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The Rwenzori Mountains: Africa’s Mountains of the Moon, Part 2 of 2

2021-06-11
Lingua:English

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The Rwenzori Mountains are the highest mountain range in Africa and are home to the continent’s fifth-tallest peak, Mount Stanley. Mount Stanley is actually a collection of around 11 peaks. The tallest one is known as Margherita which, at 5,109 meters (16,762 feet) tall, is the highest of the Rwenzori peaks and supports several glaciers. Mount Speke is the second-highest mountain in this range, reaching 4,890 meters (16,043 feet).

Indeed, the area gets about 250 days of rain annually due to being in the Inter-Tropical Convergence Zone (ITCZ), which means guaranteed deluges each spring and autumn. The name Rwenzori, or “Rwenzururu,” comes from the local Bakonjo language and actually means “place of snow.” Rwenzururu is not only a local name for the region, but it is also the name of the Ugandan subnational Kingdom of the Konjo and Amba peoples.

The foothills were terraced by humans centuries ago, where the fertile land is ideal for crop-growing. The local people continue to live in awe of Kitasamba, the god who sits on top of the mountains, “the great one who does not climb.” They also pay homage to Kalisha, the protector god of the mountain’s wildlife. In this way, the Bakonjo people maintain and honor a respect for the natural environment in which they live.

Award-winning American photographers, filmmakers, and biologists Nathan Dappen and Neil Losin relate stories through film and photography. Their 2013 film “Snows of the Nile” was filmed in Uganda’s Rwenzori Mountains, documenting the tragic disappearance of Africa’s last tropical glaciers.

Commenting on the precious Rwenzori Mountains, Nathan Dappen said, “Most of the plants and animals you find there can’t be found anywhere else in the world.” "If we could retrace the steps of this 1906 expedition and recapture Vittorio Sella’s glacier images, then we could show people how much this place had changed."
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