Ruboni Community Camp is a community owned and run tourist lodge offering accommodation services, village tours and Rwenzori trekking experiences. The camp started back in 2005 and has grown through many stages, a reason for the high level of experience and hospitality by her staff.
100% staff is made up of local community members. They are knowledgeable of the nature and culture of the area. This makes Ruboni community camp the best hosts to show every visitor around the Rwenzori Mountains.
No wonder, this camp is the traveler favorite at the Rwenzori gateway, where Rwenzori trekking starts. It also exemplifies a purely community owned and run tourism enterprise in Uganda and is a member of the Uganda Community Tourism Association (UCOTA).
It is located in the foothills of Rwenzori Mountains, western Uganda, Kasese district south of Fort portal town. The location is at the trail head to the Nyakalengijo central circuit gate of Rwenzori Mountains National Park. Being a nature based lodge located in the natural jungle, it gives all guests an opportunity to live close to nature during their stay. The following details give more information about the geographical location of the camp;
Ruboni community camp is the leader in provision of accommodation, village tours, cultural experiences in the Rwenzori foothills. At the moment the camp has started offering trekking trips going into the park on the 3 days 2 nights Mahoma trek or the seven days central circuit trek. A team of local experienced guides is always waiting to take you on to any of the five local tours. These include;
Besides the tours and treks, the camp also organizes cultural performances to showcase the traditional life of the Bakonzo people living in these beautiful foothills of Rwenzori. These include;
At the camp, you find a strategically positioned and well stocked onsite restaurant serving both vegetarian and none vegetarian meals. The resident local chef at the lodge has been cooking for over ten years in different hotels. He has further been trained to offer the best meals to Ruboni camp guests. This chef prepares a range of meals that make the camp restaurant a favorite in the area. The meals cooked on order are served fresh and very delicious. Most of the food supplies and vegetables are sourced from the local farmers, giving them the much needed income. The camp staff grows some of the spices on the site to ensure the best meal for every visitor any time. To give the guests a full experience of living in Rwenzori, traditional meals and drinks can also be served on request.
Ruboni community camp offers a range of accommodation categories. These include the Self contained rooms, none self contained rooms and limited camping. With these categories, the camp is able to cater for most of the traveler’s accommodation needs. The current accommodation rates can be seen here. All accommodation options have wonderful views of the mountains. Thanks to the location of the camp that was planned with this in mind.
The camp takes a minimum of 16 people sleeping a night, based on twin and double rooms. However, for large groups, more beds can be added in large cabins and bandas to make a total of up to a maximum of 20 people sleeping in the rooms a night.
The camp is located in a rich and colorful forest habitat parched on the hillside, overlooking the portal peaks of Rwenzori Mountains. Formally a cassava garden, the lodge property has been allowed to regenerate the indigenous forest. The common plants include; Endrema (local name), wild bananas, elephant grass and a variety of other indigenous trees and plants. This habitat is liked by a variety of wild animals such as birds, chameleons, squirrels, monkeys and varied insects. All these will be common site during your stay.
The camp is accessed by marram road only. You branch off west on Kasese Fort portal road and drive for 17km on Nkenda-Nyakalengijo road. You will drive straight, past three trading centers of Bugoye, Ibanda and Nyakalengijo. After Nykalengijo trading center, drive along the pipeline then cross river Ruboni (the origin of the name of the village and camp) to Mihunga village where the camp is located. You will find a sign Ruboni community camp on the left side of the road. In case you want to book your stay in advance, the phone contacts and email are both available on this website for support. If you need any assistance during travel, please use Google maps or contact us.
It is expected that the post covid-19 arrivals and departures will allot more of their time to the airport business. Originally before corona, passengers through Entebbe airport were expected to arrive two hours before departure time. Since post lockdown passengers will be subjected to extra checks and screening while ensuring sufficient physical distance, it is estimated that travelers will need to arrive about four hours before the flight time.
Likewise, all passengers landing or entering Uganda will be subjected to a long health inspections and tests. A limited number of passengers will be released from the plane to the service areas, hence lengthening the amount of time that will be spent to about twice as long as before or more.
For the initials three months reopening stage starting 1st October 2020, an estimate of only 50 passengers at a time, shall be released from the plane to be served as the others wait, properly distanced in the plane or designated waiting areas.
