RWENZORI MOUNTAINS NATIONAL PARK

Ruwenzori, which the Alexandrine geographer Ptolemy in AD 150 referred to as the Mountain of the Moon and which in 1889 Henry Stanley mapped and called it a local name of Rwenjura – or ‘rainmaker’, is a snow-capped mountain deep in the heart of Africa. Its melt waters form the genesis of the springs of the Nile River. The U-shaped valleys formed by these springs translate into soggy bogs. The rain and mist filled troughs are characterized by specimens of Africa’s bizarre high altitude vegetation and stunted trees characterized by colorful mosses and draped with beards of lichen. Thus Ruwenzori Mountains National Park protects the Ugandan Rwenzori Mountains and the rest of the Rwenzori ranges in Congo are protected by the Virunga National Park.

A 7–days Rwenzori trek meandering along the Mobuku and Bujuku valleys beneath the highest peaks is ideal for those intending to explore the park. The mountain trek is relatively tough due to the weather conditions and the nature of the terrain.

The Rwenzori Mountains National Park is just a short distance north of the Equator, rising over 4000m above the Albertine Rift Valley floor. Accessing the park trailhead at Nyakalengeija from Kampala, you can start from the north via Fort Portal (375km) or the south via Queen Elizabeth national park (450km). Nyakalengeija is situated 17km off the Kasese – Fort Portal road (25km north of Kasese town). Afrique Tours & Travel can arrange chartered flights for you from Kajjansi, or Entebbe.

Flora and Fauna

The Rwenzori is more celebrated for its flora than the fauna. Montane forest with bamboo on the lower slopes (1500-2500m), heath and Afro-Alpine moorland (3800-4500m) on higher slopes characterize the Rwenzori vegetation. There are some reasonable numbers of elephants, buffaloes, giant forest hog, bushbuck, chimpanzees, black-and-white colobus, blue monkeys and leopard. 241 bird species have been recorded 19 of which are endemic to the mountain, key Albertine Rift endemics including Handsome Francolin, Rwenzori Turaco, Montane (Rwenzori) Nightjar, Dwarf Honeyguide, Archer’s Robin-chat, Red-throated Alethe, Kivu Ground Thrush, etc. Other species include Lammergeier, red-thighed Sparrow hawk, African Long-eared Owl, red-faced Crimsonwing, Oriole-finch, etc.

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