Rwenzori Mountains National Park- Uganda Hiking SafarisKasese, Western Uganda
Uganda is known to have different landscapes and vegetation cover, with average hiking peaks in Uganda , Uganda ranks among the top destination to be visited for Hiking trips like the Mountain Elgon hiking tour, Rwenzori hiking Safaris & virunga Mountains that are known as the home for mountain gorilla which creates a safari add on for hikers that […]
Uganda is known to have different landscapes and vegetation cover, with average hiking peaks in Uganda , Uganda ranks among the top destination to be visited for Hiking trips like the Mountain Elgon hiking tour, Rwenzori hiking Safaris & virunga Mountains that are known as the home for mountain gorilla which creates a safari add on for hikers that select to visit Rwenzori mountains to enjoy gorilla trekking .
Mountain Rwenzori is known as one of the tallest mountains in Africa after mount Kilimanjaro and Mount Kenya and it’s sometimes referred to as the mountain of the moon. Rwenzori mountains national park is located in the southwestern part of Uganda on the side of the western Albertine African rift valley being established in 1991 and was named a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1994 because of its exceptional natural beauty. It borders the democratic republic of Congo and the congo virunga national park, the park is shared by three districts including Bundibugyo, Kabarole and Kasese about 5-6 hours drive from the capital city Kampala.
Rwenzori national park derives its name from the Rwenzori Mountains, and it is a snow caped mountain deep in Africa named ‘’mountains of the moon’’ named by the Alexandrine Geographer in AD 150. The park can also be reached by air from Entebbe to Kasese air field which can take about 2 hours from here you will meet your tour guide who will transfer you to your per-booked accommodation or to the park headquarters in Nyakalenjija village along the Mubuku valley.
The alpine highland of glaciers, snowfields, hot springs and blue cirque lakes make Rwenzori one of Africa’s most beautiful mountain peaks in Africa. The park has Almost 1,000 km2 (386 sq mi) in size; it has the highest peak and many waterfalls, lakes, and glaciers. The park is known for its beautiful plant life. with over 6 glacial peaks including; Margherita, Mt.Stanley (5,109m), Albert peaks (5.101 m), Mt Speke (4,890m) Mt Baker (4,843m), Emin (4,798m), Mt Gessi(4,715m) and Mt Luigi di Savoia (4,627m), a visit to these mountains as well as a hike up to the slopes is one of the most thrilling experiences you can ever have and the shortest hike can be 7 Days Rwenzori Hiking tour for speedy travelers yet for elder it can be 8 Days rwenzori Mountaineering Tour with the experienced porters and rangers guides.
Preparation for Rwenzori Hikers, Hiking requires some physical fitness to hike up to the top however local guide and porters are readily available to give you a hand they are sourced from the adjacent areas to provide services for trekkers and they are experienced and enthusiastic in the field. Some of its peaks are incomparable, beautiful and mist-shrouded carry permanent snow and glaciers, while the slopes are covered with dense forest which inhabits a wide variety of animal species and birds. The mountain slopes above 1,6000m are the preserve of hikers who rate the Rwenzori to be the most challenging of the entire African mountain.
There are two main trekking routes available for hikers Rwenzori Central Circuit trail and the Kilembe Trail , on the eastern side of the mountains, and slow treks always range from 9 days Rwenzori Safari Hike to get to the Margherita point on Mount Stanley, the mountain range summit. So you must be well prepared and don’t forget trekking gears which will give you support to reach the peak.
Not only hiking, but the park has a lot of attractions which makes the park worth to visit and one of the most visited Uganda parks duringUganda Safari tours , other attractions include wildlife, Rwenzori mountain is a home to wildlife species, it houses over 70 mammals species, it has six species which are endemic to Albertine rift and over 4 species are endemic to this park. other animal species inhabit the park include elephant, chimpanzees, Rwenzori otter and leopard, visitors at the park can also look out for primate species like the Angola and black and white colobus monkeys, baboons, blue monkeys, antelopes and bushbucks as well as the three horned chameleon.
