RWENZORI MOUNTAIN NATIONAL PARK
Rwenzori Mountains National Park is located in southwestern Uganda on the east side of the western (Albertine) African rift valley. It lies along Uganda’s border with the Democratic Republic of the Congo’s Virunga National Park, also a UNESCO World Heritage Site, It covers districts like Bundibugyo, Kasese, and Kabarole.
With a height of 16700 above sea level, the mountain becomes the third highest in Africa and its highest peaks rise above the clouds and are permanently snow-capped. The mountain ranges are higher compared to the Alps and have glaciers which are one of the sources of the river Nile.
Margherita also known as the highest peak of the mountain ranges leads to its third position in the continent, together with its twin peak mount Stanley which is still within the park, as well as the 4th and 5th highest peak of Speke and Baker.
The eastern and central part is popularly known for its beautiful plant life coupled with glaciers, waterfalls, snowfields and a lot of mountainous vegetation, which has led to its identification as the most attractive alpine area in the world.
There are five distinct vegetation zones in the park, which change according to changes in altitude. It has 89 species of birds, 15 species of butterflies, and four primate species. The park’s wildlife varies with elevation, and its species include the forest elephant, chimpanzee, hyrax, black-and-white colobus, L’Hoest’s monkeys, duiker, and Ruwenzori turaco.
How to get to Rwenzori National Park
Rwenzori can easily be reached by either road or air. the first route plan takes about a 4 hours drive of 300km from Kampala, to Fort portal via Mubende and from Fort Portal to Kasese, while the second route option takes 6 hours to drive from Kampala, via Masaka to Mbarara through Bushenyi to Kasese, for a total distance of 350km.
The best time to Visit Rwenzori National Park
Visiting Rwenzori National Park can be done at any time of the year, but during dry months between June to August and from December to February
Things to do/ activities at the park.
Mountain Rwenzori is one of the prominent mountain climbing destinations in Uganda and Africa. The park showcases its 6 highest peaks and glaciers with Margherita being the highest at 5109m, followed by other peaks of Alexandria standing at 5083 meters, mount Stanley and speak at 4890 meters, Emin mountain at 4791m and Gessi Mountain Peaks.
Climbing to the highest peak, which is also snow caped takes about 7-9 days depending on one’s strength, fitness and the routes as climbers can choose between two routes, they pass through the trails consisting of gorgeous viewpoints, dramatic mountain passes, glacial lakes and lush valley.
Hiking and nature walks
You will enjoy your day hikes as you follow the trails of Mahooma lake and aurora chimp forest, through the communities of Kichamba and to the karangura ridge, via the Bwamba pass to the Bundibugyo area. The Ruboni and Turaco community also offers forest walks of various lengths just outside the park.
There are great opportunities for nature walks within the Central circuit zone including trails up to lake Mahooma and Buraro chimp forest. Visitors can follow river Mubuku, and glimpse views of Baker and Portal Peaks as they hike up t 2300mabove sea level. It’s possible to view the snow-capped Margherita peak on a clear day, and incredible sightings of chameleons, squirrels, vervet monkeys and a variety of bird species along your way.
Visit the konzo villagers at the foothills of the mountain and walk with them around their homesteads as they attend to their daily duties such as preparing food with the freshest ingredients, and tending to their crops and animals. They also have amazing entertainments such as; Cultural dances, and hearing their fascinating folklore not forgetting their traditional costumes
The park has camping, a good trail network and huts for hikers. The park has excellent trekking and climbing opportunities with spectacular views and unusual scenery. The most popular trek is a seven-day circuit of the park. These are two organisations that work on hiking the Mt Rwenzori National park. The old one. Rwenzori mountaineering services and The new Rwenzori Trekking services. Take a Self Drive Safari to Hike Mountain Rwenzori with a Rented Car from 4×4 Self Drive Uganda
The park was labelled by UNESCO as a key birding area, where about 217 species are found in the park with 17 of the species endemic to Rwenzori. These amazing birds will leave you captivated including; Cinnamon-chested Bee-eaters, robin-chat, sunbirds Handsome Francolin, Rwenzori Turaco, Long-eared Owl, Barred Long-tailed Cuckoo, Strange Weaver, Archers’ Robin-chat, Rwenzori Batis, White-starred Robin, Montane Sooty Boubou, Slender-billed Starling, Lagden’s Bush Shrike, Blue-headed Sunbird, Barbets, Golden-winged Sunbird, Greenbuls, IIladopsis, Apalises, Crimson wings and Flycatchers.
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