Rwenzori mountains national park is located at the border of Uganda and the Democratic Republic of Congo within the Rwenzori ranges standing at an elevation of 5,109 meters above sea level, the Rwenzori mountains rivers are believed to be some of the sources of River Nile. The mountains were formed during Pliocene epoch period as a result of the uplifting block of crystalline rocks 3 trillion years ago, the vegetation ranges from tropical rainforests, giant groundsel, bamboo zone, giant lobelia, heather and snow.
The permanently snow capped peaks have glaciers, Mount Margherita peak and mount Stanley are the third highest peaks in Africa, mount Speke comes in 4th position and lastly mount Baker coming in the 5th highest peak.
Ptolemy Claudius a geographer of the Greek empire gathered information about the snow capped mountains of Africa and they considered them to be the source of the Nile. He then named them “mountains of the moon”. Sir Samuel Baker and Gessi Romolo were the first to glimpse at the mountains of the moon from a distance, the following year in 1989 Henry Stanley instructed his deputy W.G. Stairs to carry out a trip to the mountains and he managed to climb b up to 3,254m where he observed snow capped peaks.
Rwenzori mountains national park is home to 70 species of mammals, some of the animals. Some of the wildlife that can be seen here are; Hyrax, L’Hoest monkeys, black and white Columbus monkeys, elephants, chimpanzees and duikers among the rest.
Mountain climbing is the main activity done at Rwenzori mountains national park. Hiking can be done at the foothills of mount Rwenzori for those who don’t want to conquer the peak, different hiking trails have been set up for you to have a feel of the mountain providing spectacular views even at the foothills, you can also compliment your hiking by fishing using local methods in the flowing streams. Some of the trails used to climb to the peaks can be seen below.
Kilembe Trail. This route passes through the Nyamwamba valley going through glacial lakes then joins central circuit from Lake Kitandara. This route was established recently and provides some of the striking views of the Baker peak in the way.
Central Circuit. This trail starts at Mihunga and it’s the hardest to use though it passes through the Nyabitaba and Bujuku valley before going the central circuit to Mubuku valley. Though it’s the hardest it provides the most beautiful views than the other routes. There are porters available that can help tourists with their back packers while conquering mountains of the moon, the guides are also well trained and skilled in mountain climbing providing you with rich knowledge about the mountains and its diversity.
The Rwenzori mountains national park is a birder’s paradise being home to 217 species of birds recorded, 17 of the bird species can only be found within Rwenzori and nowhere else in the world. Some of the examples of birds found in Rwenzori national park include; Rwenzori batis, cinnamon chested bee-eater, barred long tailed cuckoo, Rwenzori turaco, handsome francolins, long eared owl, Archers robin chat, strange weaver bird, white stared robin, slender bellied starling, montane sooty boubou, bush shrike, blue headed sunbird, Regal sunbird and white stared bush robin to mention a few.
Ruboni Community Group
The foothills of the Rwenzori mountains are occupied by the Bakonzo was also known as Bakonjo people, the farming village of Ruboni is one of the communities you can visit while at Rwenzori mountains national park. The villages can show you how they go about their day to day activities plus learning how to weave baskets, how they use different plants for ailments and most of all enjoy the performance from the local traditional dancers who have many stories to tell of the ancient mountains.
Hiking & Guided Nature Walks
The nature guided walks and hikes in Rwenzori mountains can be done through Lake Mahooma and Buraco chimpanzee forest trail and Kicchamba trail. Nature walks give you spectacular views of the farmlands and settlements and you will meet various wildlife on the way especially primates not forgetting the different species of birds.
Tourists visiting Rwenzori Mountains National Park can sleep in Hotel Margherita, Katara lodge, Rwenzori International Hotel, tropical savannah guest house, equator snow lodge, and many more. Please note when hiking, you will sleep in shelters built within the hiking points.
When to go
The best time for visiting Rwenzori mountain national park is in the dry season on the months of June to August and December to February. These are the easiest months to climb up to the mountain because the trails are not muddy and slippery but it should be noted that even in the dry season rain can fall due to unpredictable weather changes. Tourists visiting Rwenzori mountains national park and intend to climb will have to bring along sleeved warm clothing, raincoats, jackets, carry water, energy snacks, good hiking boots, garden gloves, insect repellents, sunscreens and hats among others.
Mount Rwenzori national park can be reached from Kampala to Kasese within 5 and half hours, you can also fly in to Kasese and then drive to the park.