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Rwenzori Mountains National Park was established in 1991 covering an area of 995 square kilometers and recognized as a UNESCO world heritage site in 1994 because of its angelic looks. It protects the tallest mountain range in Africa covering 120km long and 65 km wide, including waterfalls, lakes and glaciers. The Rwenzori consists six different mountains Stanley, Speke, baker, Emin, Gessi and Savioa Mount Stanley stands with the highest peak magaharita 5019m third highest point in Africa.

The national park lies in the Albertine rift valley along Uganda’s border with the democratic republic of Congo near the Virunga national park, the Uganda mountain ranges are covered by Rwenzori while the part of DRC is covered by the Virunga.   The mountain was named mountains of the moon by Alexander geographer in the AD 150 he wrote about a snow capped mountain that lied in the heart of Africa and believed it was the source of the Nile, however over the centuries, it faded until henry Stanley emerged from central Africa and confirmed the mountain indeed existed.

Rwenzori Mountains National Park

The equatorial snow peaks include the highest peak in Africa, while the lower slopes are blanketed in the moorlands, bamboo and rich montane forest in fact the national park is more remarkable for its flora than the fauna an ascent of mountains passes through a series of increasingly beautiful vegetative zones above the bakonjo farm lands the plants are beautifully arranged, montane forest gives way to the bamboo, mingled together with mimulopsis, and a lovely heather rapenea zone characterized by beautiful colored mosses and the giant lobelia. Its home to elephants, giant buffalos, forest hogs’ bushbucks they are present but rarely seen, Rwenzori climbing mouse and the Rwenzori red duiker are endemic to this particular region and over 217 species of birds notably the Rwenzori turaco, malachite sunbirds as well.

Tourism activities participated in the national park include hiking, three routes ascend on to the Rwenzori most visitors concentrate on the central circuit the climbing should be timed during the dry season July – august and December to February it’s advisable to take a good quality sleeping bag, raingear, warm clothes especially socks the summit is very cold strong boots fitted with crampons are necessary. This is organized by the Rwenzori mountaineering services and starts at Nyakalengija taking you to seven days to descend, the kilembe trail enables 9 days’ expeditions to the summit of mountain Stanley. Forest walks and birding especially on the lower slopes of the national park they can be visited on a day walk from kilembe and Nyakalengija.

The climate of the Rwenzori is extremely cold and wet, rainfall is heaviest in the months of April to march, and august to December its commonly covered in mist from the snow it is among the less congested parks beautifully made, the real challenge in this park is to climb to the highest peak it not only gets you to this but takes you through an opportunity to see the superb mountain beauty covered by the equatorial snow and the eye catching vegetation.

Rwenzori Mountains National Park

Rwenzori national park is located in western Uganda accessed through Kampala-fort portal approximately 300km from the city center, chatter flights can be organized from Entebbe or kajansi Kampala to Kasese airstrip for easy access. Accommodation is available camping rooms at the central circuit in Nyakalenjia or better options in fort portal, Kasese and those nearby Queen Elizabeth National Park.

TOURISM ATTRACTIONS IN MOUNTAIN RWENZORI NATIONAL PARK

Mountain Rwenzori national park is located in the western part of Uganda it’s a glaciated mountain covering the longest mountain range in the country. It was gazette in the 1991 as national park and declared a UNESCO world heritage site by 1994. The mountain is the highest block mountain in Africa ranked third highest after the Kilimanjaro and mountain Kenya. It is popularly known as the mountains of the moon named by the alexandrine geographer Ptolemy who wrote about it in the 150AD. The land scape is bisected by the Uganda-Congo border passing through then highest point Stanley’s margherita peak(5109m) above sea level.

Wild life in the national park attracts a lot of travelers to the area, the park is home to 70 mammal species some of which are endemic to the region including Rwenzori climbing mouse, Rwenzori red duiker, other species are the elephants, buffaloes, hyrax, primates like the l’hoest monkey, chimpanzee, Angola monkeys, black and white colobus monkey and reptiles, the animals are present in the park although they are rarely seen.

The mountain is more recognized for its flora; the vegetation is diverse beautifully changing according to the different climatic zones. From the tropical rain forest, montane forest tree heathers afro-alpine, bamboo and an open community of botanical angelic flowers. The alpine is characterized by giant lobelia and other persistent plants where they are joined by wiry beautiful thickets of helichrysum also known as everlasting flowers. Mountain hikers have high chances of experiencing all these amazing vegetative zones.

Rwenzori Mountains National Park

The snowcapped peaks, the mountain has six peaks savioa(462m), mt. Gessi(4715m), mt. Emin(4789m), mt. Baker (4,843), mt. Speke (4,890), and mt. Stanley (5109m). covered in snow and glaciers these can be reached by hikers through the central circuit it takes 7 days ascending and descending the mountain with porters available to help in carrying heavy equipment during the hike. The Uganda wildlife authority provides experienced ranger guides to take you through the park area.

