Rwenzori Mountains also known as Ruwenzori are a range of mountains located along the border of Uganda and the Democratic Republic of Congo. The mountain is the highest in Uganda and the second highest in East Africa after Mountain Kilimanjaro. The highest peak (Mount Stanley) on the Rwenzori Mountains reaches 5,109 meters (16,762 ft.) above sea level with the range’s upper peaks snow-capped and glaciated. Hiking Rwenzori Mountains is an adventurous safari activity that most travelers find interesting – one of the most included in many travelers bucket lists.
The Rwenzori Mountains were formed about three million years ago in the late pilocene epoch and are a result of an uplifted block of crystalline rocks. The uplift created three of the present day African Great Lakes which are Lake Albert, Lake Edward, and Lake George. These are Africa’s highest mountain ranges with six massifs separated by deep gorges.
The massifs include Mount Stanley (5,109 meters), Mount Speke (4,890 m), Mount Baker (4,843 m), Mount Emin (4,798), Mount Gessi (4,715 m), and Mount Lugi di Savioa (4,627 m). Mount Stanley has the highest peak on the ranges known as Margherita peak. Most of the ranges are now a World Heritage Site run by Rwenzori Mountains National Park in south western Uganda and Virunga National Park in eastern Congo.
Hiking Rwenzori Mountains, hikers climb through different vegetation types ranging from tropical rainforest through alpine meadows to snow. There are a variety of vegetation species supported by the ranges and these include giant groundsel, giant lobelia and heather as tall as 6 meters (20 ft.) covered in moss. However, there is an ongoing concern as effects of climate change are reducing the Ruwenzori glaciers.
Why Hike Rwenzori Mountains
Hiking Rwenzori Mountains – The Rwenzori Mountains are a popular spot for hikers in Africa and those on Uganda hiking safaris. The Rwenzori Mountains is the second tallest mountain in Africa after Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania.
Rwenzori Mountain is managed by the Uganda Wildlife Authority along with other service providers who have created very memorable hiking routes. Hikers can have short or long trips depending on one’s interests with even day tour possible. For hikes to the Margherita peak, hikers are recommended to undertake the 9 Days Mountain Rwenzori hiking trip.
Though not the highest in Africa, the Rwenzori Mountains are unique from the single-standing Mountain Kilimanjaro or Mount Kenya. Hiking the mountain ranges offers a much more beautiful experience, it’s more diverse than hiking through to a peak of a single mountain.
If hiking to the Rwenzori Mountains from Congo, it is a lot drier and gives a beautiful approach off the beaten track to reach the summit.
Best time to hike: The best time to climb Rwenzori Mountains is during the months of January to March and June to October. However, January to March is generally colder than June to October and therefore has a higher probability of encountering snow on the summit.
Packing List: Remember to pack suitable hiking clothes and foot wear. Pack clothes that are warm and especially of cotton material, long sleeves and a rain jacket. Pack comfortable hiking shoes that will not cause any ankle bruises.
Each year thousands of tourists on hiking trips hike Rwenzori Mountains to explore Margherita peak on Mount Stanley. We offers short hiking tours to Rwenzori and also long trips for the hike to the peak. For long trips, tourists can combine hiking with Uganda gorilla safaris, chimpanzee trekking, bird watching or any other Uganda safari activities.
These tours can be undertaken to Queen Elizabeth National Park, Bwindi Impenetrable National Park, Mgahinga Gorilla National Park in south western Uganda or any other national park in the country.