Rwenzori Mountains

Rwenzori Mountains

Rwenzori Mountains is dubbed as mountains of the moon because of its mountain ranges. It lies on eastern equatorial African between the border of Uganda and Central Republic of Congo (DRC). In Uganda it is found in the south western region and covers four districts which include: Kabarole, Ntoroko, Kasese and Bundibugyo.   It was established as Rwenzori Mountains National Park in 1991 and designated as 1994 by UNESCO as a World Heritage. It has Margherita peak at 5,109 meters (16,762 feet) on Mt. Stanley the third highest in Africa after Mt. Kilimanjaro and Mt. Kenya.

The Rwenzori has five rich vegetation zones that ranges from grassland, mountain forest, Bamboo, heather through the alpine meadows to the snow. It is known for its unique species and varieties of giant groundsel and lobelia and has tall tree heathers covered in moss which makes it a park with some rare vegetation in the world.

The park is 120km long and 48km wide.  It has over 70 mammals rarely seen including Elephants, Buffaloes, forest hog,  Chimpanzees, the Rwenzori otter and leopard, primates such as ( colubus Angola, black and white, blue monkeys) antelopes, and reptiles. 217 bird species such as Bee- eaters, Robins, sunbirds, barbets, bearded vultures, long eared owl, swifts and black eagles.

The mountain is a home to three horned chameleons also known as the Jacksons three horned chameleons.  Like any other chameleon, these Jackson’s three horned chameleons also camouflage depending on the temperature or any other condition at hand, they can turn their color green or brown as the situation dictates.

The range has six massifs separated by a deep gorges.  The highest being mount Stanley at 5109M, Speke at 4890m and Baker at 4843m, and are permanently snowcapped and glacier.  Snow points can be reached by hiking the central circuit and Kilembe trails. This makes it one of the world’s class mountaineering and hiking destinations.

The Mountains has over twenty lakes in the National Park and lowest and most accessible is Lake Mahoma in bird rich forest on the central circuit. Then Bujuku Lake that lies at the head of the deep, glacier carved Bujuku valley in the shadow of Mt. Stanley, Baker and Speke. In the Nyamwamba valley we can also see a string of eight more lakes.

 

Cultural activities and beliefs:  Bulemba houses the remains of Rwenzururu’s 1st King Isiah Mukirania Kibazanga, who is believed to have saved the Bakonzo from Batooro oppression. Each year on 2nd September, every Mukonzo attends the pilgrimage to the revered site to make sacrifices.   Discover the farming methods in the village of Ruboni in the foothills of the Rwenzoris home of over 2000 Bakonzo. Walk with the villagers as they showcase their daily activities ranging from cooking, baskets weaving, storytelling, and meet the blacksmith, traditional healer (omuhima) and lastly enjoy their vibrant cultural dance accompanied by drum beats.

Accessibility

The park can be reached through Kampala – Fort Portal Road (375KM) or Via Mbarara through Queen Elizabeth NP (450KM) by road

By air from Entebbe or Kajjansi to Kasese or Semuliki airstrip

 

Activities

  • Rwenzori mountaineering
  • Nature Walk
  • Cultural encounters

 

Suggested itinerary

7 – 8 days mountaineering Itinerary

Day 1 Nyakalengija to Nyabitaba camp

Start with orientation, move through homesteads and enter the National Park, the trail moves under tree canopies, cross rivers, view monkeys, different birds, butterflies, squirrels, ascend along the Panga ridge and take an overnight at Nyabitaba in the forest zone.  It takes 4 hours.

Day 2 Nyabitaba to John Maate camp

After breakfast, slope to Mubuku Bujuku confluence, cross on Kurt Sheifer bridge, ascend into the bamboo zone, have lunch at Nyamuleju old camp, move further under bearded trees and take an overnight at John Maate camp in the heather zone. It takes 6 hours.

Day 3 John Maate to Bujuku

Slope and cross Bujuku River, the lower and upper bigo bogs on walk boards, ascend to Bujuku Lake, move along it and take an overnight at Bujuku valley camp.  It takes 3 hours.

 

Day 4 Bujuku to Elena hut

Cross Bujuku bogs, ascend to the ladders and to Omukendege, take the trail on the right, ascend along streams from Margherita glacier to the bare rock and spend a night at Elena hut.  It takes 3 hours.

Day 5 Elena to Margherita peak and to Kitandara camp.

Start at 4:00am, cross Stanley plateau and Margherita glacier, ascend to the top of Margherita peak 5109 m, descend through Elena hut, Scot Elliot pass and spend a night at Kitandara camp. It takes 7 hours.

 

Day 6 Kitandara to Guy Yeoman camp

Ascend to fresh fields, pass viewing Mt. Stanley in the north and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) in the west, and slope through the Bujongoli rock shelters and Kabamba waterfalls and then spend a night at Guy Yeoman camp.  It takes 4 hours.

 

Day 7 Guy Yeoman camp to Nyabitaba camp and out of the National park

Cross the bog the bog to Kalyarupia land slide and Kitstutsu rock shelter.  Cross Mubuku River to Nyabitaba camp. Completing the central circuit trail. Have lunch and descend out of the national park by late afternoon or spend a night and leave the next day.

Please note:  We can also plan for less days than 8:   1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 day packages.