For centuries there had been rumours of the existence of the snowy mountains that fed the Nile. About 1800 years ago, Ptolemy showed them on a map and called them the Lunae Montes, the Mountains of the Moon. But it was not earlier than 1891 that Dr. Franz Stuhlmann led a 5 day trip into the heart of the Rwenzori. He was the one who first described accurately the vegetation zones from the foothills to the snowline.
In 1906, Luigi Amedeo di Savoia, the Duke of Abruzzi, led one of the most well-equipped and thoughtfully planned expeditions ever into the Rwenzori.
The expedition returned, having named most of the major peaks, with volumes of scientific data, having prepared an excellent map and taken wonderful photographs of the mountains. Today the Rwenzori mountains are a great Tourist Destination, National Park and United Nations World Heritage Site.
There are 5 different vegetation zones found in the Rwenzori mountains. These are grassland (1000-2000m), montane forest (2000-3000m), bamboo/mimulopsis zone (2500-3500m), Heather/Rapanea zone (3000-4000m) and the afro-alpine moorland zone (4000-4500m). At higher altitudes, some plants reach an unusually large size, such as lobelia and groundsels. The vegetation in the Rwenzori mountains is unique to equatorial alpine Africa and the only other places where they might be also found are at Mt. Kilimanjaro and Mt. Kenya.