Ready for an adventure? Call +44 (0)788 169 86 23 or email info@different-travel.com Your Account

Follow us

Tusk Rwenzori Mountain Challenge for Conservation

22nd Jan 2022 - 30th Jan 2022

9 days/Uganda /Challenging

Overview

Tusk’s mission is to amplify the impact of progressive conservation initiatives across Africa. For almost 30 years, Tusk have helped pioneer an impressive range of successful conservation initiatives across more than 20 countries, increasing vital protection for over 10 million acres of land and more than 40 different threatened species. But the threat to Africa’s unique natural heritage remains real and more urgent than ever. By taking part in the Rwenzori Mountain Challenge for Conservation you will be helping to support our work.

This four-day trek takes you through the stunning landscapes of the Rwenzori Mountains National Park as you gradually ascend to Mutinda Lookout (3974m) which offers breath-taking panoramas. The trekking is challenging, and not to be underestimated, but extremely rewarding. Along the way you will discover diverse flora and fauna, and enjoy views of craggy and glaciated mountain peaks, gushing waterfalls and meandering rivers.

There is also the option to extend your stay to spot gorillas in the wild at the Bwindi Impenetrable National Park for an additional cost.

A challenging trek. You will be trekking on uneven terrain which is often boggy; you will experience variations in climate, be exposed to altitudes of up to 3975m and will stay in basic mountain huts. Each day you will trek an average of 8 hours per day.

This trek is accompanied by English-speaking local guides, a Tusk representative, and a Different Travel Company UK tour manager. The local staff and Different Travel tour manager are first aid trained and will support you throughout your journey. You will also be supported by a team of assistant guides, cooks and porters who together make your journey possible.

The terrain will vary but in general you will experience undulating terrain where you gain and lose altitude throughout the day, aiding acclimatisation. It is essential that your training includes hill walking to include trekking up and down gradients; training on flat terrain will not adequately prepare you. Underfoot the terrain will vary from very boggy sections which slow your pace and make the trek very challenging, along with rocky and uneven trails, gravelly tracks, scree and possibly even snow at higher altitudes. Regardless of the terrain the views are spectacular.

Temperatures will depend on the altitude, the weather and wind chill. For the days trekking in altitudes up to 3000m you can expect day time temperatures to range between 12-20°C, and night time temperatures to drop to approx. 5°C. For the days trekking above 3000m the day time temperatures will range from approx. 5-7°C during the day and drop to approx. -5°C overnight; wind chill may make these temperatures feel colder.

Weather conditions will vary as this mountainous area has its own unpredictable weather system, however you can expect rain most days, and some bright, dry sunny days with clear skies. You should also be prepared for overcast days with high humidity, cold dry windy days and even snow. It’s important to be prepared for all weather conditions and temperatures by packing technical non-cotton layers and waterproofs.

This is a tough trek which we grade challenging. You will be trekking on uneven terrain which is often boggy; you will experience variations in climate, be exposed to altitudes of up to 3975m and will stay in basic mountain huts. Each day you will trek an average of 8 hours per day.

Meals are provided as specified in the itinerary and during the trek are cooked by your trek team who will prepare hearty meals. Plates, mugs and cutlery is provided. Typical meals during the trek include:
Breakfast: Porridge, toast, sausages, eggs, omelette, pancakes etc.
Lunch: Sandwiches, salad, chapatti and jam, a carton of juice, fresh fruit.
Dinner: Potatoes, vegetables, pasta, rice, noodles, meat or vegetable stew, cheese, eggs etc.

You will stay in a hotel in Kasese, Queen Elizabeth National Park and Kampala on a twin or triple share basis. During the trek you will stay in basic mountain huts. You will need to bring your own sleeping bag but mattresses are provided. All accommodation is on a shared basis (mountain huts are mixed dormitory style rooms) but a single room may be available at the hotels (subject to availability and payment of a single supplement).

At the hotels there will be showers and flushing toilets. During the trek there are no showers so please bring a pack of biodegradable baby wipes to maintain your personal hygiene. At the campsites during the trek the toilets will be African ‘long drop’ style (a hole in the ground covered by a wooden hut for privacy), and will vary in regards to cleanliness and quality. Toilet paper is not provided so you will need to bring your own (2 rolls should suffice). If you need to use the toilet during the trek day, you will need to find a bush/rock as there are no toilet facilities along the trails (you only find toilets at the camps). Never leave toilet paper on the ground; you must put it in a biodegradable (not plastic) bag (e.g. dog poo bag) and dispose of it at camp. NEVER leave toilet paper or other litter on the trail.

