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Visit Mountain Rwenzori National Park for Uganda Birding Safaris & Hiking Tours

Rwenzori Mountains National Park, also known as the Mountains of the Moon, is located in the western part of Uganda in the district of Kasese along the border of Uganda and Congo. The park was gazetted in the year 1991 and due to its beautiful and outstanding natural beauty; it was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in early 1994 and also recognized as a Ramsar site in 2008.

Rwenzori Mountain National Park covers an area estimated to be 1,000 km2 (386 sq. mi) in size and the park, which is well-known for its beautiful plant life, includes even the third highest peak in the whole of the African Continent. The lower slopes of Rwenzori Mountain are covered with bamboo, moorland, and diverse moist montane forest. The mountainside is composed of big tree heathers as well as colorful mosses with everlasting flowers and giant lobelias.

The park protects the largest parts of the sixty-five-kilometer-wide and one hundred twenty kilometer–long Rwenzori Mount Range and it acts as a habitat for almost 70 mammals and 217 bird species, including 19 Albertine Rift endemics, as well as some of the world’s rarest vegetation.

Historically, the Rwenzori was named “Mountains of the Moon “by geographer Ptolemy around 15AD and the park first appeared on the map on May 24, 1888, after being placed by one of the first explorers, Henry Stanley. The explorer decided to name it “Ruwenzori,”  a traditional name that he noted as “Rain-Maker.”.
At 5,109 meters above sea level, Margherita Peak is the highest peak on the mountain. Ms. Beryl Park, who was 78 years old, was the oldest person to reach Margherita Peak in 2010. A top destination for hiking and mountaineering is Mountain Rwenzori. Expert hikers can reach Margherita, the highest peak on the mountain, in nine to twelve days.

Some of the ancient rocks found on the mountain were extruded from the surrounding plains during the formation of the western arm of the Rift Valley. These Precambrian rocks have produced less fertile soils, except those parts in the northern ridge where volcanic ash from the Fort Portal plateau was deposited.

The Rwenzori Mountains are the homelands of the ancient Baamba and Bakonjo communities. The ancient Bakonjo community is a Bantu-speaking people who have long stayed in the Rwenzori Mountains, and their culture is now used to the steep slopes and climate of Rwenzori.

What to do in Mount Rwenzori

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Travel infromation about Rwenzori Mountains National Park

Trekking the mystic Mountain Rwenzori National Park on your Uganda safari is a truly fantastic and a unique experience that will give you an adventure to wonder in the high glaciers, view the beauty of the valley of nine lakes, the bearded lichen hanging from giant heather with a backdrop of rocky cliffs, crags and snow capped peaks.

Expect to encounter with a wide variety of flora and fauna with several biospheres as you ascend through different vegetation zones creates the ultimate experience for hiking safari Uganda.

The unique landscape of the Rwenzori mountain range is outstanding, with still by far the biggest glaciers in Africa, incomparable beautiful, and of very different character to the high single standing volcanoes of Kilimanjaro or Mount Kenya.

The Congolese side, which are a lot drier, gives an easy and beautiful approach off the beaten track to reach the summit range.

Mountain Rwenzori Uganda hiking safari options

All our peak guides have completed training with various mountain instructors' training in how to handle clients, ropes and all the necessary systems plus training mountain rescue techniques.

Training is ongoing and in addition guides practice regularly on a rock face in Kilembe during their free time. We also have an ongoing training in physical fitness, rope techniques and rock climbing.

All guides to the main peaks carry satellite phones for safety and there is a rescue stretcher in every hut in case of any eventuality.

Mountain Rwenzori Uganda hiking safari options

Nine Days (9) trek and 10 days to Margherita Peak 5,109 metres

This trek takes you for an adventurous hike to four peaks, Margherita Peak, Mt Speke, Mt Baker plus Weismann's Peak on the way back on your way back.

Eight-day (8) trek to Magherita peak at 5,109 metres

Our eight-day trip is recommended for most people of average fitness and climbing ability. But, you must be fit to do it in these 8 recommended days. Many fit people normally do this mountain Rwenzori hiking safari Uganda in just 7 days however, for larger groups it is not recommended in seven days as in many cases there will always be one person who cannot keep the pace slowing down the group yet you are not supposed to leave any member of a group behind.

