Rwenzori Mountains - National Park in Uganda
These were originally known as the Ruwenzori Range, and sometimes known as the Mountains of the Moon. Rwenzori Mountains is a mountain range of eastern Equatorial Africa, found in western Uganda on the border between Uganda and D.R.C. The mountains support glaciers and are one source of the mighty river Nile, the longest in Africa.
The highest point of the Rwenzori mountains is known as Margherita / Mt. Stanley at 5.109.00m, that is, 16.761 ft. Mount Stanley as well as other peaks are permanently snow-capped, and along with Mount Kilimanjaro and Mount Kenya are the only such ones in Equatorial Africa.
Trekking Rwenzori mountains requires some hiking experience and the hike to the highest point (Margherita) requires at least 7 days. There are different routes leading to different peaks. The routes to take will depend on one's interest, time and budget.
Rwenzori mountain range is about 120 km (75 mi) long and 65 km (40 mi) wide, were formed in the recent geological period of about 3.000.000 years ago in the late Pliocene. They came as a result of an uplifted block of crystalline rocks including: gneiss, amphibolite granite, and quartzite. Geography has it that Rwenzori Mountains are on the flanks of the Albertine Rift, the western branch of the East African Rift.
This uplift divided the paleolake Obweruka and created three of the present-day African Great Lakes: Lake Albert, Lake Edward and Lake George. The last 2 are one of the major attractions in Queen Elizabeth National Park connected by the Kazinga Channel, famous for the highest concentration of Hippos in Africa, with huge Nile crocodiles, and many Elephants and Buffaloes seen basking long the shores. Bird life is prolific with about 611 species including migratory species. A boat cruise along the Kazinga channel rewards you with memorable experience that will last for lifetime.
The range consists of 06 massifs separated by deep gorges and they include Mount Stanley (5,109m), followed by Mt. Speke at 4,890m, Mt. Baker (4,843m), Mt. Emin (4,798m), Mt. Gessi (4,715m) and Mt. Luigi di Savoia (4,627m). Mt. Stanley is the largest and has several subsidiary summits, with Margherita Peak being the highest point at 5.109m.
The rock here is metamorphic, and the mountains are believed to have been tilted and squeezed upwards by plate movement. They are in an extremely humid area, and frequently covered in clouds.
What to do at Rwenzori Mountain National Park?
This is a breathtaking activity done at the park as there various route which are ready available for you to explore one is a 7 day trekking of the central tourism circuit, and a 5 day trek along Kilembe route to the southern part of the park. However, short hikes are also arranged. You are advised to book in time prior to your safari dates to avoid disorganization.
Exploring the park on foot is another interesting done activity at the park as this gives visitors the chance to see parks flora and fauna in a very close range, there are trees in the park which allow visitor to have a look at, different primate species, and birds among other forest dwellers.
The six day loop trail is a tough one but rewarding one, the hikes take you through all the vegetation zones and the glacier peaks. There are ascents to major peaks within the Rwenzori ranges along both routes. These include ascents to Mgaherita, (5,109m) on mountain Stanley, Vittorio Emmanuelle (4,889m) on mountain Speak and Edward (4,842m) on mountain Baker. These hikes offer impressive and panoramic views of other peaks within the ranges, high peaks should only be attempted by experienced mountaineers because there tough.
Rwenzori national park is home to over 177 species of birds so bird lovers are rewarded a lot and 19 of these are birds are Albertine Rift endemics. Some of the birds expected to see include the Rwenzori Turaco, the malachite sunbird, the long tailed cuckoo, long eared owl, handsome francolin, cinnamon cheated bee-eater, robin, montane boubou, slender-billed starling, black eagle just to mention but a few.
Nature walks within and around the Rwenzori Mountains National park as well as cultural experience such as living with the local community and sampling local cuisine.
Places to stay park
Trekkers Hostel, Rwenzori Mountains Safari Lodge, Ruboni Community Camp is situated at the gateway to the Rwenzori Mountains National Park.