Sitted along Uganda’s border with Democratic Republic of Congo, Rwenzori is Africa’s third highest mountain, standing at 5,109meters (16,762 ft) above sea level. This park’s six main mountains are spread over a120km-long and 65km-wide setting that was formed over 3 million years ago. This happened after foot walls of the western rift valley were uplifted as coherent blocks.
The hike up this enormous paradise brings you to a picturesque environment comprising of five vegetation zones, starting with grassland (1000- 2000m), bamboo zone (2500-3000), heather vegetation zone (3000–4000m), afro-alpine moorland vegetation zone (4000-4500m). It is capped with glacier and snow zones (4,500m-5,109m). The hike up gives one an opportunity to explore the landscape on foot – taking time to identify various montane birds, watch wildlife, and breath pure air.
There are a two main trails leading to the summit, both of which feature well insulated huts where you can retire at the end of a long day’s hike. If you want a less challenging option, the Rwenzori Mountain Services trail will rock your world. It is possible to hike to and fro the mountain’s summit in just six days. On the other hand, the Kilembe trail is quite steep and more involving, so please be prepared….. especially if you have weak knees. It takes an average of 9 days in total for a to and fro hike. Despite being a much longer and more strenuous hike: it is worthwhile for its picturesque cascading waterfalls. If you keep your eyes peeled, you’ve got a good chance to see some wildlife that are great at camouflaging with the rocks and vegetation. Such includes rock hyrax, forest leopards. The history here is so priceless to say the least. It’s amazing to discover rock shelters and caves where the mountain’s early settlers used to live.
Some bits of Rwenzori’s trails are narrow and steep, but this isn’t much of a setback as you will be accompanied by ranger guides who are supportive. In an effort to make the adventure less exhausting, you will be accompanied by porters who will carry your luggage. The trails here are not that scary because they are not en-route dangerous cliffs.
Before the end of the tour, you’ll notice lots of endemic bird species, or at least hear their calls. One such is the world famous Rwenzori Turaco, an elegant species that loves to dwell in the forest due to its abundance of food.
In conclusion: There’s no shortage of beautiful areas in the Rwenzoris and best of all, the park is not crowded with tourists. It is still an undiscovered gem.
Best time to visit: The dry months provide a more fun experience because the trails are not wet and thus safe to walk on. It runs from June through to Augus