Uganda Destinations Rwenzori Mountains National Park
The Rwenzori Mountains, also known as the Moon Mountains, are located in western Uganda, near the Uganda-Congo border. The third highest point in Africa is found on the equatorial snow peaks, while the lower slopes are covered in moorland, bamboo, and lush, moist montane forest. Giant lobelias and “everlasting flowers” are draped across the mountainside with huge tree-heathers and colorful mosses, creating an enchanting, fairytale scene.
The highest parts of the 120-kilometer-long and 65-kilometer-wide Rwenzori mountain range are protected by the Rwenzori Mountains National Park. There are 70 mammals and 217 bird species in the national park, including 19 Albertine Rift endemics, as well as some of the world’s rarest vegetation.
The Rwenzori Mountains are a premier hiking and mountaineering destination in Africa. Skilled climbers can reach the summit of Margherita, the highest peak, in nine to twelve days, though shorter, non-technical treks are possible to scale the surrounding peaks.
Nature walks, homestead visits, cultural performances, and accommodation, including home-cooked local cuisine, are available in neighboring Bakonzo villages for those who prefer something a little less strenuous.
PARK AT A GLANCE
- Size: 996km2
- The park was gazetted in 1991 and was recognized as a World Heritage site in 1994 and Ramsar site in 2008.
- Highest point: 5,109m above sea level on Mt Stanley’s Margherita Peak. Mt. Stanley is bisected by the border with DR Congo.
- The Rwenzori is not volcanic like East Africa’s other major mountains but is a block of rock upfaulted through the floor of the Western Rift Valley.
- The Rwenzoris were christened the “Mountains of the Moon” by the Alexandrine geographer Ptolemy in AD 150.
- The explorer Henry Stanley placed the Rwenzori on the map on 24th May 1888. He labelled it ‘Ruwenzori’, a local name which he recorded as meaning “Rain-Maker” or “Cloud-King.”
- The oldest recorded person to reach Margherita Peak was Ms Beryl Park aged 78 in 2010.