Feb 2019 Rwenzori hike and trip report

Gerhard writes:

My wife and I just returned from our trip to Uganda. We travelled for almost 5 weeks, and we exclusively relied on public transport (buses, matatus, boda-bodas). I want to emphasize, that your guidebook is excellent; comprehensive, detailed, and very well structured, bearing a wealth of background information in addition.
There is one point, where our experiences were completely different from the ones given in the book, and it refers to RMS (p. 430, ed. 8): we did the Central Circuit (6 days) with them, and were so satisfied with each facet of the trip, that at the end I made up my mind to let you know about it. We started at Feb. 9th, and it was only my wife and me – plus 2 guides (Gedeon and Matthew), 1 cook (Morris), and 6 porters (one of them simultaneously acting as an assistant to the cook). No reason to complain about organizational aspects: we negotiated and fixed a price (according to what is given under “Costs” in your book – thanks a lot :-)), got a receipt summarizing all the services included, and were picked up at 8 am from our (Kasese) hotel. Everything absolutely transparent and well organized. Gedeon we met the evening before (we wanted to get an impression of the person, his knowledge, and English skills). We left Nyakalengija at around 10 am (after I collected a pair of rubber boots, and 1 sleeping bag. At no extra costs). The guides turned out really knowledgeable. They were such environmental-conscious, that they not only carried the waste from our lunch packages, but also collected plastic we came across on our way. Every evening there was a short briefing about the next days program. They were extraordinarily friendly and helpful, not only at difficult passages (muddy or supersteep terrain). When I asked, they explained their trainings they had to get through before becoming a tourist guide. And Morris didn´t stand behind, when he presented his various options for dinner (including main course, starter, and dessert) or next mornings breakfast.
As we had not been on the glacier, I cannot comment on the boxed text on p. 430 (“Ascending the Rwenzori Peaks”). But we met 2 German guys in Fort Portal who climbed Margherita Peak, and were as satisfied with RMS, as we were. Their guides (Herbert and Baluku) were specifically trained in climbing (and therefore had not been available for us).

Finally, I would like to inform you, that at the time we did our booking, RMS was moving its office to a new place, opposite the Total fuel station, next to AK Hotel.

Additional Remarks:
1) In my opinion it´s worth mentioning, that as a rule of thumb prices given in the guidebook are still valid. 2 notable exeptions are
– entrance fee for the Source of the Nile (East Bank) close to Jinja more than tripled to now 10 USD (FNR)
– entrance fee for the Ugande Wildlife Education Center (aka: Zoo) in Entebbe is now 15 USD (FNR)
2) There is no more Qualicell Bus Park in Kampala. The major bus transport hub is now Kasenyi Terminal.
3) Getting into Murchison Falls NP without own transport can be arranged by Abira Tours & Travel in Pakwach (m 0785095515). The owners name is Sabiri; his office a few meters from the main road, if you take the eastern branch of the side road leading to Alleluyah Guesthouse. We paid 100 USD for game drive (Buligi), getting to Top of the Falls Viewpoint and come back just in time for the boat ride out of Paraa at 2 pm, and back to Pakwach – quite reasonable I feel considering that it´s a long day (almost 12h) and a lot of driving.

 

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