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Rwenzori national park is located in the western part of Uganda on the borders of Uganda and the Democratic Republic of Congo. The park covers an area of 998 sq km. It was named after the famous Rwenzori Mountains also referred to as the legendary “Mountains of the Moon” described by Ptolemy in AD150.

The park is situated within “mountains of the moon” – lie in western Uganda along the Uganda-Congo border. Mountain Rwenzori is an equatorial snow peaks includes the third highest point in Africa, while the lower slopes are blanketed in moorland, bamboo and rich, moist montane forest.

Mountain Rwenzori is situated in Western Uganda in the East African Rift Valley and straddles also to the Democratic Republic of Congo and its conservation area known as Virunga National Park.

The world heritage site covers almost 1000 sqkm and strides across the districts of Kabarole, Kasese and Bundibudyo. Margherita Peak stands higher among all other peaks on Mountain Rwenzori. Champion hikers aim at reaching the highest peak which is a tag of war! Margherita peak is the 3rd highest peak in Africa together with its twin peak, Mount Stanley, which is within the park. The 4th and 5th highest peaks, Mount Speke and Mount Baker, are also within the park.

The Rwenzoris are a world-class hiking and mountaineering destination. A nine- to twelve-day trek will get skilled climbers to the summit of Margherita – the highest peak – though shorter, non-technical treks are possible to scale the surrounding peaks.

For those who prefer something a little less strenuous, neighboring Bakonzo villages offer nature walks, homestead visits home cultural performances and accommodation, including home-cooked local cuisine.

The Rwenzori Mountains a home to Africa’s 3rd highest peak, is suitably lying on the Western border of Uganda and the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). The Rwenzori ranges also most popular as the Mountains of the Moon rises up-to a height of about 5109m. Mount Rwenzori was named the Mountains of the Moon due to its strikingly stunning glaciers which shine just like little moons.

The Rwenzori Mountains take its name from the local word which is translated as ‘Rain Maker’, while its first peak “Margherita” takes its name from the Italian Queen. Margherita peak was named by an Italian Aristocrat- The Duke of Abruzzi. The Rwenzori Mountain ranges is without doubt Africa’s highest block mountain and it is notably one of the world’s best hiking destinations-according to the National Geographic.

Fauna and Flora

Huge tree-heathers and colorful mosses are draped across the mountainside with giant lobelias and “everlasting flowers”, creating an enchanting, fairytale scene. The Rwenzori Mountains hosts 70 mammals and 217 bird species including 19 Albertine Rift endemics, as well as some of the world’s rarest vegetation. There are five different vegetation zones found in the Rwenzori mountains. These are grassland (1000-2000m), montane forest (2000-3000m), bamboo/mimulopsis zone (2500-3500m), Heather/Rapanea zone (3000-4000m) and the afro-alpine moorland zone (4000-4500m). At higher altitudes, some plants reach an unusually large size, such as lobelia and groundsels.


Rwenzori Mountains National Park protects 70 species of mammals though some of these often spend their time in the dense rainforest. They include leopard, forest elephants, eastern chimpanzees, l’hoest, Rwenzori colobus monkeys, bush bucks, duikers etc.


Rwenzori Mountains National Park is one of the most looked for birding destinations in Uganda. It houses 217 bird species and the species of visitor interest include olive pigeon, handsome francolins, greenbuls, golden winged sunbird, long eared owl, Rwenzori turacos, Rwenzori batis, illadopsis, montane sooty boubou, archer’s robin chat, blue headed sunbird, lagden’s bush shrike, flycatchers, barbets, crimson wings, slender billed starling.

Getting to Rwenzori Mountains

If your Uganda safari holiday is planned to spent in the Rwenzori Mountains National Park then the best alternatives to get there is by road or by air. By road, the park is accessible using public means or private car rental setting from Kampala via Mityana, Mubende to Fort Portal or Kampala through Masaka, Mbarara-Kasese and this may cover from 5-6 hours’ drive.


Rwenzori National Park, a home to one of the highest African peaks “Margherita” sits in the Western part of Uganda. The Rwenzori Mountains straddles along the East African Rift Valley but it is not a volcanic mountain range. The bordering districts are Kabarole, Bundibugyo and Kasese. Rwenzori Mountain is the prime attraction of the Rwenzori Mountains National Park. Other areas bordering the Rwenzori Mountains include Lake George in the South and Queen Elizabeth National Park (QENP).


70 mammal species and other significant species in Rwenzori Mountains National Park all range within the 6 distinct vegetation zones. When trekking to conquer the Margherita peak, climbers navigate through a series of these unique vegetation zones that include the montane forest, tree heathers, bamboo, afro-alpine etc. The Park hosts one of the rarest botanical species, the groundsel and lobelia. These distinct vegetation zones exist in different altitudes.


The Rwenzori Mountains makes up part of the Albertine rift that is the western rift valley arm of East Africa rift. It boasts of high peaks, beautiful gorges carved by glaciers making its topography unique. Mt. Rwenzori is the only Africa’s mountain range that represents glacial equatorial basement rock which formed due to earth’s uplift.

The Rwenzori Mountain ranges covers the Uganda’s Rwenzori Mountains N. Park and Congo’s Virunga National Park which takes 20% of this range. The best hikes in the Rwenzori Mountain ranges include the Central Circuit, Forest, and Margherita.


The Rwenzori Mountains lie just north of the Equator along the border between the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and Uganda. The north-south extension amounts to about 120km and the east-west extension runs to about 50km. The range has 6 major peaks, Mt. Stanley (5,109m), Mt. Speke (4,890m), Mt. Baker (4,843m), Mt. Emin (4,798m) Mt. Gessi (4,715m) and Mt. Luigi di Savioa (4,627m).

Formation of the Rwenzori Mountains

The Rwenzori Mountain ranges formed due to a shift in the Earth’s crust about 3 million years back. The shift resulted into an uplift of the rock comprising of quartzite, gneiss and granite. The shift in the tectonic plate is believed to have pushed the mountain block upwards and tilted it to make high peaks. Due to erosion and deposition of sediment for over years, it resulted into moulding of the range which today is referred to the Rwenzori Mountain ranges.

The Rwenzori Mountain range has a composition of 6 massifs each of them is separated by deep gorges. While on the Rwenzori Mountaineering experience, the 6 peaks/mountain massifs to trek through include Mount Baker/Kiyanja, the 3rd highest of the 6 Rwenzori Mountain massifs. Mt. Baker sits on altitude of 4843m and feature multiple subsidiary peaks like Edward peak. Mt. Baker’s ridge was first hiked by Rubert Grauer in 1906.

The Bakonzo People

The people who inhabit the villages and farms immediately along the Uganda Rwenzori site are of the Bakonzo tribe. They are slender and of medium height but are amazingly strong in the mountains, capable of covering long distances in a very short time. In Uganda, the Bakonzo are a minor ethnic group of around 1000000 people (2002 census), in the DRC, they are slightly more numerous. For the Bakonzo, education is very important and they have a great spirit of conserving the environment.