The magical experience on the rugged Rwenzori mountains is more than just a trek. It is equated to a therapy that takes trekkers to another world of wonders. The trek feels like a fantasy of natural encounters and scenery. The mountain generously showcases the African jungles on the equator, in an exceptional way. The Rwenzori mountains is in multiple layers of natural vegetation. The mountain has 217 bird species, other fauna including the elephants, antelopes, leopards, hyrax, squirrels’ primates and other small mammals. The trek is through over 994 plant species that have been record so far. Of the 217, up to a total of 17 bird species are endemic to the Rwenzori mountains, making it a unique trek for birders as well. Come take the challenge to participates in the world class treks, only on the mountains of the moon.
No one can ever have the rightful words to explain a full story of Rwenzori trekking. This is why everyone must trek to understand it. Rwenzori mountains trek takes through the park’s altitudinal range of 1600m to 5109m in five Rwenzori vegetation zones followed by the glacier/snow zone that extends up to 5109m. These zones include;
- Grassland (1000-200m),
- Montane Forest (2000 -3000m),
- Bamboo/ Mimulopsis (2500-3500m),
- Heath/ Rapanea (3000-4000m) and
- Afro-Alpine moorland (4000- 4500m)
Standing at 5109 above sea level, margherita peak on Mount Stanley is highest point of mount Rwenzori. This also doubles as the highest point of Uganda and Congo. Its height comes after Mount Kenya at (5,199) and Kilimanjaro at (5,895). Despite being the third highest in east Africa, Rwenzori mountains comes on top in the levels of challenge and beauty on the African continent. The mountain is mainly characterized of luxuriant vegetation, the ruggedness of the valleys, holding snow at the equator and being a block mountain, the highest of the kind in Africa. Many trekkers have confirmed that you haven’t trekked a mountain until you have trekked the Rwenzori’s.
Rwenzori is not just a mountain. It is also a key cultural landmark that holds rich values for the Bakonzo people who cover the foothills and Nord-Kivu province in Congo on the west of Rwenzori mountains. Only this tribe climbs the mountains, being the only mountain tribe in the area while all the other tribes live in the plains. During the trek you exchange cultural values and skills that have been transferred by the Bakonzo people, over generations of living on these mountains. These such traditions include; the mountain vocabulary of Lukonzo language that is known to no one on the plains, the hunting and collecting skills of the mountain men, the secretes of mountain councils during the trek and the ancestral gods on the mountains and how to appease them during the trek, hunting and collecting journeys.
Rwenzori trekking can be done in various levels. The level of choice will mainly depend on the budget time available for the trek and fitness. The mountain trails include;
- One day nature walk that takes trekkers for a day and they return to the base camp in the same day.
- Three days/ two nights on Mahoma trek. This takes guests on a loop south of the central circuit trail and they get out at Nyabitaba (the first camp) then return to the base camp on the third day.
- Seven days central circuit trail that takes trekkers through without climbing snow peaks
- Eight – Nine days margarita trek. This takes trekkers up to margarita peak. Interested trekkers may add any other peaks on this trek.
- Two to three days Kinyampanika chimp trail that takes into the lower mountain slopes.
- Other treks of the days of choice ranging from two to five in the central circuit and Kilembe trail.
- One or multiday Community trekking trails outside the park near the various park gates; Nyakalengija, Kilembe, kazingo, Bundibugyo, Kyarumba and other parts. These community trails are conducted by the communities and they show case the local culture, the mountain scenery and local forests from the foothills outside the park.
After the treks on these extraordinary mountains, you will have the liberty to mix with the local tribes as a way of celebrating the successful trek over the mountains of the moon. Goat roasting, local /modern beer and traditional dance parties while learning how to play the local drums, bamboo flutes and xylophone made from special mountain trees. In the village cultural walk, you will be able to visit an assortment of homes to learn the local way of life that is also influenced by the mountain’s ecosystem. The activities to be experienced during the village walk include; traditional healing, handicrafts weaving, traditional storytelling, local farming of bananas, coffee and other crops or visiting the blacksmith on the river side to learn how to make local Bakonzo tribe tools that they use to tame the Rwenzori mountains.