27 Dec. 2014 – 11 Jan. 2015
Rwenzori Mountains in Uganda
I spent two weeks in Uganda, drove from Kampala to Kilembe and hiked in the southern section of the Rwenzori Mountains with the Rwenzori Trekking Services. Below are some photos of that journey.
Starting to see the Rwenzori foothills on the drive from Fort Portal to Kilembe.
Kilembe flood (May 2014) destroyed parts of the road and several houses. Massive boulders line the river bed.
Unicorns and tropical glaciers: both in the mist, people don’t think they exist, possibly magical. Notice the U-shaped valley in the background, we walked up that! View from Kilembe backpackers.
Nwamwamba River, large boulders, potential for flooding of this river increased after a fire in the upper valley killed vegetation that might have absorbed the rain.
Scouting out moraines in tributary valleys of the southern Rwenzori Mountains.
Rwenzori Afro-alpine vegetation
View from Mutinda rock shelter, Rwenzori Mountains.
First bit of mud. The Rwenzori are known for mud (and rain).
Pass toward Nyamugasani River valley, Rwenzori Mountains.
Lake Africa in the foreground, Weismann Peak in the middle of the photograph, located in the southern Rwenzori Mountains.
Moss covered the ground in most places, the fire in February 2012 did not reach these trees at ~4500 m asl.
Our guide, Uziah, points out the Rwenzori glaciers! These are just north of the equator and at about 5,000 m above sea level!
JR and William on top of Weismann Peak (4620 m asl), Rwenzori Mountains. Dark ground cover is lichen.
Sampling bedrock to find out when this valley was completely ice-free! Maps show there was a glacier in this catchment in the 1960s.
Lake just south of Weismann Peak, view includes Observation Peak, Rwenzori Mountains.
Rwenzori Mountains contain thrust faults and many fractures/joints in the bedrock leading to high erosion rates and dramatic landscapes.
Pegmatite vein? The porters found this large rose quartz and black tourmaline!
Afro-alpine vegetation, Rwenzori Mountains
The forest in this valley burned in 2013(?), and the lack of vegetation could have contributed to the massive flooding that occurred down valley in 2014.
Peal back the moss cover and vuala! Boulder surface ripe for sampling!
Porters hiding from the shards of rock that break off when sampling a boulder near Lake Katunda, Rwenzori Mountains.
Amos standing on a basalt dike.
Lake Batoda, Rwenzori Mountains.
Me in front of Observation peak.
The green circles on the pond below Bigata camp move around when the wind blows. They are not giant lily pads, but bunches of smaller plants.
Trail on top of a moraine below Bigata camp, Rwenzori Mountains, Uganda.
Drilling a hole to sample the boulder.
Photo opp at the Ranger station after the hike out of the Rwenzori Mountains.
Porters follow MSJ through the final trek into Kilembe.
Maybe we had an extra day and maybe we went on safari in a nearby National Park and maybe we saw an elephant or ten and maybe that was one of my life goals and maybe it was one of the greatest days of my life.
I think the next reality tv show should be in Uganda and about transportation. We saw these hogs in the back of the truck, the next day we saw two similar-looking dead hogs strapped to the back of a motor bike.
Amazing trip, thanks to support by the Comer Science and Education Foundation!
RPG Photography by A.M. Doughty is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License.