The best time to hike the Rwenzori Mountains is during the dry season. The dry moths of the year in the Rwenzori Mountain ranges occur from December, January, February and from June, July till early August. Hiking to the summits/peaks of the Rwenzori Mountains during the wet or rainy season can be really be challenging as this period is characterized by muddy bogs, slippery steep slopes & rocks which can be iced.
Climate & weather of Rwenzori Mountains
The Rwenzori Mountains experience mostly the tropical kind of climate characterized by heavy rains. This mountain range is found astride the Equator crossing. When planning a hike to the Rwenzori Mountains, the 2 important seasons include the 2 short dry seasons which occur starting from June, July, August and December, January, February. Like the wet season, rains still occur although not heavily.
Clearer days at Rwenzori Mountains are experienced during the 2 short dry seasons. They are amazingly the best days to go hike the Rwenzori Mountain ranges. During dry season, daytime temperatures can be chilly and range from 10 to 15 degrees celsius. Night temperatures range from 2-6 degree celsius and generally a cold night.
Rwenzori Mountains lies at close proximity to the Equator crossing and due to its geographical location, its weather & climatic conditions are often influenced by the Inter-tropical convergence zone. This is the low pressure zone an area known to experience heavy rains especially during spring and autumn months of the year.
The Rwenzori Mountains’ wet/rainy months start from April, May and November. These are the low months of the year and the period when heavy rains occur. During the low months, rains can occur in the afternoon and hikes can still be done during morning hours.
Wildlife and plants of the Rwenzori Mountains
Rwenzori Mountains experience favorable weather and climatic conditions all year round hence supporting growth of forage in the different habitat. This block mountain range protects over 70 mammal species and over 2017 bird species in its varying ecological zones.
The different ecological zones within the Rwenzori Mountains include the African savanna grassland, alpine meadows, tropical rainforest, heath, bamboo and others. The Rwenzori Mountains base features mainly the savanna grasslands sheltering varied wildlife species. The savanna grassland sits on altitudinal range of 1676 to 2286m.
Above 3000-3800m, the Rwenzori Mountains has bamboo forest and this occurs above the tropical rainforest. The alpine zone occurs at 3500m and you come across plants such as groundsel, giant lobelia etc. Above 4500, there is mainly permanent snow and glaciers.
The 70 mammal species at the Rwenzori Mountains range at the lower slopes and they include duikers, elephants-mainly in the forest areas; bush bucks, elephants, hyrax, Angola colobus monkeys, chimpanzees, the black and white colobus monkeys. The 217 bird species include among others the barbets, blue headed sun birds, cinnamon chested bee-eaters, long eared owl, montane sooty boubou, golden winged sunbird, lagden’s bush shrike, strange weaver, apalis, crimson wings, white starred robin, handsome francolins, Rwenzori turacos, Archer’s robin chat and others.