Rwenzori Mountains National Park

Rwenzori Mountains National Park is Africa’s world-class hiking, mountaineering and trekking tour destination, with some of the world’s rarest vegetation and the third highest point in Africa. The Rwenzoris – the fabled Mountains of the Moon – lie in western Uganda along the Uganda-Congo border. The equatorial snow peaks include the third highest point in Africa, while the lower slopes are blanketed in moorland, bamboo and rich, moist montane forest. Huge tree-heathers and colorful mosses are draped across the mountainside with giant lobelias and “everlasting flowers”, creating an enchanting, fairytale scene.

The Rwenzori Mountains reach heights up to 5,109 metres (16,762 ft). The highest Rwenzori peaks are permanently snow-capped. The Rwenzori Mountains National Park and Virunga National Park are located in the range

Overview | Rwenzori Mountains National Park

Overview: Rwenzori Mountains National Park

Rwenzori Mountains National Park is a Ugandan national park and UNESCO World Heritage Site located in the Rwenzori Mountains. Almost 1,000 km2 (386 sq mi) in size, the park has Africa’s third highest mountain peak and many waterfalls, lakes, and glaciers. The park is known for its beautiful plant life.

Rwenzori Mountains National Park was established in 1991. It was designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1994 because of its outstanding natural beauty. The park was inscribed on UNESCO’s List of World Heritage in Danger between 1999 and 2004 because of insecurity and a lack of resources in the park

 

Geography of Rwenzori Mountains National Park:

Rwenzori Mountains National Park is located in south-western Uganda on the east side of the western (Albertine) African rift valley. It lies along Uganda’s border with the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) and borders the DRC’s Virunga National Park, also a UNESCO World Heritage Site, for 50 km (31 mi). It is situated in the Bundibugyo, Kabarole, and Kasese districts, 25 km (16 mi) from the small town of Kasese. It is 996 square kilometres (385 sq mi) in size, 70 percent of which exceeds an altitude of 2,500 metres (8,200 ft). The park is 120 kilometres (75 mi) long and 48 kilometres (30 mi) wide.

The park includes most of the centre and eastern half of the Rwenzori Mountains, a mountain range rising above dry plains located just north of the equator. Those mountains are higher than the Alps and are ice-capped. Mount Stanley is located in the park. Margherita Peak, one of Mount Stanley’s twin summits, is Africa’s third highest peak with a height of 5,109 metres (16,762 ft). Africa’s fourth and fifth highest peaks (Mount Speke and Mount Baker) are also located in the park. The park has glaciers, snowfields, waterfalls, and lakes and is one of Africa’s most beautiful mountain areas.

 

How To Get There

By Road: Bwindi can be reached from Queen Elizabeth National Park to the north (2-3 hours), from Kabale to the south (1-2 hours), or from Kampala via Mbarara (6-8 hours). The roads meet at Butogota, 17km from the Buhoma entrance gate. A 4WD vehicle is necessary during the rainy season. A daily bus service leaves Kampala for Butogota via Rukungiri and Kihiihi. A matatu (public minibus), hire car, or boda-boda (motorcycle taxi) can be taken from Butogota to the park entrance gate at Buhoma.

By Air: Travelers can fly from Entebbe or Kampala (Kajjansi airfield) to the modern tarmac airstrip at Kisoro. Planes can also be chartered to the grass Kayonza or Savannah airstrips. Bwindi is well served by three airfields at Kayonza and Kihiihi for the northern sector and Nyakabande in Kisoro for those going to track gorillas in the southern sector (Nkuringo, Nshongi, and Mishaya).

 

Bwindi Impenetrable National Park | Getting around:

  • Bwindi’s various trailheads can be reached by vehicle. However there are no roads within the park itself, which is explored on foot. Bwindi is aptly named the ‘impenetrable forest’; paths pass through dense vegetation and can be steep. Take advantage of walking sticks offered at the start of a walk.

Wildlife And Activities

Wildlife & Activities: Rwenzori Mountains National Park

Wildlife:

The park is home to 70 species of mammal, including six Albertine Rift endemics; four are endemic to the park and three are rare species. Other mammals include the elephant, chimpanzee, Rwenzori otter and leopard. Though wildlife is difficult to spot in the dense forest, do look out for primates such as colobus (Angola and black-and-white varieties are both present) and blue monkeys; small antelope such as bushbucks; and unusual reptiles such as the three-horned chameleon.

 

Vegetation:

Rwenzori Mountains National Park is known for its distinctive flora rather than its fauna. On the route to the peaks, hikers climb through a series of distinct altitudinal vegetation zones; montane forest, bamboo, tree heathers and afro-alpine. The latter, with its emblematic giant forms of Senecio (groundsel) and lobelia, is one of the world’s rarest botanical communities, being limited to East African mountains above 3800m.

