Mountain Rwenzori National Park is located in the western part of Uganda. It was gazzeted in 1991 and covers a total area of 996 square kilometers. This UNESCO World heritage site is known for the Rwenzori Mountain ranges.
Mountain Rwenzori has the third highest peak in Africa. The lower slopes of the mountain boast a favoring habitat to different species. From sprawling bamboo, damp montane forest to Moorlands.
Other sides of the mountain are covered by huge tree heathers, vibrant mosses, large lobelias and ever blooming flowers.
Mountain Rwenzori is one of the few adventure sites that offer an international first class mountaineering service in Africa. Its highest peak Margherita can be conquered in about 9-12 days for experienced climbers. Less experienced climbers or beginners are also catered for with easier routes.
Hikers who prefer less challenging routes visit the nearby Bakonzo villages for village walks. Visit a lot of homesteads for cultural performances, and sampling the local tasty cuisine prepared using local ingredients.
Wildlife in the Park
Mountain Rwenzori National Park is home to multiple wildlife species including over 70 mammals of which six are endemic to the Albertine Rift valley, and four endemic to the Park. Some of the mammals on list include Elephants, Rwenzori otters, leopards and more.
Though wild animals are rarely seen in the dense forests of the Park, be ready to see different primates including the blue monkeys, black and white colobus, Angola colobus as well as unusual reptile species such as the three horned chameleon. The Park is also home to over 217 species of birds.
How to get there
This Park is usually accessed by both road and air means. The journey from Kampala to Kasese takes about 5-6 hours on Kampala – Mityana – Mubende – Fort Portal road. On your way to Mountain Elgon National Park, the first stop over is Fort portal town to have lunch.
After continue south to Kasese. Off Kasese – Fort portal road, it is 17km to Nyakalengija. You can also access the Park from Mbarara and Queen Elizabeth National Park although this route is longer.
By Air – It takes about one hour and a half from Kampala to Kasese. From there transfer by road to Ruboni trail head.
Activities done in the Park
Although the Park boast a diverse range of Wildlife species, it’s mostly known for hiking expeditions. Hiking Mountain Rwenzori seems to be strenuous but rewarding once you make it.
It’s beyond endless nature encounters en route to several sweeping views of sun montane vegetation with in the Afro montane zone, land trains, picturesque landscapes together with rolling hills with terraces while at the top. Hiking days range from seven days to ten or more.
This Park has several cultural trails for you to soak up part of the culture in the Western region. Muhinga community group and Turaco view offers one of the best experiences.
It include a village tour where you watch a traditional healer’s demonstration live, visit village schools, and finally be entertained with traditional dance performances.
Then Bulemba Ihandiro cultural trail offers rich cultural encounters of the Bakonzo. Here a local guide is available to lead around the villages associating with the locals, see their different handcrafts and how they are made like basket weaving, fire making skills and more.
From here proceed to Kamusonge River for its locally treasured waters which are believed to quench thirst quickly.
End the trail with a visit to the traditional museum designed in thatched Konzo style, this museum exhibits a lot of cultural pieces including traditional dresses.
Besides mountain climbing, this park is also great for bird watching. It spoils you with numerous species like Handsome Francolin, Rwenzori Turaco, Barred long tailed Cuckoo, Cinnamon chested bee eater, strange weaver, Archers’ robin chat, Rwenzori batis and more.
Guide nature walks are offered to Lake Muhooma through Buraro chimp forest. Visit the local communities of Kichwamba for local encounters via the Karangura ridge.
Continuing with the hikes up to 2300m above sea level, expect several views of some peaks like Baker and snow caped Margherita peak on a clear day.
This amazing adventure offers incredible Wildlife encounters. You see various species like squirrels, chameleons, vervet monkeys and more.