Mountains of the moon: climbing Uganda’s highest peak

The remote Rwenzori mountains, on the Uganda/DRC border, offer treks through varied and stunning landscapes, and Africa’s third-highest summit, with none of the crowds found at Kilimanjaro

Claudius Ptolemy, the Greco-Roman mathematician, astronomer and father of geography, called the Rwenzori range the Mountains of the Moon, and I think he got it about right. Starlight beamed down on the convex glaciers surrounding our camp near Uganda’s western border, causing them to glow like resting lunar crescents.

I should have been sleeping the night before my attempt on the Rwenzori’s loftiest peak, 5,109-metre Mount Stanley’s summit, Africa’s third-highest mountain, but altitude headaches kept me awake. I thought back to a similar sleepless night at Kilimanjaro some years earlier. I remembered then feeling sure I would succeed, and when summit day came, I duly trudged along in a torchlight procession to the top, one of 50,000 climbers who attempt Kilimanjaro each year.

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