Uganda

Rwenzori Mountains


This splendid world of ice and snow having a massive ice-rime sculptures and incredible vegetation takes about 100,000 ha in western Uganda and it consists of the largest part of the Rwenzori mountain chain containing Africa's third highest peak (Mount Margherita: 5,109 m) and (Alexandra 5,083). Because of the glaciers, waterfalls and lakes, Rwenzori mountain national park is regarded as Africa's most beautiful alpine areas. There are so many natural habitats of endangered species, rich and unusual flora comprising, among other species, the giant heather. It's regarded as the "Mountains of the Moon" and provides an environment for either the experienced climbers or casual day hikers. Rwenzori is a local name meaning the 'rain-maker' so there is an average annual rainfall of over 5m, and the ice-covered peaks are seen on a few days in the year. It's known for its challenging hiking and climbing possibilities, but the range supports diversity of animals, including 177 bird species and 70 mammals. And it's the only park where the Angola colobus has been seen.

The park is 25km from Kasese town. By road you come from Kampala via Mbarara then to Kasese. Usually a trip to Mountain Rwenzori takes about 6-7 days hiking through the "Central Circuit Trail". But in the case you would like to do a shorter trip, it can be possible and we can arrange it for you, but you don't reach the higher mountains. And it's advisable to hike during the dry seasons which are July and August and December through February.

Because of the afro-alpine vegetation which consists of gigantic lobelias and groundsels, there is provision of habitat to different animals like several primate species which include chimpanzee, black and white colobus, angola colobus and then mammals like giant forest hog, elephant, leopard bushbuck and hyrax. There are also unique birds to be spotted. The mountain has both wet and cold weather so you need warm clothes to put on especially in the night. In Uganda usually the dry seasons are from June to early September and from late December to early March but it can rain anytime in the year so you have to be prepared for that.

Accommodation facilities in Mt Rwenzori National Park are limited. While on the central circuit, you will use the huts which have bunk beds. But there are other accommodations in Kasese Town.

Hiking in the 'Mountains of the Moon'

There is the common central circuit trail which takes 7 days and it starts from Nyakalengija (1615m) and ends up in Nyabitaba (2651m). Besides the central circuit, there are peaks on the Mountains of the Moon.

Birding in Mt Rwenzori National Park

Rwenzori Mountain is also divided into different zones like the Forest zone which has the varied fauna and it's around 1800m. This zone consists of blue monkeys, aforementioned colobus, elephants, golden cat, servalline genet, chimpanzee, yellow-backed duiker and giant forest hog. It also has birds like rwenzori turaco, barred long-tailed cuckoo, long-eared owl, handsome francolin, cinnamon-chested bee-eater, archer's ground robin, white-starred forest robin, rwenzori batis, montane sooty boubou, lagden'bush shrike, slender-billed starling, blue-headed sunbird, golden-winged sunbird, strange weaver and other barbet, greenbul, apalis, illadopsis, flycatcher and crimsonwing.

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