RWENZORI MOUNTAINS NATIONAL PARK
RMNP is a national park in Uganda located at the foot of Rwenzori Mountains located in southwestern Uganda in Kasese District at a size of 996 square km. Located on the east side of the Albertine Rift Valley, this park lies along Uganda’s border with the DRC and borders the DRC’s Virunga National Park. RMNP contains the tallest mountain range in Africa including a number of peaks permanently covered by ice. The three highest peaks in the range include Margherita (5109m), Alexandria (5083m) and Albert (5087m) all on Mount Stanley the third highest mountain in Africa situated in the park. Lower peaks are covered by moorland, bamboo and rich, moist montane forest which form a breathtaking scenery.
This park protects 70 mammal species and 217 bird species including 19 Albertine Rift endemics and also some of the world’s rarest vegetation. 2 mammal species are endemic to this park, that is, the Rwenzori climbing mouse and the Rwenzori Red duiker. In addition to that, this park is the only one in Uganda to record the presence of the Angola colobus monkey. Other mammal species found in this park include, elephants, golden cats, buffalos, servaline genet, chimpanzees, the blue monkey, the giant forest bog and the yellow-backed duiker.
Bird species present in this park include, the Rwenzori Turaco, handsome francolin, cinnamon-chested bee-eater, white-stared forest robin, slender-billed starling, golden-winged sunbird, archer’s ground robin, strange weaver, greenbul and the barrel-long-tailed cuckoo among many more species.
ACTIVITIES IN RWENZORI MAOUNTAINS NATIONAL PARK
HIKING AND MOUNTAINEERING
This is the prime activity at the Rwenzori Park, a 9-12 day trek will most likely get skilled hikers to the highest peak that is Magherita peak. However, shorter treks are also possible for the neighbouring peaks. Two hiking trails; the Central Circuit trail and the Kilembe trail lead hikers to the summit. On the earlier trail along the slopes, hikers can view the snow peaks of the mountains while on the latter, hikers can be able to see the glacial lakes.
Chances are provided for nature walk lovers especially in the central circuit zone. They include taking trails up to Lake Mahooma and the Buraro chimp forest, through the communities of Kichamba to the Karangura Ridge; and to Bundibugyo through the Bwamba pass. Outside the park, guided forest walks can be offered by the local communities. You can also follow River Mubuku and have a spectacular view of Portal and Baker peaks. Chances are, you might see the snowcapped Magherita peak.
This activity is mainly done in the montane forest. With the 217 bird species recorded in this park, you might have the opportunity to sight species like the long-eared owl, the Rwenzori Turaco, the white-stared robin, the montane sooty boubou and the golden-winged sunbird among other bird species.
Walk with the villagers and experience a part their daily activities from weaving to tending animals to preparing meals to storytelling to cultural performances.