Rwenzori Mountains National Park - Pamoja Safaris

Rwenzori Mountains National Park is located in western Uganda, part of the Rwenzori Mountain ranges. It is a unique national park and covers an area of 998 square kilometers (385 square miles). The park is named after Mount. Rwenzori, which is also known as the “Mountains of the Moon.”

In 1994, Rwenzori Mountains National Park was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in recognition of its outstanding natural value. The park’s designation highlights its exceptional biodiversity, scenic beauty and cultural significance.

Rwenzori Mountains National Park

The park is situated on the border between Uganda and the Democratic Republic of Congo. It is known for its stunning mountain scenery, with snow-capped peaks, glaciers, and alpine vegetation. It is home to Mount. Rwenzori, the third-highest mountain range in Africa. It reaches an elevation of 5,109 meters (16,761 feet) at its highest point, Margherita Peak. The mountain range is the highest in Uganda and 3rd highest in East Africa after Mount. Kilimanjaro and Mount. Kenya, it is famous for its challenging trekking routes, unique flora and fauna.

History of Rwenzori Mountains National Park.

European exploration of the Rwenzori Mountains began in the late 19th century. In 1888, Henry Morton Stanley, a British explorer, made an expedition to the area and reported sightings of snow-capped peaks. His observations generated interest and speculation about the existence of snow on the equator.

Italian Exploration: In 1906, the Duke of Abruzzi, an Italian mountaineer and explorer, led an expedition to Mount Rwenzori. Along with a team of climbers, he successfully reached the highest peak of the mountain and named it Margherita Peak after the Queen of Italy. This marked the first recorded ascent of the mountain.

Colonial Influence: During the colonization of Africa, the Rwenzori region came under British control. The British established a presence in the area and conducted surveys and mapping expeditions. The colonial administration recognized the natural and cultural significance of the Rwenzori Mountains and took steps to preserve the area.

Establishment of National Park: In 1952, Mount Rwenzori was designated as a national park, making it one of the first national parks in Uganda. This step was taken to protect the unique ecosystems, biodiversity, and cultural heritage of the mountain range.


Rwenzori mountains National Park is recognized for its exceptional biodiversity. The park encompasses various habitats, including montane forests, bamboo zones and alpine meadows. It supports a rich array of plant and animal species, including several endemic and rare species.


The park is renowned for its diverse plant life, including giant lobelias, heather, groundsels, and numerous species of moss and lichen. The vegetation changes with altitude, creating distinct ecological zones.


Mount Rwenzori National Park is home to a variety of wildlife, although it is less known for its large mammals compared to other parks in Uganda. However, it does host primates like chimpanzees, colobus monkeys, and various bird species, including the Rwenzori turaco, Rwenzori batis, and the handsome francolin.

What to do in Rwenzori Mountains National Park?

Climbing / Hiking Mount. Rwenzori.

Climbing Mount. Rwenzori in Uganda is a challenging and rewarding adventure. This activity requires a good level of physical fitness. The trek involves steep ascents, rugged terrain, and high altitude. Prior preparation, including cardiovascular exercises, strength training, and hiking, can help you build endurance and acclimatize to the challenging conditions.

The climb to the peak Margherita typically takes around 7 to 10 days, depending on the route and your pace. It’s important to allow enough time for acclimatization and to enjoy the scenic beauty of the mountain. There are also other short treks, for 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 and 6 days but you don’t reach the highest peak.

There are several routes to choose from when climbing Mount Rwenzori, with varying levels of difficulty. The most popular routes are the Central Circuit and the Kilembe Route. The Central Circuit is more challenging but offers incredible views and diverse landscapes. The Kilembe Route is considered slightly less demanding and starts from the western side of the mountain.

Proper gear and equipment are essential for a successful trek. This includes sturdy hiking boots, waterproof clothing, warm layers, a backpack, hiking poles, a sleeping bag if not offered by the trekking agency. It is better to consult with a tour operator for a detailed list of trekking gear.

Mount Rwenzori reaches high altitudes, and altitude sickness can be a concern. It is crucial to acclimatize properly by taking regular breaks, hydrating well, and ascending gradually. Your guide will monitor your health and provide guidance on acclimatization.

Explore the indigenous tribes.

The Rwenzori region has been home to various indigenous ethnic groups, including the Bakonjo and Bamba people. These communities have lived in the area surrounding the mountain for centuries and have developed a deep cultural connection with the mountain and its surroundings.

Nature walks.

Mount Rwenzori National Park offers a range of nature walks that allow visitors to explore the park’s diverse ecosystems, unique flora and fauna and breathtaking scenery.

The Buraro Chimp Walk.

This walk takes you into the Mahoma Valley, where you have the opportunity to encounter chimpanzees in their natural habitat. Led by experienced guides, the walk offers a chance to observe these intelligent primates and learn about their behavior and conservation.

Mubuku River Trail.

This trail follows the Mubuku River, offering a scenic and refreshing walk along its banks. The trail passes through dense forests and offers glimpses of bird species, primates, and other wildlife. You can also enjoy panoramic views of the surrounding mountains and valleys.

Mahoma Trail.

This is a shorter one-day hike that provides a taste of the Rwenzori experience. It starts from the park headquarters and takes you through the lower slopes of the mountain. The trail offers beautiful views of the surrounding landscape, including the Nyamwamba Valley and Lake George.

When to hike Mount Rwenzori Mountains National Park?

The weather on Mount Rwenzori is unpredictable, and conditions can change rapidly. It is advisable to climb during the dry seasons, which are December to February and June to August. However, even during these periods, rain and fog can occur, so be prepared for variable weather conditions.

How to get to the park?

The park can be accessed easily from the town of Kasese, which is approximately 25 kilometer (15.5 miles) from the park entrance. Kasese is well-connected by road and is a common starting point for most Rwenzori mountain treks. When planning a visit to Rwenzori Mountains National Park, it is advisable to check the current regulations and obtain necessary permits or check with your local booking agency for updated information on the mountain. The weather conditions can be unpredictable, and proper equipment and preparation are essential for a safe and enjoyable ex

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