Mountain Rwenzori National Park Uganda is a UNESCO World Heritage containing the tallest mountain range in Africa, including several peaks that are permanently covered by ice (snow). Safari Uganda on your Africa safari and for mountain hiking safari tour Uganda and hike this mystical challenge. The three highest peaks in the range are Margherita (5109m), Alexandria (5083m) and Albert (5087m), all found on Mt Stanley. Mountain Rwenzori is the third highest mountain in Africa after Mount Kilimanjaro and Mount Kenya with 5,895m and 5,199m respectively. This Rwenzori mountain is non-volcanic and it stretches about 110km by 50km wide. It is a beautiful home and is to an extraordinary number of rare plants, animals, and bird species as well. New examples of both are still being discovered. Two mammals are endemic to the range and these include; the Rwenzori climbing mouse and the Rwenzori red duiker. Despite its prestige, Mountain Rwenzori National Park is one of Uganda’s less-visited national parks, and so nature lovers wanting to escape the safari crowds should definitely put it on their list on their short Uganda safaris for a mountaineering safari Uganda.
The fabled “Mountains of the Moon” lies in Western Uganda on the Congo border with its lower slopes blanketed in moorland and rich montane forest. A trip into the Rwenzoris is an exhilarating and rewarding experience but one, which must be well planned. The conditions on the mountain are a challenge to even an experienced hiker. This mountain is renowned for its un-engineered, steep and slippery trail and frequent rain. Rain and cold temperatures, bogs, mud, steep terrain and high altitude make a challenging trip hence christening it the “Mystical challenge”. Never the less it is exciting, you need to try it.
Rwenzori Mountains National Park has over 217 confirmed bird species that have been recorded in the park. Among the 217-bird species, it is home to about18 restricted-range species (Albertine endemics) making it the second-highest in Uganda to Bwindi Impenetrable National Park which has 24 restricted-range species. It is one of the Uganda birding safari destinations that shouldn’t miss on a birders list. In addition to the bird species, the park has over 60 out of 86 afro tropical highland biome species, the second-highest of these after Bwindi Impenetrable. They include some rare and spectacular birds like the Rwenzori Turaco, Bamboo Warbler, Golden-winged Sunbird, Scarlet-tufted Malachite Sunbird and Stuhlmann’s Double-collared Olive-back.
What are some of the bird species to look out for in the Rwenzori Mountains?
There are many bird species to look out for among which include: – Albertine Rift endemics like; Handsome Francolin, Rwenzori Turaco, Montane (Rwenzori) Nightjar, Dwarf Honeyguide, Archer’s Robin-Chat, Red-throated Alethe, Kivu Ground Thrush, Red-faced Woodland Warbler, Rwenzori Batis, (Grauer’s Cuckoo-shrike), Blue-headed, Regal and Purple-breasted Sunbirds, Montane Masked and Collared Apalis, Stripe-breast Tit, Strange Weaver, Dusky and Shelley’s Crimson wings.
Others bird species to look out for are; Lammergeiger, Red-thighed Sparrowhawk, Barred Long-tailed Cuckoo, African Long-eared Owl, Western Green Tinkerbird, Olive Woodpecker, Grey-chested Illadopsis, Montane Sooty Boubou, Golden-winged and Scarlet-tufted Malachite Sunbirds, White-collared Olive-back, Red-faced Crimsonwing, Oriole-Finch, Grey-winged Robin, Evergreen Forest and Bamboo Warblers, Lagden’s Bush-Shrike.
Other Interesting Birding destinations in Uganda
Semuliki National Park Uganda
Semuliki National Park, also known as “The True Birders Haven” is credited among the best birding watching safari Uganda destinations. Interested in an adventurous Uganda birding safari? Then Semuliki National Park should be one of the Uganda birding tour spots that shouldn’t miss out on your Uganda safari tour itinerary. Semuliki National Park Uganda sprawls across the Semuliki Valley floor on the remote western side of the Rwenzori Mountains.
This true birders’ haven, a famous destination for Uganda birding tours, is part of the Guinea-Congo biome, the only lowland semi-deciduous forest in Uganda with a spectacular scenic beauty enhanced by the presence of hot springs found within the park.
A total number of 53 mammal species have been recorded in the park. These species include both small and of large mammals however, there are over 7 small mammal species that have not been recorded in other parks in Uganda including the recently discovered Bongo Antelope.
Eight species occur nowhere else in Eastern Africa such as mona monkey, forest buffalo, bay duiker, Beecroft’s flying squirrel, pygmy flying squirrel, little collared fruit bat, water chevrotain and target rat. The park also habits over 300 butterfly species and a few of them can be spotted in the forest during nature walks.
Semuliki National Park Uganda is also home to nine primate species, including De Brazza’s monkey, and many mammals not found elsewhere in Uganda, such as Zenker’s flying mice. Both the resident elephant and buffalo are the forest variety, smaller than their savannah comrades.
Semuliki National Park is a distinct ecosystem within the larger Albertine Rift ecosystem. Of the 1067 birds in Uganda, 440 bird species (43%) are found in Semuliki park. Albertine Rift Endemics such as the Dwarf Honeyguide and Purple-breasted Sunbird can occasionally be sighted. All these have attracted a big number of tourists for Uganda safaris particularly for activities like Uganda wildlife safaris, Nature walks, a birding tour Uganda or Uganda birding safaris, Uganda chimpanzee trekking safaris, Uganda cultural safaris and Uganda adventure safaris.
Bwindi Impenetrable National Park
Bird species also add up to about 350 birds such as the hornbills and turacos including 23 Albertine rift endemics such as the Neuman’s Warble, Cinnamon – chested bee-eater, African green pigeon, African harrier hawk, Crowned hornbill, Giant kingfisher and blue-headed sunbird. Birding in Bwindi impenetrable forest Uganda doesn’t miss on every passionate birder itinerary while planning a birding safari tour to Uganda, with the 23 out of the 24 Albertine rift endemics that can be seen here.
The national park is also home to 310 butterfly species, 27 frog species, a number of chameleons and geckos.
Floristically there more than 1000 flowering plant species and more than 100 fern species all these within one forest!! just more than you could find in any other forest.
After the trek or birding experience relaxing with the Batwa pygmies who were the original inhabitants of the forest. They take you through their former life as they display hunting and survival skills like lighting fire using sticks.
Many tourists opt for extended safaris in Uganda when they go trekking, and on a visit to Bwindi, it’s wise to tailor in a wildlife safari in Uganda to Queen Elizabeth National Park, home to Africa’s largest population of hippopotami, to Kibale National Park, host to the world’s largest chimpanzee population or to Murchison Falls National Park, home to the world’s most powerful falls.
Please note that bird watching safaris Uganda take place in all National Parks Uganda though each park is limited to certain species and some cut across.