About the project
News Archive
Events Archive
Project Team
Steering Committee
Job Opportunities
Project Office:
P.O Box 521 Kampala
Email: info@faonile.org

Rwenzori-Abruzzi Centenary Celebrations

The year 2006 marks the centenary anniversary of the climbing of the Rwenzori by a scientific expedition headed by Luigi di Savoia, the Duke of Abruzzi. The Embassy of the Republic of Italy in Uganda organized a scientific conference and other festivities to commemorate this event. The project prepared 4 posters for the conference and celebrations, illustrating:

-geography and geology of the Rwenzori mountain range
- land cover of the Rwenzori mountains and surroundings, derived from AFRICOVER
- glacier retreat in the period 1906 to 2005
- various satellite images of the Rwenzori mountains.

Using the SRTM data set draped over satellite imageries, the project also prepared a brief fly-over video showing the topography of the Rwenzori mountains and the rift valley.

The Rwenzori mountains lie along the border of Uganda and the Democratic Republic of Congo, rising to a height of about 5,100 m above sea level. This non-volcanic mountain range was formed from a block that was tilted and thrust up during the development of the Rift valley.

In 150 AD the Greek geographer Ptolemy described the Rwenzoris as the “Mountains of the Moon” or “Lunae Montes”. Based on findings at the Alexandria library, combined with oral stories from equatorial Africa, he concluded that these snow covered mountains at the equator were the source of the Nile. The word Rwenzori means “the place from where the rain comes”, which aptly describes these mist-shrouded mountains that experience high rainfall during most of the year.

In the late 19th century, several expeditions attempt to scale the Rwenzori peaks but all fail. Then in 1906, Luigi di Savoia, Duke of Abruzzi, sets out with a large scientific expedition. While reaching the tops is the key objective, the team also plans to conduct extensive investigations of the geophysical, meteorological, and magnetic characteristic of the Rwenzori massif. The research is further complemented with studies of the flora and fauna of the region and mountain zone.

The expedition is successful and between 10 June and 16 July 1906 seventeen peaks of the Rwenzoris are climbed. The remarkable scientific results are presented in “Il Rwenzori: Relazioni Scientifiche” published in 1909 by Hoepli of Milan, which up to today remains an important source of information on the mountains.

The remarkable photographs by Vittorio Sella are yet another lasting outcome of the 1906 expedition. These splendid black-and-white images illustrate the official volume of the expedition “Il Rwenzori: viaggio di esplorazione e prime ascensioni”. Up to today, they still intrigue by their beauty and embedded mystery.

events archive

Rwenzori Mountains - geography and geology
Rwenzori Mountains - land cover
Rwenzori Mountains - glacier retreat
Rwenzori Mountains - satellite images