In a bid to promote mountaineering as a popular tourist activity as well as increase public interest in the Rwenzori Mountains, the Minister of State for Tourism, Hon Serapio Rukundo last week trekked up the mountains and thoroughly enjoyed the experience.
Before starting the trek, the Minister drove to the Ihani Viewing Point, the only place in Uganda where three national parks – Queen Elizabeth, Rwenzori Mountains and Kibale National Parks can easily be viewed. Hon. Rukundo was mesmerized by the mountain peaks with snow glistening in the sunlight, which he was able to view because it was a clear cloudless morning.
On 17th May 2008, the minister then embarked on the trek up the famous no-nonsense Rwenzori Mountains along with three ministry officials – the Commissioner for Wildlife, the Commissioner for Tourism and the Principle Tourism Officer. Many highly acclaimed mountain climbers who have easily climbed various world mountains several times, failed to conquer the Rwenzori Mountains.
During the trek, the he was briefed about various economic, social, cultural and historical aspects of the mountain. The minister was especially impressed by the reception he received from the Rwenzori Mountains National Park staff and the neighbouring communities as well as the superb interpretation of knowledge by the mountain guides during the trek.
Hon Rukundo, who hails from the steep hills of Kabale District in South western Uganda easily climbed to the first hut at Nyabitaba, which lies 2,650m above sea level and is 7km from the mountain base at Nyakalengijo. He covered the distance in slightly less than four hours.
The minister recommended that the trail be improved and that strong bridges be constructed across the numerous rivers in the mountains. He also recommended that the Nyabitaba rest camp should be expanded and more accommodation built to cater for tourists who may wish to experience the mountain without climbing to the top. The Rwenzori Mountains have beautiful rivers, plants and landscapes, which many tourists around the world find irresistible.