A magical land of fantastic vegetation | About Rwenzori Mountains

The Rwenzori Mountains are one of the most exciting and challenging mountain ranges to Trek in the world. 996 sq kilometres of fantastical vegetation, lakes, rocky out crops, cliffs, high glaciers and snow capped peaks exist in a unique and mystical world into which you can escape.

The height of the peaks may not match taller mountains elsewhere in the world, the highest point-Mount Stanley’s Margherita Peak is 5,109.the remote location, fluctuating weather conditions, startling diverse vegetation, remote view points and low visitor numbers make a thrill that adventurous trekkers are looking for.

A snap short of the Rwenzori Mountains

The Rwenzori mountains were gazetted as a national park in 1991,recognized as world heritage site in 1994 and Ramsar site in 2008.These classifications testify to the mountains ” international scientific importance”

The word “Rwenzori “means “Rain maker” which clearly illustrates the importance of the mountains in East Africa. The atmosphere is wet, the mountains receive 3 metre of rainfall a year that make the lower slopes Lush with vegetation and higher reaches covered by snow and ice. Although the glaciers have retreated massively over the last 100 years due to climate change. Climbers in the wet season months still have to navigate ice walls and significant snowfall to reach the peak.

Geography and geology of rwenzori mountains

Formed of tectonic plate movement about three million years ago when ancient gneissic, quartzite and other crystalline rocks were forced up from the base of the Albertine Rift. The rwenzori are 120 km long and 65 m wide mountain range running along the Uganda –DRC boarder.

The Rwenzoris are comprised of six distinct mountains and despite being located north of the Equator, the three highest – Mount Stanely (5,109m), Mount Speke ( 4,890m) and Mount Baker ( 4,843m) all have permanent snow and glaciers.

The Rwenzoris boost of 20 lakes and water from the mountain flows in a network of rivers and streams, sustaining life across a vast area in the plains below.


Apart from the nice views, the rwenzori flora has far greater impact on the visitor than the local fauna.
Water is everywhere: cloud bound, heavy in the mist, filling mountain streams and making mirrors of lakes. Tempratures below 4,000 metres rarely exceeds 15 degrees Celsius and stays above freezing.This means that life thrives and plants are dramatic

A trek will take you through  different altitudinal zones of vegetation, each with its own micro- climate flora and fauna. The five major vegetation belts in the Rwenzoris include:

  1. Afro montane vegetation zone: 1765m- 2600 m
  2. Bamboo zone: 2600 – 3000m
  3. Heather zone: 3000m – 3800m
  4. Moorland (Afro Alpine Zone): 3800 – 4500m
  5. Rocky glacier: 4500m +


The vegetation zones are a home of 70 mammals and 177 bird species. The mammals include elephants, buffallos, giant forest hogs, red duiker, bush back, black & white Columbus monkey, blue monkey, Angola colubus, chimpanzees, golden cat, leopards, mangoose,rock hydrax,Uganda clawed frog and L’ Hoest monkey, squirrels. The most sought out reptile is the three-horned chameleon.

Of the Bird species present, several are Albertine Rift endemics  which makes the rwenzori an important birding Area ( IBA).the bird species include: Rwenzori Turraco,Barred long –tailed Cuckoo, Long –eared Owl, Handsome Francolin, Cinnamon chested bee- eater, Archers Robin Chat, White starred Robin, Rwenzori Batis, Montane sooty Boubou,Lagden’s Bush Shirike,Slender-billed starling, Blue-headed sunbird, Golden winged sunbird, Strange weaver,kivu ground thrush, Rwenzori Night jar, strip-breast Tit,red faced woodland warbler, white collared olive-back, olive woodpecker,oriole-finch,dwarf honeyguide,evergreen forest and bamboo warbler, lammergeyer and black eagle.

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