Mt Rwenzori national park is dominated by Mount Rwenzori also called Mountains of the Moon. The mountain was christened by the world’s famous geographer called Alexandrine in AD 150. The park was gazetted in 1991 after good time with its uniqueness the park was recognised as a World Heritage site in 1994. Later in 2008 the park was also listed as Ramsar site. The mountain is the major attraction at the park. The Mountain is a block mountain unlike the majority of East African mountains that are volcanic mountains. The mountain was upfaulted through the Western Rift Valley.
The main aim of gazetting the park was to protect the highest parts of the mountain which is covering 120 kilometers long and 65 kilometers wide. This is the Rwenzori mountain range. The park hosts more wildlife which include 70 species of mammals and over 217 species of bird including 19 Albertine rift endemics. The park hosts the world’s rarest vegetation type found in the area. The mountain has one of the most attractive Alpine areas not only in Uganda but the entire world. The flora species differ according to the altitude from the rain forests down at the foothills of the mountain to the glacier at the peak. In the middle are bamboo and alpine vegetations.
The highest point at the mountain is Margherita peak which is 5,109meters above sea level. Other peaks like Stanley are shared by both Uganda and DR Congo. The popularity of the park was witnessed in 1888 24th May when the explorer Henry Stanley placed the mountain on the world map. He wrote it as “Ruwenzori” which is the local spelling and the name which means “Rain Maker” or the “Cloud-King”
In records in 2010 we saw the oldest person of 78 years lady called Ms Beryl Park hiked to Margherita peak and she successfully finished it.
Mt Rwenzori is a world-class hiking and mountaineering destination which provides great challenge to world hikers. To reach the peak of Margherita depends on the hikkers experience as well as physical fitness. Some take from 7 days to 12 days to hike to reach the summit.
Location of Mt Rwenzori national park
Mt Rwenzori national park lies in the western part of Uganda along the Uganda-DR Congo border. Its 437 kilometers from the capital city of Uganda through good tamac through Masaka -Kasese. The drive takes from 5 to 6 hours drive from Kampala to Mt Rwenzori national park. You can access the park through two main entries: Through Nyakalengija central circuit and the other is through Kilembe trail. When having limited time you may not need to spend much time driving from Kampala to Kasese. You can use our scheduled flights from Kajansi or Entebbe international airport to Kasese airstrip. The mountain is located along the equator but it has permanent snow on its peak. The peaks found at the mountain include: Mount Speke, Mount Baker, Mount Stanley, Mount Emin Pasha and Mount Luigi da Savoia.
Mountain Climbing is the key activity done in Mt Rwenzori national park, the block mountain is a key attraction at the park. Its miracle mountain which is located along the equator but has permanent snow on top. The hike takes between 6 to 10 days depends on the hikers experience and physical fitness. Keen climbers can choose from two scenic routes to the top of the Rwenzoris – the third highest peak in Africa! Glacial lakes, spectacular viewpoints, scenic mountain passes and green valleys are crossed by the trails.
The Central Circuit Trail: A circular tour of the high Rwenzori offers this challenging, seven-day ascent. The path ascends the Bujuku valley via Nyabitaba from the trailhead at Mihunga for acclimatization before reaching the peaks. After Bujuku, clients entering the Central Circuit can cross the passes of Scott Elliot and Freshfield to descend through the Mubuku Valley. Climbers may climb the snow peaks, but many consider their efforts to be sufficient incentive for the outstanding scenery.
The Kilembe Trail: The newly reopened Kilembe Trail ascends from a trailhead at Kilembe near the town of Kasese to the southern slopes of the Rwenzori. Before entering the Central Circuit at Lake Kitandara, the road passes glacial lakes and some spectacular viewpoints along the lovely Nyamwamba Valley. Though the scenery makes shorter treks satisfying enough, the regular route scales Mount Baker.
However not much sound at Mt Rwenzori national park, the park hosts over 217 species of birds. The dominant bird species are the montane forest birds and few species that can leave in high altitude areas. Birding is well achieved here due to the silent environment that makes the birds to be free most of their time hence easily seen. The rare bird species are also seen like the Long-eared Owl, Rwenzori Turaco, Bearded Vultures, swifts and others. Birding is best done any time of the year due to the cool environment. The evergreen canopy at the base of the mountain gives an added advantage to the birds’ peaceful moments.
The park is surrounded by the locals with different cultures that have organised themselves through an Association. The Bakonzo villagers stay just at the foothills of the Rwenzori Mountains. They have unique culture like carrying all items using the rope tired at the head. They perform different cultural dances using traditional costumes. Meet and enjoy a colorful dance performance followed by energetic drumming with the blacksmith, traditional healer, basket weavers and storytellers.
Alternatively, you will be guided by your guide along the rocky Mubuku River. In the local language of Lukonzo, Ruboni means clear water, and you’ll follow this crystal clear stream, passing by villagers carrying crops and wood.