Mount Speke lies in the Rwenzori Mountains National Park in Uganda and is the second highest mountain in this range. Together with Mount Stanley and Mount Baker, it forms a triangle enclosing the upper Bujuku Valley. The nearest peak is Margherita, which is 3.55 kilometres (2.21 mi) to the south-southwest. The mountains lie within an area called ‘The Mountains of the Moon‘.
The highest point of Mount Speke is Vittorio Emanuele 4,890 metres (16,040 ft).
This peak is summitted from Bujuku hut at 3,962m asl along the Central circuit trail or Omukendeghe camp for those doing a camping trek. This area just below the 3 major mountains for the Rwenzori ranges is often referred to as the “centre of the mystical challenge”.
The people living on the mountains call the ‘Rwenzori mountain’, Rwenjura which means ‘rain maker’ or ‘rain mountains’ in the Lukonzo language. The Baganda, who could see the mountains from far, used to call them ‘Gambaragara’, which means ‘My Eyes Pain’, a reference to the shining snow. The Bakonzo had their own names for the peaks in the Rwenzori range, however, as they had never climbed them, it was difficult to clarify which peak was which. For example, they had names for the three main peaks: Kiyanja, Duwoni and Ingomwimbi. The fact is that for the Bakonzo the high Rwenzori is the home of Kitasamba, the god who resides at the high altitudes and cannot be accessed.
Early European explorers visited the region in the search for the source of the Nile. This mountain was named after John Speke. While he never climbed this peak, Speke mapped the source of the White Nile in 1862. All the mountain in this region are named after similar early explorers.
The first ascent was in 1906 by the Duke of Abruzzi. When Duke of the Abruzzi climbed this summit, he climbed all the other peaks in the Rwenzori range.
Due to the large amount of rainfall Mount Speke receives, it is criss-crossed by many rivers and streams. The vegetation tends to be quite thick. There is also a variety of wildlife, including elephants, chimpanzee, monkeys, leopards and antelope.
The standard trek to summit Mount Speke organised by Bujuku Eco Tours takes 5 days.
Climbing Mount Speke requires technical ability or guidance with use of ropes as it’s not considered an easy hike.
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