For arrival and departure passengers, mandatory wearing of face masks and keeping a recommended social physical distance will be enforced. They will be required to have a credible certificate showing that they are corona free within the seventy two (72) hours of testing before the journey started.
With a proper certificate, passengers will not be isolated or quarantined. If anybody doesn’t have the certificate, they will be isolated or quarantined for 14 days. If they test positive during these days they will be quarantined for treatment. The quarantine or isolation will be at passengers own cost.
Now we know that the good news is that there will not be mandatory quarantine or isolation for tourists who have both presented the health certificate from within 72 hours and tested negative for corona virus.
It should however be noted that, all such tourists going on safari will not be allowed to mix with the local people, but be driven straight to their hotels and other destinations that are safe and prepared to handle operations within the recommended SOPs. In addition to all the tests and checks, the passengers will have to leave all their bio-data and travel itinerary mentioning the people they plan to travel with and the hotels in which they will stay.
It is important to note that, travelers should ensure to select lodges and hotels that are compliant with the Standard operating procedures of Uganda and the world health organization.
The six months global lockdown and closure of tourism business in Uganda is probably enough for tourism. At the new dawn, Entebbe airport and all boarders of Uganda are opening. Rainforest and community tours is more than ready to take our guest around Uganda’s landscapes and the pristine jungles again.
Every tourism service providers in Uganda are working hard to meet the minimum covid-19 standard operating procedures (SOPs) issued by the Uganda ministry of health. We are following closely and have made a selection of the safe and committed destination that will provide the safest and most memorable holidays and safaris around the country.
We prevent the spread of corona virus at every level of operation. This is what we are doing to ensure that our staff, guests and communities are safe from covid-19 during our safaris around Uganda.
Our support to community tourism has not relented. We have provided support to a number of community lodges and tours to adhere to the post covid-19 SOP. We realize that tourism greatly empowers the community at different levels through the trickle down effect. We hope to help more community lodges meet the standards whenever resources allow, through the season.
Information about Uganda’s wildlife reserves is least known to many travelers. These reserves are commonly conserved alongside the parks in clusters called conservation areas. Uganda’s wildlife reserves are ideal to add on trips that intend to go off the touristy path. They are 12 in total. You can read a brief about them bellow;
Western Uganda, sitting in the wildlife corridor linking Queen Elizabeth National Park to Virunga National Park in Congo. Activities; game drives, nature walks, birding watching. The park is home to a large variety of wildlife ranging from primates to the big herds of African elephants transiting between Uganda and Congo.
It is a 156 sqkm habitat nest to Queen Elizabeth national park on the escarpment. It is potential for birding, chimp tracking, wildlife viewing and guided nature walks. Easy to add on the Kazinga channel and Queen Elizabeth Safari.
It is a 542 sqkm reserve located in western Uganda, between Kabarole and Ntoroko districts. It is one of the richest habitats than any other reserve in Uganda. activities you can do here include; hiking, birding, a boat tour on lake Albert, primate walks, participating in interesting cultural encounters with the indigenous people.
In western Uganda along river Katonga. Size is 211 sqkm. Potential activities are canoe tours, guided nature walks, wildlife hikes. It is home to over 40 mammal species and great variety of birds. With no road tracks developed, it is ideal for nature on foot experience.
A paradise of scenery Western Uganda on the way from Kibale forest to Murchison falls national park. size-225 sqkm. Potential activities include fishing on lake Albert, birding, game walks, mountain biking, antique finding
Located by the rift valley escarpment in western Uganda west of Murchison falls national park. Size is 473 sqkm. Potential activities include birding, game drives, nature walks, cultural encounters.
located by the mighty Karuma falls, next to Murchison falls national park, in the east. The potential activities here are wildlife viewing, nature walks and birding tours. Due to its vicinity with the park, the reserve shares common wildlife with Murchison falls national park.
In northwestern Uganda, a home to 50 mammal including primates and 374 bird species just above Murchison falls national park. Size; 831 sqkm. Activities: wildlife viewing, birding tours, nature walks
Northwestern Uganda. Originally a home to white rhinos in (West-Nile) Size: 166 sq km. Activities: birding, nature walks, game drives looking for various wildlife.
