Climbing the Rwenzoris – Glaciers and Snow at the Equator

Rwenzori Mountains

Also famous as the Mountains of the Moon, the Rwenzori Mountain ranges are largely located in southwestern Uganda, along its border with the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). This mountain lies along the eastern part of the western Albertine Rift Valley.

The Rwenzori mountain ranges make up part of the Rwenzori National Park which lies within Kabarole, Kasese and Bundibugyo district. This magical block mountain features as the highest mountain ranges in African continent and the tallest in Uganda. It is popular to be taller than the Alps and it is ice capped. Mount Rwenzori comprises of Mount Stanley, Magherita peak which is one Mount Stanley’s summits and also features as the 3rd tallest peak in Africa with a height of 5109 meters. It also features the 4th and 5th peaks of Mount Speke and Mount Baker. If you are adventure enthusiast, hiking the Rwenzoris should be one of a must breathtaking adventures. Besides its thrilling adventures, you will also have a chance to catch a glimpse at most of its incredible birdlife.

The Park

Rwenzori was designated as a national park in 1991 and later as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1994 given its spectacular natural beauty. It stretches up to 1000 kilometers and inhabits magnificent waterfalls, glaciers and Lakes. It is credited for its incredible plant species. This park consists of the eastern and central half of the Rwenzori Mountain ranges. As a protected area, more than 70 species of mammals, 217 birdlife, 19 Albertine rift endemics as well as the most unique vegetation species in the world. The Rwenzori Mountain ranges features not only the equatorial snow peaks while its lower slopes comprise of the bamboo, moorland and the moist montane forest. There are also huge tree heathers and the colorful mosses which are covered via the mountainside with the giant lobelias and endless flowers which make up the most stunning sceneries.

If you are interested in hiking expeditions in the Rwenzori Mountains, it is importatnt to plan well your travel itinerary. The trek through this mountain lasts for 9 to 12 days. The more skilled trekkers take up the hikes up to the mountains summits of Magherita peak while the non technical hikes can be done within the foothills of the mountains. This mountain comprises of the crystalline rock which resulted from upward thrust due to the earth’s crust. Besides being the Mountains of the Moon, this remarkable mountain was also sought of the source of the Nile. Its melting snows feed most of the distant tributaries of the Nile. The Rwenzori Mountain ranges for about 80 miles and consist of the most amazing biodiversity in the entire world and it from where this remarkable physical feature that you will find incredible tropical jungles and glacial ice. It features 5 rare zones of habitats that also inhabit the outstanding ecosystem.

The Rwenzori Mountain ranges were named by Henry M. Stanley just after a native word which denotes rain maker. This mountain receives the highest amount of rainfall throughout the year which explains the thick foliage. At its foothills, you will find the African savanna crowded with other incredible wildlife species especially the elephants, zebras and birdlife. You will also find wild banana trees, lianas and ferns. You will also find the bamboo forest within 9500 feet. This kind of vegetation grows up to 3 feet and can even reach for hundred feet just within 2 months. It is an incredible forest for one to take a walk through while on vacation in Uganda. Beyond the bamboo, you will find a heath zone which stretches 12000 feet and it is land which is covered by lichen plus heather tree which thrive over the ground cover of the mosses and the liverwort. The trees are 40 feet high and are relatively of low shrub which thrives in the Scottish moorlands. At its higher elevation, there is alpine zone that lies within 12000 feet and it lies within the lower sections which are covered by the giants. This elevation features rare plants which can only be sighted within the afro alpine zone which comprise of groundsel and the giant lobelia. The upper side also stretches at the zone which stands within 14500 feet which comprise of rocky terrain which occupies by black lichens and the thrown mosses. Above 14500 feet, you will find magherita peak at 16763 feet and this features as the tallest point in the Rwenzori Mountain.

The Rwenzori Mountain ranges features as one of the most remarkable natural wonders in Africa. It’s the rarest and features the alpine climates whereas the mountain lies around the equatorial area.

Mount Rwenzori is best hiked in the months of January, February and March given that these are drier months of the year.

You will also need a day back to accommodate your waterproof jacket, water proof trousers, bottle of drinking water, mosquito repellent, snacks, sunscreen, hiking boots and many more.

In conclusion, the Rwenzori Mountain ranges are one of Africa’s most incredible mountains which reward visitors with breathtaking adventures. For life changing adventures, consider visiting this mountain and you won’t regret in life.

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