Rwenzori Mountains or Mountains of the Moon

The veil of clouds shrouds the illusive Lunar mountains of Africa, doing their tops of invisible 300 days in a year. When the sky becomes pure, fantastic vision of snow-covered peaks on which slopes usual plants turn into fantastic giants opens. Mountain look. Mountain contours Baker near the lake Bujuku act from the clouds shrouding its top. Leaves it reach a groundsel which usual height of 30 ohms, grows to the tree sizes here and length of 60 cm. The captivated wood. This huge prickly bush draped with the hanging-down clusters of lichens – a wood form of a heather. He creates the strange atmosphere of unreality in the Bujuku valley at the height of 3050-3660 m. Botanists believe that these plants are obliged by the enormous sizes to abundance of rainfall and the sun, to sour soils and lack of the competition from other wood types. During the last expedition to Africa in 1888 the Anglo-American journalist and the researcher Henry Stanley set up camp on the southwest coast of Lake Albert and observed a rare show there. To his look the cloud of the finest silvery color which accepted outlines of the mountain of the impressive sizes appeared “a strange form”. Stanley heard about Lunar mountains in which, according to the Greek astronomer and the mathematician Ptolemaeus (90-168 years AD) the river Neil originated. Rumors about existence somewhere away of a certain mountain ridge under the name Ruwenzori went. When fog descended, Stanley understood that he sees not a mirage, “but the real mountain with the top covered with snow … Dawned on me that it, has to be, and there is Ruwenzori”. In 1906 the Italian expedition of the duke Abruzzi made the first maps of these mountains. The ridge of Ruwenzori was stretched on 120 km from the northeast on the southwest along a Zaire ugandiyskoy of border. Though this ridge is only in 48 km to the North from the equator, its tops are covered with eternal snow. Nine of them rise higher than 4877 m, and the highest – the mountain Margherita – reaches 5109 m. Unlike other mountains of East Africa the Ruwenzori array not of a volcanic origin. Its granite slopes rose over the earth about two million years ago when enormous motions of crust led to emergence of huge failures and breaks, one of which was an East African break adjoining to Ruwenzori. On a local African dialect the word “Ruwenzori” is meant by “the creator of a rain” – very suitable name as these mountains define weather in the extensive territory. The western air currents, passing over damp rainforests of a river basin of Congo, are saturated with water vapor. Near Ruwenzori they rise up where are condensed in rain drops or crystals of ice. As a result mountain tops are practically always shrouded in a cover from clouds. Rains wash away sedimentary breeds to valleys and the foothills of Ruwenzori. In such conditions the reed and herbs serving as food for elephants and buffalo s grow to 2 m. At the height of 2000 m the savanna is replaced by the magnificent woods where it is possible to see the most different animals – from a serval to a trekhrogy chameleon of Jackson. Also many bird species meet here: buzzards, kites, slavka and graceful sunbirds. Higher than 3350 m of singing of birds are not heard any more. There are few animals, but the vegetation is really magnificent. The groundsel and lichens which in a temperate climate creep on the ground at these heights grow to the incredible sizes. The fantastic landscape created by these huge plants corresponds to the legendary name Ruwenzori – Lunar mountains. Ptolemaeus was near from truth, claiming that Nile originates in these mountains. Thawed snow from topmost glaciers and plentiful rains feed Semliki’s river – one of sources of White Nile.

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