Rwenzori Mountains National Park Uganda – (Things to do and see – Accommodation – Hiking)
Rwenzori Mountains National park also known as the ‘Mountains of the Moon’ is one of the best mountains to hike in Africa, offering the best mountaineering trekking opportunities that range from a one day trek to 9 days trek to get to the Margherita summit . Rwenzori Mountains National Park is found in Western Uganda, and it is one of Uganda’s UNESCO World Heritage Sites with stunning beautiful Rwenzori Mountain ranges that measure about 1,00km2 (386 square miles) boats having the third highest peak in Africa. What makes the Rwenzori Mountains even more spectacular, they are snow capped, and have lakes, waterfalls and glaciers that are sighted on the different trekking circuits. It should also be noted that the park is strategically located to other national parks in Uganda that include Queen Elizabeth National park, Kibale National Park, Bwindi Impenetrable National and Semliki National park giving a variety of activities.Bird’s Nest Safaris will help tailor make a perfect Uganda safari to include visiting these different national parks
Hiking Rwenzori Mountain peaks. Rwenzori Mountains Hiking to its peaks is perfect for the adventurous and getting to Margherita peak on one of the trekking excursions is an achievement compared to none. The hikes to Mountain Ruwenzori range from one day nature trails to 9 days that go up to Lake Mahooma, Lake Buraro chimpanzee forest, walks through Kichamba to Karangura plus a trek to Bundibugyo via Bwamba.
Trekker can also take the Mubuku River trail to have views of Mount Baker and Portal peaks at an altitude of 2,300 metres above sea level. The trails to the different peaks of Mountain Rwenzori offer visitors opportunities to see Vervet monkeys, Rwenzori chameleons, Duikers, Squirrels, forest elephants and buffalos, and different countless bird species.
Margherita Peak. Margherita Peak, at 5,119 m above sea level and at an altitude of 16,795 feet is the highest summit of the Ruwenzori Mountains Range in Uganda and the third highest in Africa, coming after Mount Kilimanjaro and Mount Kenya respectively.
Margherita peak was first hiked by a group of trekkers lead by Luigi Amedeo Abruzzi in 1906. It is named after Queen Margherita of Italy. It takes between 6 to 8 days to get to Margherita peak depending on the pace of the trekkers.
Mount Speke. Mount Speke is the second highest in the Rwenzori Mountain range. The peak was named after the first European explorer from Europe- John Speke who was following the Journey of the River Nile to find its source. Although he never hiked this beautiful peak, in 1862, he found the source of the White Nile. This range receives high rainfall which offers visitors views of water streams, Rivers and dense vegetation.
Together with Mount Baker and Mount Stanley, they form a triangle encircling the upper Bujuku Valley. The closest peak to Mount Speke is Mount Stanley and it has multiple jagged peaks. Summits that done this mountain peak are Vittorio Emmanuele (4,890m or 16,040 feet), Ensonga at 4,865m or 15,961 feet, Johnston at 4,834m or 1,860 feet and Trident at 4,572m or 15,000 feet above sea level. They named from the Italian royal family
Mount Baker on Rwenzori Mountain. Mount Baker is the 6th highest mountain in Africa standing at a height of 4,844 metres or 15,892 feet. It is locally known as Kiyanja and is located about 2.8km from the DRC boarder. Combined with Mount Speke and Mount Stanley, it forms a triangle enfolding the upper Bujuku Valley and it lies within an area of the ‘Mountains Of the Moon’
Austrian mountaineer RubertGrauer trekking along with two British missionaries, H. W. TegartAddox and H. E. M in January 1906, was the first trekkers to get to the top of Mount Baker
In the same year, around February and April, the same mountain was hiked by an English excursion mission including A. B. Wosnam, Alexander F. R. Wollaston and M. Carruthers. The uppermost summit of Mount Baker was at last ascended by an expedition headed by the Duke of the Abruzzi in June of 1906. This group hiked all the mountaintops of the other five top mountains of the Rwenzori.
On his expedition into the Ruwenzori in June 1891, Franz Stuhlmann saw the peak and named it either Ngemwimbi or Semper. It was renamed by Abruzzi after Samuel Baker, a British explorer who in 1864 was the first European to see and tour Lake Albert, found in the northeast of the Rwenzori Mountains, who was also reported to have sighted these stunning mountains from a distance, to the south of Lake Albert.
Mount Gessi. Mount Gessi is one of the six mountains that make up the Rwenzori range. Like Mount Emin, it is positioned north of the triangle shaped by Mounts Stanley, Baker and Speke. Mount Gessi stands at an altitude of 15,018 feet or 4,578 metres and ranks the 5th tallest mountain in Uganda.
