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.
Mountain Rwenzori is the third highest mountain in Africa, with Margherita ( 5,109m – 16,762 ft) as its highest peak. It is a permanently snowcapped peak covered in glaciers and it’s the only glaciated mountain in Uganda. Its slopes are covered with moorland, bamboo, rich moist montane forest on the lower slopes in mist thus “The Land of Mist”.
Mountain Rwenzori is found in the Western arm of the grate east African rift valley at the Uganda –Democratic Republic of Congo border. The Rwenzori ranges have spectacular scenic beauty harboring a variety of indigenous flora (plant species) and fauna animal species / primates).
Its flora is designed along the slopes according to the different levels of altitude along the mountain slopes, and it is such a great view / sight for the explorers, scientists ,as well as tourists. Its with no doubt, The Mountain of the Moon with its ranges, is a number one tourist destination in Uganda for mountain climbing, hiking, biking and so much more.
Park at a Glance
The park was gazetted in 1991 and was recognized as a World Heritage site in 1994 and Ramsar site in 2008.
Highest point: 5,109m above sea level on Mt Stanley’s Margherita Peak. Mt. Stanley is bisected by the border with the DR Congo.
The Rwenzori Mountain is not volcanic like East Africa’s other major mountains but is a block of rock upfaulted through the floor of the Western Rift Valley.
The Rwenzoris were christened the “Mountains of the Moon” by the Alexandrine geographer Ptolemy in AD 150.
The explorer Henry Stanley placed the Rwenzori on the map on 24th May 1888. He labeled it ‘Ruwenzori’, a local name which he recorded as meaning “Rain-Maker” or “Cloud-King.”
The oldest recorded person to reach Margherita Peak was Ms Beryl Park aged 78 in 2010.
Importance of Rwenzori Mountains National Park
The Rwenzori Mountains National Park protects the highest parts of the 120km-long and 65km-wide Rwenzori mountain range. The national park hosts 70 mammals and 217 bird species including 19 Albertine Rift endemics, as well as some of the world’s rarest vegetation.
The Rwenzoris are a world-class hiking and mountaineering destination. A nine- to twelve-day trek will get skilled climbers to the summit of Margherita – the highest peak – though shorter, non-technical treks are possible to scale the surrounding peaks.
For those who prefer something a little less strenuous, neighboring Bakonzo villages offer nature walks, homestead visits home cultural performances and accommodation, including home-cooked local cuisine.