A haven for birds, wild animals and scenery reflecting on the heritage of the Bokora people – North eastern Uganda. Size is 2056 sqkm potetial activities include, birding, nature walks and hiking mount Kadam.
It is a 2275sqkm reserve in northeastern Uganda. it is the home of mount Kadam in Nakapiriprit district. Activities in this reserve include, guided nature walks, wildlife safaris, bird watching, mountain climbing, cultural encounters in the surrounding communities.
It is 1520sqkm, in North Eastern Uganda. Shares unique wildlife like the Ostriches Roan Antelopes, Lesser Kudu and Bright’s Gazelle, with Kidepo Valley National Park. some of the key activities in this reserve are birding, nature walks, wildlife viewing, cultural encounters, prehistoric rock painting tours
You may want to take a specialized research or leisure trip to the wildlife reserve(s) or to add any of them to your Uganda trip. Please contact us for more information and we will craft a suitable trip for you
Sometimes it is necessary to start with the good news, especially if people have been frequented with bad news for a long time. Yes, what you may have already heard is the truth. Entebbe airport will be opened for tourists arrivals, starting 1st October 2020. How have we confirmed this? Please read on…
Over the last few months, we have received calls and emails from many friends and travelers asking to know if Entebbe airport has been opened yet, since the covid-19 pandemic lockdown. This post to gives a general response to all our guests, friends, contacts during preparation for your trip to Uganda.
Currently, Entebbe airport is the only airport in Uganda. It is estimated to be the entry point for over 70% of tourism entry to Uganda. This implies that, everybody planning to travel to Uganda by air, now or in the near future is destined to use this sole airport. This makes it more crucial that travelers know if the airport is open or not.
Entebbe airport was closed on the date of 22nd March 2020 after the first case of corona virus was reported in Uganda. Earlier on, in September, Uganda Civil Aviation Authority (UCAA) announced that they plan to open the airport on 1st October 2020.
Luckily, on 20th September there was further Pronouncement by the president of Uganda, during his national speech on corona virus status, that the airport is one of the sectors that are relieved of the lockdown. The speech from the president therefore, reaffirms the reopening date earlier communicated by UCAA.
This opening will be ending a period of round six months of lockdown to this airport. During this lockdown period, only cargo, UN and security planes were allowed to land. It is also remembered that, midway (around July 2020), a special pass was given to commercial flights bringing the Ugandan returnees who were repatriated from various countries of the world.
The landing planes that used this special pass were required to observe tight restriction of covid-19 standard operating procedures (SOPs). On return, these repatriated passengers were all put under isolation for fourteen days. During this period, they were subjected to mandatory testing and if found sick placed under treatment quarantine. After this grand reopening of the airport, travelers will be expected of certain standards and requirements.
The hotels, tour operators and guides have finally seen a new crack of dawn with hope that the tourism business will boost again in Uganda. This has come at a right time when we have provided training and capacity to our guides and service teams at the lodges and destinations. We have acquired the right equipment and printed the required materials to raise awareness about the deadly virus.
It is with no doubt that our safaris and lodges around Uganda will remain the safest offering the same memorable safari experiences to the travelers who will choose Uganda as their safari destination.
We are happy to welcome you to Uganda again.
It is necessary to start descending the margarita by 10:00am (latest) as the weather has changed a lot and often even during the dryer season the mountain is closed in with heavy clouds and snow falls from 1 pm to 4pm and this happens within a short period of 10 to 15 minutes as the clouds rise up from the extensive Congo rainforests. During January and February 2017 clients were closed in and unable to walk during heavy snow storms which previously were not heard of during the dryer season and arrived back at Margarita camp well after dark with one group arriving back at 11pm totally exhausted. Due to this change in weather we have set a strict turn around time of 10am so if you do not reach the peak before then you must turn around regardless of the disappointment in the interests of safety.
Margherita glacier has also suffered with global warming and as the outer edges of the glacier recede the ice is becoming steeper with one section of about 200 meters more than 60% grade. Combined with this much of the blacker has melted underneath causing caves under the ice and as it get thinner eventually caves in. So is necessary that clients understand and take advice of where the guides suggest to pass.
For those clients with less mountaineering experience we suggest that you stay on Stanley glacier and climb up to a good vantage point on a rocky outcrop on the southern edge of Alexandra Peak to enjoy fantastic views over Congo and the lower mountain ridges
What to know about the chameleon trail in the Rwenzori foothills.
