Rwenzori Mountains National Park in western Uganda at the birder with Democratic Republic of Congo was gazetted in 1991 with an area of 996 square kilometers. The park was recognized as a World Heritage Site in 1994 and Ramsar site in 2008. Margherita peak on Mount Stanley is the highest point of the Rwenzori at 5,109 meters above sea level. Part of Mount Stanley is in DR Congo as it is bisected by the border.
Unlike other large mountains in East Africa like Kilimanjaro and Mount Kenya, which are volcanic in nature, Rwenzori is a block mountain formed through rock up faulting from the Western Rift Valley floor. Alexandrine geographer Ptolemy nicknamed the Rwenzoris, “Mountains of the Moon” in AD 150.
The Rwenzori first appeared on the map in 1888 placed by British explorer Henry Stanley who labeled it ‘Ruwenzori’ a local name which he translated to mean “Rain-Maker” or “Cloud King.” Many travelers have successfully hiked to the top of the Rwenzori reaching its highest peak of Margherita but the oldest recorded person to reach this peak was Ms. Beryl Park aged 78 in 2010.
Rwenzori has the third-highest peak in Africa while its lower slopes are occupied with bamboo, moorland and moist montane forests. Giant lobelia, “everlasting flowers”, together with huge tree-heathers and colorful mosses form a very beautiful scenery across the mountainside.
The highest parts of the 120km-long and 65km-wide Rwenzori Mountain Range are protected by the Rwenzori National Park. Among its wildlife include 70 mammal species, 217 bird species including 19 Albertine Rift endemics. Rwenzori Mountain has been recognized as a world-class hiking and mountaineering destination.
For those who have not yet visited Rwenzori, a 9-12-day trek is enough for skilled climbers to get to the summit of Margherita while shorter and non-technical treks are also available for visitors to see the surrounding of the peaks. The park also organizes nature walks and cultural tours to visit the nearby Bakonzo Villages and enjoy cultural performances, homestead visits where you can even test the home-cooked local cuisine.