The park is located in the western part of Uganda on the border of Uganda and the Democratic Republic of Congo. The park has an area of 998 sq km and was named after the famous Rwenzori Mountains which is also referred to as the legendary “Mountains of the Moon.” Rwenzori Mountain is one of Africa’s tallest mountain range with an elevation of 5,109m.
The Rwenzori range has 6 major peaks which include, Mt Stanley (5,109m), Mt Speke (4,890m) Mt Baker (4,843m), Mt Emin (4,798m), Mt Gessi (4,715m) and Mt Luigi di Savoia (4,627m). The highest peak is the Mt Stanley complex and is called Margherita peak (5,109) and it is this peak which makes the Rwenzori Mountains the 3rd highest range in Africa.
Rwenzori Mountains are not volcanic but predominantly old quartzite unlike the two highest mountains in Africa (Mount Kilimanjaro and Mount Kenya) . Despite its existence almost at the Equator, the mountain has distinctive glacial peaks visible miles away as one travels in the Western part of Uganda. Its slopes which are above 1,600m and are preserve of hikers, who rate the Rwenzoris to be the most challenging of all African mountains. There are five different Vegetation Zones found in the Rwenzori Mountains. These are grassland (1000-2000m), montane forest (2000-3000m), bamboo/ mimulopsis zone (2500-3500m), Heather/ Rapanea zone (3000-4000m) and the afro-alpine moorland zone (4000-4500m).
The park has also got a wide variety of large mammals which inhabits the lower slopes. These include elephants, buffaloes, chimpanzees, blue monkeys, Rwenzori colobus monkeys, duikers, forest hogs, hyrax and leopards. Rwenzori National park is also one of the most important bird areas in Uganda. The park has recorded 195 species which include the Rwenzori Turaco, Francolins, Olive Pigeon, White Necked Raven and Mountain Buzzards, as well as other rare, threatened and endemic species.
MOUNTAINS OF THE MOON- ACCESSIBILITY
The Park can be accessed by both road transport and air transport. For those who want to travel by air a private charter flight can be arranged for you to Kasese air strip where a transfer to the park can be made. Nyakalengija trailhead lies off the Fort Portal road, 22km from Kasese. Transport can be arranged in Kasese.
RWENZORI TOURIST ACTIVITIES
Hiking is the major holiday activity to undertake in the park. The hike takes you though all the vegetation zones and finally ends on the glacial peaks.
Shorter hikes can also be arranged though the hike usually takes seven days. Nature walks on which different animals can be seen as well as birds.
Note:The high peaks should be attempted only by experienced mountaineers.