The minimum age is 18 (or 16-17 if accompanied by an adult) and there is no upper age limit. Each participant should arrive in Uganda with a good level of fitness having engaged in suitable fitness training; they should be healthy, have a determined attitude and be willing to be pushed out of their comfort zone.

Commitment to physical preparation is fundamental to ensure your best chance of success, and enjoyment, during the trek. Your training should replicate the trek as closely as possible so engaging in many multi-day hill walks of 7+ hours per day is the optimal training ground. Hill walks should be supplemented with strength training and cardiovascular exercises such as gym workouts, running, swimming, cycling, boot camps etc. You can download a number of free apps which help you train and track your progress. E.g. MyFitnessPal, MapMyWalk, C25K (couch to 5k run) etc. Attempting to complete the trek without training will make each day more challenging than necessary, being inadequately prepared may prevent you from completing the trek, and it may hinder the experience of your teammates. You must take your training seriously.

The highest altitude on the trek is 3975m, at Mutinda Lookout although you will only visit here for around an hour, which offers a great opportunity for acclimatisation. You will stay above 3000m from trek day 2 to the middle of trek day 4. It is generally considered that altitudes above 3000m are ‘high altitude’ and when visiting high altitude areas most people will experience altitude related symptoms, to varying degrees. Common effects of altitude exposure include a mild headache, nausea, lack of appetite, insomnia and subsequent fatigue and feeling more breathless at exertion than usual.

The susceptibility of an individual to experience altitude related symptoms is not clear-cut and can even happen to those who have visited areas of high altitude many times before. That said, ensuring you arrive for the trek fit and healthy, making sure you keep well hydrated and eat plenty (even when you don’t feel like it) and getting plenty of rest and trekking slowly, will help you cope with the increased altitude. Bringing plenty of snacks you enjoy will help ensure you’re eating enough even if you lose your appetite.

Your local guides are very experienced in spotting the signs of altitude sickness but you must also take responsibility for reading up on the effects of altitude exposure so you can recognise the signs.

Information can be found at the NHS pages about altitude and the Travel Doctor website among other sources.

When you visit your surgery for details about vaccinations, anti-malaria medication and general travel health, your nurse or doctor may mention a medication called Acetazolamide (Diamox). This medication is sometimes considered an aid to acclimatisation but is not licensed for this use due to lack of clear evidence about its efficacy. Diamox is a prescription-only medication, and has a number of unpleasant side effects. You must speak to a medical professional for details, but note that as an unlicensed medication they may refuse to prescribe it.

We require a medical form to be completed by everyone upon registering, and any pre-existing conditions, medications used and other medical issues must be specified. All your medical details are treated in the strictest confidence.

The information will be securely screened by a qualified medical professional, and details provided to your tour manager and local guides so our staff are adequately informed and prepared to support you during the trip. By completing this booking form you are giving consent for us to contact you confidentially with any follow up questions regarding your health.

If you declare any medical conditions you may be asked to provide more information, or we may request to contact your GP. We must be informed if any conditions or medication change, or if new conditions develop. If necessary confirmation of fitness to travel from your GP or specialist may be required.

In the event that your medical issues represent a concern for your safety and wellbeing, or the safety and wellbeing of others in the group, you may be recommended not to take part. If this happens your deposit will be refunded. Please note that we will never unreasonably deny participation on a trip nor contravene the Equality Act 2010.

Essentials

E-tickets + pre-departure info
Passport + copy
Visa approval documents
Cash / ATM card(s)
Insurance policy details
Pen for immigration forms
LED head torch + spare batteries
Sunglasses (preferably polarized)
Mobile phone + charger
Camera + spare batteries

Clothing & Footwear

Trekking boots*
Gaiters
Trainers for camp (optional)
Trek trousers
Trek socks + underwear
Breathable waterproof jacket
Breathable waterproof trousers
Non-cotton t-shirt
Non-cotton base layer
Non-cotton warm fleece/mid layer
Thermal long sleeve top
Thermal bottoms
Warm insulated jacket (e.g. down)
Warm hat which covers ears
Sun hat
Warm gloves or mitts + liner gloves
Buff (www.buffwear.co.uk)
Casual clothes for non-trek days

Hygiene

Shampoo+ conditioner*
Toothbrush + toothpaste*
Antiperspirant deodorant*
Shower gel/shave kit/loofah*
Large pack of baby wipes*
Hand sanitizer
Toilet paper* (2 rolls)
Biodegradable bags for used toilet paper*
Sun cream (SPF 30+)*
Nail brush (optional)
Feminine hygiene products*