This nature trail is organized by Ruboni community in the Rwenzori foothills. The chameleons live in the community nature reserve that has been reserved on the boarder of Rwenzori mountains national park.
During the chameleon finding tour, guests have chances of finding other wildlife such as birds, insects, primates and a variety of plant and tree species that make up this tour interesting.
The price is affordable. Please request a quote. If you want to spend an overnight outdoor in nature, this can also be arranged included in the chameleon trail.
Whether you want to stay in Ruboni community camp for a night or stopping over to find chameleons, please Contact us today to get your trip arranged.
Tree planting is a simple but the most effective way to counter the human impact on the natural environment. Because of this truth, the local communities in Uganda have accepted to put aside some of their lands for this purpose of tree planting. It is a full community movement near three wildlife areas that focuses on tree planting in the residential areas neighboring these National parks.
Three communities near the three National Parks of Rwenzori Mountains, Queen Elizabeth and Kibale forest have gazetted part of their household land for tree planting and pledging to turn these territories into permanent forests. These communities are on the buffer areas and work has commenced many years back. You better look out for these communities and visit to see the great impact tourism and travel is making on the local communities, through tree planting and other social empowerment projects. It is an opportunity to travel differently and most sustain-ably if you add this tree planting activity on your Uganda trip.
How the trees seedlings are acquired:
The trees planted are carefully and sustain-ably raised from the seeds collected from the national parks or other local indigenous forests. Seeds are collected this way to ensure that the same indigenous trees are planted to expand the natural habitat for the local wildlife. It has been a journey. The local community members have been trained how to collect and process local indigenous seeds. They raise and plant the seedlings in the buffer zones and on their family properties. Besides recovering the natural habitat in the allocated buffer land, the trees planted on the home plots are set to provide local household wood and other plant based basic needs such as crafts materials, medicine, fire wood and other ecosystem benefits for the future generation.
Who can participate and what to expect
It is a community event where visitors are allowed to participate. During the tree planting activity, you will join the rest of the community and participate in the actual tree planting exercise. The day goes by in the most local way when guests participate in carrying the seedlings, digging the holes in the ground using local tools, planting the seedlings. During the activity, social interaction is guaranteed. You will be sharing other local social moments together with the locals through the entire day of work. The day passes with allot of local stories, sharing local meals, dances and drama during the activity breaks. This is a memory that everyone must take. In one day the locals will share more than what the ordinary tourist is able to experience on a full seven days trip.
The story doesn’t end on that day. It turns to be a life long experience since the local community keeps you informed of how the trees are doing. They will be sharing timely pictures and reports, enabling you to see the effect of your effort as the bare degraded lands turn into a green tropical forest.
Don’t just travel to Uganda. Come and put a good mark of contributing to nature conservation so generations will see that you visited Uganda. Under this arrangement, the national parks near where you can currently plant trees at are;
Everyone’s participation in this activity is easy to arrange. If you want to participate, you need a minimum of one day of your trip to allocate on the tree planting. It is an activity that needs to be prior arranged. The local community initiative will organize the seedling early in advance, bring them to the site, get the tools ready and prepare the meals and refreshments during the activity. You will need to tell the community when you will be travelling. You will then be added on the next closest planting day.
It is entirely supported by the local community households. All participants are required to support the exercise with which ever resource they may have. Participants willing to be guest planters choose the number of trees they will plant and at which of the three National Parks area they want to plant them. The planting of the trees is free. Guests pay a minimum fee per seedling planted that hey want to support. This fee paid by the guest planters is entirely spent on trees and it goes towards;
The community members have contributed the land. In addition they contribute free labor and farm tools on the planting day. For a period of one year, the guest planter receives communication about how their trees are growing.
How the community benefits from the work:
Besides the tree planting and greening the degraded lands, this project creates jobs for the local communities through;
This is evident in the sites and guest planters are able to visit the existing projects during the planting activity. These community forests expand the wildlife habitat and provide basic needs and ecosystem benefits to the community.
During the tree planting activity, guests learn more of the community plans on how they plan to use the forested lands in the most sustainable way. This way, by participating in the tree planting you are not just a tourist but become one other community member participating in the planning of the most sustainable way of land use. Besides, participation gives one an opportunity to exchange skills, knowledge and cultures. No other travel experience will be as involving as participating in the tree planting activity.
