Ruwenzori Range

From Academic Kids

The Ruwenzori Range (also Rwenzori Mountains) is a small but spectacular mountain range of central Africa, often referred to as Mt. Ruwenzori, located on the border between Uganda and Congo, with heights of up to 5,109 m (16,761 ft). The highest Ruwenzoris are permanently snow-capped, and they, along with Mount Kilimanjaro and Mount Kenya, are the only such in Africa. The Ruwenzoris are often identified with the "Mountains of the Moon" mentioned by Ptolemy, but the descriptions are too vague to make this definite.

The mountains formed as a result of uplift on the flanks of the Albertine (western) Rift of the East African Rift, the African part of the Great Rift Valley.

Missing image
Location of the Ruwenzori Mountains. Thanks to Emily Hinz and GeoMapApp

The range is about 120 km (75 mi) long and 65 km (40 mi) wide. It consists of six massifs separated by deep gorges: Mount Baker, Mount Emin, Mount Gessi, Mount Luigi di Savoia, Mount Speke, and Mount Stanley. Mount Stanley is the largest and has several subsidiary summits, with Mount Margherita being the highest point. The rock is metamorphic, and the mountains are believed to have been squeezed upwards by plate movement. They are in an extremely humid area, and frequently enveloped in mists.

The Ruwenzori are known for their vegetation, ranging from tropical rainforest through alpine meadows to snow; and for their animal population, including forest elephants, several primate species and many endemic birds. One zone is known for its six metre high heather covered in moss, another for its three metre blue lobelias.

The Ruwenzori has 43 named glaciers distributed over 6 mountains with a total area of 5 sq. km. This is about half the total glacier area in Africa.

The first European sighting of the Ruwenzori was by the expedition of Henry Morton Stanley in 1889 (the aforementioned mists are considered to explain why two decades of previous explorers had not seen them). On June 7, the expedition's second-in-command and its military commander, William Stairs, climbed to 10,677 feet, the first non-African ever to scale the range's tallest peak. The first ascent to the summit was made by Duke of the Abruzzi in 1906.


Glaciers of the Middle East and Africa, Williams, Richard S., Jr. [editor] In: U. S. Geological Survey Professional Paper, 1991, pp.G1-G70

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