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June 2017 -  feeling generous today? We’re on JustTextGiving, so why not text RTUG12 plus the amount that you would like to donate to 70070? There are no charges for the text and your donation is all passed directly to the Rwenzori Trust. It only costs around £6 per month to sponsor a child.

May 2017 - a reading room is being constructed in Ruboni village using the “community pot” budget. Progress is slow with only foundations and walls built so far, but it is expected to be completed in summer 2018.

January 2017 - we are now in our tenth year of the child sponsorship programme and we currently sponsor 43 children in secondary schools and further education in Uganda. In fact, the current number of children is 40 because the local admissions committee has decided (exceptionally) to award a bursary equivalent to funds for 4 children to one young person to help with their fees for attending Kyambogo University.

 

The Mountains of the Moon

The first well-documented sighting of the Rwenzori by Europeans was made by Sir Henry Stanley in 1876. Previous to this there were only rumours about the source of the Nile being somewhere in the heart of Africa. Ptolemy referred to snows of “The Mountains of the Moon” which fed the waters of the Nile. This name is used to the present day for these elusive mountains whose snow-capped peaks have often remained veiled by clouds and mists, hiding them from early explorers.

In 1888 Stanley again saw the mountains, this time he could see the snows. He returned the following year with Emin Pasha; W.G. Stairs, a member of his group climbed to over 3000m towards Mt. Emin. In 1891 Emin Pasha visited the Semliki with Dr Franz Stuhlmann who led an expedition into the heart of the Rwenzori reaching Kampi ya Chupa (Camp of the Bottle). The naturalist, G F Scott-Elliot, made several visits to the mountains in 1894 and 1895. He was followed by another naturalist, J E S Moore, who climbed high onto Mt. Baker. In 1904 Dr J J David, a Swiss geologist, finally reached the Stanley plateau from the Zaire side.

The most important year in the exploration of the range is undoubtedly 1906 when the Prince Luigi Amadeo di Savoia (Duke of the Abruzzi, the famous Italian explorer) mounted a very powerful expedition, composed of biologists, surveyors, a geologist and a photographer. Guides were hired from Courmayeur. Based at Bujongolo they managed to ascend most of the major peaks and prepare an excellent map of the mountains.

There followed a period of further new ascents and several scientific expeditions. A notable contribution was made by G N Humphreys who visited the mountains seven times.

In 1929 the Belgians incorporated the Zairean Rwenzori into the Parc National Albert. In 1932 a major Belgian Scientific Expedition based at Kiondo was of great importance in the exploration and study of the western side of the Stanley group. The development of huts started with the excellent Belgian huts being constructed in 1942.

The Mountain Club of Uganda dates back to 1946. One of their major contributions to the Rwenzori was the construction of the Bujuku-Mubuku hut system. This was started in 1948 with Bujuku Hut. Other huts were built later. Bridge were twice built over the Mubuku only to be washed away. Throughout this period, Henry Osmaston was one of the main driving forces behind the development and study of the range. In 1972, in conjunction with David Pasteur, he published his magnificently researched and formulated Guide to the Rwenzori.

Recent years have seen political problems preventing safe access to the Ugandan side of the Rwenzori; as a result more adventurous groups have taken up the challenge of travel in Zaire and approached the mountains from Mutwanga. The situation in Uganda is now much more settled. It is hoped that with the establishment of the Rwenzori Mountains National Park, the organisational abilities of the Rwenzori Mountaineering Services, the assistance made available by various aid organisations and the direction provided by such individuals as Guy Yeoman, Henry Osmaston and many others, it will be possible to provide high quality services for visitors while protecting this unique environment.

Text courtesy of EWP Map and Guide to the Rwenzori

Uganda country statistics

Life expectancy       59 years

Population              39.0m

Predicted population by
2050                       
105.0m

Median Age             15.5

Fertility rate             5.96

HIV/Aids prevalence 6.7%

Population living on less than $1 per day                   38%

Adult illiteracy rate  73.2%

% under 5  sleeping under a mosquito net            22%

% under 5 received treatment for malaria                     62%

(source World Bank 2015 and Economist 2016)