In less than a week we’ll be tackling the Mountains of Moon in Uganda. Although theorised about and named by Greek geographer Ptolemy in around 150AD, it was Welsh explorer Henry Morton Stanley, during his 1886 Emim Pasha Relief Expedition – one which was mired in controversy due the conduct of several of his European colleagues – who first was the European to lay eyes on the iconic mountains. And it was in 1906, by the Italian Duke of Abruzzi, that the peaks of the hidden mountains were first conquered.
To climb the Ruwenzoris has been a dream of mine since I first read about them in Williard Price’s “Elephant Adventure” – that was a good 20 years ago! I was 12! Tales of strange animals, plants and trees captured my young imagination and when the opportunity arose to join a group of friends on a trip to this legendary area, I jumped!
In a week’s time we’ll be sitting at the base of one of Africa’s natural wonders, getting to begin the hike to summit the 5106m Mt Stanley. It’s been a process. This is no Coke-a-Cola stroll up Kilimanjaro. It’s proper and we’re excited. We’ll be crossing one of the few equatorial glaciers left in the world. The sad reality is that the Ruwenzori glaciers will be will have disappeared within the next 15 years, this according to a University College London (UCL) study. The disappearing snows of the Nile are clearly highlighted in a 2013 project were photos by Vitoria Sella (the Duke of Abruzzi’s photographer in 1906) were reconstructed. The staggering (and scary) results can seen here (http://www.daysedge.com/rwenzori-photos/) They’re an incredibly diverse range of mountains that have remained largely untouched. Unique fauna and flora promises an incredible experience!
In between checking climbing gear for glacier transverses and getting ready for altitude, I’ve also managed to do so research of more piscatorial nature.
Firstly, rumours of Browns in the streams running off the Ruwenzori’s pricked my ears and I plan of hopefully getting a sneaky cast in. Nobody can tell me for sure whether they still populate the streams but I feel like I might. But thanks to such expeditions requiring no small amount of gear, my trout gear will be super limited. Trout in Africa, on the equator – stranger things happen. But more on this later!
And then of course we have the Nile! The longest river in world. We’ll be spending five days at Murchison Falls and I plan to tangle with both the Nile Perch (Lates niloticus) and the Yellowfish species that swim between the ancient banks. I know very little about these yellowfish (Labeo Coubie and Labeo niloticus (I think!!!)) – I’ve found them referred to as African Carp and Yellowfish and not much else. I’ve seen photos of them caught on spinners so there’s hope for a fly. And of course, in the mix are the Tigerfish and Barbel species!
I’ve tied my Perch flies. They’re big. GT big. I’ve got double hander (thanks to Pete for the loan) for below the falls where the bush and cliffs hug the water’s edge and my trusty Scott #12 for from the boat! Reels are loaded and lines cleaned. Sheez I’m excited!
I’ve got limited time but I plan on using it fully!
And if you’re wondering what a Perch looks like: