Discover the Beauty of Rwenzori Mountains National Park: A Must-Visit Destination

Mount Rwenzori National Park is one of the few designated UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Uganda. A significant portion of this park is occupied by the Rwenzori Mountain ranges where it derives its name. Mount Rwenzori is a block mountain, also referred to as the Mountains of the Moon. It is a unique block mountain because of it is ice/snow-capped.

Location of Rwenzori Mountains National Park

The Rwenzori Mountains National Park is a spectacularly beautiful park located in the Southwestern side of Uganda. It is lying in the far Western corner of Uganda border with the D.R. Congo. Mount Rwenzori Park is most popular for its exhilarating mountaineering adventures offering breathtaking views of the surrounding including the Virunga National Park.

Rwenzori Mountains National Park was officially gazetted as a National Park in 1991 and in 1994, it became a UNESCO Site. Later in 2008, it was recognized as a Ramsar site and its boundaries span about 996sq.km. It encompasses the Western districts of Kabarole, Bundibugyo and Kasese.

The Rwenzori Mountains National Park has beautiful Lakes, Rivers, floral species, waterfalls, hot springs and scenic glaciers. Its block mountain range is composed of 6 magnificent ranges including Baker, Stanley, Gessi, Speke, Luigi da Savoia, and Emin Pasha. Mount Rwenzori is Africa’s 3rd highest mountain and its establishment as a park was primarily to shelter its important ecological system from the human pressure.

Wildlife and floral species in Rwenzori Mountains National Park

Mount Rwenzori National Park holds over 70 mammal species and other wildlife that thrive within its thick vegetation zones. 6 of the species are endemic to the Albertine rift valley and 4 are endemic to the Rwenzori Mountains NP. The park’s wildlife species include hyrax bushbucks, golden cats, mongoose, Uganda clawed frogs, elephants, Rwenzori otters, leopards, red duikers, sitatungas, bushbucks and others. Primates that dwell within the park include chimpanzees, olive baboons, red tailed monkeys, l’hoest monkeys, red-tailed monkeys, blue monkeys, black and white colobus monkeys.

The park’s wildlife species dwell within the varied vegetation areas. This park is known for its unique vegetation zones which include bamboo, moorland, colorful Moses, heather, huge trees, moist montane forest as well as lobelia and senecio.

rwenzori mountains national park
birding

The birds of Rwenzori Mountains National Park

Mount Rwenzori N/Park supports a total of 217 bird species and they include Albertine rift species, and 17 of them are endemic to the park. The birds to look out for during the birding expedition include the slender-billed starling, white-starred robin, cinnamon-chested bee-eaters, Rwenzori turacos, long-eared owl, barred long-tailed cuckoos, lagden’s bush shrikes, golden winged sunbird, greenbul, strange weaver birds, handsome francolins, dwarf honey guide, Kivu ground thrush, Montane masked apalis, purple breasted sunbird, red-faced woodland warblers, and others.

9 reptiles also reside within Mount Rwenzori National Park and include the 3 horned chameleons. There are also several amphibian species and other unique attractions for you to explore on Uganda safaris.

Lakes in the Rwenzori Mountains

Mount Rwenzori National Park is a host to more than 20 spectacular Lakes making an outstanding destination to enjoy scenic viewing. The Lakes to find in this park include Lake Bujuku, Lake Kitandara, Lake Mahoma and others.

Other exceptional attractions to explore on Uganda safaris in Mount Rwenzori National Park include Bulemba Houses, the Equator snow peaks, and Land of the triffids.

Mountaineering in Rwenzori Mountains National Park

Mountaineering is the leading adventure experience Mount Rwenzori National Park has to offer the world. If you are an enthusiastic climber, a visit to Mount Rwenzori should be a must-do for thrilling mount climbing experiences. Hikes are conducted leading to the Margherita Peak on Mount Stanley (5109m). Other multiple peaks can also be conquered and often preferred by hikers who don’t make it to the Margherita peak. The Margherita peak takes about 8-9 days or more and hiking is done in the 2 trails- the Central circuit trail and Kilembe trail. The central circuit starts at Mihunga crossing the Nyabitaba via Bujuku valley and you ascend to the snow-capped peaks. The Kilembe trail hike begins from the Southern slopes of Mount Rwenzori and this is near Kasese leading you via the glacial Lakes.

Important items to carry on actual trek to the summits of Rwenzori Mountains of the Moon include enough bottle drinking water, map, hiking stick, porter, first aid kit and strong waterproof hiking boots, daypack, rain jackets and others.

Nature walks in Rwenzori Mountains National Park

Nature walks can also be done on the mountain slopes of Mount Rwenzori National Park. On a nature walk, there are several unique features to come across depending on the trail, but most importantly, you will navigate via the Buraro Chimp Forest, Kichwamba local communities, and others. If you are a birder, there are birds to sight including handsome francolins, Archer’s robin chat, barred long-tailed cuckoo, Rwenzori batis, cinnamon-chested bee-eaters, long-eared owl as well as view some of the park’s wildlife like elephants, and primates.

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Bird watching in the Rwenzori Mountains National Park

Rwenzori National Park contains significant population of endemic Albertine rift bird species. These include montane masked, red-thigh sparrow hawk, Shelley’s crimson wings, lagden’s bush shrikes, cinnamon chested bee-eaters, golden-winged sunbirds, Rwenzori turacos, white-collared olive backs, illadopsis, bearded vultures, black eagles, white-starred robin, and more.

Cultural visits

Mount Rwenzori National Park has many ethnic groups living in its surrounding and include the Bamba and Bakonjo. Tourists can embark on a cultural tour via the Bulemba-Ihandiro cultural trail to interact with the Muhima traditional healer, learn more about basket weaving, black smiting and fire making. You can also visit the Konzo museum where the Rwenzururu cultures, regalia, traditions and hands crafts are displayed.

Accommodation facilities in the Rwenzoris

Mount Rwenzori National Park has accommodation inside and around it. If you are visiting mainly for mountaineering, then expect to spend a night in camp tents. There are designated huts to camp on every stage as you ascend to the Margherita peak. The available lodges include Sandton Hotel Kasese, Equator Snow Lodge, Rwenzori Turaco View Campsite, Tours Holiday Inn, Rwenzori Backpackers, Tropical Savanna Guesthouse and more.

When to Visit Rwenzori Mountains National Park

June to August and December to February are the best months of the year to consider visiting Mount Rwenzori National Park. These are the ideal months to go hiking or mountaineering in the Rwenzori N.P. However, it is possible to visit the park at any time of the year including the wet or rainy season.

Reaching Mount Rwenzori National Park- Uganda tour

By road, you can easily drive from Kampala to Western Uganda to visit Mount Rwenzori National Park. The road trip can begin from Kampala-Mityana-Mubende to Fort Portal tourism city or drive via Masaka-Mbarara-Bushenyi to Kasese. By air travel, fly in tours can be planned and you fly from Entebbe airport or Kajjansi airfield to Kasese airstrip.

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