This park is situated in western Uganda on Uganda’s border with the Democratic Republic of Congo. It covers an expanse of 996 sq. kilometers and it is after the popular Mountain Rwenzori that this park was named. Mountain Rwenzori is also called –the Mountains of the Moon and is one of highest mountain ranges in Africa projecting to 5,109m. The Rwenzori has 6 main peaks that include Mt Speke at 4,890m, Mt Emin at 4,798m, Mt Luigi di Savoia at 4,627m, Mt Baker at 4,843m, Mt Gessi at 4,715m and Mt Stanley at 5,109m. The highest of all is the Mt.Stanley which is called Margherita peak that stands at 5,109m and this peak crowns the Rwenzori as the third highest range in the whole of Africa.
The Rwenzori Mountains are none volcanic but primarily old quartzite dissimilar to Africa’s 2 highest mountains that is the Kilimanjaro and Kenya Mountains. Although it is located close to the Equator, the mountain’s peaks have distinctive icy peaks that can be seen miles away from the mountain while in western Uganda. The mountain’s slopes are higher than 1,600m and are very safe for hikers who claim the Rwenzori to be the most challenging of all mountains in Africa.
The Rwenzori mountains are characterized by 5 distinctive vegetation covers among which are: the montane forest at 2000 to 3000m, Heather or Rapanea zone at 3000 to 4000m, afro-alpine moorland zone at 4000 to 4500m, bamboo or mimulopsis zone at 2500 to 3500m, and grassland at1000 to 2000m.
In addition, the park has a wide diversity of big mammals dwelling on the lower slopes. Among these are elephants, blue monkeys, duikers, chimpanzees, leopards, forest hogs, colobus monkeys and hyrax. The park is a stunning and one among the most significant birding area. Among the 195 recorded bird species in the park are the Francolins, mountain Buzzards, White-necked Raven, Olive Pigeon and Rwenzori Turaco together with a number of endangered species.
MOUNTAINS OF THE MOON- ACCESSIBILITY
You can reach the park by either road or air transport. For those in favor of air transport, a flight on a private plane can be organized for you up to Kasese and then proceed to the park by road. The Nyakalengija trailhead is located 22 kilometers from Kasese off FortPortal road. Transport can be organized in Kasese.
RWENZORI TOURIST ACTIVITIES
The main activity in this park is hiking . The hiking safari journey you through the different zones of vegetation up to the icy peaks. Alternatively shorter hiking trips can be organized although normal hikes usually last 7 days. Also nature walks are available to view the various animals and birds.
*Remember: the highest peak –Margherita should be hiked by experienced climbers.