First Aid Kit

Prescription medicine
Anti-malaria medication
50% DEET insect repellent
Ibuprofen and Paracetamol
Plasters
Blister plasters (e.g. Compeed)
Imodium (Loperamide)
Rehydration (e.g. Dioralyte)
Anti-histamine tablets/cream
Antiseptic cream (e.g. Savlon)
Indigestion remedy (e.g. Gaviscon)
Lip balm with SPF protection
Muscle rub (e.g. Deep Heat)
Zinc oxide tape (optional)
Spare glasses/contact lenses
Nail scissors/tweezers (optional)
Throat lozenges (optional)
Decongestant (optional)

Optional

Video Camera + charger
Trekking poles
iPod/MP3 player/headphones
Portable battery pack / power bank
Luggage organisers/packing cubes
Washcloth/face cloth

Luggage

Waterproof trek kit bag/duffle bag
Suitcase/large baggage for flights
Daypack/backpack (30-35 litres)
Combination padlocks
Dry bag/rucksack liner

Eating and Drinking

Energy snacks
2-litre water bottle (e.g. CamelBak) plus 1-2x 1-litre bottles OR 3-4x 1-litre bottles
Water purification (e.g. Biox Aqua)
Electrolyte tablets (e.g. NUUN)

Sleeping

Ear plugs (essential)
Sleeping bag (comfort-5°C )
Sleeping bag liner (silk or thermal)

Please note: This list is not exhaustive and does not account for your personal taste or preference. It should be used as a guideline only. If you have any questions or queries regarding this list which are not answered in the sections above please contact info@different-travel.com.

*Please ensure you pack your boots in your hand baggage in the unlikely event your luggage is delayed or goes missing.

*Please consider eco-friendly or biodegradable options. Consider shopping at Little Footprint Gifts.

Itinerary

Day 1 (Saturday 22 January 2022):

London – Entebbe
Fly from London to Entebbe on an overnight indirect flight.

Day 2 (Sunday 23 January 2022):

Entebbe – Kasese
On arrival, transfer to your hotel in Kasese (approx. 7 hours) where you can relax and settle in before a welcome dinner tonight.
Meals: Dinner

Day 3 (Monday 24 January 2022):

Kasese – Kilembe (1450m) – Sine Hut (2596m)
We set off this morning for Kilembe (12km) where we receive a briefing from the guides at Trekkers Hostel base camp (1450m) then begin our trek. We follow the trail through the tall forest trees of the Afro Montane Forest zone where you can spot many birds and may have the chance to see blue and Colobus monkeys if we’re lucky. We take a steady climb for about 6km before a final steep ascent towards Sine hut at 2596m. We stay overnight in a mountain hut.
Trekking: Approx. 6hrs, 10km, +1,146m ascent
Meals: Breakfast, packed lunch, dinner

Day 4 (Tuesday 25 January 2022):

Sine Hut (2596m) to Mutinda Camp (3588m) and Mutinda Lookout (3975m)
After a hearty breakfast we enter the beautiful Bamboo-Mimulopsis zone where the trail meanders up and over several small knolls along a ridge top and drops down the side of the valley, crossing several small streams along the way. As we approach Mutinda Camp, we pass enchanting moss covered waterfalls and a variety of plant and flower species including giant heathers with trunks covered in green moss and dew-dropped lichen, known as ‘old man beards’, hanging from the branches. Mutinda Camp (3588m) is located in the Heather-Rapanea zone and near a small river and waterfall. In the afternoon we visit Mutinda Lookout at 3975m which offers stunning panoramic views.
Trekking: Approx. 8hrs, 6.1km, +992m ascent
Meals: Breakfast, packed lunch, dinner

Day 5 (Wednesday 26 January 2022):

Mutinda Camp (3588m) – Kiharo Camp (3430m)
This morning we hike up to the top of a high waterfall before descending down Hunwick’s Pass where the trail takes us through two high peaks named Twin Peaks. Here you may be lucky enough to spot small mammals such as hyrax or red duiker, or even birds of prey nesting on the cliffs. We continue down through a bog, where many lobelia plants are found, before arriving in Kiharo camp at 3430m.
Trekking: Approx. 6hrs, 12km, -158m descent
Meals: Breakfast, packed lunch, dinner

Day 6 (Thursday 27 January 2022):

Kiharo Camp (3430m) – Kilembe (1450m) – Queen Elizabeth National Park
Our final day of trekking is predominantly downhill and offers stunning views as we pass gushing rivers, moss-covered rocks, and enter beautiful dense forests where you may spot a variety of birds, amphibians, primates, duikers and other small mammals. We arrive back to the base camp in Kilembe and say farewell to our trekking guides before the drive to Queen Elizabeth National Park (approx. 1 hour).
Trekking: Approx. 9hrs, 14.6km, -1980m descent
Meals: Breakfast, packed lunch, dinner

Day 7 (Friday 28 January 2022):