Do you want to participate in tree planting during your next trip to Uganda? Please contact us today and we will give you more information. Fortunately, most tour operators such as Ecovic Tours and Travel can take you to these communities. In case you want to travel independently, you can choose to contact the community managing these tree planting projects.
The Rwenzori Mountains is located in western Uganda on the border with the Democratic Republic of Congo. It is holds the highest point in Uganda at the height of 5019m above sea level. This makes Rwenzori worth visiting to be able to witness the tip of the pearl of Africa. The mountains are the most unique feature that you will find nowhere else in East Africa. The biological richness in these mountains is enormous. With four different trails leading to both the low hills and the high snow-caped peaks, the trekkers find a paradise of birds, mammals, plants and sometimes primates. The mountain ecosystem is home to over one hundred mammal species and 217 bird species, making it an Important Bird Area. The scenery during the treks to these mountains is worth a try as it is ranked one of the best in world.
Uganda wildlife authority has opened various trails on these mountains. The different trails are of varying length. Therefore one requires different duration to trek on the different routes based on choice and budget. The shortest trail is a day nature walk that takes guests to experience the tropical Rainforest ecosystem for a few hours before they exit the park to stay at the base camp or go to the next destination. The longest is 8 days that takes guests to the highest point; margarita peak on mount Stanley. There are other trails that will take any number of days between one and eight that guests can choose from. Those interested can choose to stay longer than eight days on the mountains if they want to scale more peaks or get a detail of the landscape.
Those looking for accommodation during their trekking trip on Rwenzori will find Ruboni community camp ideal. This camp is located at the base camp, just 1km before the park gate. It offers perfect accommodation to the trekkers before and after their memorable experience in the mountains
At this camp, you will find comfortable guest rooms in several options; self-contained and none self-contained rooms. Those with their own tent can also pitch a tent at a relatively lower price than the rooms. The rooms have options for two twin or double beds each. Some rooms are too spacious and can be fitted with the third bed. The location of all the rooms is perfectly facing the mountains and surrounded by indigenous forest. Sometimes the squirrels, birds, and monkeys will be seen within the facility.
With running water from a local spring, hot showers are provided in all the self-contained rooms. The shared showers are refilled with hot water on demand. Each self-contained room has a toilet, a sink, and a bathroom all separated. The rooms are well cleaned as they are attended to by a resident housekeeper who gives them the best touch. The camp has furnished beds with bedding and mosquitoes nets on each bed.
The restaurant onsite is always open, offering all the three meals, The accommodation prices include free breakfast. Guests can order other meal (lunch and dinner) from the menu and they will be prepared within a shortest-agreed time. A long list of meal options is on offer. The chef will explain the range available every morning. They offer three-course meals. Generally, most food ingredients are fresh and organic. The food ingredients are mainly sourced locally from the village farmers. To ensure a high quality and taste of fresh meals, the spices are grown on-site.
Seating on the trail-head to Rwenzori Mountain peaks, through Nyakalengijo gate, all trekkers using the central circuit trail pass in front of the camp. Through this gate, trekkers stay in the mountains for a varied amount of days depending on the trail of choice. As said earlier, on this route are three main trails that take from one to eight or more days. This trail leads to;
These trails all go inside the park and require payment of park entrance fee per day spent inside the park. The days one spends on each trek/ trail my change depending on how many peaks one chooses to climb. These other additional peaks include Weismann peak, portal peaks, baker peak, mount Gessi and other short peaks.
When you stay at Rubini community camp or any other lodge in the area, you will not only be limited to trekking the high peaks of Rwenzori. The camp links you the guides that can take you on the arranged community guided walks. These walks last about three to four hours of exploring the local village outside the park. They include;
The key highlights on the community walks are; visiting the blacksmith at their workshop, the traditional healer, the local farm, participating in the coffee farming and processes, walking in the indigenous forest to witness the waterfalls, chameleons, birds and sometimes primates, climbing to the highest hill in the village at 2400m to be able to view the village and sometimes margarita peak on clear days. These community walks are all outside the park and therefore require no park entrance fees. The payment you make covers the community guides and the experience. For overnight treks, the payment will cover three meals, porters camping gear, and the experience.
