NKURINGO GUIDES MEET RWENZORI MOUNTAIN GUIDES AT 5.109 METRES HIGH
(Posted 20th November 2013)
In a remarkable private sector led cooperation initiative did the guiding teams of Nkuringo Walking Safaris and of the Rwenzori Mountain Services come together to not just meet and talk but to climb and walk, in each others’ territory.
Rob Brierley of Nkuringo Walking Safaris and the Gorilla Camp Nkuringo sent in the information that in a groundbreaking exchange agreement between the two organizations did 5 of the Nkuringo Walking Safari guides, with team leader Asgario at the left of the picture shown above, travel from Nkuringo to the foothills of the Rwenzori Mountains, aka Mountains of the Moon in Kasese, where they were received by their counterparts, the mountain guides of RMS.
The visit soon turned serious as the RMS guides outfitted the Nkuringo team after some serious talk on the do’s and don’ts when going up Uganda’s highest mountain, before setting out to conquer the Margherita Peak, which covered in permanent ice and snow stands 5.109 metres or 16.763 ft tall on the border between Uganda and the Congo DR.
To get to the peak though the Nkuringo guide team had to first conquer their inner self, as the initial hikes through bogs and swamps made way to cold and clammy nights in the huts before approaching the rock fields left by shrinking glaciers. The Rwenzori Mountain Guides surely detected mettle and will in the five as they reportedly soldiered on, determined to beat cold, wind, rain and fog as they made their final approach to the peak.
(The hard part of getting up to the top)
(The Nkuringo Walking Safaris team on top of Uganda’s world – after reaching the Margherita Peak)
Wrote Rob when passing the information about this unprecedented cooperation between the two organizations, in fact between any guide organizations in Uganda up to this point: ‘As part of a concerted and ongoing effort to improve the local knowledge of the Nkuringo Walking Safaris guide team five of whom have just returned from Margherita Peak – 5109m ASL the summit of Mount Stanley and the highest point in Uganda within the Rwenzori Mountains National Park. This expedition was made possible as part of a ‘shared knowledge exchange’ between Nkuringo Walking Safaris and Rwenzori Mountaineering Services, a key player providing professionally supported treks within RMNP. In the coming weeks the RMS guide team that supported the NWS guides will be hosted at Nkuringo, southern sector of the Bwindi Impenetrable Forest. Here they will undertake in the company of NWS guides the Nkuringo Walking Safari activity and volcano climbs within the Mgahinga National Park. A point of note here is this skills transfer exchange and experience was self initiated and self financed by both organisations. Cross training exercises of this nature we feel can only work to enhance the confidence of the guides further enhancing the client experience. It is hoped further such exchanges could be adopted by other players in the tourism fraternity keen to participate in such reciprocal arrangements in the future’.
Excellent news for sure for visitors coming to Uganda to either climb the Rwenzori Mountains or else do the extensive hikes in South Western Uganda I have in recent months extensively written about. The guides leading the climbs and hikes are not just professionally trained and know their own areas of operation like the back of their hands but have now also the added knowledge to narrate and explain how hikes and climbs are unfolding in other parts of the country, from close up and personal experience.
And the most astonishing aspect of them all was the information detail that this was self initiated and self financed without the involvement or support from government, purely on a B2B basis, which hopefully starts a trend of future inter tourism fraternity cooperation for the benefit of transferring skills and knowledge from one part of the country to another, all aimed to give visitors to the Pearl of Africa an even better experience and have them enjoy their safari even more.