Rwenzori Mountains National Park – Climbing, Wildlife, Accommodation

Rwenzori Mountains National Park, 996 square kilometers, protects the slopes of the Rwenzori Mountains which run for 120 km along the DR Congo border and are 65 km wide. The Rwenzori is the highest mountain range in Africa, with six glacial peaks: Mount Stanley, Mount Speke, Mount Emin Pasha, Mount Gessi, Mount Luigi da Savoia, and Mount Baker. The main peaks Margherita (5109m) and Alexandra (5083m), are exceeded elsewhere in Africa only by Kilimanjaro and Mount Kenya.

A designated World Heritage Site, the Rwenzori Mountains are by far the most beautiful mountain range in Africa. The peaks are covered with snow, glaciers, and ragged slopes have forest, rare mountain vegetation, a range wildlife, crystal clear mountain streams and lakes,

Wildlife of Rwenzori Mountains National Park

The vegetation along the Rwenzori Mountain is divided by several altitude zones: forest zone (1800m – 2500m), the bamboo forest (up to 3000m), the heather and Alpine zones (3000m – 4500m), with forests of giant heather plants, giant lobelias, and groundsels.

The park has 70 mammal species recorded including elephants, golden cat, chimpanzee, and yellow-backed duiker, and 177 birds, especially Albertine Rift endemics.

Activities to do in Rwenzori Mountains National Park

Climbing and trekking the Rwenzori

The Rwenzori are one of the best mountain climbing and hiking destinations in the world. Though Mt. Kenya and Kilimanjaro are higher, the Rwenzori ranges offer more challenging and exciting climbing and climbing. There are number of trails for both short hikes in the lower areas of the park and long treks to the snow capped peaks.

The most popular trail is the Central Circuit which was rated the best mountain climbing trail in Africa and 9th in the world. It takes up to 8 days (7 nights) to cover the Central Circuit, but with experience and fitness it can be done in as few as 4 days (3 days). The central circuit allows to see closely the main mountains, Speke, Baker, Stanley, Savoia, with possible climbing up to the peaks including Margherita 5109 meters. The circuit also offers experience of five different vegetation zones, from tropical rainforest and the bamboo zone up to the alpine area and the glaciers.

Other Rwenzori climbing and hiking trails include:

The Kilemba trail, that too is covered in 8 days (7 nights) including the option to reach the Margherita peak.

The Chimpanzee trail, for a 1 day trek of 6 hours

The Mahoma loop of 28 km for a 3 day (2 nights) trek

The best time for climbing the Rwenzoris is during the dry months of Dec – Feb and June – August.

Birdwatching

Birding the Rwenzoris provides 17 of the 24 Albertine Rift endemics, and 59 of the 88 Afro-tropical Highlan biome species that have been recorded in Uganda. The most sought after bird is the beautiful Rwenzori Turaco.

Village walks

Set out for a walk in the Ruboni village in the foothills of the Rwenzoris to experience the way of life of the Bakonjo tribe who have long lived on and around the Rwenzori Mountains. It is the Bakonjo which gave the mountains the name “Rwenzori” which can be translated loosely to mean “rain maker”. Many of their beliefs, traditions and customs evolved from the mystery of mountain ranges.

During the village walk you will meet the village blacksmith, the medicine man, storyteller, women crafts makers, and farmers.

Accommodation

Budget: Ruboni Community Camp

Luxury: Equator Snow Lodge

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