Those interested in the treks either to the high mountains or in the community will get a packing list and more information to prepare them for the trek. Rainforest and community tours or any other tour operator can help arrange this. Alternatively, you can contact Ruboni community camp directly for further information.
This camp is located at the base camp of the Nyakalengijo central circuit trail in the village of Nyakalengijo/Mihunga. It is easily accessible from fort portal or Kasese towns. Depending on which direction you come from, branch off left or right at Nkenda electrical terminal. You will then drive 17km west on a marram road, towards the Rwenzori Mountains National Park gate. It is a straight road as you will not need to take any branch off until you reach the camp that will be on your left folloeing the road sign. Alternatively, you can contact us for a phone number that will be able to direct you as you travel. This location doesn’t have public transport other than the boda-bodas. If you’re not comfortable with boda-boda and you didn’t use private transport, we can arrange a special hire on request, to pick you from Kasese or from Nkenda the junction. Alternatively, type Ruboni community camp in google maps and follow the route from wherever you will be.
The Rwenzori Mountains are a true rainmaker, source of life and home to unique wildlife. This is why everyone is amazed by the spectacular scenery and beauty of the environment when they visit these mountains. This mountain is a world heritage site. It also accommodates the most unique culture in the great lake’s region. The foothills of this mountain are covered by a rich tropical rain forest tucked in the hilly valleys. Besides the visible beauties, the foothills are home to a unique tribe, the Bakonzo. This tribe has mastered mountain life throughout the years. When you visit the Rwenzori mountains of the moon, you will be set to encounter one of the world’s richest landscape.
Part of the remaining forest is the 150 acres, Ruboni community forest reserve. This forest reserve is bordering Rwenzori mountains national park in the west and the household community gardens in the east. The forest is located north of Nyakalengijo park gate and extends to the hills that are partly farmland of the village households. With equator snow lodge to the south, it is located in the northern direction from Ruboni village across river Mubuku.
This collective indigenous forest forms a habitat for unique wildlife. This reserve is one of the largest plots of the naturally regenerated forest in the Mubuku valley. Wildlife that crosses from the park or escaping from community farms find refuge in this community forest reserve. This wildlife includes; snakes and chameleons, the birds, amphibians and other small mammals.
Nature trails have been created in this forest. Visitors go with a local guide on these trails looking for nature and wildlife. The key highlight of these nature walks is Chameleons. Other wildlife to look for is the birds, snakes, primates’ squirrels and other mammals that are increasingly starting to appear to the trekkers. Due to the high chances of finding chameleons, this forest is called the chameleon sanctuary. With a specialized chameleon guide from the community, guests have high chances of finding a range of chameleon species.
Up to seven types of chameleons can be found in this forest. Of the seven types, the key highlight is finding Johnston’s three-horned chameleon. It is the giant elusive three-horned reptile that can grow to become 30 centimeters at full growth. its full growth age is six months to twelve months. Other types of chameleons found here include;
Visitors are not only be limited to looking for chameleons. You will be walking in one of the richest indigenous forests. Though it is outside the park, walking here gives a feeling of being in the heart of Rwenzori mountains National Park. You will also be amazed by other attractions. These include; waterfalls, birds, batter flies, insects, a rich selection of plant life and Sometimes primates.
The community forest was created by the community amalgamating their land plots. The aim of this was to create a sustainable source of income from the forest. This is achieved through the tourist walks. The initiative also serves the critical role of forest conservation. The forest is also used for seed collection to expand indigenous trees on community land. This means as you enjoy the experience of walking this forest, you’re also benefiting the community through employment while supporting indigenous conservation. In the future, the forest will be used for sustainable harvesting of household forest resources such as medicinal and crafts materials.
Walking in this forest requires a guide from the community, the service of the guide is included in the payment, which is currently 15$ per person. each walk takes between 3-4 hours. All guides are selected from the local community neighboring the forest.
This forest walk is easy to arrange on arrival at Ruboni community camp. If you have any questions regarding how to participate in the walks, contact us in advance to arrange your visit. Besides arranging this visit, we also arrange your accommodation and other tours to the Rwenzori’s. Other tours include multi-day treks into the mountains to scale the higher peaks.