Rwenzori Mountains National Park
At more than 5,000 meters high, the Rwenzori Mountain ranges are the highest in Africa. Rwenzori Mountains National Park is the most known Uganda hiking safari destination a reason as to why it’s associated with the slogan “mystical challenge”.
Rwenzori Mountains National Park also locally known as the Mountains of the moon is a UNESCO heritage site lying in western Uganda along the border with the Democratic Republic of Congo. The Uganda safaris destination of Rwenzori Mountains National Park inhabits several flora and fauna species and here are details of the latest important information about the park;
Location of Rwenzori Mountains National Park Uganda
The fabled Rwenzori Mountains lie in western Uganda along the Uganda – Congo border in Kasese district. The park covers about 996 square kilometers and is a world class hiking or mountaineering destination. Mountain Rwenzori where the park is located has the highest point at 5,109m above sea level on Mt Stanley’s Magherita peak. The Rwenzori Mountains are not volcanic and just a block formed after the western rift was uplifted.
The peak forms the third highest point in Africa bisected by the border with the Democratic Republic of Congo. A nine to twelve days hike can get a skilled hiker to the peak of Mountain Rwenzori during their hiking safari in Uganda.
History about Rwenzori Mountains National Park Uganda
The park was first gazette in 1991 and later on recognized as a World Heritage Site in 1994 then later on a Ramsar site in 2008. The Rwenzoris were named the “Mountains of the Moon” by the Alexandrine geographer Ptolemy in around AD 150. The park was later on placed on the map by 24th May 1888 by explorer Henry Stanley and labeled “Ruwenzori”, a local name that referred to “rain maker”.
Best time to visit Rwenzori Mountains National Park Uganda
For hikers, the best time to go hiking Mountain Rwenzori is during the presumably drier months of June – September and December – February. During the dry months, the roads to the park are dry and passable. Hiking is easier too because the trails are less wet compared to during the rainy season.
However, being a high altitude destination temperatures remain low compared to other destinations in the country with peaks covered in mist and the best peak climbing time being early morning between 7:00am – 10:00am when thunder storms are less.
Getting there / how to get to Rwenzori Mountains National Park Uganda
Getting to Rwenzori National Park is possible either by road or Air. Road distance is time costly but less price costly and Air transport helps lessen travel time but still is much costly financially. Here is how to get to Rwenzori Mountains National Park either by road or by air;
From Kampala, the park trail head at Ruboni can be reached after about 375km road drive from the north via Mubende – Fort Portal road.
Using the other route via Mbarara road, the park is about 450km away. Though more distant and with several drive hours, this route takes tourists past the equator line, where they can actually stop for photography, then continue past Lake Mburo National Park as well as Queen Elizabeth National Park.
For tourists arriving from Rwanda, you can get to Rwenzori National Park after a road drive of 256km which is less than from Uganda’s capital- Kampala. If you don’t like long road drives, then this is the best option.
Chartered flights can be arranged for tourists arriving for Uganda safari through Entebbe International Airport. The flights by Aerolink Uganda last about 1h 45min to Kasese Airstrip.
Your Route to Rwenzori Mountains National Park Uganda
Attractions in Rwenzori Mountains National Park Uganda
The Rwenzori ranges are a scenic spot and very beautiful to visit. Mountain Rwenzori has different peaks with the highest Mt Stanley at 5,109m above sea level, Mt Speke at 4,890m and Mt Baker at 4,843m above sea level. The peaks are snow capped and very beautiful to just glimpse at as you marvel at the beauty in the Pearl of Africa. With changes on the climate and global warming the peaks are melting off their snow though at a slow rate.
With a fairy tale setting the Rwenzori Mountains has almost the best vegetation cover in Uganda and more popular for its flora. The mountains have different vegetation types on different altitudes with the lower slopes being blanketed in Moorland, bamboo and rich, moist montane forest. The ranges are covered with big size forms of rare lobelia varieties and also heather and groundsel, colored mosses, gnarled trees with the lichens curtaining the place.
Birds in Mountain Rwenzori
Uganda bird watching tours are actually rewarding when it comes to Rwenzori Mountains National Park. Within the boundaries of the park are known to be about 217 bird species including 18 of the 24 Albertine Rift endemic bird species. The park also has 60 of 86 Afro tropical highland biome species, the second highest after Bwindi Impenetrable National Park. Some of the beautiful bird species that can be sighted in the park include the Rwenzori Turaco, Golden-winged Sunbird, Stuhlmann’s Double-collared Olive-back, Bamboo Warbler, and Scarlet-tufted Malachite Sunbird.
What to do / Activities in Rwenzori Mountains National Park Uganda
1. Hiking Mountain Rwenzori
Mountaineering or hiking is definitely the popular Uganda safari tour activity when it comes to Rwenzori Mountains National Park. Hikers can choose two scenic routes to the top of Mountain Rwenzori passing glacial lakes, lush valleys and gorgeous view point. The different hike trails include;
The central circuit trail: This trail offers a circular seven days climb tour to the high Rwenzori starting from the trail head at Mihunga. The trail ascends the Bujuku valley via Nyabitaba for adjustment before reaching the peak. For hikers who opt to join the central circuit after Bujuku, you traverse the Scott Elliot and Fresh field passes to descend through the Mubuku Valley.
Kilembe trail: The Kilembe trail ascends the Rwenzori Mountain in the southern slopes from a trail head at Kilembe near the town of Kasese. This trail goes along the lovely Nyamwamba valley passing glacial lakes and some stunning view points before joining the central circuit at Lake Kitandara.
Note; The Uganda Wildlife Authority managed trails for Mountain Rwenzori trekking are Foreign non residents: 50 USD, Foreign residents: 50 USD and East Africans: 50,000 UGX
2. Birding in Mountain Rwenzori
Being host to about 217 bird species, hosting 18 of the 24 Albertine Rift endemic bird species Uganda birding tours to the park are amazing. The park also has 60 of 86 Afro tropical highland biome species, the second highest after Bwindi Impenetrable National Park. Some of the beautiful bird species that can be sighted in the park include the Rwenzori Turaco, Golden-winged Sunbird, Stuhlmann’s Double-collared Olive-back, Bamboo Warbler, and Scarlet-tufted Malachite Sunbird.
3. Cultural encounters in Rwenzori Mountains National Park
The people around Mountain Rwenzori are amazing and peaceful to visit. A cultural tour to the villages helps understand the lifestyle of the local people. Just at the foothills of Rwenzori Mountain, you can see cultural dances, traditional customs and hear their fascinating folklore.
Uganda safari packages to Rwenzori Mountains National Park Uganda
8 Days Rwenzori Mountains hiking trip is a hiking tour in Uganda to Rwenzori Mountains National Park for hikers on Uganda safaris. Rwenzori Mountains National Park is host to the highest peak of Rwenzori mountain ranges with the Magherita peak at 5109m above sea level. The 8 days trail hike takes hikers to the central circuit and reach the peak of Magherita. Read More
10 Days Rwenzori Mountains hiking safari Uganda is a hiking tour in Uganda to Rwenzori Mountains National Park for hikers on Uganda safaris reaching to the Magherita peak using the central circuit. Rwenzori Mountains National Park is host to the highest peak of Rwenzori mountain ranges with the Magherita peak at 5109m above sea level.Read More