The Rwenzori Mountains, previously called the Ruwenzori Range and sometimes the Mountains of the Moon, is a mountain range of eastern Equatorial Africa, located on the border between Uganda and the Democratic Republic of the Congo at 0°23′09″N 29°52′18″E.
The Rwenzori Mountains National Park provides stunning views of glacier and snow-capped mountains just kilometres from the equator, where it is contiguous with the Virunga National Park in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). Having the third highest mountain in Africa at 5,109 m (after Kilimanjaro and Mount Kenya), the Park includes a much larger alpine area than either, covering an area of 99,600 ha of which 70% lies at over 2,500 m in height. The Rwenzori Mountains are the highest and most permanent sources of the River Nile, and constitute a vital water catchment. Their multitude of fast flowing rivers, magnificent waterfalls and stratified vegetation make the property exceptionally scenic and beautiful. The mountains are well-known for their unique alpine flora which includes many species endemic to the Albertine Rift in the higher altitude zones including giant heathers, groundsels and lobelias. The Park also supplies local communities with various wild resources and is an important cultural heritage.
The Rwenzoris are the legendary “Mountains of the moon”, a reflection of the mist-shrouded mountains of this rugged massif that tower almost 4,000 m above the Albertine Rift Valley, making them visible from great distances. These mountains offer a unique and pristine landscape of alpine vegetation studded with charismatic giant lobelias, groundsels, and heathers which have been called “Africa’s botanical big game”. The combination of spectacular snow-capped peaks, glaciers, V-shaped valleys, fast flowing rivers with magnificent waterfalls, clear blue lakes and unique flora contributes to the area’s exceptional natural beauty.
There is an outstanding range of species, many of which are endemic to the Albertine Rift and bizarre in appearance. The natural vegetation has been classified as belonging to five distinct zones, determined largely by altitude and aspect. The higher altitude zones, covered by heath and Afro-alpine moorland, extend from around 3,500 m to the snow line and represent the rarest vegetation types on the African continent. Significant species include the giant heathers, groundsels, lobelias and other endemics. In terms of fauna, the Rwenzoris have been recognised as an Important Bird Area with 217 bird species recorded to date, a number expected to increase as the park becomes better surveyed. The montane forests are also a home to threatened species such as the African forest elephant, eastern chimpanzee and l’Hoest’s monkey. The endangered Rwenzori black-fronted or red duiker, believed to be a very localized subspecies or possibly a separate species, appears to be restricted to the Park.
The Rwenzori are wetter than other East African mountains, with annual rainfall varying with altitude from 2,000 to 3,000 mm, and being heaviest on the eastern slope, which faces the prevailing winds. On the Uganda side heavy rain can occur any time of year, but the rainiest periods are from mid-March to May and from September to mid-December. This therefore means those on Rwenzori Mountain Hiking Safari should target the dry period of June to September. The equatorial position of the mountain range creates daily air temperature oscillations between −5°C and 20°C in the Alpine and Nival zones, an order of magnitude greater than the seasonal variation in maximum daytime temperature. Occasional night-time freezing occurs from 3,000 m altitude (the present-day boundary between Bamboo and Ericaceous zones); to 4,000 m (the Ericaceous–Alpine zone boundary) freezing occurs on 80–90% of the nights.
Day 1: Arrival Entebbe Airport and transfer to your hotel. Overnight at Cassia Lodge/The Lodge Kampala
Day 2: Transfer to Bwindi Impenetrable Forest
Drive South West of Uganda to Bwindi Impenetrable Forest. This journey will take you south west of Uganda. To stop at the equator for photographs and continue to Mbarara where you will have another stop for lunch and then proceed to reach Bwindi in the late afternoon. In the evening you may go for a community walk where you will be entertained in some of the cultural dance of the community. Dinner and overnight at the Buhoma Lodge/Buhoma Community Bandas
Day 3: Gorilla Tracking
Wake up and prepare for the unforgettable experience. You will have breakfast to transfer to the park headquarters for briefing before setting off to the forest in search for gorillas. The guide will brief you and at 9:00 am you will set off to the forest for these apes. The time you will take searching these humble apes is unpredictable however it ranges between 2-9 hours depending on their movement. The activity requires you to go through steep rocks climbing up and down making it tiresome; however the thrill of encountering these giant primates erases the poor memories you went through in trying to find them. Dinner and overnight at Buhoma Lodge/Buhoma Community Bandas
Day 4: Depart for Rwenzori Mountains
After breakfast, you will drive to the foot of Mountain Rwenzori. Overnight at Hotel Margherita/Rwenzori Base Camp.
Day 5: Morning Transfer to Nyakalengija on to Ibanda to start your 5-6 hour climb into the mountains. Your climb takes you through thick Equatorial vegetation before arriving at the Nyabitaba hut (2650 meters) in the late evening for Dinner and Overnights rest.
Day 6: Early breakfast and then start a morning hike through the Kurt Sharfer Bridge to marvel at the sparkling Mobuku river confluence. A climb through the open patches, Lobelia, and Heath moss forest before proceeding up to the John Matte hut for overnight.
Day 7: Depart early through the giant Lobelias and heath trees. You ascend to the Bigo Bog and scenic landscape of Lobelias and giant Groundsels. Dinner and overnight stop at Bujuku hut (3997 meters).
Day 8: Head off from the valley in with scenic alpine vegetation consisting of Giant Groundsels and Lobelia and head on to ascent Mount Victoria and Mount Speke at (4890 meters)
Day 9: Early morning you will continue to Margherita peak (5109meters) which is one of the loftiest peaks Dinner overnight at the hut.
Day 10: Depart through the lovely views of the Savoia and Elena glaciers, scale further through to the Scott Elliott pass (4372 meters) and proceed through the snow to the Elena hut for overnight rest.
Day 11: Early morning ascent to the snowy Alexander peak (5092m); and then onwards to the highest peak at (5109m), great photo opportunities available. Thereafter descend to the beautiful lake Kitandara for overnight stay at Kitandara hut. (3900mt).
Day 12: After early breakfast, descent begins. Picnic lunch on the way, after which we Resume journey to Guy Yeoman hut for dinner and overnight’s rest.
Day 13: Descend to Nyabitaba and proceed to Ibanda and transfer to Kampala overnight at Cassia Lodge/The Lodge Kampala
USD 4060 $ dollars per person sharing under Luxury accommodation
USD 3500 $ dollars per person sharing under Budget accommodation