The beautiful land scape of Rwenzori presenting misty boggy and glacier caved valleys everlasting flowers angelically made and colored is eye catching in the national park. Over centuries the forest has been compared to other places of the world because of the stunning beauty there are rare strange plants that can only be got in Africa’s high mountain areas standing at very high altitudinal zones.

The lakes of Rwenzori mountains leave visitors surprised of existence in the national park, there are over 20 lakes including the Mahoma, Bujuiku among others, they are enjoyable to see and view as you get through the valleys of the six peaks which presents an opportunity to view the park at a higher view to down the valleys. The rivers with waterfalls and hots springs boosts with the Rwenzori region.

Cultural setups for example the Bulemba Bulemba houses with the remains of the historical king of the Rwenzururu kingdom. In the African traditional society places were ruled in kingdom ship each of which was run under chief dorms, the kind is believed to have saved the Bakonjo tribe from Batoro who belonged to the Toro kingdom.

The birds of the Rwenzori are over 200 species recorded 19 of which are endemic to the region the forest zone contains most of the birds including the Rwenzori turaco, long tailed owl, handsome francolin, Rwenzori batis, blue headed sunbird, strange weaver to mention a few, it is recognized as an important birding area.

The park is best visited in the drier months of December to February and June to august, it is a cold altitudinal environment and therefore advisable to wear warm clothes, well fitted boots, hand gloves rain gears, water proof covers for phones and cameras. There is available accommodation in the Uganda wild life authority camping sites and more in fort portal and nearby Queen Elizabeth National Park.

TOURISM ACTIVITIES IN MOUNTAIN RWENZORI NATIONAL PARK

Rwenzori national park is situated in the western part of Uganda covering the highest mountain range in Africa capped with snow, it was gazette in the 1991 and declared a UNESCO world heritage site by the 1994. the park is home to rare animal and plant species known for its flora than fauna, it is the highest block mountain in Africa third highest after Kilimanjaro and mountain Kenya. The alexandrine geographer Ptolemy wrote about the snowcapped mountain in the AD150 best known for being a source ton permanent rivers and lakes and best mountaineering activity.

Rwenzori national park is a popular destination for birding safaris, it was recognized as a very important birding area over 211 species have been recorded to date some of are endemic to the mountain region some of the species include bee eaters, malachite sunbirds, long eared owl, Rwenzori turaco, bearded vultures, black eagles, fly catchers, bamboo warblers, montane Rwenzori nightjar, green tinker bird, white collared olive black in order to enjoy a great birding experience, it is advisable to carry along a pair of binoculars most of the species are found in the forested areas above 2500m in altitude warm clothes are recommendable as well.

Hiking mountain Rwenzori begins at Nyakelengija most of the visitors follow the central circuit to enjoy the magnificent setting of the national park, the circuit is organized by the Rwenzori mountaineering services who provide a cook, guide, effective porters to help carry heavy equipment during the hike, these can be organized through a tour operator. Equipment can be rented it takes seven days to hike along the trail ascending and descending hiking the mountain is recognized to a world class of standards descends reward the most angelic views of the farm lands and the Virunga mountain ranges in the democratic republic of Congo passing through different vegetative zones lakes and rivers.

Forest nature walk on the slopes of mountain Rwenzori national park, it starts in the morning hours leading through to identify different animal and plant species, the forest has rare trees only in the high montane region of the area. Spotted are hyrax, buffaloes, black and white colobus monkey, Angola monkeys, its important tom look out for some reptiles like the three horned chameleon a rare kind of its own several birds have been seen and recorded in the forest towards the edge of the Albertine rift valley.

Cultural experiences in the mountain Rwenzori region there are trails exposing to the cultural centers these present an opportunity to visit local herbs men, black smith visitors learn how to make fire locally weave baskets among other communal practices. the Bulemba Bulemba houses with the remains of the historical king of the Rwenzururu kingdom believed to have saved the Bakonjo tribe from the operation of the Batoro. Visits to the center create an everlasting memory and experience.

Mountain Rwenzori is managed under the Uganda wildlife authority together with the Kibale forest national park, queen Elizabeth and Semiliki national park, it is strategically placed in the south western corner of Uganda attracting many visitors from the other national parks. It can be accessed from north via fort portal town or south through Mbarara to queen Elizabeth national park accommodation is in the parks campsite or the nearby fort portal town and the queen Elizabeth national park. Chatter flights can be organized to Kasese by the domestic flight companies in Kampala Kajansi or Entebbe.

