Welcome to Rwenzori Mountains National Park Destination Guide
A complete guide to climbing Rwenzori Mountains, when to go and climb, the tourist activities around the mountains, where to stay during after your trek, the climbing routes as well as tour operators specialized in mountaineering in Uganda.
This is also known as the mountains of the moon and are mainly found in south western Uganda on Uganda- Congo border. These are the tallest mountain ranges found in Africa, and are the highest mountains in Uganda. These mountains are higher than the Alps and are also ice capped. Mount Stanley is also located in the park, Margherita peak is one of Mount Stanley‘s twin summits and is also Africa’s third highest peak with a height of 5,109m. Africa’s fourth and fifth highest peaks that is Mount Speke and Mount Baker are also located in the park. So a visit to these mountains as well as a hike up to the slopes is one of the most exciting experiences you can ever have. You can also combine the birding safari with the hiking tour in case you are interested in Hiking.
About Rwenzori Mountains National Park
This mountain is located in south-western Uganda on the eastern side of the western Albetine Rift valley. Rwenzori lies along the border of Uganda with the Democratic Republic of Congo and also edges the DRC’s Virunga National park. The park is also located in Kabarole, Bundibugyo, as well as Kasese districts.
This national park was also started in 1991 and then designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1994 due to its exceptional natural beauty. It’s about 1,000km in size it has got the third highest mountain peak, waterfalls, glaciers as well as lakes. It’s also known for its fantastic plant life.
Composition of the Park
The national park comprises of the eastern and central half of the Rwenzori mountains. This mount is the highest mountain range in the whole of Africa, with over 6 glacial peaks including; Mount Speke, Mount Gessi, Mount Stanley, Mount Emin Pasha, Mount Luigi da Savoia as well as Mount Baker. The major peaks can also be compared to those of Kilimanjaro as well as Mount Kenya. This park has also got glaciers, waterfalls, the snowfields, as well as lakes and this is considered to be Africa’s most fantastic mountain areas.
This national park has over 70 mammal species, 217 species of birds, 19 Albertine rift endemics plus the world’s rarest vegetation species. These mountains also lie in western Uganda near the border of Uganda- Congo border. Its equatorial snow peaks includes the third point with Africa and its lower slopes are covered with bamboo, moorland, the moist montane forest. There are also large tree heathers as well as the colourful mosses that are covered throughout the mountainside with the giant lobelias as well as the endless flowers that create a charming fairy-tale scene.
Mountain Rwenzori is also mountaineering and hiking destination and its known that a 9 to 12 day trek can get a skilled hikers to the summit of Margherita which is the highest peak, though the non-technical hikes are likely to scale the nearby peaks. This mountain is a great range that is located in Africa along the border of Uganda and the Democratic Republic of Congo. This mountain range is not volcanic in nature though consists of the crystalline rock that moved upwards from the earth’s crust.
The past people called these ranges, the mountains of the Moon. Ptolemy, the Alexandrian geographer first used this name on the map. These mountains were also thought to be the source of the Nile. The melting snows from these ranges do feed some of the farthest tributaries of the Nile. This range is 80 miles and contains one of the most dramatic diversities of the ecosystems in the whole world and here there is a few miles from each other and are also heat of the tropical jungles as well as the glacial ice that is cold. There are also five distinct zones of the habitation that generates a world of amazing biodiversity.
These ranges were named Rwenzori by the European explorer Henry M Stanley immediately after a native word that means rain maker. For real, this mount is a rain maker for up 250 days a year rain always falls on the mountain hence feeding the dense foliage.
Just at the base, there is the African Savannah crowded with the animals including the zebras, elephants as well as birds. This zone is also between 3000 and 5000 to 7500 feet. There are wild banana trees, lianas as well as the ferns. Again above the jungle, you will find the bamboo forest that reach up to over 9500 feet. The bamboo is a type of grass that can grow to over three feet and will reach over a hundred feet in two months’ time. The forest type is also one of the most exceptional habitant to walk through.
And above the bamboo, there is Heath zone, this zone also extends to around 12,000 feet and is a land that drips lichen covered heather tree that loom over the ground cover of the mosses and the liverwort. The trees are 40 feet tall and are relatively of low shrub that grows in the Scottish moorlands.
At the higher altitude, we shall reach Alpine zone which is above 12,000 feet and it’s a land which is in its lower sections that are filled by the giants. The plants here are so unique only to the Afro Alpine zone that includes the tree groundsel and the giant lobelia. The upper point also reaches at the zone that extends to over 14,500 feet that consist of rocky terrain that is covered with black lichens and the brown mosses.
And finally, above 14,500 feet, there is the Margherita peak at 16,763 feet and it’s the highest point in the mount range. At the top, there is mount Stanley, this rwenzori mountains are covered in snow and storm swept glaciers. The fisrt ascent of the highest peak was also made by Luigi di Savoia, who was the duke of Abrussi that was accompanied by J, Petigax, J. Brocherel and C. Ollier in 1906
ABOUT RWENZORI NATIONAL PARK
The land scape and Climate
Rwenzori is certainly one of Africa’s most fantastic natural environments. The Rwenzoris are mainly identified as one of the most unique and these have got alpine climates though found in an equatorial location. This also means that it receives higher levels of rainfall that anywhere else in the world. This exciting combination of both heavy rain fall as great exposure to the sun which has created the most basic land scape, wrapped in the giant tree heathers, the lobelias, the groundsel, the colorful lichen as well as the deep moss. It’s also an account of the luxuriant vegetation which the Rwenzoris have been described as the home of Africa’s botanical big game.
This park is also home to some of the few tropical glaciers remaining in the world on mount stanley, speke and baker. It’s also only when you climb to the top of the Rwenzoris to its snowcapped peaks that keep over the rain forest below that its detachment below from the equatorial Africa will really become so apparent. Though these glaciers are rapidly retreating and have decreased from a total area of over 2.5 qm to less than half a square mile with in the last century and now it can be climbed with it.