The Rwenzori Mountains, or more famously known as “The Mountains of the Moon” which run for nearly 120kms lie along Uganda’s western border with the Democratic Republic of Congo and rise to an altitude of 5,100 metres above sea level. Here the legendary mountains and the incomparable beautiful mists that surround the rounded peaks provide a unique backdrop to one of Uganda’s best and most magnificent National parks. In the center of the range, which boasts Africa’s third highest mountain, some of the peaks carry permanent snow and glaciers, while the lower slopes are covered with dense forest, moorland and absolutely unique flora.
The Rwenzori mountain range is unique in that it is not a volcanic creation but the range rises directly from the floor of the Great Rift Valley and was created at the time of the formation of the Rift Valley. The highest peaks, permanently covered in snow and ice glaciers, are Margherita at 5,109m and Alexandra on Mount Stanley at 5,083m. In addition, there are four other glacial peaks in the Rwenzori mountain range– Mount Speke(4,890m), Mount Emin (4,79m), Mount Gessi (4,715m) and Mount Luigi da Savoia (4,627m).
Primarily known for its scenic beauty the mountains also offer some challenging hiking and mountaineering possibilities. Although hiking at the lower altitudes is relatively easy for moderately fit people it is not advisable to attempt mountaineering unless fully fit, experienced and accompanied by guides. There are various hiking and mountain climbing circuits in the park.
The Mountains of the Moon also support over 70 mammal species and over 175 bird species including many only found in the Albertine Rift Valley. The mammalian species are mostly dominated with varieties of primates and antelope but there are forest elephants, Golden Cat, servalline genet and forest hog.
Unusual and awe-inspiring flora includes Giant Lobelia, huge heather plants, dense bamboo forests and open moorland. At altitudes above 3000m there is significantly less vegetation and certainly very few animals or birds.