Explore the Rwenzori Mountains National Park in Uganda. An early explorer, DW Freshfied(1906) said, “You may be familiar with the Alps and the Caucasus, the Himalayas and the Rockies, but if you have not explored Rwenzori, you still have something wonderful to see.”
In the 300 AD, the Alexandrian geographer Claudius Ptolemy suggested that the Nile had its source from snow peaks on the Equator, the “Lunus Montae” or “Mountains of the Moon”.
The Mountains of the Moon and other mysteries or the African interior were finally revealed to the world during the 19th century when explorers penetrated the region.
In 1888, Henry Morton Stanley while on expedition at the shores of L. George sighted the snow capped peaks. Early mountaineers, most notably the Duke of Abruzzi in 1906, fighting upwards through dense forests of trees and bamboos, discovered a surreal landscape in which fantastic vegetation surrounded spectacular lakes and equatorial glaciers flowed down from the snow capped peaks.
Rwenzori Mountains National Park lies on an area of 995sq.km and covers the districts of Kabarole, Kasese and Bundibugyo in Western Uganda. It was designated as a World Heritage site in 1994 which implies that it’s conservation is therefore not only of national and regional importance but also of great international importance.
The Rwenzoris are suitable for almost all climbers and walkers who are reasonably fit. There are hiking routes in the foot for those with no climbing experience-all that is needed is a little stamina and waterproof clothing. More demanding is the ascent of Mountain Speke, which is a simple glacier requiring limited mountain experience. Kindly inquire with the African Pearl Safaris tour manager for the best times to visit the Mountain Rwenzoris and what you need to carry on your hiking trip.
You should allow about 10 days for the trip and the most popular route should take about six to seven days. It is possible to break the route up with more frequent stops. For instance; Day 1 to Nyabitaba; Day 2 to Nyamiliju; Day 3 to Bigo; Day 4 to Lake Bujuku;Day 5 to Kitandara; Day6 to Guy Yeoman and Day 7 back to Nyakalengija.
Rwenzori Mountains National Park is accessed by road from Kampala via Mbarara to Kasese or from Kampala through Fort Portal. Alternatively, chartered planes are available from Entebbe to Kasese and then by road.
Rwenzori is one of the largest and most significant water catchment areas in Uganda. The rivers running down the mountain ranges feed the economically important lakes, Edward and George and constitute a major source of the White Nile through the waters of River Semliki, which flow into Lake Albert.
The National Park has a wide latitudinal range rising from about 1670 to 5109 metres above sea level. The numerous ranges with six major mountains; Mt. Stanley ( 5109m), Mt.Speke( 4890m), Mt. Baker ( 4843m), Mt.Emin ( 4798m), Mt.Gessi ( 4715m), Mt Luigi Di Savoia( 4627m). On each of these mountains are numerous peaks such as Margherita( 5,110m), Albert( 5,101m), Alexandra(5,044m), Moebius(4,925m)
The Mountain ranges have a combination of beautiful Peaks, glaciers, valleys, rivers, lakes various species of flora and fauna making it scenic. Besides Rwenzori is the third highest mountain in Africa and has several high peaks including the 5th, 6th and 7th highest mountain peaks in Africa allowing it to be seen from far. Over 20 lakes are also found on the mountain. The Rwenzori Mountains National Park has stratified vegetation with five major vegetation zones, which adds on its beautiful scenery.
Rwenzori Mountains National Park is home to several endemic, endangered, threatened and rare species of the Albertine Rift and also an important Bird Area. Some of these include the Chimpanzee, L’hoest’s monkey, Leopard, Forest elephant.
The Rwenzori Mountains lie along the Western border of Uganda and rise to a height of 5100 metres. Here are the legendary “mountains of the Moon“, a World Heritage Site – and these incomparable, beautiful, mist-shrouded peaks provide a unique back drop to one of our most magnificent national parks.
In the center of the range, which boasts of Africa’s third highest mountain, some of the peaks carry permanent snow and glaciers, while the lower slopes do not call for mountaineering experience, although the higher you go the fitter you need to be. Excellent walking routes, including the Bujuku circuit are provided through wonderful and unique scenery. For those who want to attempt a climb, several peaks provide challenges that match those in the Alps.
These fabled mist-covered “mountains of the moon” 120 km in the length and 48 km in width, were formed from block which was thrust up during the creation of the Western arm of the Great East African Rift Valley. At the Centre of the range, there are six peaks carrying permanent snow, three with glaciers.
The highest of these peaks, and the third highest peak in Africa, is Mt. Margherita rising 5,1000 metres above sea level. The Rwenzori mountains were gazetted as National Park in 1991. The park covers 996 km2 of rugged mountain terrain. Whether they are experienced climbers or casual day-hikers, Rwenzori Mountain National Park offers visitors a unique experience of an Afro-Montane rain forest.
The main attraction is the luxuriant vegetation found above 3000m which includes the giant forms of Lobelia. Heather and Groundsel. Rwenzori Mountains National park is also home to the unique bird species such as the Rwenzori touraco, the handsome francolin and the olive pigeon.
The best time for mountaineering is during the dry seasons from mid-December to the end of March and from June through Mid-August.
By road: From Kampala via Mbarara to Kasese, then continue 18 km to Ibanda. Also from Kampala through Fort Portal and then 75km on the Fort Portal/Kasese road south. The park is 25 km from Kasese. Take a left turn 4km after leaving Kasese on the Kasese-Fort Portal road.
Accommodation is available in Kasese and Fort Portal.
Elephant, Genet, Chimpanzee, Golden Cat, Forest Hog, Rock Hydrax, Sitatunga, Mongoose, Duiker, Vervet Monkey, Rwenzori Colobus.