For the past few days, King Oyo Nyimba Kabamba Iguru Rukidi IV of Toro has been trekking and climbing Mountain Rwenzori in a campaign dubbed the Rwenzori Royal Expedition to the Margherita peak.
We can now confirm that King Oyo conquered glaciers at the Margherita Peak (5,109 metres), the highest point in Uganda.
The Tooro Kingdom, together with the Ministry of Tourism, Wildlife & Antiquities, UNDP, and the Uganda Tourism Board, has embarked on the promotion of sustainable adventure tourism under the Campaign – Conserving Mountain Ecosystems – to highlight the untapped tourism attractions in the Rwenzori Mountain ranges.
Rwenzori has one of the remaining equatorial glaciers in the world. However, different climate experts predict that the Rwenzori glaciers will disappear before the end of this century.
One of the most visible consequences of climate change in Uganda is the rapid loss of glaciers, which have reduced from 6.5 square kilometers in 1906 to less than one square kilometer in 2003.
“There is an urgent need to preserve the crown of snow on the Rwenzori Mountains. Therefore, we must be prepared to tackle the effects of climate change on our beautiful country today,” said Joan Kantu Else, Minister of Tourism – Tooro Kingdom.
The Rwenzori Ecosystem is a great contributor to tourism development. It is home to 54 Albertine Rift endemic species; 18 mammal species, 09 reptile species, 06 amphibians, and 217 bird species.
Over 217 bird species, including the Rwenzori Turaco, the Bamboo Warbler, Golden Winged Sunbird, and Scarlet-tufted Malachite Sunbird, have been recorded, making the ecosystem an important bird watching site in Uganda.
In 1994, the Rwenzori Mountains were named a UNESCO World Heritage Site and later as a Ramsar Site in 2008 due to the unique beauty and vegetation zones marked by grassland, montane forest, bamboo, heather, and afro-alpine moorland zones, which support diverse species of bird and other wildlife.
“The Rwenzori Royal Expedition 2022 will not only create awareness on the restoration and protection of areas affected by climate change but also drum up support for culture and heritage tourism promotion in our beautiful country,” said Daudi Migereko, Chairman Board of Directors, Uganda Tourism Board.
Therefore, the expedition has highlighted the untapped tourism product development opportunities available in the Rwenzori region that will offer an adventure of a lifetime to travellers from all over the world while in Uganda – The Pearl of Africa. Mountain tourism, complimented by wildlife safaris, primate tracking, and bird watching in Queen Elizabeth, Kibale, and Bwindi Impenetrable National Parks, is accented by the culture and heritage of the local communities.
“The Ministry of Tourism, Wildlife and Antiquities will continue to support the private sector to develop bespoke tourism products in order to enhance traveller experiences throughout the country.” Hon. Tom Butime, Minister – Ministry of Tourism, Wildlife & Antiquities.