Rwenzori Mountains National Park
Rwenzori Mountains national park recognized as a World Heritage site in 1994 is among the best destinations for hiking and mountaineering in Africa. The national park covers an area of 996 square kilometers which protects the upper slopes of the Rwenzori Mountains which stretch for almost 120 kilometers along the Democratic Republic of Congo border west of Kasese and Fort portal towns. The national park is a haven for hiking and adventure enthusiasts with different beautiful hiking trails with stunning views.
The Rwenzori Mountains national park covers an area that is rich in bio-diversity with 19 species of birds, three subspecies of mammals and 15 higher plant species that are endemic to the Rwenzori ranges. The park has been designated as a world center of plant diversity by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN). The parks’s eco-system consists of montane forest, bamboo zones, giant lobelias, wildlife, bird life, small waterfalls and lakes.
Mount Rwenzori Peaks
Rwenzori is the highest mountain range in Africa with two main peaks, Margherita(5,109m) and Alexandra(5,083m). The Rwenzori Mountains consist of six glacial peaks: Mount Speke, Mount Stanley, Mount Emin, Mount Luigi da Savoia, Mount Gessi and Mount Baker.
Wildlife of Rwenzori Mountains National Park
Rwenzori Mountains national park is home to 70 mammal species that exist on different elevation points of the Mountains. Wildlife in the park include Forest Elephants, Buffalo, Chimpanzee, Rwenzori colobus monkey, Golden cat, Hyrax, Black-and-white Colobus Monkeys, Ruwenzori duker, L’Hoest’s monkeys etc.
Birds in Mountain Rwenzori National Park
The park hosts 217 species of birds including the Albertine Rift Endemics and is a perfect birding hot spot while on your Uganda birding Safari. The birds to look out for in Rwenzori mountains include Ruwenzori Turaco, Cinnamon-chested bee-eater, Long-eared owl, Barred long-tailed cuckoo, White-starred forest robin, Blue-headed sunbird, Ruwenzori batis, Lagden’s bush shrike, Montane sooty boubou, Golden-winged sunbird, Strange weaver, fly catchers, crimson wing, barbets, and green buls.The park hosts 217 species of birds including the Albertine Rift Endemics.
Activities in Rwenzori Mountains National Park
Trekking and Mountain Climbing the Rwenzori
Rwenzori is the highest mountain range in Africa and one of the best hiking and mountain climbing destination in the world. There are different trails that span from one day trek to nine day treks.
The most rewarding and popular trail is the Central Circuit Trail which is a 7 day challenging climb but is made easier with the trained peak guides. The highlights of the Central Circuit trail is seeing Mount Baker, Mount Stanley, Mount Baker and hiking up to the peaks that include Margherita(5,109m). As you hike the Rwenzori you trek along trails with open vegetation of the heather and Alpine zones with forests of giant heather plants and giant lobelias. The forest zone also has a diversity of birds to look out for and some mammals that include giant forest hog, colobus and blue monkeys.
The other Rwenzori hiking trails include the Chimpanzee trail which is a one day trek, the Kilembe trails that begins at the Kilembe trail head on the slopes of Rwenzori and the Mahoma loop which is a three day trek.
Bird Watching in Rwenzori
The Rwenzori is a great birding spot as the forest zone is home to a number of forest specials and high elevation species. The most sought after bird in the park is the Rwenzori Turaco. Other species of birds in the park include the Handsome Francolin, Slender-billed Starling, Ruwenzori Batis, Blue-headed sun bird and long-eared owl among others.
The village walks on the slopes of Rwenzori offer a glimpse in to the culture and way of life of the locals in the Ruboni and Turaco view communities. The guided village walks take you through the land of the bakonjo tribe who are inhabitants of the area surrounding Rwenzori Mountains for years. While on the village walk you interact with the locals, visit the medicine man, visit women making crafts and story tellers.
How to get to Rwenzori Mountains National Park
The national park can be accessed by road transport from Kampala through the Mubende – Mityana high way,arriving in Fort portal town and then continuing to Kasese.
The alternative mode of transport is by Flight from Entebbe to Kasese airstrip.
Accommodation near the national Park
Luxury – Equator Snow Lodge
Budget – Hotel Margherita, Ruboni Community Camp, Sandton Hotel Kasese