MOUNT RWENZORI National Park also known as “Mountains of the moon” is located in South Western Uganda on the edge of western rift valley shared by Kabale, Rukingiri and Kisoro Districts. It is 996 Km-sq with an elevation of 1700m to 5109m on top of Margherita peak on Mountain Stanley. It is accessible from Kasese. Rwenzori Mountains national park is a World Heritage Site since 1994. This was done to protect the natural beauty, flora and fauna of the area.
Flora and Founa
The magical “Mountains of The Moon” lie in Western Uganda on the Congolese border, with snow-covered, equatorial peaks rising to height of 5110 m and lower slopes blanketed in moorland and rich montane forest with bamboo on the lower slopes. Most of the park is accessible to hikers with outstanding panorama and 19 Albertine Rift endemics, amongst them; Rwenzori Turaco and Shelley’s Crimson-wing, would be ample reward for the daring, backpacking birder. The Rwenzori Mountains were selected as one of the World’s Best Hikes by National Geographic. Rwenzori Mountain service in conjunction with Uganda wildlife Authority organizes the hikes. Treks can range from 3 – 10 days, depending on the trail chosen.
Mountains of the moon are better for visitation during January-February and July-August and takes 6- days for the mountain loop and 3 days for a hike. It has like 195 recorded species of birds.
It includes six glaciers peaks:
Baker,Mt.Gessi (in the Congolese side, 4.715 m),
Emin (4.791 m).
Luigi di Savoia. Mount Stanley, with Alexandra (5.083 m),
Margherita (5,109 m)
Albert peaks (5.101 m) is the highest point.
The park provides stunning views of the glacier and snow-capped mountains just kilometers from the equator further extending to the Virunga National Park in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).
The mountains consist of ancient rocks which were extruded from the surrounding plains during the formation of the western rift valley.
There are countless bird species to watch out for among which include:- Albertine Rift endemics like; Handsome Francolin, Rwenzori Turaco, Montane (Rwenzori) Nightjar, Dwarf Honeyguide, Archer’s Robin-Chat, Red-throated Alethe, Kivu Ground Thrush, Red-faced Woodland Warbler, Montane Masked and Collared Apalises, Stripe-breast Tit, Rwenzori Batis, (Grauer’s Cuckoo-shrike ), Blue-headed, Regal and Purple-breasted Sunbirds, Strange Weaver, Dusky and Shelley’s Crimsonwings.
Others to pay attention too are; Lammergeiger, Red-thighed Sparrowhawk, Barred Long-tailed Cuckoo, African Long-eared Owl, Western Green Tinkerbird, Olive Woodpecker, Grey-chested Illadopsis, Grey-winged Robin, Evergreen Forest and Bamboo Warblers, Lagden’s Bush-Shrike, Montane Sooty Boubou, Golden-winged and Scarlet-tufted Malachite Sunbirds, White-collared Olive-back, Red-faced Crimsonwing, Oriole-Finch.
Flora and Founa
The park supports an important biodiversity. There are 70 species of mammals recorded, including the Angola colobus, the black and white colobus, L’Hoest monkey, chimpanzees, forest elephants, hyrax, leopard, yellow backed duiker, golden cat, genet, giant forest hog and bushbuck. The mammals, though not many in numbers, can be found in the lower mountain forest zone.
Mammals found here include tree hyraxes, blue monkeys, black-and-white colobus, black-fronted duikers and the red duikers. The Rwenzori Mountain National Park has three endemic mammals — Rwenzori duiker, Rwenzori Otter shrew and Rwenzori Colobus monkey. The IUCN Red List of threatened animals includes the Rwenzori duiker, the elephant, the chimpanzee and the Rwenzori Otter shrew.
Day 1: Entebbe International Airport – Kampala
On arrival at Entebbe International airport, meet and greet with a Trek East Africa Safaris representative before transferring to Kampala. Dinner and overnight stay either at Forest Cottages or Caccia Lodge.
Day 2: Kampala – Kasese
Your driver/ guide will pick you from Forest Cottages or Kabira Country Club at 8:00 am from where you will start the drive to Kasese via Fort portal. The journey takes about 7 – 8 hours but driving through traditional homesteads and farms. Stop over in Fort portal town for lunch. Later proceed to Kasese viewing the mystical Rwenzori Mountain range for much of the journey.
Arrive Kasese make preparations for your hiking equipment that will be used the next morning. Dinner and over night stay at Margherita Hotel or Rwenzori Base Camp.
Day 3: Nyakalengija – Nyabitaba Hut, 2.652 m.
Drive from Margherita hotel to the park headquarters at Nyakalengija in the early morning from where you will receive a briefing from the guides, rent equipment and select porters. The hike begins by leaving the park headquarters 1,646m. Walk past typical "watt and mud daub" Bakonjo homes, through elephant grasses then arrive at the park boundary in about 40 minutes.
The trail follows the Mubuku River crossing recent landslide areas. Reach the Makoma River after 2½hrs. After crossing the river you will have a very steep climb through open bracken fern slopes and podocarpus forest up to Nyabitaba Hut, 2,652 m., which is the arrival point for the day. This will take from 5 to 6 hours. Have dinner and overnight.
Day 4: Lake Mahoma and Surrounding
Relax at Nyabitaba Hut from where you will walk to Lake Mahoma. The walk takes you through the bamboo forest. Take time and observe the vegetation as you encounter monkeys, the Rwenzori Turaco and other birds. Overnight at Nyabitaba Hut.
Day 5: Nyabitaba Hut – Guy Yeoman Hut, 3261 m.
You will walk along the Mobuku River, through bamboo forest, the Kamato bog until you cross the Mobuku – Kichuchu Bridge. The Mobuku valley is fascinating for its heather vegetation, the waterfalls (Kabamba), view of Mount Baker. Average time five hours to reach Guy Yeoman Hut, 3,261 m. Enjoy the spectacular evening under the Rwenzori Sky.
Day 6: Guy Yeomen – Nyakalengija – Margherita Hotel.
In order to make it to the park Headquarters begin your trek very early in the morning. The path from Guy Yeomen is a very dangerous a spot. Descend further till you reach Nyakalengija park headquarters from where you will transfer to Margherita Hotel or Rwenzori Base Camp for a warm shower and comfortable bed.
Day 7: Kasese – Kampala
After late breakfast, depart for Kampala with lunch en-route. Along the way you will see banana plantations, undulating hills and the Ankole long-horned cattle. Stop over at the Equator for a lifetime photo shoot. The stop at the Equator will also give you an opportunity to be both in the northern and southern hemispheres all at the same time.
Stop over at any other drum makers stall or craft shops just incase you need to buy souvenirs. Proceed and arrive Kampala where you will check in either at Forest Cottages or Cassia Lodge for dinner and over night stay.
Day 8: Kampala – Entebbe International Airport
Transfer to Entebbe International Airport from where you will catch up with your out / home bound flight.
Hotel MargheritaRuboni Community Bandas
Rwenzori Base Camp Guest House
Rwenzori Mountaineering Services Huts