UGX80k per night (normal price UGX100k)),
- 1 x Modest banda (twin) (UGX40k per night (normal price UGX60k)),
- 1 x Quadruple banda (four beds) (UGX20k per person, per night (normal price UGX30k)) or
- Unlimited: Bring your own tent and camp under the stars (UGX10k per person, per night).
Please mention that you are part of the MCU when booking to take advantage of these discounted rates. To get in touch with the camp, please contact them on 0754 031 769, 0751 949 368, 0712 955 671 or 0752 920 515. Alternatively, you can email them on firstname.lastname@example.org.
Cold showers are available, and there are eco-friendly toilets. And if you ask nicely, they will heat a bucket of water for you to enjoy a warm shower under the forest canopy.
Catering wise, the staff at the camp can prepare local meals (UGX10k a plate), and we are also planning on cooking a BBQ on the Saturday night. Please bring your own meat/ vegetables to put on the BBQ, and we will bring some staples (sauces, bread etc). There will be a nominal charge for the BBQ, to cover these costs in addition to the charcoal, UGX5k – UGX10k per person, depending on numbers.
The staff will also prepare a campfire for us in the campsite area. If you have musical talent, feel free to bring along instruments/ voices for us to enjoy whilst we sit around the campfire etc…
Breakfast (eggs/ fruit/ bread/ coffee and tea) can be purchased from the camp for UGX7-10k per person.
Beers and sodas are available for purchase at the camp, although there are no refrigeration facilities, so if you are partial to a cold drink, a cool box/ esky might be a good idea.
Points to Note:
There is a park fee of UGX30k per person for the weekend.
If you would like to bike, the camp does not have bikes for rent, so please bring your own.
And please also remember bug spray/ insect repellent
Directions: The camp can be found on google maps- however, we recommend do not take the “recommended route”, which basically takes you almost through people’s houses… Instead, continue past the recommended turn off the road to Jinja, and in Lugazi, turn left just before the Minnah/ Minah restaurant on a corner on the left in the town. This road is MUCH better than the other one, especially if it has been raining, and there are various signs to the camp along the way to assist- but do keep a watch on google maps, as not every turn is signposted.
Please note: there are options for zip lining in the forest for USD$50 a person. Should you wish to do this, please note that this activity is not supported by the MCU, as we are not able to guarantee the safety of the activity.
Contact: Any questions or if you would like to come but are struggling to find transport, please contact Sally Holbrook at email@example.com or on 0752 184057.
Please follow the link to book (please only complete if you are 100% sure you will be attending): Mabira Forest Trip 27th– 28th August 2016: Sign Up Sheet
Hope to see you there!
Some tireless MCU adventurers are planning the MCU Three Volcano Virunga Hike. It includes the amazingly active Mt. Nyirangongo volcano, Mt. Sabinyo and one other peak along the way. Hikers can join for part or all of the hikes. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org for more info.
Departure: Thursday, June 2nd after work
Return: Sunday, June 5th before bedtime
Max 15 Hikers: contact email@example.com to sign up
Raingear is essential for this hike given the time of year. Kadam is lush at the moment as rains have been heavy. Each hiker will also need a good tent, sleeping roll and sleeping bag rated down to 5 C or so. Those with extra gear should bring it to help provide for our guides that don’t have their own. We’ll cook as a group and include our guides in the meals.
No plans for Easter yet? Too broke for national parks but too cool to stay home? Join our trip to wild Karamoja and hike the beautiful Mount Napak with us! We are departing from Kampala on Friday morning and returning Sunday evening/Monday morning. Email dimitri.verge(AT)gmail(DOT)com to sign up or for questions.
Read about MCU’s last trip to Mt. Napak in May 2015 http://mcu.ug/mt-napak/
We are planning a trip to hike Mount Elgon (Wagagai peak: 4,321m) over the long Easter weekend. This is a multi-day camping trip that takes up the beautiful Sasa trail in Mount Elgon National Park (MENP). It is a backpacking trip and each participant will need to bring all of their own tent/gear/food. This trip is for reasonably fit hikers since we are taking the faster route (3 days, 2 nights). The schedule: Leave Kampala Thursday, March 24th at 14.00 and return to Kampala Monday, March 28th at 19.00. Sign up here!
There is a group organized to trek Mt. Nyiragongo and camp at the top near the active lava lake. We have been able to negotiate a discounted trekking permit of $270 (usually $300) with Virunga National Park for this trip. We will depart Gisenyi, Rwanda, on the morning of the 19th, have organized transport across the DRC border to the start of the hike, and organized transport back to Goma, DRC after the hike. Additionally, we have organized for arrangement of DRC Visas, hot meals for dinner and breakfast, packed lunches, porters, and sleeping bags (if you need one) with Okapi Tours. This is $175 ($170 if you have your own sleeping bag) per person, in addition the $270 trekking permit.
