Rwenzori Mountains National Park
Better known as mountains of the moon due to the striking resemblance of its glaciers to the moon, Rwenzori Mountain National park sits along the Uganda-Congo Border. It prides in having the third highest point in Africa, Margarita at 16,762ft.
On average, it takes most tourists five days to scale Mountain Kenya and Kilimanjaro all the way to their highest peaks, Batian(17,057 ft)) and Uhuru(19,341 ft) respectively. In this regard, most mountaineers come expecting to ‘humiliate’ Rwenzori, only to be humbled. It might only be 16,762ft tall, but that doesn’t mean it is the kind of cake you can stuff in your mouth and swallow without chewing. No, really, it isn’t!
Do not fret, this mountain is like a sweet pain, you know, one that requires between 6-9 days of hiking! Strange but true, it might be third to Mt Kenya and Kilimanjaro, but Mt Rwenzori is no joking subject. See, its rugged terrain is punctuated with lots of steep hills and awkwardly sharp valleys. That aside, it is wetter than other East African mountains, with annual rainfall varying with altitude from 2,000 to 3,000 mm.
Funny though, of every 10 people who climb it, less than two chicken out and flat out change their minds. Those who do will attest to the fact that it is immensely rewarding! From the minute you set foot on it, your six senses come alive at the sight, smell, sound and taste of well kept secrets. The trail that leads up its summit is en-route different vegetation zones that nature has been very generous to.
Zones with abundant bird species, gorgeous crater lakes, forest elephants, forest buffaloes, primates like chimpanzees and baboons. The most exciting part of the adventure is reaching the glacier and snowy zones. Why? Encountering snow in a continent that burns with scorching sunshine is a miracle.
The park also comes across as a premium birding destination as it has some of the most sought bird species. It boasts of 241 species, 19 of which are endemic to the Albertine Rift, a corridor in which the mountain stands. One such is the Rwenzori Turraco, a brightly coloured red, green and blue bird with strident cackling call.
Then there is the Handsome Francolin and Olive pigeon. In the Bamboo forest zone, you could see Archer’s Robin-chat, a small bird with a call like a squeaky hacksaw. Otherwise, the Alpine Zone prides in having several kinds of sunbirds like the scarlet-tufted Malachite, African Black Duck, White-necked raven