Rwenzori Trekking Services

History and Early Exploration

This is the road which lead to Fort Portal and the Rwenzori Mountains in the late 1800s

Claudius Ptolemy an armchair Alexandrian geographer of the then Greek Empire gathered snipetts of information and rumors from Arab traders in Africa around the year 150 AD that the snow capped mountain existed in the heart of Africa and they considered them to be the source of the Nile. Ptolemy named them the Mountains of the Moon. However it was Henry Stanley a English journalist-explorer who on the 24th May 1888 confirmed the existence of the Mountains of the Moon. However Stanley was not the first to gatch a glimpse of the Mountains of the Moon, Samuel Baker and Romolo Gessi had suceeded in g=catching a glimpse of the great mountainous masses far away in the distance. The following year in 1889 Henry Stanley was again in the Ruwenzori area where is spent several months and instructed his Deputy W.G.Stairs to carry out a short explorative trip to the heart of the imposing mountains. He advances to an altitude of 3,254m where he manages to observe the snow-capped peaks. Stanley reffered to the mountains in its local name of Rwenjura – or ‘rainmaker’.

Old photo of the main peaks Alexandra and Marghertia in the early 1940s
Photo of Alexandra & Marghertia Peaks 2005

These photos show a comparasion of the amount of snow and glacier ice on the Rwenzori Mountains in the 1940s and the effect of global warming. The Rwenzori Mountains receive 2,500cm (two and a half metres) of rain annually and together with the melting of the high glaciers and snow contribute a significent watershed to the valleys below and eventually the Nile River. The best months to see snow on the Rwenzoris is April-May and September-October which is considered the wetter months but with higher snowfalls. The image of snow covered plants just miles from the equator