Looking for the Chameleons, near the Rwenzori Mountains

The Rwenzori Mountains are a true rainmaker, source of life and home to unique wildlife.  This is why everyone is amazed by the spectacular scenery and beauty of the environment when they visit these mountains. This mountain is a world heritage site. It also accommodates the most unique culture in the great lake’s region. The foothills of this mountain are covered by a rich tropical rain forest tucked in the hilly valleys. Besides the visible beauties, the foothills are home to a unique tribe, the Bakonzo. This tribe has mastered mountain life throughout the years. When you visit the Rwenzori mountains of the moon, you will be set to encounter one of the world’s richest landscape.

Starting the forest walk

Ruboni community forest:

Part of the remaining forest is the 150 acres, Ruboni community forest reserve. This forest reserve is bordering Rwenzori mountains national park in the west and the household community gardens in the east.  The forest is located north of Nyakalengijo park gate and extends to the hills that are partly farmland of the village households. With equator snow lodge to the south, it is located in the northern direction from Ruboni village across river Mubuku.

This collective indigenous forest forms a habitat for unique wildlife. This reserve is one of the largest plots of the naturally regenerated forest in the Mubuku valley. Wildlife that crosses from the park or escaping from community farms find refuge in this community forest reserve. This wildlife includes; snakes and chameleons, the birds, amphibians and other small mammals.

Johnston’s three-horned

Chameleon tracking walks

Nature trails have been created in this forest. Visitors go with a local guide on these trails looking for nature and wildlife. The key highlight of these nature walks is Chameleons. Other wildlife to look for is the birds, snakes, primates’ squirrels and other mammals that are increasingly starting to appear to the trekkers. Due to the high chances of finding chameleons, this forest is called the chameleon sanctuary. With a specialized chameleon guide from the community, guests have high chances of finding a range of chameleon species.

Up to seven types of chameleons can be found in this forest. Of the seven types, the key highlight is finding Johnston’s three-horned chameleon. It is the giant elusive three-horned reptile that can grow to become 30 centimeters at full growth. its full growth age is six months to twelve months. Other types of chameleons found here include;

  • Strange horned chameleon,
  • Boulenger’s pygmy chameleon,
  • Carpenter’s chameleon,
  • Elliot’s Groove-throated Chameleon,
  • Tolley’s Forest Chameleon, and
  • Montane side-striped chameleon.

Visitors are not only be limited to looking for chameleons. You will be walking in one of the richest indigenous forests. Though it is outside the park, walking here gives a feeling of being in the heart of Rwenzori mountains National Park. You will also be amazed by other attractions. These include; waterfalls, birds, batter flies, insects, a rich selection of plant life and Sometimes primates.

Long term purpose of the forest

The community forest was created by the community amalgamating their land plots. The aim of this was to create a sustainable source of income from the forest. This is achieved through the tourist walks. The initiative also serves the critical role of forest conservation. The forest is also used for seed collection to expand indigenous trees on community land. This means as you enjoy the experience of walking this forest, you’re also benefiting the community through employment while supporting indigenous conservation. In the future, the forest will be used for sustainable harvesting of household forest resources such as medicinal and crafts materials.

Walking in this forest requires a guide from the community, the service of the guide is included in the payment, which is currently 15$ per person. each walk takes between 3-4 hours. All guides are selected from the local community neighboring the forest.

This forest walk is easy to arrange on arrival at Ruboni community camp. If you have any questions regarding how to participate in the walks, contact us in advance to arrange your visit. Besides arranging this visit, we also arrange your accommodation and other tours to the Rwenzori’s. Other tours include multi-day treks into the mountains to scale the higher peaks.