Soon celebrating 70 years of existence, the Mountain Club of Uganda has made strides in encouraging people explore the natural beauty of Uganda.
As the late afternoon mist draws down the valley, the spectacular peaks of the Rwenzori mountain range are left tantalisingly exposed, reaching high up into the bright warm sky. The image of snow-packed glaciers glistening on rocky mountain tops so close to the equator is one of the many wonders of mountaineering in Uganda and is cherished by those lucky enough to witness it.
Standing atop these majestic snow covered peaks is an experience that only a few have managed and perhaps, due to melting glaciers, only a few more will have the chance to see. Many perceive these peaks as too cold, dangerous or difficult to reach, but since its inception in 1945, the Mountain Club of Uganda (MCU) has been accessing and documenting the foothills and the peaks of this magnificent mountain range.
Soon to celebrate its 70th birthday, the MCU has undertaken renewed efforts to expand the Club and to fulfil its core mission: “To encourage everyone in Uganda to enjoy, explore and celebrate the outstanding natural beauty that Uganda has been blessed with.” This inevitably includes the mountaineering jewel – the range of the Rwenzori Mountains, but goes beyond this to cover all areas of the country.
Charlie Langan, the current President of MCU, talks keenly of the diversity of mountaineering in Uganda, saying, “Although the Rwenzoris provide an impressive challenge for anyone, Uganda has so much more to offer. From the hills of Agoro in the north, to the spectacular peaks of the Virungas in the south west, from the crater lakes of Fort Portal in the west to the peaks of Kadam and Napak in the East, Uganda has something for any level of fitness, enthusiasm and experience. At MCU, we are here to help people get out and enjoy the outdoors in this incredible country.”
About Mountain Club of Uganda
The Mountain Club of Uganda (MCU) was first founded in the Geography Room in another of Uganda’s long standing institutions, Makerere University in Kampala. The Club was originally founded as the Uganda section of the East African Mountain Club by Rene Bere, along with students and lecturers but soon developed into the ‘Mountain Club of Uganda’ - a name that it still proudly bears today.
Indeed, it was in these early years that the MCU laid down the foundations for mountaineering in the country. Deo Lubega, the Club’s Patron who has been active in MCU for more than 25 years, reminds newer Club members that it was the MCU who between 1949 and 1958 built a circuit of six huts on the Rwenzori Mountains as well as a hut on Mount Elgon and on Mount Muhavura.
At the time the Club was dominated by expatriates but very early on decided to offer training for interested Bakonjo porters to offer formal porterage services on the Rwenzoris as an alternative source of income.
Just as the Club proudly published a ‘Guide to Rock Climbing’ in 1963, so the Club is today editing the final draft of an updated guide to encourage others with a sense of adventure to leave the comfort of Kampala to head out and explore the extraordinary outdoor environment that Uganda has to offer. The club also maintains a Facebook group, Mountain Club of Uganda.