Rwenzori national park is located in the western part of Uganda on the borders of Uganda and the Democratic Republic of Congo. The park covers an area of 998 sq km. It was named after the famous Rwenzori Mountains also referred to as the legendary “Mountains of the Moon” described by Ptolemy in AD150.

The Rwenzoris, commonly to as the mountains of the moons are found a few kilo meters north of the equator, rising over 4000m above the floor of the Albertine Rift Valley, is the highest mountain in Uganda. The region’s glaciers, waterfalls and lakes make it one of Africa’s most beautiful alpine areas. The mountains have extraordinary flora and fauna which includes Buffalo, bushbuck, chimpanzee, Elephant, giant forest hog, and leopard are present although rare.

To hike the great mountains you require a minimum of Seven days for a rewarding hike. However 10 days is the best for the hike to the peak (Margherita: 5109 m). The Rwenzori range has 6 major peaks, 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 in the Mt Stanley complex is called Margherita peak (5,109) and it is this peak which makes the Rwenzori Mountains the 3rd highest range in Africa.

The Rwenzori Mountains

The mystic Rwenzori mountain ranges have long been known as the Mountains of the moon. Located in western Uganda, the Rwenzoris, one of the highest mountain ranges in the world has many historical legends.

In AD150, the Alexandrine geographer Ptolemy wrote of a snow capped mountain range, deep in the heart of Africa that, he claimed, was the source of the Nile and which he called the Mountains of the Moon.

Over the centuries this curious notion of tropical snow faded into mythology and, when John Speke found the Nile’s exit from Lake Victoria, a place in fiction for the Mountains of the Moon seemed assured. But then, in 1889, Henry Stanley emerged from central Africa to announce that such a mountain did exist. He mapped it by its local name of Rwenjura – or ‘rainmaker’ thus the origin of the name “Rwenzori”.

In due course mountaineers explored Ptolemy’s Mountains of the Moon. Though just miles north of the Equator, they found in the high Rwenzori glaciers and snow peaks whose melt waters represent the highest springs ofthe Nile. These trickle downwards into U-shaped glacial valleys where, supplemented by up to 2500mm of rain/year, they saturate the broad valley floors to form great soggy bogs. Within these rain and mist filled troughs, loom specimens of Africa’s bizarre high altitude vegetation and stunted trees enveloped by colorful mosses and draped with beards of lichen.

This remarkable landscape is bisected by the Uganda-Congo border which passes through Mt. Stanley the highest peak. The Ugandan Rwenzori is protected by the Rwenzori Mountains National Park and, in Congo by the Virunga National Park. The park can be explored along a 7 -day trail that meanders along the Mobuku and Bujuku valleys beneath the highest peaks. Though distances are short, the terrain, altitude and weather combine to create a tough trek, the difficulty of which should not be underestimated.

After its sighting by Stanley, the weather confounded several attempts to scale (or even observe) the mountain’s main peaks. In 1906, the Italian Duke of Abruzzi timed his expedition more carefully, making his attempt during June and July. He and his companions succeeded in scaling, mapping and photographing all of the main peaks and establishing the layout of the high Rwenzori.

Things to Do in the Rwenzoris
From spotting different varieties of wildlife, seeing the flourishing and wide variety of flora and fauna while on hikes and nature walks, to discovering beautiful waterfalls- the Mountains of the moon are magical.

Add that to viewing of the mesmerizing crags and snow-capped peaks, the beautiful of valley of nine lakes, the magnificent bearded lichen hanging from giant heather’s with a backdrop of rocky cliffs, it’s easy to say that the Mountains of the moon should be on every travelers bucket-list.

Climbing the Rwenzoris

Are you a first time climber or an avid climber?

Within the western part of Uganda is a unique marvelous natural geographical feature that towers high above the sounding terrain in Uganda and this is the majestic Mountain Rwenzori. Commonly referred to as the “Mountain of the Moons”, this great mountain lies on Uganda’s boarder with the Democratic Republic of Congo lying west of Uganda and this has been one of the main attributes for which Uganda was named the “pearl of Africa.” It was declared among the UNESCO world Heritage Sites and is a very great wonder within Uganda. The Rwenzori Mountain actually needed not to be announced publicly to the a well known as it majestically stands as the third highest roof-top on the African continent.