 

Birds:

The park is home to 217 bird species including several Albertine Rift endemics.  Among these are 17 species that are endemic to the park making Rwenzori an important birding area (IBA). The forest zone at 1800m contains a diversity of birds including the Rwenzori Turaco, Barred Long-tailed Cuckoo, Long-eared Owl, Handsome Francolin, Cinnamon-chested Bee-eater, Archers’ Robin-chat, White-starred Robin, Rwenzori Batis, Montane Sooty Boubou, Lagden’s Bush Shrike, Slender-billed Starling, Blue-headed Sunbird, Golden-winged Sunbird, Strange Weaver and several varieties of Barbets, Greenbuls, Apalises, IIladopsis, Flycatchers and Crimsonwings.

 

Activities: Rwenzori Mountains National Park

  • Mountain Trekking
  • Game Drive
  • Cultural Walks
  • Mountain Biking
  • Birding

Where To Stay

Where to stay: Rwenzori Mountains National Park

Rwenzori Mountains national park has also got amazing accommodation options for you to stay.

 

Ruboni

  • Ruboni Community Camp
  • Ruboni Turaco View Camp
  • GeoLodges Equator Snow

 

Nyakalengija

  • Rwenzori Mountains Safari Lodge (Rwenzori Mountaineering Services)

 

Kilembe

  • Trekkers Hostel (Rwenzori Trekking Services)

Gallery

When To Visit

Bwindi Impenetrable national park is open to visitors throughout the year, but the park is best visited during the dry seasons of the year that is from the month of June, July, August, December, January to February, these months receive little or no rainfall at all which has influenced a number of activities to take place including Gorilla trekking, birding experience, nature walks, and others, during this time, the trails are dry and the ground is less slippery enabling easy access through the trails.

 

Bwindi Impenetrable national park can also be visited during the wet season from the month of March, May, and September to November since the park is open and all the activities take place regardless of the rain. During the rain season, the park is green with plenty of food and fruits which attracts Many birds, and by this time, there will be a lot of Migratory birds.

Attractions

Attractions: Rwenzori Mountains National Park

Equatorial snow peaks: Rwenzori Mountains;

The high Rwenzori comprises six distinct mountains. Although located just miles north of the equator, the highest of these – Mounts Stanley (5,109m), Speke (4,890m) and Baker (4,843m) – all bear permanent snow and glaciers. The snow peaks can be reached by hiking the Central Circuit and Kilembe Trails.

Land of the Triffids: Rwenzori Mountains National Park

The misty, boggy, glacier-carved valleys of the high Rwenzori form a strange botanical world inhabited by triffid-sized forms of lobelia, heather and groundsel, crisp “everlasting flowers,” garishly coloured mosses and gnarled trees draped with curtains of lichen. The result is an otherworldly setting which, over the years, has been compared to the forests of the Jabberwock, the Seven Dwarves and, inevitably, Tolkein’s Middle Earth. These strange plants rank among the world’s botanical treasures, being found only on the highest mountains of East Africa.

Lakes: Rwenzori Mountains National Park

There are over 20 lakes in Rwenzori Mountains National Park. The lowest and most accessible is Lake Mahoma (2,651m) in the bird-rich forest of the Central Circuit. The beautiful Lake Bujuku lies at the head of the deep, glacier carved Bujuku valley in the shadow of Mounts Stanley, Baker and Speke. In the Nyamwamba Valley, ascended by the Kilembe Trail, dams created by glacial moraine have created a string of eight delightful lakes. Several rivers and streams orginate from the mountain, forming lifelines for the flore and flora in the flood plains and supporting local communities.

Ruboni: Rwenzori Mountains National Park

Ruboni, found at the southeastern foot of the Rwenzori Mountains, is the trailhead for the seven-day Central Circuit to the high peaks. It is also the starting point for hill walks, bird and nature treks and walks through the traditional homesteads of the local Bakonzo community. Accommodation catering for a range of budgets offers gorgeous mountain views up the Mubuku valley.

Bulemba: Rwenzori Mountains National Park

Bulemba houses the remains of Rwenzururu’s first King, Isaiah Mukirania Kibanzanga, who is believed to have saved the Bakonzo tribe from the Batooro oppression. Each year on 2nd September, every Mukonzo attends the pilgrimage to this sacred site to make sacrifices.

Wildlife: Rwenzori Mountains National Park

The park is home to 70 species of mammal, including six Albertine Rift endemics; four are endemic to the park and three are rare species. Other mammals include the elephant, chimpanzee, Rwenzori otter and leopard. Though wildlife is difficult to spot in the dense forest, do look out for primates such as colobus (Angola and black-and-white varieties are both present) and blue monkeys; small antelope such as bushbucks; and unusual reptiles such as the three-horned chameleon.