Mountain Rwenzori National Park
Mountain Rwenzori National Park was gazette in 1991 covering a total area of 996km2. In the year 1994, Mount Rwenzori national park became a world heritage site and finally in the year 2008, the park was declared a Ramsar site. Mountain Rwenzori national park harbors Rwenzori Mountains also known as “Mountains of the moon” and it was formed by faulting thus Block Mountains with in the western rift valley region. The highest peak of mountain Rwenzori is Margherita peak situated on Mount Stanley at an elevation of 5,109m making it the third highest peak in Africa situated in Uganda and democratic republic of Congo border After Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania and Mount Kenya in Kenya. Other peaks include Mount Speke at 4,890m high above the sea level, Mount Baker at 4,843m high above the sea level, Mount Emin peak at 4,798m above the sea level, Mount Gessi at 4,715m above the sea level and Mount Luigi at 4,627m above the sea level making Mountain Rwenzori national park the best destination for mountaineering safari in Uganda the pearl of Africa. The top of these peaks are covered with snow while the base of the mountain is covered with bamboo forest, montane forests, glaciers and beautiful flowering plants. Mount Rwenzori national park is a home to over 70 mammal species such as Elephants, antelopes, otters, primates such as Chimpanzees, monkeys, reptiles such as chameleons and over 200 species of birds such as Ruwenzori turaco, starlings, Cuckoos, Bee-Eaters, Rwenzori Batis, owls and many more that makes this park an Important Birding Area. Most of these wildlife species are spotted during mountaineering safari to summit the peaks of Mountain Rwenzori.
Tourist activities in Mount Rwenzori national park
Birding in Mountain Rwenzori national park: With over 200 species of birds that made Mountain Rwenzori national park one of the Important Birding Area in Uganda the pearl of Africa with several species encountered during birding including; Sunbirds, Bee-Eaters, Ruwenzori Turacos, Vultures, Black eagles, Owls, Handsome Francolin, slender billed starling, Rwenzori night jar, Mountain Illadopsis, Masked Apalis, Shelley’s Crimson swing, White Necked raven, Scarlet tufted Malachite sunbird, warblers , Black duck, Olive pigeon, western lemon dove, Alpine Swift Apus, Rwenzori hill babbler, Toro olive Greenbul, Rwenzori white, Red faced woodland warbler, Bamboo warbler, Abyssinian ground thrush, Mountain buzzard, Red throated Alethe, Stripe breasted tit, ledgen bush shrink Mountain sooty Boubou, East Africa grey Cuckoo shrike, Kivu Grosbeaks seed – eater among other. The best birding spots in Mount Rwenzori national park include; along kilembe trail, the heather zone, in the bamboo forest and along other hiking trails in the park.
Guided nature walks in Mountain Rwenzori national park: the park offers the best nature walking safaris through well designated trails leading to various destinations such as Lake Mahooma, karangura ridge, River Mubuku and even the peaks of Mountain Rwenzori among others. These guided walks offer spectaculars encounter with the several attractions such as the clear view of Mountain peaks, an encounter with primates such as monkeys and chimpanzees, mammals such as Elephants and plenty of birds including forest birds, water birds and the migratory birds among others without forgetting to explore various parts of the park on foot since the park is mountainous and doesn’t favor game drives thus the best way to explore it is by spending ample time on guided nature walks.
Mountaineering safaris in Mountain Rwenzori national park: Mountain Rwenzori national park is the best place for tourists interested in Mountaineering safaris/ Mountain climbing adventure taking about 9 days to 12 days to summit the highest Margherita peak on mount Stanley. There are two most used trails which include Central circuit hiking trail and Kilembe trail as explained below;
The central circuit trail: The central circuit trail takes tourists through thrilling vegetation cover while encountering mammals, primates and many other wildlife. Hikers proceed the hike and cross over river Mahoma and proceed through Bujuku and Mubuku valleys which offer clear view of River Bujuku and River Mubuku and proceed ascending up to the summit of Mount Stanley at Margherita peak with glaciers and snow and descend back through Mubuku valley route. This central circuit trail rewards hikers with scenic view of the entire park at glance and a view of the nearby peaks since it leads to the highest peak. The central circuit route starts from Mihunga to the summit and back making a complete circuit
The kilembe trail: The Kilembe Trail is yet the toughest hiking trail that starts from Kilembe mine taking the southern slopes of Mountain Rwenzori which offers more fascinating encounters including beautiful vegetation cover filled with plenty of wildlife species such as Primates, mammals, birds, butterflies among others. The Kilembe trail passes via Nyamwamba valley with beautiful glacier lakes and it ascend till it joins to the Central Circuit trail at Lake Kitandara and the hiker / climber proceed to the summit of the highest peak.
Cultural tour in Mountain Rwenzori National park: Tourists on a visit to Mountain Rwenzori national park have a golden opportunity of visiting the local community members in the nearby villages. Taking a village walk at the foot hill of Mount Rwenzori enables tourists to encounter with the Bakonzo who demonstrates about their life including farming, basket weaving, and finally enjoy the breathtaking performances of storytelling, dance and drama.
Getting there/ getting to Mountain Rwenzori national park
Mountain Rwenzori National Park is accessed by both Road drive and by air.
By road, Tourists have two roads that all lead to the park from Kampala and these include the road that follows from Kampala to Mubende to Fortpotal and finally to the park. The other road starts from Kampala – Masaka- Mbarara road that then joins to Bushenyi – kasese road and finally to the park
By Air, Entebbe international airport and Kajansi air strip organize charter flights for tourists who wish to access the park on a shortest distance possible. The chatter flights from Entebbe international airport or Kajansi Airfield fly to Kasese air strip and then tourists connect to Mountain Rwenzori national park by road.
Accommodations in Mountain Rwenzori National Park
There are several accommodation facilities where tourist on a Uganda safari to Mountain Rwenzori national park can sleep and in relax and they include both Luxury, Midrange and budget such as Equator snow lodge, Ihamba safari lodge, Rwenzori Turaco view camp site, Mihunga safari lodge, Tours Holiday Inn, Ruboni Community campsite, Rwenzori Backpackers, trekkers hostels, Rwenzori mountain safari lodge and many more. Apart from lodges and hotels, there are also camping sites with in the park especially used by tourists on Rwenzori mountaineering safari and these include; Nyabitaba hut, Kyandolere hut, Bujuku hut, Guy Yeoman hut, Lake Kitandara Hut, Mahungu hut, John matte hut, Kalongi hut, Elena hut, Moraine hut, Kyodo hut that are used by climbers.