AMOS WEKESA: Mt Rwenzori can beat Kilimanjaro if we positioned its beauty and peaks

Tony Mulinde summits Margherita peak

In the last 3 weeks, we have seen lots of updates on mountain Rwenzoris on different Platforms and we must give credit to Mountain Slayers….

Mountains slayers (they arent slay queens and slay kings, Needa) are a group of people majorly Ugandans who are promoting Mountain climbing amongst Ugandans.

Afew days back, the mountain Slayers made history for the rwenzoris after they took a single group of 26 people at ago. 24 Ugandans (this had never happened before), 1 German and 1 American.

Many of you are shocked about the pictures and many of you can’t believe it’s uganda. Yes, it’s Uganda. We Ugandans must be the first believers in our own country before others can follow.

The Rwenzoris are at the border of DRC and Uganda and stretch 65kms wide and 120kms long. The Ugandan part is 43kms wide and 120kms long which is fantastic.

Rwenzoris are the highest block of mountains on the african continent and the most technical mountains on the continent. The rwenzoris are composed of majorly 6 peaks in number.

The 6 peaks are Stanley (highest point is 5109m (Margherita peak), followed by Speke 4890m, followed by Baker 4843m, followed by Gessi 4798m, then Emin 4793 then Luigi Di savoia 4627 (all higher than mountain elgon which summits at 4322m high).

The rwenzoris have a vegetation that is unique to the equatorial alpine Africa. It probably has plants and animals that are endemic to it as a mountain. For example Kilimanjaro is a walking mountain with one single standing peak called the Kibo.

In terms of single peak, Kibo (Kilimanjaro) is the highest, followed by mountain Kenya then the rwenzoris. One can take about 5 days to and from but not the rwenzoris as they are a different ball game.

In terms of business, Rwenzoris can beat Kilimanjaro if we positioned because of its beauty, it’s challenge, it’s size, many peaks etc. Kilimanjaro gets about 65,000 climbers a year and Rwenzoris gets less than 2,000 foreigners a year. This is in addition to another 2,000 Ugandans who all don’t summit to the top.

It’s estimated that each climber spends about $5000 for the climb to Kibo Kilimanjaro and Tanapa earns USD 700 from each climber. The $5000 includes the tour operators fees, accommodation, transport, food, porters, guides etc. The Kilimanjaro contributes over usd 300m to Tanzania economy.

The Rwenzoris – with competent mountain climbing marketers, it could easily make the same or even more. Think about the jobs it could create, the demand for products across board……we also need to change the names into local names as well.

If Ugandans understood the above figures, we would never need to borrow or even have a poor Ugandan but again, what do I know?

Wekesa, is the Managing Director at Great Lakes Safaris & Proprietor Uganda Lodges Ltd

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