The Rwenzoris lie in western Uganda along the Uganda-Congo border. The equatorial snow peaks include the third highest point in Africa, while the lower slopes are blanketed in moorland, bamboo and rich, moist montane forest. Huge tree-heathers and colourful mosses are draped across the mountainside with giant lobelias and “everlasting flowers”, creating an enchanting, fairytale scene.

Peaks of the Mountain

The mountain rises to a height of 5109 meters with its highest peak being permanently covered with snow. The Rwenzori has 6 peaks with the highest of all being the Margherita at 5109 meters. This is followed by the Alexandria peak at 5083 meters, Mount Satnely, mount Speke peak at 4890 metetrs, Mount Emin peak at 4791 meters, mount Gessi and Mount Luigi at 4715 meters and 4625 meters respectively.

Rwenzori Mountains National Park protects the highest parts of the 120km-long and 65km-wide Rwenzori mountain range. The national park hosts 70 mammals and 217 bird species including 19 Albertine Rift endemics, as well as some of the world’s rarest vegetation.

The Rwenzoris are a world-class hiking and mountaineering destination. A nine- to twelve-day trek will get skilled climbers to the summit of Margherita – the highest peak – though shorter, non-technical treks are possible to scale the surrounding peaks.

For those who prefer something a little less strenuous, neighboring Bakonzo villages offer nature walks, homestead visits home cultural performances and accommodation, including home-cooked local cuisine.

Vegetation Zones on Mount Rwenzori

The Rwenzori mountain has five deferent vegetation zones that include the vast grasslands that cover an altitude of 1000 to 2000 meters, the montane forest between altitude of 2000 to 3000 meters, this disappears into the bamboo zone at 2500 to 3500 meters, the heather zone at 3000 to 4000 meters and further higher the afro – alpine – moorland at 4000 to 4500 meters moving higher you will find the rough snow covered rocked. Each zone supports a different plant cover with the giant lobelia as well as the giant cactus being the most prominent plant species.

The lower altitudes of the Ruwenzori are sheltered by thick tropical rain – forest with intersperse with a number of rivers. The soils are very fertility and the areas receive heavy rainfall all throughout the year. Trekking along the lower slopes is quite challenging and the terrain is damp, muddy and slippery. The verdant forest supports a diversity of tree species that offer shelter to small animals like monkeys.

Wildlife on Mountain Rwenzori

The slopes of the ‘Mountains of the Moon’ provide habitant to a diversity of wildlife among which are several primate species such as the white and black colobus monkeys, the L’Hoest monkeys, and chimpanzees; other mammals like forest elephants, hyrax, and duikers; about 15 butterfly species, over 85 bird species like the Francolin, Montane Nightjar, Archer’s Robin Chat, Kivu Ground Thrush, Montane Masked Apalises, Red throated Alethe plus the dwarf Honey-guide.

Tourist attractions on Mountain Rwenzori

The most prominent tourist activity on mountain Rwenzori is hiking. The hikes journey you through the different vegetation zones all the way to the high glacial peaks. The hikes can accommodate both amateurs and professional hikers with a number of short hikes organized specifically for the less physically fit. Normally to summit the peaks, it requires a hike of seven days allowing better acclimatization as you hike to higher altitudes.

Nature walks are another interesting activity that is often carried out on this beautiful mountain accompanied by well trained nature walks with great knowledge about the flora and fauna of the area around including the different tree species, varieties of butterflies, primates and other large mammals.

Bird watching through the lower slopes of the mountain unveiling to you the various bird species among which are a number of endemic species worth seeing.

What to bring to Mountain Rwenzori

Below I have listed some of the key items you require if you are going to hike this great mountain Rwenzori:

A Sleeping bag, cameras, a rucksack, binoculars, a sleeping mat, a hat, good strong hiking boots, sun glasses, sun cream, water-proof trousers, a cup, insect repellants, a rain coat(since the rains up on the mountain are very un predictable), a sweaters, a heavy warm jacket, Light changeable clothes, a pair of hand gloves, torch, a scarf and a jumper.

We welcome you all to join in on the very adventurous yet challenging fun with ultimately very rewarding experiences as you hike to the roof top of one of the highest mountains in Africa; the Mountain of the Moon (Mountain Rwenzori).