Rwenzori Mountains National Park found in Uganda is a UNESCO World Heritage Site placed in Rwenzori Mountains ranges. Measuring around 1,000 km2 (386 square miles), the park boasts of the third highest mountain peak in Africa plus several lakes, waterfalls and glaciers. The park is known for its beautiful plant life.
According available Facts and Figures, the Rwenzori Park occupies approximately 100,000 hectares in western Uganda and encompasses the core portion of the Rwenzori mountains sequence that comprises of Africa’s third uppermost peak, Mount Margherita (5,109 metres). The Rwenzori area’s glaciers, lakes and waterfalls qualify it among Africa’s most attractive alpine regions. Rwenzori has numerous natural habitats of scarce species plus rich and rare vegetation embracing, among others, the gigantic heather.
The Rwenzori Mountains are well-known Mountains of the Moon and offer fabulous views of the glacier and snow-capped peaks a few kilometers away from the equator. This is a point where it is connecting with Virunga National Park in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Being the third topmost mountain in the whole of Africa at 5,109 metres after Mount Kenya and Kilimanjaro, the Park consists of a much bigger alpine zone covering 99,600 hectares, 70% of which stands at an elevation of over 2,500 metres.
The Mountains are the main and most perpetual sources of the Nile River and accounts for being a vibrant water catchment area. The crowd of wild flowing rivers, splendid waterfalls and stratified plant life make Rwenzori Mountains, an asset outstandingly attractive and striking. The mountains are renowned for their distinctive alpine vegetation which consists of lots of species prevalent to the Albertine Rift in the upper elevation precincts including groundsels, lobelias and giant heathers. The Park also provides local populations with different wild resources and is a significant traditional heritage.
The Rwenzoris are a replication of the mist-cloaked mountains of this rough chain that tower nearly 4,000 m directly above the Albertine Rift Valley, positioning them observable from longer expanses. The mountains give a distinctive and untouched scenery of alpine undergrowth dotted with fascinating massive groundsels, lobelias and heathers baptized as ‘Africa’s botanical big game’. The combination of remarkable snow-capped mountaintops, glaciers, V-shaped valleys, loose flowing rivers with glorious waterfalls, pure blue lakes and inimitable flora add a lot to the area’s incomparable natural magnificence.
Animal, Bird Life & Temperatures
Due to their altitudinal variety, and the closely continuous temperatures, moisture and great isolation, the mountains support the lushest Montane vegetation in the whole of Africa. There is an exceptional assortment of species, many of which are widespread to the Albertine Rift and strange on exterior.
The natural foliage has been categorized as fitting to five distinctive zones, determined fundamentally by highness and characteristic. The higher height above sea level zones, covered by heather and Afro-alpine moor, outspread from around 3,500 m to the snowflake line and symbolize the scarcest flora types in Africa. Major species include the giant heathers, groundsels, lobelias and other prevalent.
In terms of animal life, the Rwenzoris have been acknowledged as a Key Bird Zone with 217 bird species that have recorded as by now. This number is projected to surge as the park becomes well surveyed. The mountains’ montane woodlands are also a home-base to vulnerable species like the African forest elephant, l’Hoest’s monkey and eastern chimpanzee. The rare red duiker or Rwenzori black-fronted is thought to be very confined sub category or conceivably an isolated species that seem to be bounded to the Park.
The Park Challenges
The park is facing challenges like community use of property such as gathering of bamboo, tourism development, population rise and farming practices. Whereas little agrarian infringement has transpired due to the Park’s evidently noticeable borderline, rebel activities in recent decades have affected the management of the park and invigorated unlawful undertakings, the reason for which the mountain was engraved in the List of World Heritage in Danger from 1999 to 2004.
The rising number of societies existing around the property is additional burden on forestry resources. Though the cultural significance that the community accords to the Park plus the various assistance they earn from ecotourism and controlled plant resource use is intended to accomplish this. The mountains also offer water in the area for home and business use. The reliability of the property is additionally heightened by its nearness to the Virunga National Park in the DR Congo which offers an opening for genetic factor flow and safeguard properties.
Conservation and Management
Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA) manages Rwenzori Mountains National Park. The park is considered a archetypal for amalgamation of cultural standards into the Protected Area Management agenda as an ground-breaking methodology to resource administration, the pioneer of its kind in the whole Africa. Consequently, local populations have embraced combined resource management ingenuity. Due to its importance as among the biodiversity key areas in the Albertine Aperture, several local and global NGOs have reinforced the supervision and preservation of the mountain. The Crucial challenges to address comprise of illegal cut down of trees, snow downturn owing to global warming, population pressure neighboring to the park plus managing of waste piling up through tourism activities.
UWA is handling the mentioned threats via resource protection, communal conservation education, research and ranger-based watching, ecotourism and trans-boundary approached with the Democratic Republic of Congo. The enduring conservation of the integrity of the park will have to be attained by use of sustainable financing, environmental supervision, continual cooperation with strategic stakeholders as well as regional cooperation.