Rwenzori Mountains In Uganda

Rwenzori Mountains

The Rwenzori Mountains (formerly spelled Ruwenzori) is a spectacular mountain range located in Africa on the border of Uganda and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. The range is not volcanic but consists of crystalline rock that moved upward from the earth’s crust.

Ancient people called the range “the Mountains of the Moon.” Ptolemy, the Alexandrian geographer, first used this name on a map. The mountains were thought to be the source of the Nile River. Indeed, melting snows from the range do feed some of the farthest Nile tributaries.

The range is only 80 miles long but contains one of the most dramatic diversities of ecosystems in the world, for here within just a few miles from each other are the heat of tropical jungles and the cold of glacial ice. In fact, there are five distinct zones of habitation generating a world of amazing biodiversity.

Its Naming

The range was named Rwenzori by European explorer Henry M. Stanley, after a native word meaning “rain maker.” Indeed, the Rwenzori IS a rain maker, for up to 350 days a year rain falls on these mountains, feeding the dense foliage.

At the base is the African Savannah teeming with animals including elephants and zebras. This zone is mostly between about 3,000 and 5,500 feet (914 – 1,676 m.). Above the grasslands is the Rainforest from 5,500 to 7,500 feet (1,676 – 2,286 m.). Here are giant ferns, wild banana trees and lianas.