Rwenzori Mountains: Day 2: Nyabitaba to John Matte (3,505 m asl)

Let’s TALK about the infrastructure in the Rwenzori Mountains – what exists and what can be improved.

The main attraction of day 2 of the Central Circuit trek to Margherita Peak: The Kurt Shafer Bridge, just below the confluence of the Mubuku & Bujuku rivers. The bridge (originally built in 1989) was recently rebuilt after the previous one got washed away by one of the many violent floods that plague the Rwenzoris.

Now, some purist hikers might say that putting up bridges, ladders and boardwalks in nature is cheating. However, anyone who has ever been to the Rwenzoris will tell you that every single one represents a small pocket of relief and safety for a hiker! Reduce the suffering!

On the second day, we passed through a bamboo forest, traversed a long and exhausting stretch of slippery moss-covered rock and tackled some light bog. Good ankles come in handy to survive the second day, especially on the rocks.

Our destination for the day: John Matte Hut (3,505 m asl) ⛰️ The hut is named after the founding president of the Mountain Club of Uganda AND one of the founding members of Rwenzori Mountaineering Services.

In its heydays, between 1949 and 1958, the Mountain Club of Uganda got grants from the Ugandan protectorate government to build a circuit of six huts in the Rwenzori Mountains:

  • Nyabitaba
  • Nyamuleju
  • Bigo
  • Bujuku
  • Irene Lakes
  • Kitandara

In 1987, John Matte and the Bakonjo guides & porters at Nyakalengijo formed the Rwenzori Mountaineering Services (RMS). Their aim was to pool funds to develop and rehabilitate the huts and trails of the Central Circuit of the Rwenzoris.

Fast forward to today: If Robert Kabushenga and Amos Wekesa get it the way they want, it’s time for a new Golden Era for the Rwenzori Mountains. New investments are needed to improve the infrastructure on the trails, ladders, boardwalks and huts. 🛖🏔️

Let’s get to work!

THE SERIES: Rwenzori – day by day.

  • Day 1: Nyabitaba
  • Day 2: Nyabitaba to John Matte (3,505 m asl)
  • Day 3: John Matte to Bujuku (3,930 m asl)
  • Day 4: Bujuku to Elena Hut (4,541 m asl)
  • Day 5: Summit day: Margherita Peak (5,109 m asl)
  • Day 6: Kitandara to Guy Yeoman
  • Day 7: Reflections from the last day of the trek