highlights and main attractions of the rwenzori mountains

Shrouded in a clinging mist, these legendary ‘mountains of the moon’, as described by Ptolemy in AD350, are the tallest mountain range in Africa. Some peaks are permanently covered in ice and glaciers, descending through afro-alpine moorland to thick tropical rainforest on the lower slopes. Home to a diverse assortment of flora and fauna, this is one of Africa’s most beautiful alpine areas, and home to its highest peak, Mount Margerita at 5,109 metres. 

Classified as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, it is a fragile environment that needs due care and attention. Accessed from Kampala via Fort Portal or through Fort Portal to Kasese, the park headquarters are accessed 25 kilometres from Kasese Town, and it is also possible to charter a plane. 

The National Park itself is about 100,000 hectares, covering nearly the whole area of the actual mountains.

where are the rwenzori mountains?

terrain and wildlife

On the western border of Uganda, contiguous with Virunga National Park in the Democratic Republic of Congo, this rugged massif towers high above the Albertine Rift Valley. A unique and pristine habitat of alpine vegetation, even the flora is full of character, with giant lobelias, heathers and groundsels (some of Africa’s ‘Big Five’ botanical game) cushioned by large mossy pillows. It is an important area for birding, with over 200 species recorded - a number which is expected to rise as more surveys are done. There are about 70 mammal species here, and the montane forests are home to African forest elephants and eastern chimpanzees, as well as Rwenzori black-fronted and red duiker, which appear to be restricted to the park. You may also spot colobus monkeys, blue monkeys, rock hyrax, leopards and the three-horned chameleon.

Trekking through this mystical terrain, swamped by cloud, pierced every now and then by a ray of sunlight, is a fantastic experience. It is much less accessible than Mount Kilimanjaro and Mount Kenya - the slopes are steep and often wet making it slippery. There is no doubt that it is hard work and not for the faint-hearted, but something that most people who travel to this part of the world do not experience; the wonders of the high glaciers, the thick jungle-like slopes and giant plants along side fast flowing rivers, awe-inspiring waterfalls and stratified vegetation. 

It is an area of exceptional scenic beauty.

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