Mount Gessi and Emin are on either side of a long slim gorge heading north-southwards. The twin peaks of Gessi are Iolanda (15,470 feet) plus Bottego (15,418 feet). Mount Gessi is elevated to rocky north-south edge with the upper peak being at the south end. This mountain is characterized with huts and decent tracks from both the DR Congo and Ugandan side. From Mutsori in Congo with numerous shanties preserved all through the Rwenzori.
Mount Luigi Di Savora. Mount Luigi di Savoia is the 6th highest mountain in Uganda and it is located near Margherita in the Rwenzori Mountain Ranges at a height of 14,885 feet / 4,537 metres about sea level.
Latitude: 0° 20′ 4.2″ (0.3345°) North,
Longitude: 29° 53′ 27.9″ (29.8911°) East
Average elevation: 4,537 metres or 14,885 feet
Mount Stanley. Mount Stanley stands at an altitude of 5,109 m or 16,763 feet and it stands out most from both sides of DR Congo and Uganda. It is the third highest peak in the whole of Africa with Kilimanjaro at 5,895 metres and Mount Kenya at 5,199 metres.
This peak and numerous other neighbouring peaks are in a higher altitude enough to upkeep glaciers. It was named after Sir Henry Morton Stanley.
Mount Stanley has two twin summits plus quite a lot of lower peaks. This mountain was first hiked by Duke of the Abruzzi, J. Petigax, J. Brocherel and C. Ollier in 1906.
First Hiked: 1906
First Climber: The Duke of the Abruzzi, Prince Luigi Amedeo
Mountain Range: Rwenzori Mountains
Birds of Rwenzori.
Mountain Rwenzori National Park is a birder’s paradise for travellers on a Uganda bird watching safari. There are about 241 bird species only 19 out these are known. Some of these birds are endemic to Rwenzori. There is ongoing research with new species being discovered every now and then.
There are two mammals that are endemic to this mountain range. One is the Rwenzori climbing mouse and the other is the Rwenzori red duiker.
The national park is home to forest elephants and buffalos. Forest elephants and buffalos are smaller and more aggressive than their counterparts the savannah elephants and buffalos which are found in most national parks in Uganda
Primates in Rwenzori national park include the chimpanzees which are man’s closet cousins, sharing 98.7% DNA with man. Other primate species are black and white colobus and the handsome L’Hoest’s monkey.
Three Horned Rwenzori Chameleon.
The three-honed chameleon, also known as Johnston’s chameleon is endemic to Uganda, Rwanda and Democratic Republic of Congo. In Uganda, this interesting specie is found in Rwenzori National park, Mgahinga Gorilla national park and in Bwindi Impenetrable national park. The male chameleons have three horns while the female doesn’t have them. In the Rwenzori, you will see a number of them as they camouflage according to the surrounding colours and temperature
Route Access to Rwenzori Mountains
By Air transport
Rwenzori Mountains National Park is found in south western Uganda in the districts of Kasese and Bundibugyo. It is easily accessed from Entebbe Airport and or Kampala through Aero Link– our partners.
By road Transport;
It is easily accessed from Entebbe or Kampala through Mityana, Mubende, Fort portal, Kasese up to the Mountains. It is the shortest route
The second route is from Entebbe or Kampala via Masaka, Mbarara, Bushenyi through Queen Elizabeth National Park, Kasese and finally to the Park. This is a longer route but the road is paved. This route is great for visitors who want to combine some wildlife safari activities in either Lake Mburo or Queen Elizabeth National Park with a hiking adventure to Mountain Rwenzori.
What to bring for Mountain Rwenzori Hike
It is very important for travellers ready to hike Mountain Rwenzori to be very fit and consider some of the basic requirements
Carry the right footwear. One needs proper hiking boots since some trails are very wet and boggy. Bring nice fitting hiking boots that provide support, grip and stability to the ankle
Handy oxygen supplies to help lessen altitude sickness: In case of sever headache or other indicators of high altitude sickness; try to go downhill at least 3,000 feet instantly for medication
The right hiking gear: It is very important for one to come with the right hiking gear to make the trekking an unforgettable experience. Bring outfits that don’t restrict your movements and those that are water proof
Hiking poles: These help you retain your balance as you hike through a rough topography.
Sun glasses to keep your eyes out of the sun
Sun screen since the higher you go the more penetrating the sun rays get
Water: Bring water to keep hydrated since you may sweat more as you hike
Food: Food and water are always included in the package paid to the mountaineering services through Bird’s Nest Safaris
Back pack: Bring that fits very well
Camera: Bring a good camera to capture your memories
There are a number of accommodations around Rwenzori Mountain National park for every visitor. There are several hotels in Kasese town, which is the nearest town to the Mountains. These are;
- Hotel Margherita
- White Horse
- Springs International hotel
- Ruboni Community camp
- Sandton Hotel
- Marafiki Safari Lodge
- Ruwenzori View Guest House