MOUNT RUWENZORI NATIONAL PARK.
Rwenzori Mountains also commonly referred to as the Mountains of Moon, located in southwestern Uganda and rises over 4000m above the floor of the Albertine Rift Valley, just a few kilometers north of equator the mountain is the highest mountain the country and the third highest mountain peak in Africa. Established in 1991 and designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1994 because of its outstanding natural beauty and the wildlife species, The park lies in the districts of Bundibugyo, Kabarole, and Kasese, 25 km from Kasese town. The park is 120 km long and 48 km wide.
The mountain 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.
It has a high diversity of plants and trees. The park is noted for its botany, which has been described as some of the most beautiful in the world. There are five distinct vegetation zones in the park, which change according to changes in altitude. The park has got 241 species of birds of which 19 are endemic to the mountain. Several birds are limited to just a few forests along the Albertine rift, notably the Rwenzori Turaco, 15 species of butterfly, and four primate species. The park's wildlife varies with elevation, and its species include the forest elephant, chimpanzee, hyrax, black-and-white colobus, L'Hoest's monkeys, duiker, and Ruwenzori Turaco.
Accommodation can be arranged in Kasese town there are hotels and lodges that can be used while the park has camping, a good trail network and huts for hikers. The park has excellent trekking and climbing opportunities with spectacular views and unusual scenery. The most popular trek is a seven day circuit of the park thus together with the two days of travelling to and fro to make it to 9days.
An ascent of the mountain passes through a series of increasingly dramatic vegetation zones. Above the Bakonzo farmlands, montane forest (1500-2500m) gives way to bamboo stands and messy tangles of Mimulopsis (2500-3000m). This is followed by the lovely Heather-Rapenea zone (3000-4000m), which is characterized by giant tree-heathers (Erica spp.), garishly coloured mosses and drab beards of lichen. Spectacular forms of giant lobelia (Lobelia spp.) and groundsels (Senecio spp.) are first found in this zone. These plants persist into the highest, Alpine zone (3800-4500m) where they are joined by wiry but pretty thickets of Helichrysum or ‘everlasting flowers’.
The Bigo Bogs in the Upper Bujuku Valley are colonised by tussocks of sedge (Carex spp). These provide climbers with useful if disconcertingly wobbly ‘stepping stones’ with which to negotiate these notoriously muddy sections.
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- Kidepo Valley National Park
- Queen Elizabeth National Park
- Murchision Falls National Park
- Mount Ruwenzori National Park
- Semiliki National Park
- Mount Elgon National Park