The Rwenzori Mountains National Park, Uganda.
Known to others as the Mountains of the Moon, the Rwenzori Mountains National Park sits somewhere in the South Western part of Uganda just near the border of Congo and Uganda. Lying east of the Western Albertine Rift Valley, these mountains cross boundaries with the Virunga National Park of the Democratic Republic of Congo and are found in the districts of Kasese, Kabarole and Bundibugyo in the Pearl of Africa. In Africa, the highest existing mountain ranges are found here at the Rwenzori Mountains of Uganda and when compared to the Alps are higher with snow covered tops. The Margherita Peak which takes 3rd place in the highest peaks of Africa at a height of 5,109 meters is one of the twin summits on Mount Stanley that is found in the Rwenzori Mountains National Park. Also here in the park are the 4th and 5th highest of Africa’s peaks; Mount Speke and Mount Baker.
In the year 1991 this national park was on the go and by 1994 it was labelled a World Heritage site of UNESCO for the reasons of having a magnificent and extraordinary natural environment. When in the Rwenzori Mountains National Park is you are greeted with sights of the glaciers, lakes and waterfalls, the remarkable flora and the sounds of birds chirping in the forest. Mount Emin Pasha, Mount Gessi, Mount Baker and the Mount Luigi da Savoia are some of the other glacier peaks that are also found here however its prime peaks are compared to the Mountains Kenya and Kilimanjaro.
There are rather many species that have found the Rwenzori Mountains National Park to be a satisfactory home. These range from the many plants and animals like the 19 endemics to the Albertine Rift Valley, the 217 bird species, most rare species of undergrowth and the 70 mammal species. Bamboo, damp montane forests and moorlands conceal the lower slopes of these mountains with tree heathers so huge and mosses so colorful covering the ridges. Adding interminable flowers and the gigantic lobelias to all this incredible environment, you will definitely have yourself the perfect magical scene.
Even with the countless activities here, hiking and mountaineering has managed to take first place at the Rwenzori Mountains National Park. Most skilled hikers that go hiking take about 9 to 12 days until they get to the highest of all peaks; the Margherita. Nevertheless, the uncomplicated and shorter hikes are available too and take you to the peaks not so far off. The Rwenzori Mountains were thought by many to as the Source of the Nile River though that hasn’t been proven. The mountains also in the past were known as the “rain maker” because of the rain that falls 250 days annually on the mountain but this changed when they were renamed by a European explorer; Henry M Stanley.
Animals that can be found here in the Rwenzori National Park include the Elephants, the golden cats, the zebras, the chimpanzees, the genet, the forest hogs, the sitatunga, colobus monkey, the rock hyrax, the vervet monkeys and the duiker among countless others. The birdlife here on the other hand is profuse with 18 limited range species of the Albertine Endemics, 24 restricted species kinds, and 60 out of the 86 afro humid upland biome species inclusive of the Bamboo Warbler, the Stuhlmann’s Double Collared Olive back, the Rwenzori Turacos, the Scarlet Tufted Malachite and the Golden Winged Sunbird. 17 Guinea Congo Forest Biome species can also be found here.
There are a number of local communities of people that live within these mountain ranges and these among many include the Bakonjo, the Bamba, the Banyabindi, the Babwiisi and the Basongora to mention but a few.