By Lucy Beck, June 2012
While Kampala is truly a great, vibrant and exciting city every now and then I find nature calling and the serious desire to be out in the fresh air surrounded by greenery. One such urge compelled me to join the MCU and sign up to their Mount Elgon trip at the start of June.
The 3 day hike starts from Budadiri from Rose’s Last Chance guesthouse, a basic guesthouse with both dorm room accommodation and individual double bedrooms, run by the really lovely and helpful Rose. There is a prescribed 3 day hike that Rose offers but they are also very open to changes, amendments and additions and you can sit with your allotted Mountain guide to discuss. Due to limited time we condensed the 3 days into 2.
The walk culminates at Sipi falls -descending down the side of the waterfall into the swanky Sipi River Lodge and offering some spectacular views of Sipi Falls as long as you make sure to keep an eye on where you’re placing your feet!
The rest of the 3 days involve ascending and descending the numerous hills and ridges surrounding the base of Elgon, through local villages and with some spectacular views of the park and surrounding greenery. Word of warning, however, I mentioned that we condensed the 3-day trip into 2 days which basically meant we did the first 2 days in 1 and led to a grueling 10 hour hike on our first day with limited rest stops. As a result Liam my boyfriend cultivated some pretty awesome blisters on the little toes of both feet which meant he hiked the 2nd day in flip-flops and with the help of a cane! So if you really do only have 2 days be warned its not for the faint hearted / unfit and it may be better to just organize some shorter day hikes with Rose. In order to properly enjoy the surroundings and views I would strongly recommend splitting it over the 3 days as suggested!
Sleeping during the hike involved pitching up in the grounds of a local school at the top of one of the many hills on the way with some unbeatable morning views across the whole valley. Clearly Muzungus are a bit of a novelty here as no sooner had we fallen exhausted to the ground than we were surrounded by a semi-circle of fascinated onlookers who proceeded to watch our every move (or in our case, groan) until sunset! Luckily the hardest part on the hike comes on the first day with a steep ascent up to 3000 metres and then along a ridge. From here on in there is a steady pattern of climbs and descents along switch back trails and down through banana and coffee plots. Along the way our guide Wyclef also gave us the options of visiting a smaller waterfall and climbing a small peak nearby Sipi – all these are optional and depend on your strength and energy. On our final day all the hard work became worth it when we rounded on Sipi falls and as we sipped our post-hike sodas gazing up at the waterfall.
The cost of the 2-day hike was 150,000 UGX per person which included all food, tent and sleeping mat hire (we had our own sleeping bags but they are also available to rent from Rose), accommodation in the Guest house, our guide Wyclef and 2 porters to help carry provisions. This is a veritable steal compared to the full Elgon ascent, as you don’t have to pay the daily park entry fees. Unfortunately there is no hot water in the showers at Rose’s but she will boil you up some if you ask, for a refreshing bucket shower, and apart from that the shower rooms are pretty decent. She offers tasty local food including some great breakfast donut variations and a fridge stocked full of sodas and beer. All in all I would definitely recommend it as a shorter, cheaper and (potentially!) less strenuous alternative to the full Elgon ascent.
Getting there: Mbale is the nearest big city to Elgon national park. It’s around a 5 hour drive east of Kampala and thankfully the roads, especially the last leg between Iganga and Mbale are great. Budadiri, where the hike starts from, is about another 1 hours drive into the national park down some pretty bumpy dirt roads and here the Pajero 4×4 came very much in handy! There are 2 ways to get from Mbale to Budadiri – the better route takes you along a relatively good road up to Sironko. While Budadiri can be quite hard to find, if you phone Rose she is more than happy to send someone to meet you in Mbale and show you the way.
What to bring: Although we were pretty lucky with the weather and didn’t have any rain its still advisable to bring proper waterproofs and waterproof bag covers for your backpacks just in case. Food provided is restricted to basic meals so you may want to bring snacks to keep you going along the way. You can buy water from Rose’s before you leave but be warned that there are limited places to refill / restock along the way so it may be worth bringing some water purifying tablets if you can find any. Finally – make sure to bring some cash, especially smaller change. The people living within the park live at the very minimum subsistence level and the community element of the hike means that you will interact with the local communities on your way and as a result may be asked for money to help in the building of local schools / with those families that have suffered misfortune. Giving is obviously not mandatory and you don’t have to give a lot but keep aware that you will most likely be prompted. The same is true of the guides and porters on the hike, tipping is expected, they are also all local to the area and many of them struggle to find consistent guiding work due to the high number of guides so they rely heavily on tip money.
When to go: peak season is mid-June/ July till around September due to the weather (i.e. not too hot, and not rainy). Outside this period we were told few people venture to Budadiri and while the roster of local guides would probably be thrilled to get visitors out of season it may prove trickier for any lone travellers looking to hook up with a group, and the walking, much of which is up and down hills could prove tricky in rainy season.