The Rwenzori mountain range bordering Uganda and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) is a special, almost magical, place.
Almost perpetually covered in mist, rain and thunderstorms, it could look more like a scene from Lord of the Rings than equatorial Africa. In ancient times, there were accounts of white mountains that fed fresh water to the Nile river. To add to the mystical air of these mountains, their existence was only confirmed outside of Central Africa much later than Ptolemy's account of the "Mountains of the Moon" (circa 2 AD).
It was only in 1876 that Sir Henry Morton Stanley - the explorer who famously searched for and found David Livingstone and said, "Dr. Livingstone, I presume?" - saw the mountains in the distance, and later in 1888 realised that what he thought was a white cloud was snow. Numerous explorers tried to reach the mountain peaks but were buffered by the elements, thick vegetation, disease, and other factors.
Finally, in 1906, the Italian Prince Luigi Amedeo, Duke of the Abruzzi, led an expedition that summited the highest peaks of the Rwenzori mountains, including Mount Stanley.
Mount Stanley, at an altitude of 5109 m (16,763 feet), is the highest massif in the DRC and Uganda. It's the third highest mountain in the whole of Africa, after Kilimanjaro (5895 m) and Mount Kenya (5199 m). These snow-capped mountains boast a fascinating and challenging landscape of glaciers, sharp peaks, jungles and bogs. Mount Stanley forms part of the Rwenzori Mountains National Park, a UNESCO-recognized world Heritage Site.
In the month of December 2022, I will be summiting this massif in support of the amazing charities that Baraka Challenge donates to. On Christmas Day, we will start our trek up the mountain and hike to Sine Camp at 2596 m. On Boxing Day, we will reach 3588 m altitude while enjoying moss-covered waterfalls and unique, beautiful flora. Day 3 will see us through steep ridges, mud and boggy sections (and, of course, breath-taking views) ending at over 4000 m in altitude.
The 28th of December we'll enjoy a break as we acclimatise. On Day 5, we will drop down to 3974 m as we pass through a deep valley toward Hunwick's Camp, then hike up to Margherita's Camp at 4485 m on 30th December.
On New Year's Eve, we start climbing at 2:30 am to summit Margherita peak (5109 m). What a way to hail in the new year!
For more information, read on the Rwenzori Mountains National Park website and check out the SummitPost page on Mount Stanley.