The Rwenzori are relatively unexploited and rarely visited, and thus a visit here provides an unparalleled opportunity to explore East Africa’s mountain wilderness.
The legendary mist-covered Rwenzori Mountains lie along Uganda’s western border with the Democratic Republic of Congo, and are sometimes referred to as the ‘Mountains Of The Moon’. Rwenzori Mountains national park was proclaimed a World Heritage Site in 1994 in order to protect the natural beauty, flora and fauna of the area and the important watershed for the many lakes of the region.
Today, the park is managed by the Uganda Wildlife Authority in cooperation with the local community under an agreement with the Rwenzori Mountaineering Service, whereby local guides and porters are sourced from the adjacent areas to provide services for trekkers.
As the highest mountain range in Africa, climbing the Rwenzori used to be almost as popular with travelers as Mt Kilimanjaro and Mt Kenya. They definitely offer a more demanding climb. There are two main trekking routes available which follow the Bujuku and Mubuku rivers, on the eastern side of the mountains. These can be combined to create a challenging circular trek through the heart of the range. Treks can range from 3 – 10 days, depending on the trail chosen. Special equipment is required for those intending to climb to the peaks. Day hikes are also an option.
What to see and do in the Great Rwenzori Mountains
The Rwenzoris are especially noted for their dense vegetation consisting of a luxuriant forest with abundant flowering plants and the largest and most extensive stands of alpine ‘big game plants’ in East Africa. The park has a wide variety of plants across five distinct vegetation zones. Here the giant lobelias and groundsels are even larger than on the other major East African mountains.
Recent reports show some 150 species of trees and shrubs, 85 mammals, 217 species of birds, 60 invertebrates (of which 25 are new to science), 78 butterflies and 41 moths plus 338 moss and 83 lichen species.
Mammals found here include tree hyraxes, blue monkeys, black-and-white colobus, black-fronted duikers and the red duikers. The Rwenzori Mountain National Park has three endemic mammals — Rwenzori duiker, Rwenzori Otter shrew and Rwenzori Colobus monkey. The IUCN Red List of threatened animals includes the Rwenzori duiker, the elephant, the chimpanzee and the Rwenzori Otter shrew.
Excellent bird watching features conspicuous Regal and Purple-breasted Sunbirds, Francolins, Olive Pigeons and Rwenzori Turacos.
Where to stay in Rwenzori
For mountain Climbers, a variety of accommodations are made available for you ranging from high end facilities, these offer first class premium serves to guest especially those that wish to spend a luxurious lifestyle while on holiday. The mid range facilities are as well available, these offer moderate service to their guest and they are very affordable. For visitors that wish to spend less on accommodation, staying at budget facilities is very ideal, these offer are very safe, clean and with good food
- Hotel Margherita – mid-market
- Equator Snow Lodge-up market facility
- Ruboni Community Bandas – budget
- Rwenzori Base Camp Guest House – budget
- Rwenzori Mountaineering Services Huts – budget
- Rwenzori international Hotel mid facility