Rwenzori Mountains National Park is found in southwestern Uganda. This is on the border with the Democratic Republic of Congo (D.R.C.) and Virunga National Park.

Rwenzori Mountains National Park covers an approximate surface area of about 1,000 km2 (386 sq. mi) in size, 70% of which exceeds an altitude of 2,500m above sea level. The park is also 120km long and 48km wide.

It lies on the east side of the western rift valley between 0°06′ – 0°46’N and 29°47′- 30°11’E; situated in Bundibugyo, Kabarole and Kasese districts, 25 km (16 mi) from the small town of Kasese.

The park is virtually 100,000 hectares in area and was gazetted in 1991 and incorporated as a World Heritage site and as a Ramsar site in 1994 and 2008 respectively.

This was because of its outstanding natural beauty. This park covers most of the centre and eastern half of the range. The Rwenzori national park includes Africa’s third, fourth and fifth highest peaks in an alpine highland of glaciers, snowfields and lakes which make it one of Africa’s most beautiful mountain parks. Furthermore, it protects five distinct vegetation zones; several endangered species and hosts over 70 mammals and 217 bird species including 19 Albertine Rift endemics.

It also protects a very unusual cloud forest flora which includes giant heathers, groundsels and lobelias, characterized as ‘Africa’s botanic big game’.

When the Rebels occupied the mountains as of 1997 to July 2001, the lack of security prevented any conservation. Subsequent to its inscription on the list of world heritage in danger. They were to confer with conservation NGOs and other international organizations there in the region. Also they were to make all those involved in the disagreements aware of the need to respect the site’s world heritage values. They were also to increase projects to sustain its administration.
Even though not as high as Mount Kilimanjaro, and considerably lower than Mount Kenya; the Rwenzori Mountains have a bigger alpine area than either.

The Rwenzoris are a crucial water catchment area. The upland bogs act as a huge sponge which absorbs and regulates the rainfall. They are the uppermost and most stable source of the river Nile; feeding it via eleven rivers and Lake Rutanzige (L.Edward) and Lake George in Uganda. They supply 500,000 Ugandans who depend on the mountain forests for their water and defense from flooding as well as for irrigation, hydro-electric power and inflow to the fisheries of lakes Rutanzige and George.

Rwenzori mountains national park is home to the Uganda hiking safaris and is also famous for its unique and lush flora, making it the most visited mountain park by tourists for its magnificent views and mountaineering activities

This park habours the only block mountain in east Africa and even the third highest peak in the whole of African Continent, the Rwenzori Mountain ranges. The lower slopes of the Rwenzori Mountain are blanketed with bamboo, moorland, and diverse moist montane forest. And the mountain side is a composite of the big tree-heathers as well as the colorful mosses with beautiful flowers and giant lobelias.


Activities at Rwenzori Mountains National Park

Hiking & Nature walks at Rwenzori National Park

Follow the trails up to Lake Mahooma and Buraro chimp forest; through the communities of Kichamba to the Karangura ridge; and to Bundibugo area through Bwamba pass. The communities of Ruboni and Turaco View also offer guided forest walks of various lengths just outside the park

The park provides opportunity for nature walks within the central circuit zone. These include trails up to Lake Mahooma and Buraro chimp forest; walks through the communities of Kichamba to reach the Karangura ridge; and hiking to Bundibugo area through Bwamba pass.

The communities of Ruboni and Turaco View also offer guided forest walks of various lengths just outside the park. Visitors can follow the River Mubuku, and glimpse views of Baker and Portal Peaks as they hike up to 2,300m above sea level. On a clear day it is even possible to view the snowcapped Margherita Peak – a truly spectacular sight. Along the way, keep an eye out for chameleons, squirrels, vervet monkeys and many birds.

Bwamba Pass: Before a road was built in 1938 to link Fort Portal with the remote town of Bundibugyo, local people followed the most direct route between these settlements – a tough, 1,500m high trek over the steep north Rwenzori ridge, known as the Bwamba Pass. The Abanya Rwenzori community group leads visitors over the mountain through isolated mountain villages to visit the bamboo forest and enjoy superb rift valley views.



Mountain/Volcano climbing in Rwenzori Mountains

Keen climbers can choose between two scenic routes to the top of the Rwenzoris – Africa’s third highest peak! The trails pass glacial lakes, gorgeous viewpoints, dramatic mountain passes and lush valleys.

The Central Circuit Trail: This challenging, seven-day climb provides a circular tour of the high Rwenzori. From the trailhead at Mihunga, the route ascends the Bujuku Valley via Nyabitaba for acclimatization before reaching the peaks. Clients joining the Central Circuit after Bujuku will traverse the Scott Elliot and Freshfield passes to descend through the Mubuku Valley. Climbers can scale the snow peaks though many consider the exceptional scenery ample reward for their exertions.

Kilembe Trail: The recently reopened Kilembe Trail ascends the southern slopes of the Rwenzori from a trailhead at Kilembe near the town of Kasese. The route along the lovely Nyamwamba Valley passes glacial lakes and some stunning viewpoints before joining the Central Circuit at Lake Kitandara. The standard route scales Mount Baker though the scenery makes shorter treks rewarding enough.


Cultural Encounters in Rwenzori Mountains

Walk with Bakonzo villagers through their homesteads in the foothills of the Rwenzoris as they demonstrate their daily activities, from tending to their animals and crops, to preparing meals with the freshest ingredients. See cultural dances, traditional costumes and hear their fascinating folklore.


Ruboni Community Camp

Discover the peaceful farming village of Ruboni, home to around 2,000 Bakonzo, in the foothills of the Rwenzoris. Walk with the villagers as they demonstrate their daily activities, from tending to their animals and crops to preparing meals with the freshest ingredients. Meet the blacksmith, traditional healer, basket weavers and storytellers, and enjoy a vibrant dance performance accompanied by lively drumming.

Alternatively, your guide will lead you along the rocky Mubuku River. Ruboni means clear water in the local language of Lukonzo, and you will follow this crystal-clear stream, passing villagers carrying crops and wood. As the trail winds upwards, your guide will point out many colorful native birds such as the Rwenzori Turaco, tiny sunbirds and Cinnamon-chested Bee-eaters. There are also chameleons, squirrels and vervet monkeys.

Look out for Baker and Portal Peaks rising above the forests. On a clear day the snowcapped Margherita Peak is also visible – a truly spectacular sight.


Birding in Rwenzori Mountains

Birding opportunities are greatest in the montane forest; understandably, few species choose to make their home in the inhospitable world of the high Rwenzori. Bee-eaters, Robins, Sunbirds and Barbets are some of the 217 species found in Rwenzori Mountains National Park. Other species to watch out for include the Rwenzori Turaco and Long-eared Owl; while higher up on the slopes, Bearded Vultures, Swifts and Black Eagles may be seen circling for prey.


Getting to Rwenzori Mountains National Park

Rwenzori Mountains National Park lies a few kilometers north of the equator on the Uganda-Congo border.

The park trailhead at Ruboni can be reached from Kampala from the north via Fort Portal (375km) or the south passing through Mbarara and Queen Elizabeth National Park (450km). Nyakalengija is 17km off the Kasese-Fort Portal road and 25km north of Kasese town.

Charter flights to Kasese air strip can be arranged from Kampala (Kajjansi) or Entebbe International Airport.