WHERE TO STAY IN MOUNTAIN RWENZORI NATIONAL PARK

Mountain Rwenzori national park is located in the western part of Uganda it’s a glaciated mountain covering the longest mountain range in the country. It was gazette in the 1991 as national park and declared a UNESCO world heritage site by 1994. The mountain is the highest block mountain in Africa ranked third highest after the Kilimanjaro and mountain Kenya. It is popularly known as the mountains of the moon named by the alexandrine geographer Ptolemy who wrote about it in the 150AD. The land scape is bisected by the Uganda-Congo border passing through then highest point Stanley’s margherita peak(5109m) above sea level.

Accommodation in and around the national park ranges from the best budget tom luxury favoring every single traveler to the national park these include the equator snow lodge, Ihamba safari lodge, Ruboni community camp, Mihunga safari lodge, Rwenzori turaco view. Other more of the facilities are in the nearby by town of fort portal and queen Elizabeth national park.

Equator snow lodge is perfectly placed on an easy reach to mountain Rwenzori national park it is a luxurious facility at the foothills of the mountain surrounded by an exceptional environment of the Rwenzori mountain it works with a close collaboration of the Ruboni community and the Rwenzori mountaineering services. It is a beautifully furnished lodge with a team of very welcoming staff it has four angelic cabins well equipped with an inbuilt bathroom a working desk and guest private relaxed atmosphere conditions.it has a parking space, indoor fire place, well stocked bar and a restaurant serving three course meals on a daily basis.

Rwenzori turaco campsite is a community run camp in Mihunga village in the Rwenzori region the camp has seven rooms fitted with mosquito nets, guest enjoy meals on an onsite restaurant preparing more of Ugandan cuisines together with a well-stocked bar serving both alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks. It is one of the best budget facilities in the national park.

Mihunga safari lodge started operations in 2010 offering accommodation to travelers in Rwenzori forest national park, it is near the Nyakalengija village where most of the hikes and nature walks begin from especially those of the central circuit the lodge is basic budget accommodation facility owned and operated by the Rwenzori mountaineering services it is fitted with five cottages built with an en-suite bathroom a restaurant and a dining area.

Ruboni community camp offers a choice of accommodation to travelers operated by the local community its strategic location next to the park gate makes it prime location to stay for over 15 years it has been offering the best community tour services it is one of the oldest accommodation facilities in the community it has self-contained bandas and cottages and the un self-contained ones as well with an onsite restaurant preparing meals to your liking.

Accommodation is still scarce near the national park however there is an alternative in the queen Elizabeth national park for a wider choice or the nearby town of Fort portal.

BEST TIME TO VISIT RWENZORI NATIONAL PARK.

Mountain Rwenzori national park is located in the western part of Uganda it’s a glaciated mountain covering the longest mountain range in the country. It was gazette in the 1991 as national park and declared a UNESCO world heritage site by 1994. The mountain is the highest block mountain in Africa ranked third highest after the Kilimanjaro and mountain Kenya. It is popularly known as the mountains of the moon named by the alexandrine geographer Ptolemy who wrote about it in the 150AD. The land scape is bisected by the Uganda-Congo border passing through then highest point Stanley’s margherita peak(5109m) above sea level.

Most hikers wonder which is the best time to visit the Rwenzori national park, it has a very short dry season between June and august and December to February, it is during this time that one can have some on the best experiences of the national park. This time is a peak tourist season I may say as everyone’s target is this time in any other Ugandan national park. The Rwenzori rains come any time hence possibly expect showers they occur less frequently during the day and mostly in the night. Climbing peaks is done in the morning hours its best weather being between 8:00am and 2:00am the roads are passable and accessible during the dry months.

The wet season is most times of the year with popular thunder storms in the night at dawn and the afternoons. There are two wet long periods in march, May and November the weather is unpredictable in this time of the year it should be noted that there is no evergreen growth in mountain Rwenzori national park as most of the plants are covered in snow, a change in climate conditions does not leave the park changed it similarly stays the same. During this time, there are a few mountains climbers and one shouldn’t be taken by surprise to be the only one at the campsite. The rains of the Rwenzori fall at any time and usually come early.

Hiking Rwenzori Mountain in Uganda

Mountain Rwenzori can be visited anytime of the year; the weather of the park is wet characterized by fog at most times. It is advisable to buy warm clothes, well fitted boots, hand gloves, insect repellants, rain gears, and any other documents necessary for a hike to the mountains. The mountain is known for the best mountain hikes in Africa, mountain Rwenzori national park is managed under the Uganda wildlife authority together with the Kibale forest national park, Queen Elizabeth National Park and the Semuliki National Park.

There is available accommodation outside the national park including the equator snow lodge, Ruboni community camp, Mihunga safari lodge, Rwenzori turaco view and in the nearby town of fort portal and the queen Elizabeth national park. The park can be accessed from the north via fort portal town or south through Mbarara by road. Chatter flights can be organized Kasese and a connection to the national park. From Entebbe or Kampala Kajansi.

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