Hiking the Mountains of the Moon

Experiencing the Rwenzori Mountains just got easier, thanks to the Uganda Wildlife Authority. A new short trail, named the Mahoma Nature Trail, will allow visitors to experience this amazing park even if they don’t have the time or interest to hike the six to nine days it takes to explore this mystical mountain range, or summit Mt. Stanley.

The Rwenzoris have long been known as a world-class mountaineering destination. National Georaphic recently named the mountain range as one of the best hikes in the world. The Rwenzoris are described as being perhaps the toughest hiking challenge in East Africa, requiring above average fitness and stamina.

However, the new trail opens up one to three-day hikes along the more accessible lower slopes of the range and leads to Lake Mahoma. The trail was built by Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA) using funds from USAID’s Sustainable Tourism in the Albertine Rift (STAR) project. The funds also allowed for the construction of an information center next to the park, providing information and services for visitors to be able to learn more about the park and the mountain, its people and their culture.

Even along the lower slopes, the Rwenzoris offer plenty to explore. Although Ptolemy named the range “The Mountains of the Moon,” Rwenzori is derived from a local name meaning, “Hill of Rain,” which is a more accurate description of this mountain range which receives approximately 98-118 inches of rainfall annually. As a result, the Rwenzoris have a unique ecosystem with several vegetative zones and numerous endemic species of gigantic plants. The park also supports an impressive number of mammals, including elephants, cats, chimpanzees, giant forest hogs, and many shyer species of antelope, as well as a diverse and colorful variety of birds.

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