Rwenzori National Park is also has beautiful vegetation and it’s recognized for its diverse and beautiful flora rather than its fauna. For hikers who climb following the Rwenzori route to the peaks always pass through various altitudinal vegetation zones for instance from the tropical rain forest to the tree heathers, montane forest, Afro-alpine and bamboo. The vegetation is beautiful for its lobelia and big forms of senecio.
For bird lovers, the park is a home to over 217 species of birds and many are endemic to Albertine rift and 17 are endemic to the mountain Rwenzori. To mention some of the birds available at the park include the Rwenzori Turaco, Handsome Francolin, Barred Long-tailed Cuckoo, Blue-headed Sunbird, Long-eared Owl as well as Cinnamon-chested Bee-eater, Rwenzori Batis, Archers’ Robin-chat, White-starred Robin with even the rare Montane Sooty Boubou, Greenbuls, Lagden’s Bush Shrike, just to mention but a few. The equatorial snow peaks. This hike can be reached by hiker through the central circuit and Kilembe Trails. As I mentioned above, the mount Rwenzori comprises of six different mountains and that are located just miles north of the equator, the highest of these – are Mounts Stanley (5,109m), Speke (4,890m) and Baker (4,843m).
The park is also a home to several lakes over 20 lakes are found in Rwenzori mountains national park however the most accessible of all lakes is Lake Mahoma(2,651m) in the birds-rich forest of the central Circuit. The lake lies at the top of the deep glacier carved Bujuku valley in the shade of mounts Stanley as well as Mount Baker and Speke.
The other attraction at the mountain Rwenzori is the Ruboni which is situated in the southern foot of the Rwenzori Mountains, it’s a trail mainly used by the hikers to the seven-day central circuit to the high peaks. Not only that but it is also a beginning point for hill walks nature and birding treks as well as walks through the traditional homestead of the local Bakonzo village. The accommodation options in this area provide fantastic views up the Mubuku valley.
Activities done at the park include
- Hiking/nature walk
- Bird watching
- Community walk/cultural encounter in Rwenzori mountain
- Wildlife viewing
Getting to Rwenzori Mountains National Park
One can also use the Kampala via Mubende to fort portal and this route covers 300km which is about 5-6 hours drive. One can also use the Masaka-Mbarara- Bushenyi to Kasese route and this covers about 350km and this route covers approximately 6-7 hours. Using this route is advantageous; it gives one a chance for more exciting opportunity as it goes through the lake Mburo national park and the Queen Elizabeth national park a diversified park for a wide variety of animal species. It’s a long drive so visitors are recommended to have stopovers to admire nature on the way and don’t forget to stop at the equator crossing for photography and snacks.
Best time to hike Rwenzori national park
This is one of the most asked questions to many tourist interested in trekking the third tallest mountain in Africa mountain Rwenzori. Its always good to know the months suitable for trekking, Mountain Rwenzori national park can be visited any time of the year, however the suitable months to visit the Rwenzori national park is during the dry season, which is from June and August and between December to February these are known as the dry months. During the Dry months, the roads to tha park are passable and trekking is suitable than in the wet season months.
Although it should be noted that even during the dry season it can still rain and these occur less frequently and mostly at night, since African weather is unpredictable even in the rainy seasons you can experience light rainfall so the it’s good to stick to the best time months to travel in case you want to avoid the bad conditions and always ask your travel agency or a tour and travel company organizing your trekking safari.
The mountain Rwenzori is very striking all through the year and there is no green season throughout the year and you should not assume that wet season will be the best time to travel in case you are engrossed in botany. And even when from change from dry to wet season there will not be dramatic changes to the fauna and flora of the range, the only thing that doesn’t change usually is the depths of the marsh that you pass through. The weather in the Rwenzori Mountains is very wet and the peak is characterized by fog most of times, this sometimes makes hiking and route finding some how difficult.