Capt. Christian Kuhune of the Pontifical Swiss Guard in the Vatican, summited Margherita peak at 6:15am Sunday and has only wonderful memories of Uganda.
Margherita peak at 5,109 metres, is the highest point on Mount Stanley in the Rwenzori Mountains, and the third-highest peak in Africa.
Africa Tembelea has learnt that Capt Kuhune of the Papal Swiss Guard hiked the Rwenzori’s in the company of his wife. The Papal Swiss Guard is a minor armed forces and honour guards unit maintained by the Holy See that protects the Pope and the Apostolic Palace, serving as the de facto military of Vatican City.
– Rwenzori Mountains –
Ruwenzori, also spelled Rwenzori are a range of mountains in eastern equatorial Africa, located on the border between Uganda and the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
The range is about 120 kilometres long and 65 kilometres wide. It consists of six massifs separated by deep gorges: Mount Stanley (5,109 metres), Mount Speke (4,890 metres), Mount Baker (4,843 metres), Mount Emin (4,798 metres), Mount Gessi (4,715 metres) and Mount Luigi di Savoia (4,627 metres).
– The routes –
There are predominantly two main routes that will lead climbers and trekkers to the Margherita Peak of the great Rwenzori Mountains.
The Kilembe Route approaches the mountains from the south. The seven day trek to Margherita peak starts from Kilembe, through the forest and the bamboo zone with an overnight stay at Kalalama. Hikers then ascend through Scott Elliot to Margherita Camp at 4,485m from where you set off early morning by 3am to climb the Margherita Peak. This hike is tough but so exciting.
However, it’s important to note that hiking more than 500 meters a day brings about a bigger risk of altitude sickness, high altitude cerebral edema and all of which are dangerous. It’s always advisable to take it slow and lessen the risk.
“The reason to go slow is that your body is working harder at higher altitude. The air is thinner and there is less oxygen to breathe,” Dennis Ntegge of Raft Uganda told Africa Tembelea.
He also advised that hikers drink plenty of water to ward off possible altitude sickness, get the right gear such as hiking boots, warm clothing, rain gears as well as a sun hat and sun cream.
Most importantly, he advised potential hikers to book through the right agencies such as the Rwenzori Trekking Service that arranged Capt. Kuhune’s hike and Rwenzori Mountaineering Service.