RWENZORI MOUNTAIN NATIONAL PARK

RWENZORI MOUNTAIN NATIONAL PARK

Rwenzori Mountains National Park guide –facts about Mount Rwenzori climbing, the different climbing routes, the best time, what to pack, accommodation and getting there, etc.

Mount Rwenzori National Park is one of Africa’s most visited destinations for mountain climbing. The park is home to the majestic Rwenzori Mountain ranges sitting on an altitude of 5109 meters. The legendary Mountains of the Moon are also a UNESCO World Heritage Site listed and feature 6 remarkable peaks.

Location of the park

The Rwenzori Mountains National Park is situated in Western Uganda at the border with the D.R. Congo. This park lies close to the Virunga National Park and it was established as a National Park in Uganda in 1991 and in 1994, it was recognized as a UNESCO site. Rwenzori Mountains NP occupies up to 996 sq.km and its boundaries stretch covering Bundibugyo, Kabarole and Kasese districts.

Its legendary Mountains of the Moon is the main attraction and has 6 mountain ranges including Mount Emin Pasha (4798m), Mount Stanley (5109m), Mount Speke (4890m), Mount Luigi Di Savoia (4627m), Mt. Gessi (4715m) and Baker Mountain (4843m). The peaks on Mount Rwenzori include Margherita (5109m)-the highest point, Alexandra, Albert and Mobius.

The Rwenzori Mountains is the main water catchment area featuring many rivers that flow down slopes feeding several other Lakes including Lake Edward and George. At the summits, there are glaciers, Lakes, valleys, and flora. Mt. Rwenzori is a block mountain range and one of a kind with glaciers on its summits. Its Margherita peak features 3rd highest in Africa with several of its peaks also ranked 4th and 5th highest.

About 20 Lakes exist on majestic mountain and features unique vegetation zones along its varying elevation ranges. The park’s distinct vegetation zones include groundsel, lobelia and heather.

Wildlife

Mount Rwenzori NP supports a variety of wildlife in its distinct habitats including 18 mammal species, 217 species of birds, 6 amphibians, 9 reptile species and more. The animal species to find on Uganda safari in Mount Rwenzori National Park include leopards, red-duikers, bushbucks, forest elephants, golden cats, mongoose, buffaloes, sitatungas, Uganda clawed frogs, three horned chameleons, rock hyrax; primates (chimpanzees, Rwenzori colobus monkeys, l’hoest monkeys, red-tailed monkeys, blue monkeys, olive baboons and more).

Birds

An estimate of 217 bird species exists in the diverse habitats in the park making it an important birding area. These include the Albertine rift endemics and other distinct species. The diverse birds to be spotted in the park include the Kivu ground thrush, dwarf honey guide, Queens turacos, Rwenzori collared bird, barred long-tailed cuckoos, collared apalis, red-faced woodland warblers, montane masked apalis, slender billed starling, strange weavers, illadopsis, cinnamon chested bee-eaters, archer’s robin chat, Montane sooty boubou, and more.

Safaris & activities to do in Rwenzori Mountains N. Park

Mountaineering

Mountain climbing is Rwenzori Mountains National Park’s leading safari adventure. It offers a remarkable opportunity to climbers to hike to the Margherita Peak and this is done along the two trials: the Central and Kilembe trails. A complete hike through Mount Rwenzori requires at least 9 days or more.

Nature walking/hiking

Nature walking is one of the amazing day hiking experiences you should expect on Rwenzori Mountains National Park safaris. Visitors trek around the foothills of legendary Rwenzori Mountain and there are trails to explore including the Lake Mahoma, & Buraro chimpanzee forest trail; the Ruboni and Turaco communities trails just outside the park or go hike around the Mubuku River.

Birding

Mount Rwenzori NP holds over 217 bird species and a birding tour here allows birders to encounter diversity of avifaunal species. They include cinnamon-chested bee-eaters, barred long-tailed cuckoo, Rwenzori turacos, Blue-headed sunbird, Rwenzori batis, strange weavers, Lagden’s bush shrikes, crimson wings, golden-winged sunbird, montane sooty boubou, handsome francolins, Archer’s robin chat, stripe breasted tit,

Red throated alethe, scarlet tufted malachite, African long eared owl, Montane Rwenzori nightjars, purple breasted sunbird, flycatchers, illadopsis, greenbuls, hawks and more.

Cultural encounters

A cultural experience in Mt. Rwenzori NP allows you visit the communities adjacent to the park. These include the Bakonzo communities and you will be exploring the different cultures, traditions and practices. Other areas of interest on a cultural walk include visiting the traditional healer and local blacksmiths. The other significant cultural trail is the Bulemba-Ihandiro taking you to the Bakonzo traditional museum.

When to visit Rwenzori Mountains NP for a trip holiday

The Rwenzori Mountains National Park is open to visitors all year long, although the most favorable time is the dry season. The dry season- the first phase starts from June to August, and the second begins from December to February.

Rwenzori Mountain NP accommodation options

The accommodation options include Mihunga Safari Lodge, Ruboni Community Camp, Trekkers Hostel, Hotel Margherita, Equator Snow Lodge, Rwenzori Turaco View Campsite, Rwenzori Backpackers, Sandton Hotel Kasese, Tours Holiday Inn, and Tropical Savanna Guesthouse.

Getting there

By road & air- the shortest route to Rwenzori Mountains NP takes about 300km and begins from Kampala via Mubende to Fort Portal and the longest 350km starting from Kampala through Masaka-Mbarara-Kasese. By air, take a chartered or scheduled flight from Entebbe International Airport (EBB) or Kajjansi airfield to Kasese airstrip.