Visit to the Uganda Conservation Foundation
After breakfast we will take a visit to visit to Queen Elizabeth National Park where you will also meet Tusk’s partner organisation, the Uganda Conservation Foundation, and learn more about the incredible work they conduct in the area, and what your fundraising efforts will help support. This evening we celebrate our achievements with a farewell dinner.
Meals: Breakfast, lunch, dinner

Day 8 (Saturday 29 January 2022):

Queen Elizabeth National Park – Kampala
After breakfast this morning we depart Queen Elizabeth National Park for Kampala (approx. 7 hours) where we will stay tonight.
Meals: Breakfast, lunch, dinner

Day 9-10 (Sunday 30 January – Monday 31 January 2022):

Kampala – UK
After breakfast we transfer to the airport for our flight back to London. Depending on flight schedules the flight may land on Monday 31 January.
Meals: Breakfast

OPTIONAL BWINDI NATIONAL PARK GORILLA TREKKING EXTENSION

Day 8 (Saturday 29 January 2022):

Queen Elizabeth National Park – Bwindi National Park
Depart this morning for Bwindi Impenetrable National Park (approx. 4 hours), home to several families of gorillas and offering some of the best opportunities to spot gorillas in the wild. Our base for the next few days will be the Rushaga Gorilla Camp or similar. You’ll have the afternoon to relax and learn more about park from local rangers.
Meals: Breakfast, lunch, dinner

Day 9 (Sunday 30 January 2022):

Gorilla trekking
Today we will set off in small groups, giving everyone the chance to take part in a trek to see the gorillas. Accompanied by rangers from the Ugandan Wildlife Authority, you’ll venture into the heart of the forest in search of the families. This could take between 1 and 3 hours depending on their location and local conditions.
Meals: Breakfast, lunch, dinner

Day 10 (Monday 31 January 2022):

Bwindi National Park to Kampala
Depart Bwindi after breakfast for the drive to Kampala (approx. 8.5 hours) where we will stay tonight.
Meals: Breakfast, lunch, dinner

Day 11-12 (Tuesday 1 – Wednesday 2 February 2022):

Kampala – London
Depart Kampala for London, possibly arriving the next day depending on flight schedules.
Meals: Breakfast

During your time in this region there will be the opportunity to visit another Tusk partner, Conservation through Public Health and their Gorilla Health and Community Conservation Centre.

Please note that this itinerary has been prepared 18 months in advance so may change slightly due to flight schedules, hotel availability, local bureaucracy, weather, the ability of the group, and so on. We will do our best to keep to the advertised itinerary however we cannot be held responsible for changes that might occur outside of our control. In all circumstances your guide and tour leader will have the final say in the interest of the health and safety of the group.

Costs & How to pay

Registration fee: £300
and then…

£1550* trip costs payable to The Different Travel Company and £1500 sponsorship for Tusk

FLEXI

This option is for those who choose to pay the trip costs (flights, accommodation, food, guides etc.) themselves while still raising some funds for the charity.

  • A registration fee is payable at the time of booking.
  • Trip cost balance is payable to Different Travel 12 weeks prior to departure.
  • Any fundraising undertaken cannot be used for your trip costs.

*This price is based on a team of at least 15 participants. For smaller groups a £150 surcharge may apply.

  • Single supplement: £145 (subject to availability)

OPTIONAL BWINDI NATIONAL PARK GORILLA TREKKING EXTENSION

5-7 participants: £1,250pp

8-10 participants: £1,145pp

10+ participants: £1,095pp

  • Single supplement: £85. Please note that depending on the final group size and gender composition, a single supplement may be applied to your booking or a triple room supplied.
  • A deposit of £350 is payable directly to The Different Travel Company to confirm your place on the extension.

What's included

  • Return flights from London (including airport taxes)
  • All transfers and transport in Uganda
  • Accommodation in a hotel in Kasese and Kampala
  • Mountain huts with mattresses during trek
  • Meals as specified
  • Local English speaking guides, porters and cooks
  • Current trek fees and permits
  • Different Travel UK tour manager

What's not included

  • Uganda e-visa (current cost US$50+3% payment fee)
  • Any necessary vaccinations and malaria prophylaxis
  • Personal expenses and spending money (drinks, souvenirs, trek kit etc)
  • Tips (approx. £40 per person)
  • Transport to/from UK airports
  • Travel insurance
  • Any increases in Rwenzori National Park fees between the time of writing (Sep 19) and time of departure
  • Single room supplement (subject to availability)

Got a Question?

If you’ve a question about this challenge that you can’t find the answer to within the given information then complete this quick form and we’ll get back to you as soon as possible.

COVID-19: Please read our latest updates here.