Are you a hiking enthusiast? Well, I have got a hiking challenge that will get you that’s hard to resist. This hiking expedition takes you to the 4th highest mountain on the African continent-Mountain Rwenzori. What makes this Rwenzori mountain hiking safari experience quite appealing to many mountain climbers around the world is the fact that it offers a chance to hike in peace and quietness and enjoy the tranquil sounds and sights of nature since there no crowds on this mountain and the hiking routes are few. This Rwenzori hiking safari takes us to Mountain Rwenzori National Park Uganda which is located in East African region on the African continent just slightly above the equator line on the geographical co-ordinates 00o 22’N 29o57’E.
Getting to Rwenzori Mountain National Park
Locating Mountain Rwenzori National Park shouldn’t really get you worried because it lies 398 km or 6-hour drive away from Kampala city the capital of Uganda in the southwestern district of Kasese. Mountain Rwenzori national park is boarded by Democratic Republic of Congo in west as it lies on the boundary between Uganda and D.R. Congo, Bundibugyo district in the north, Kanungu district in the south and Kabarole in the northeast, the savannah plains of Queen Elizabeth national park and eastern escarpments of the western arm of the great East African rift valley in the east. This park covers about 996 sq. km of mountain Rwenzori. Mt Rwenzori is located in the Albertine rift valley on the border of Uganda and D.R. Congo. In Uganda, this Rwenzori mountain covers the districts of Kasese, Kabarole, Bundibugyo and Ntoroko spanning a distance of about 120 km long and 65 km wide.
How was Mt Rwenzori national park formed?
Mt Rwenzori was formed as a result of uplift due to movement of the tectonic plates in the rift valley. This movement caused an upward thrust of the old basement rock complex from the surrounding plains hence forming a stiff rugged mountain range. Mt Rwenzori is made up of igneous rocks that were thrust upwards during the formation phase, the igneous rocks form the steep and rugged profiles of mount baker, Stanley and portal.
Experience ice at the Equator!!!
Mt Rwenzori experiences a variation in temperature given its variation in height. The area below 2000m above sea level experience temperatures between 25-30oC, areas between 2000m-3000m above sea level have their temperature in the range of 15-20oC, areas between 3000m-4000m have their temperatures varying between 0-10oC and areas above 5000m have temperatures ranging between 0- -10oC giving you a feeling of winter just right across the Equator line.
The mystical mountain
The mysteries surrounding Mt Rwenzori started captivating European medieval geographers as early the 1st-2nd century AD and in 150AD, an ancient Greek-Roman geographer called Cladius Plotemy wrote of a mountain deep in the heart of Africa was the source of the mighty river Nile, he named this mountain as “Mountains of the Moon”. As time passed, early geographical explorers took up a task to discover the source of the longest river in the world and in 1888, Henry Morton Stanley successfully became the first white man to see MT Rwenzori, he added it on the world map on 08th may 1888 naming it Ruwenzori which is a local Bakonzo word which means “Rain Maker”. Rwenzori national park was gazetted into a national park in 1991 and in 1994, it was added among the World Heritage Sites by the United Nations Education Scientific and Cultural Organization. Between 1996-2004, the park experienced a lot of insecurity rising from rebel groups like M23 rebel group, Allied Defense Forces that had made it their hideout place but all of these have now been flushed out of the mountain forests especially on the Ugandan side making it peaceful and enjoyable to climb. In 2009, mt Rwenzori national park was added among the Ramsar Sites.
What makes Mt Rwenzori a hike that you shouldn’t miss for anything in the world?
A Rwenzori mountain climbing safari trip takes you to an astronomical height of 5109m above sea level which is attained when you are at the summit of Margherita peak. This Rwenzori mountain hiking adventure gives you the bragging rights as you have made it to the third-highest point on the African continent only behind to mt. Kenya and mt. Kilimanjaro. Along the way to Margherita, you will have an opportunity to encounter several tourist attractions in Mt Rwenzori National Park and these the 5 beautiful & distinct vegetation types that overlap each other and these include savannah grassland zone below 2000m above sea level, afro montane forests zone between 1800-2800m above sea level, bamboo forest zone between 2500-3300m above sea level, heather zone between 3000-3800m above sea level and afro-alpine moorland zone between 3500-4500m above sea level. With all these variations in temperature and vegetation, besides the vegetation types mt Rwenzori is still a sanctuary for a variety of wildlife hence you still have an opportunity to encounter 70 mammal species on your Rwenzori mountain hiking safari trip, other Uganda safari attractions in Rwenzori National Park include 217 bird species with 19 Albertine rift endemics not forgetting the Bakonzo people that are found on the lower slopes of these Rain Making mountain or Ruwenzururu as referred by the natives here
A good Rwenzori hiking safari can’t really be achieved in a single day hence if you are in for a long climb of the Rwenzori lasting between 4-9 days, you really need to plan for an overnight stay in any of the accommodations in Mountain Rwenzori National Park as you get yourself ready for this hiking expedition. Mountain Rwenzori National Park has got all your lodging needs sorted out with the presence of several accommodation types being present here. These include luxury safari lodges in Rwenzori Park such as Equator Snow Lodge. Midrange safari lodges in Mountain Rwenzori Park such as Sandton Hotel Kasese and Springs International Hotel Kasese. If you’re looking for budget safari lodges in Mountain Rwenzori National Park, there are various options you can look out for and these include Ruboni Community Camp, Rwenzori Turaco View Campsite, Tours Holiday Inn, Uhura 50 Hotel and Snow View Hotel.
Because of thrilling mountain hiking adventure Rwenzori offers, many tour operators in Uganda offer both short Rwenzori hiking safaris that don’t reach the summit but offer great views in this tropical jungle and long Rwenzori mountain climbing safaris and these go all the way to the top of the mountain. Usually, these long hiking safaris are around 10 days Rwenzori mountain hiking safari or a 9 days Rwenzori hiking safari. Some of these safaris companies in Uganda that can offer your Uganda tours to Rwenzori include Prime Safaris & Tours Ltd, Wild Gorilla Safaris and many others.
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- 10 days Rwenzori Mountain Climbing Safari