Hiking Rwenzori Mountains
Explore the Rwenzori Mountains of the Moon
The Rwenzori Mountains in Western Uganda commonly referred to as the mountains of the moon form one of the most beautiful and breathtaking sceneries in East Africa. Located in the far west along the border with Democratic Republic of Congo, The highlands sit in a tourist-rich region surrounded by stunning attractions that include Uganda’s largest wildlife reserve of Queen Elizabeth national park, Semuliki national park and the Rift valley Lakes including Albert, Edward and Kyoga. A Uganda hiking safari can lead you to Rwenzori’s glacial peaks up to its permanently snow caped peak of Margherita. The glaciers from the top of the mountain are believed to be source of the world’s longest River, the Nile.
The mountains cover a vast range of about 120km long and 65km wide. Rwenzori Mountains is a host of six massifs that are separated by deep valleys. These glacial massifs include Mount Stanley, the highest with 5,109m, Mount Speke (4,890m), Mount Baker (4,843m), Mount Emin (4,798m) and Luigi da Savoia (4,627m). The Mountains are characterized by five overlapping vegetation zones with the lower part covered by the evergreen forest zone occupying the altitude up to 28,000m. Bamboo forests occupy the bamboo zone (2,800m to 3,000m, the heather zone follows upward (3,000m to 3,800m) followed by the alpine zone (3,500 to 4,500m) and the nival zone forms the last vegetation zone (4,400m to 5,000m).
The Rwenzori Mountains have been a UNESCO World heritage site since 1994 and the area protected also covers the entire Rwenzori national park that protects several species of wildlife. You go through stunning and varied landscapes as you trek to the top of Africa’s third highest mountain on a crowd-free hiking that distinguishes Rwenzori from other hiking mountains of Africa like Kilimanjaro.
Ruwenzori’s sharp increase in altitude makes the ascent steep and it may require trekkers to have a stamina-based training in order to make it to its summits though no you don’t necessarily need to posses technical climbing skills to hike here.
There are campsites with static tents with comfortable mattresses where you can take a rest after 7-8 hours of trekking each day. While at the campsites, your day can start with porridge and end with a local dish of hearty pasta or a rolex made of fried eggs rolled inside a chapatti. Fall in love with nature as you shower the ice-cold waters under the glacial-fed waterfall at Mutinda Camp on your day two camping.
Besides Mount Rwenzori, Uganda is blessed with several other mountains scattered in different parts of the World. Hiking travelers to Uganda can also Mt Elgon is eastern Uganda, Mt Muhabura, Mt Gahinga and Mt Sabyinyo in south western Uganda.
A five-day trek is likely to get you at around 4,450 meters where you start sighting the multi-peaked massif of Mount Stanley shrouded in clouds with shining glaciers.
There is no need to worry as you hike to the top of Rwenzori because the records indicate that 90% of the climbers make it to the summit.