Seven Day trek to Magherita peak 5,109 metres

The mountain the trek starts from Kilembe 1,450m climbing up through the forest & bamboo zone to sleep at Kalalama Camp then on to Bugata Camp & over Bamwanjara Pass, down through a beautiful valley before ascending through Scott Elliot Pass to Margherita Camp at 4,485m from where you set off early morning 3am to climb Margherita Peak. Tough but truly exhilarating!!

Yes, it is possible to climb in seven days and some clients do insist on seven days, however it should be noted that climbing more than 500 meters a day brings a bigger risk of altitude sickness, high altitude pulmonary edema or high-altitude cerebral edema and all of which are dangerous. It is better to take it slower and lessen that risk and yes, some people have climbed many mountains but unless you have climbed in the previous two weeks the benefits of those climbs are not there as it is the increased number of red blood cells in your blood which carry oxygen around your body. So, while we can offer seven-day treks we recommend the eight-day trek to be on the safer side. Altitude does not understand or recognize fitness and even though you may be super fit, altitude can still have an effect. Of course, different people have different levels of tolerance to altitude but better to play safe. The cost of a seven-day trek is the same as for the eight-day trek so as people do not take the higher risk because of saving a few dollars and encourages them to make a decision based on their ability and fitness. Thanks for reading and understanding.

Seven Days trek to Mt Baker 4,842 meters

This seven-day trek is a fantastic climb that consists of mainly of hard rock and technical in a few parts more tough than Margherita Peak On a clear day you will see breathtaking views of Margherita and Alexandra Peaks and panoramic views of the Rwenzori range. A truly amazing experience. This trek to the top of Mt Baker is relatively easy for anyone with reasonable fitness and a head for heights.

Five-day trek to Weismann's Peak 4,620 meters

This climb is the most popular hiking safari in Uganda for Mountain Rwenzori National Park hikers. This hike requires strenuous walking, its steep but nothing really so difficult that requires ropes, non-technical.

During the months of April, May and September October, travelers who hike in those months experience snowfalls on the peak transforming the landscape into an incredibly beautiful environment with snow covered plants creating a feeling of euphoria and intense excitement as the scenery is absolutely stunning. You may choose to climb Bamwanjara Pass instead of Weismanns as it is easier climb and at 4,450 metres, it gives great views of the main peaks.

Four Day trek to Mutinda 3975 meters

During this trek, you climb up to Sine Hut 2,680m where you spend a night. Next morning you continue to Mutinda Camp 3,688m where you may choose to climb Mutinda Lookout at 3,975m and sleep at Mutinda Camp. Next morning you descend to Samalira Camp for your last night before returning to base camp at Kilembe. More information

Three Day trek to Kalalama 3,147 meters

The three-day trek takes you through the pristine rainforest along a steep ridge to sleep at Sine Hut 2,680m which overlooks a beautiful set of rapids tumbling down the valley. The second day you climb up through the bamboo zone to Kalalama Camp, have a short rest before proceeding to climb higher before crossing thorough a thick forest covered in hanging mosses to a small Lobelia garden near Kyalavula Ridge & descend down a mossy ridge to Samalira Camp 3,170m Next morning descend down through the bamboo to a heavily forested ridge which is home to many primates, such as black and white colobus monkey and blue monkey and back to Kilembe.

Two Day trek to the beautiful Rwenzori Forests

Climb to Sine Hut at 2,585 metres during your Forest Walk and enjoy the stunning vegetation then return via Musenge Rock Shelter. This is a great walk up a gentle ridge through some magnificent forest with trees covered in evergreen lichen, swinging vines a beautiful waterfall. If you are feeling energetic in the morning you can climb up through the bamboo forest to Kalalama Camp to experience the wonders of the Giant Heathers and views from Kalalama. More information

One Day trek (Forest Walk)

The one day trek meanders alongside the Munyamubuli River through one of the most beautiful pristine forests in the world. Magnificent trees tower above the dense undergrowth, our guides will explain to you the intricate dimensions of the many plants and trees and point out the many species of birds. Walk starts at Trekkers Hostel Kilembe at 8.30am and returns about 3pm.

Things to do in Mount Rwenzori

Mountain hiking in Mount Rwenzori National Park

A hiking safari Uganda to the Rwenzori Mountain is an exciting and rewarding travel experience for tourists on Uganda safaris. This hiking experience needs adequate preparation and fitness as well. The conditions on the mountain are somehow challenging to even an experienced hiker.

