Grab a pen and a piece of paper and write down the following details. “In the heart of the African continent, 440 kilometers west of Kampala City, along the equator and in the districts of Kabarole, Kasese and Bundibugyo rests Africa’s third largest mountain called Rwenzori”. Now that you know the place feel free to put down that pen. Rwenzori is actually the highest block mountain in the whole of Africa. The Margherita peak (5,109m Above Sea Level) of the Rwenzoris is the highest point you can ever be at during your Uganda safari.
The Rwenzoris are a series of six independent mountain ranges that are
divided by deep green valleys which are diversely filled with fauna and
flora species of all sizes and colors. The upper heights are protected
by one of Africa’s prettiest Mountainous National Parks and are a UNESCO
World Heritage Site principally because of the verdant botany therein.
Even before Safaris and tours to Uganda’s
western parts began, the world knew about the Rwenzoris. The first time
the world heard about the Rwenzoris was when an Alexandrian
geographical researcher and photographer called Ptolemy in CE 150 wrote
about a mysterious mountain in the heart of the African continent which
he referred to as the Mountains of the Moon. Many years later (in 1889) a
European explorer called Henry Morton Stanley came across a mountain
which fit Ptolemy’s description and because of its magnificence, he
could not hold back but proclaim that these were the Cloud Mountains in
concurrence with Ptolemy.
This legendary place has over the years
evolved into one of the most amazing places in the world to tour while
on a vacation, and over 150,000 mountaineers have been able to climb
through the Rwenzoris with just a few tens reaching the Margherita peak.
Mountain climbing in the Rwenzoris remains a first-rate activity to add
to your Safari itinerary in Uganda.
For anyone to legally participate in hiking through the Rwenzoris, they
have to contact the Rwenzori Mountaineering Services (RMS) or the
Rwenzori Trekking Services (RTS). This may be done directly through
their offices but it is even made simpler and quicker by one of the tour
operators. Tourists will have to pack a strong pair of shoes, clothes
for the different weathers in the area (hot and cold), and a good insect
repellant. It is also advisable that aspiring hikers work up a good
level of fitness and also make consultations with their doctors before
deciding on taking this tedious hike.
The activity is currently
conducted along two trails; the Central Circuit Trail which can last up
to seven (7) days to ascend and descend; and the Kilembe trail which
lasts between nine (9) and ten (10) days. The Kilembe Trail climaxes in
summiting the Margherita Peak while the Central Circuit Trail ends at
the Elena Hut at an altitude of 4563m with views of the snowcapped
Margherita Peak. The journey up the mountains is skilfully planned, with
huts at differenced levels where hikers can stop and set up lodging for
the night, and then continue with the trek the following morning.
People who have engaged in Uganda mountain climbing Safaris
in the Rwenzoris have always spoken of an unforgettable experience and
the few who have managed to reach the topmost place have always been
short of words, in awe of the incredible vistas from the highest place
in Uganda. The oldest person to ever reach Margherita was a Canadian
lady called Ms. Beryl Parker who at the age of 78 in November 2010
achieved a world record. Like Ms. Parker, many more people desire to
reach a lifetime achievement; something to tell their grandkids about.
Summiting one of Rwenzori’s peaks is indeed one of those memorable
experiences and is open to all the fit ambitious mountaineers. “Welcome
to the Mountains of the Moon”
Uganda safaris/Uganda safari News
Prime Uganda safaris & Tours Ltd