MOUNTAIN RWENORI NATIONAL PARK
Few things in life are as exhilarating as visiting a wild untamed park that is dotted with an array of abundant fascinating flora and fauna. Uganda is one of the few countries in Africa that is home to such parks.
Due to her strategic location in the tropics, she boasts of 30% of Africa’s terrestrial biodiversity. Here are 10 National parks within her boundaries that will inspire you with a true sense of an African adventure
Mountain Rwenzori National Park
This park is a collection of Towering, mesmerizing Block Mountains with an hourglass shape. This Highland sits the Albertine Rift Valley and is the third highest mountain in Africa, standing at an elevation of 16,762ft/ 5109meters above sea level. Its summits are snowy all year. You never know how truly beautiful this park is until you have hiked it. Each day comes with its share of wonders and pleasant surprises that unclutter the mind of stress.
Be warned though, the climbing challenge it offers untamed, but worth dying for. On average, it takes most tourists five days to scale Mountain Kenya and Kilimanjaro--all the way to their highest peaks, Batian(17,057 ft)) and Uhuru(19,341 ft) respectively. In this regard, most mountaineers come expecting to humiliate Rwenzori as it is relatively shorter than the two, only to be humbled. It might be only as tall as 16,762 ft, but that doesn't mean it is a walkover. Rather, its 6-12 day hike is a sweet pain in the right spot. See, its rugged terrain is punctuated with lots of steep hills to climb and awkwardly sharp valleys to maneuver. That aside, it is wetter than other East African mountains, with annual rainfall ranging between 2,000 to 3,000 mm. If she were a woman, I would say she is a beautiful one with a hot temper. The good news is that she knows how to make up for her temper though. Her valleys are a place of sumptuous tranquility; perfect for meditation.
From the minute you set foot on Rwenzori, your senses come alive at the sight, smell, sound and taste of the nature's well kept secrets. This is thanks to the fact that the two main trails that lead up its summit are En-route different vegetation zones, they type that nature has been very generous to. Zones with abundant bird species, gorgeous crater lakes, forest elephants, forest buffaloes and primates like chimpanzees. The most exciting part of the adventure is reaching the glacier and snowy zones. While its one experiencing snow in continents such as Europe and Asia, it is a whole other thing encountering it in a continent scorched by sunshine for much of the year.
Other activities in Rwenzori-birdwatching
Mountaineering isn’t the only activity one can pursue here. The park comes across as a premium birding destination as it has some of the most sought bird species in Africa. It has 241 species 19 of which are endemic to the Albertine Rift, a natural corridor in which the mountain is spread. The most striking species in its lower zones are Rwenzori Turraco, a brightly coloured red, green and blue bird with strident cackling call. Then there is the Handsome Francolin, Olive pigeon. In the Bamboo forest zone, you could see Archer's Robin-chat, a small bird with a call like a squeaky hacksaw. Otherwise, the Alpine Zone boasts of several kinds of sunbird like the scarlet-tufted Malachite, African Black Duck, White-necked raven.
The oldest person ever recorded to have hiked Rwenzori is Beryl Park, a Canadian National. She climbed it at the age of 78 in 2010.
The park was gazetted in 1991 and was recognized as a World Heritage site in 1994 and Ramsar site in 2008.
Highest point: 5,109m above sea level on Mt Stanley's Margherita Peak. Mt. Stanley is partly in Congo and Uganda.
Unlike East Africa’s other major mountains, Rwenzori is not volcanic but rather a block of rock up-faulted through the floor of the Western Rift Valley.
Want to hike Rwenzori?
One or 2 persons $1,200 each, 3 or more $1,100 each plus UWA (Uganda Wildlife Authority) gate entrance fee of $35 per day which is paid separately in cash. Price includes all porters, food (meals) and accommodation whilst in the mountain
There are two agencies that offer guiding hiking excursions to it all year. These are Rwenzori Mountaineering Servicers and Rwenzori Trekking Services. You can reach them via http://www.rwenzoritrekking.com/ and https://rwenzorimountaineeringservices.com/ respectively.
Tag along with enough warm gear that can sustain the body at winter temperatures. Rwenzori’s weather is moody. One minute is sunny, the next minute it is freezing.
The adventure is pre-booked.
The best time to hike Rwenzori are months in the dry season such as June to August and December to February. In the wet season, the floor of the mountain is slippery and thus hard to maneuver over.