By Musa Ssemwanga
Uganda’s 5,000m world record holder; Commonwealth gold medalist and the reigning World Cross champion, Joshua Cheptegei will be embarking on an expedition to hike Mount Rwenzori starting December 11th, 2020.
Cheptegei will be accompanied by celebrity, entertainer, champion kickboxer and actor, Moses Golola.
While announcing the Rwenzori Mountaineering Expedition- “I am Ready to Take on Mt. Rwenzori” an initiative geared towards attracting sportsmen and their fans to visit Uganda’s adventurous attractions, Ms. Ajarova said: “In my capacity as UTB CEO, but also as an avid nature lover, it gives me ultimate honor to be taking on this challenge alongside the reigning World Cross Country and World 10,000m champion and Moses Golola, Uganda’s kickboxer champion on an expedition to the thrilling ascent to Uganda’s highest point.”
Joshua Cheptegei noted that he is privileged to have the opportunity to take on Rwenzori as he had never been to the western part of the country.
“I am more than ready; I am so excited to take on the Rwenzori hiking challenge. When I returned back from the World Half Marathon Championship, I took some rest for a month and resumed training on November 17th just to prepare for this, I never wanted to disappoint, as you can see, I am fit, I challenge my friends to be ready” Cheptegei said.
Cheptegei thanked UTB and UNDP for coming up with this initiative to promote tourism and excite more people to come to Uganda.
The State Minister of Tourism, Wildlife and Antiquities, Hon. Godfrey Kiwanda who officiated the flagging off of the crew thanked UNDP for the support given to the tourism sector.
He challenged Ugandans to use this festive season to visit Ugandan protected areas and benefit from the promotional packages being run by the Uganda Wild Life Authority (UWA).
Recently, UWA cut park entry fees by 50% for the festive season. The three-month-long offer runs from December 1st, 2020 up to March 31st, 2021.
Regarded as the “Mountains of the Moon” by Claudius Ptolemy, the Greco-Roman mathematician, astronomer, and father of geography, Rwenzori provides the third highest point in Africa (Margherita Peak) at 5,109 meters above the sea level (after Kilimanjaro and Mount Kenya).
The United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization’s (UNESCO) heritage site is the highest and most permanent source of the Nile River and constitutes a vital water catchment for Uganda. According to UNESCO, the Rwenzoris’ glaciers, waterfalls, and lakes make it one of Africa’s most beautiful alpine areas with diverse habitats of endangered species and a rich and flora and fauna.
UTB is taking on the mountaineering challenge around this time because December is relatively a dry season in the region, making the hike less laboring.
The surrounding Mount Rwenzoris National hosts 70 mammals and 217 bird species including 19 Albertine Rift endemics, as well as some of the world’s rarest vegetations.
Ajarova will be the first UTB’s CEO to hike the Rwenzori. Since her appointment in 2018, Ajarova has also successfully hiked Elgon and Muhabura mountains, Uganda’s second and third highest mountains.