RWENZORI MOUNTAINS NATIONAL PARK

If you are interested in the breathtaking views of glaciers and snow-capped mountains just a few kilometers away from the Equator crossing then the Rwenzori Mountains National Park should be a must-visit on Uganda safari. This extensive park derives its name from The Rwenzori Mountain ranges also well-known as the Mountains of the Moon. It is perched in Western Uganda along the East African rift valley just near the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC).

Rwenzori Mountain is one magical block mountain with glacier/snow-capped on its summits. The highest peak Margherita rises 5109m on Mt. Stanley. Other peaks exist on Mt. Baker, Luigi da Savoia, Mt. Emin Pasha, Mt. Speke which makes it an exceptional mountaineering destination. In Africa, Mt. Rwenzori is the 3rd highest and offers the most challenging experiences.

Rwenzori Mountains National Park was designated as a national park in 1991 and in 1994 as UNESCO World Heritage Site. Between 1999 and 2004, it was listed among UNESCO world heritage site’s in danger. It is found in Kasese district, Western Uganda and occupies about 1000sq.kms of land area. Other than Kasese, this park is also surrounded by Bundibugyo and Kabarole districts.

Rwenzori Mountains National Park is a beautiful park with rare vegetation characterized by bamboo, moorland, huge tree heathers, mosses, moist montane forests, lobelia, senecio and others.

Wildlife

Rwenzori Mountains National Park hosts a number of interesting wildlife. It shelters 70 mammal species within its diverse vegetation and other habitats. 6 of these mammal species are Albertine rift endemic species and 3 are distinct and 4 are endemic to Mt. Rwenzori National Park. They include leopards, chimpanzees, elephants, Rwenzori otter, duikers, hyrax bucks. Other species of primates include blue monkeys, L’Hoest monkeys, black and white colobus monkeys. Reptiles especially 3 horned chameleon and a lot more.

Birds

Rwenzori Mountains National Park is a birder’s haven with over 217 bird species including several Albertine rift endemic species. The birds to encounter in this park include the cinnamon chested bee-eaters, montane sooty boubou, archer’s robin chat, long eared owl, barred long tailed cuckoo, handsome francolin, Lagden’s bush shrike, golden winged sunbirds. You will also come across the strange weavers, apalis, flycatchers, slender billed starling, crimson wings and others.

Water bodies

Rwenzori Mountains National Park isn’t only for wildlife and birds but also a home to scenic lakes. These can be spotted while mountaineering adventure on Rwenzori Mountain ranges and they include Lake Mahoma, Lake Bujuku, Lake Kitandara.

Activities

Mountaineering

Rwenzori Mountains National Park is a remarkable mountaineering adventure paradise in Uganda and Africa. Hikes to the margherita peaks 5109m are perfectly done during the dry season which starts from June to August and December till February. But ensure you have hiking stick, good hiking boots, first aid kit, rain jacket, refreshing bottle of drinking water.

Birding

This park also features among the best birding spots in Uganda. You have a wide array of bird species to encounter including black eagles, Rwenzori turacos, long eared owl, cinnamon chested bee-eaters, montane sooty boubou, archer’s robin chat, long eared owl, barred long tailed cuckoo, handsome francolin, Lagden’s bush shrike.

Nature walks

There is more than mountaineering experiences to enjoy for tourists on Uganda safari in Rwenzori Mountains National Park. You can embark on a guided nature walk along Kilembe and Central circuit. You wind through the Buraro chimp forest, local communities of Kichwamba, Karangura ridge and many others. Or go explore the River Mubuku while enjoy beautiful snow-capped peaks and park’s wildlife.

Cultural experience

The Rwenzori Mountains National Park is surrounded by Bakonzo, Bamba and Bakonjo who also have a distinct culture, traditions and lifestyle. There are many trails to get to nearby communities at the park including the Bulemba-Ihandiro cultural trail.

Where to stay

Some of the comfortable places to retire for the night on Uganda safari in Rwenzori Mountains National Park include Hotel Margherita, Ruboni Community Camp, Katara Lodge, Ihamba Lakeside Safari Lodge, Sandton Hotel Kasese, Rwenzori Turaco View Campsite, Mihunga Safari Lodge.

Access to Rwenzori Mountains National Park

The Rwenzori Mountains National Park from Kampala is about 437kms and it can be reached via Kilembe trail/Nyakalengija Central Circuit in Kasese. These are main entrance points to the park. It is accessible easily via Fort Portal route. By air, you can get to Kasese airstrip from Entebbe airport or Kajjansi airfield then transfer to the park for your holiday.

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