Hiking to the top while using the central hike circuit, normally takes hikers 6 nights or 7 days to reach an altitude of 4,267m above sea level. When on a mountaineering safari in Uganda on Mountain Rwenzori, visitors spend nights in various huts built along the hiking journey. They are well maintained for visitors' comfort. During the hike, visitors are advised to have porters to help them with luggage that you're moving with.

There are different starting points to the different trails visitors normally take as they hike. They include; Nyakalengija circuit and Kilembe trail which are located near Kasese town while the Kazingo (nature walk trailhead) is found near Fort portal town.

For those not interested in the entire hike to the top, you can carry on a 3 days hike in the lower foothills of the mountains that take you through beautiful scenery and birding spots.

Hiking is done at the most significant feature in Mountain Rwenzori National park, Mt. Rwenzori. It can be done on all the glaciers on the mountain. The easiest to hike is Mount Speke which requires less hiking experience. Most difficult to hike is Mount Stanley and Baker.

Nature walks/birding

Mountain Rwenzori is one of the best birding spots in Uganda has. Being home to some Albertine rift endemics, this makes the mountain a special birding spot suitable for Uganda birding safaris. The mountain ranges have got a varied vegetation cover which enables different bird species to inhabit the forest as their home. Birds that are occasionally seen in the mountain are the Rwenzori turraco, long eared owl, bearded vultures and swifts.

Nature walks can also be done with in the park, around Ruboni just outside the park, along river Mubuku, in the forest at Nyabitaba, take a walk through the trail to Lake Mahooma and Buraro Forest inside the park.

Cultural encounters

Uganda cultural safaris to Mountain Rwenzori National park, involves getting exposed to the Bakonzo community who live on the slopes of the mountain. Encountering with them enables tourists visit traditional healers, blacksmith, basket weavers and also watching the Bakonzo do their traditional dance.

How to get to Mountain Rwenzori

Mountain Rwenzori consumes 6 peaks, including its uppermost peak is Margherita with approximately 5,109 meters above sea level making it the 3rd highest peak in Africa after Mountain Kilimanjaro (5,895meters) in Tanzania and Mountain Kenya (5,199meters) situated in Kenya. Other peaks include; Mountain Speke (4890meters), Mountain Baker (4843meters), Mountain Emin (4,798meters), Mountain Gessi (4,715meters) and Mountain Luigi di Savoia (4627meters). All these 6 peaks can be reached through a Uganda hiking safari via the central circuit trail or the Kilembe trail.

By road

On your Uganda safari to Mountain Rwenzori is accessible using two routes major safari routes; The Kampala - Mubende - Fort portal-Kasese road is about 300 kilo meters taking a drive of about 4-6 hours.

The other route to use to Mountain Rwenzori from Kampala is the Kampala - Masaka - Bushenyi - Kasese road that is roughly 350 kilo meters. While driving, it takes about about 6-7 hours. From Kasese town, it is about 25 kilo meters and 17 kilo meters from Nyakalengija.

Tourists who are not using a Uganda tour company or self-drive car hire rental Uganda, they have an option of using public means of transport. Public transport is accessible in various taxi and bus parks located in different towns like Kampala, Mbarara, Kasese, Bushenyi, Mubende and Fort portal.

By air

Tourists who prefer air transport, by air, charter flights can be arranged at the Entebbe's modern International Airport which is about 40km from Kampala. Charter flights to Kasese airstrip are organized by companies like Aero link. According to the Aero link daily services, it takes about 2 and a half hours to Kasese Airstrip. The visitor is thereafter is driven a short journey to Mountain Rwenzori.

The best time to visit Mountain Rwenzori Uganda

Uganda mountain climbing safaris on Mountain Rwenzori are exciting throughout the year. The mountain pleasurably has warm agreeable climate. During day the temperatures are average and cold during the night. On Rwenzori mountains, rain is expected any time.

The Rwenzori mountains normally have a short dry season; June - August and December - February. However, tourists that make safaris to Uganda during the dry season, find it the best time to go hiking on mountain Rwenzori because trekkers that climb during the wet season, find the path trails wet and slippery making it hard for the hiking.

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Rwenzori Mountains National Park, Mountains of the Moon is located in western part of Uganda in district of Kasese.