Fables and tales speak of the “Mountains of the Moon” which holds Africa’s highest peak at an altitude of 5,109m. The Rwenzori Mountains were named “Mountains of the Moon” by Alexandrine a Geographer, Claudius Ptolemy in AD 150 and later in 1888 by Explorer Henry Stanley who named them “Mountain ranges Ruwenzori”. The term Ruwenzori, coined from the Margherita peak that passed the snow line he recorded, meant Rainmaker or Cloud King.
Rwenzori Mountains National Park was gazetted in 1991 and was recognized as a World Heritage site in 1994 and a Ramsar site in 2008. The park houses the highest parts of the 120 km long and 65 km wide. In addition, it also hosts 70 mammals and 217 bird species including 19 Albertine Rift endemics. Fauna aside, its diversified vegetation ranges from dense tropical rainforest, bamboo woodlands, and montane cloud forests. Beyond 4,500m you will encounter high-altitude vegetation, snow and glaciers that compliment the astonishing view from various vantage points, the mountain slopes also enable the thriving of the world’s rarest vegetation; huge tree heathers and colorful mosses draped across the mountainside with giant Lobelias and “everlasting flowers”, creating an enchanting, fairy-tale scene.
The park is famous for mountaineering, hiking and trekking. You can try to reach Margherita which is the highest peak, but there are shorter and less challenging treks to surrounding peaks. The hospitable Bakonzo communities near the park are also lucrative as they offer guided nature walks, cultural performances, folk tales, campfires and home-cooked local dishes.