European Union team lead by Ambassador and head of delegation to Uganda Kristian Schumdt spent 8 days on Mt Rwenzori, from 3rd to 10th December 2016. Other members of the team included Maria Esper, Liu Mindshu, Sabrina Bazzanella, Peter Pribyl, Jan Lucas Zimmpr, Authur Musasizi.
Ambassador Schumdt and team hiked up 5,109 meters to Margherita Peak. From December 3-10 they spent 7 nights in the Rwenzori National Park. This is not a mountain you just approach and conquer. She lies in hiding within the park, and you have to trek 5 days before even being able to see the summit. Hence the nickname “Mountains of the Moon.”
But that trek to get there is part of the adventure notes Ambassador Schumdt – “trekking through amazing valleys and highly-diversified landscapes. There is no boring moment, only physical exhaustion and determination to reach the target”.
Also, during the first 4 days on your way to the Margherita Camp at 4,485 meters, from which you launch the summit attempt, you pass over several mountain passes and peaks, allowing you to acclimatize to thin air.
Tourism in Uganda has great potential and Ambassador Kristian Schumdt’s treks will encourage other Europeans to give it a go. For such an iconic mountain range, with such adventures in waiting, the affluence to the park is far, far below its possible potential.
“For European tourists to make the journey, there needs to be peace and sustainable development in the region. This is why the European Union has two relevant projects in the Rwenzoris: one on conflict-prevention, and one on creating economic opportunities to prevent locals from encroaching on park territory” added Amb Schumdt.
Amb Schumdt also notes that, beyond the ice, the park’s ecosystem is best comparable to that of an enormous “sponge.” It generates and absorbs water, releasing it gently into rivers and lakes, feeding both Uganda and the Nile Basin. In fact, when a fire destroyed some of the park’s “sponge” capacity in 2012, villages in Kasese were flooding during the wet season. So, while the park is beautiful, it also plays an essential role in the regional ecological balance. By paying their entrance fees to the park, visiting tourists are also contributing to maintaining an essential environmental asset.