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Mount Elgon National Park

Mount Elgon National Park

Situated on the Kenya – Uganda border, Mount Elgon National Park  named after Mount Elgon, an Extinct Volcano which first erupted more than 24 million years ago. The mountain has the largest surface area of any extinct volcano in the World and its highest peak is 4,321m above sea level making it the 8th highest in Africa. The Ugandan section of the park covers 1,110sqkm whereas the smaller Kenyan section covers 169sqkm.

Mount Elgon’s slopes and neighboring regions inhabited by two tribes which are Bagisu and the Sabiny. The most unique attraction on the mountain is the Caldera which is the biggest in Africa measuring 40km and it is surrounded by a number of peaks, and it takes 7 days to reach Mount Elgon’s highest peak “Wagagai.”

Mount Elgon was once Africa’s highest peak towering against Kilimanjaro’s current height of 5,895m, but with years and years of erosion, it gradually reduced to its current height of 4,321m making it the 2nd highest in Uganda and the 4th highest in East Africa.

Mount Elgon has several peaks and the highest being the Wagagai peak with 4,321m, followed by the Kiongo peak with 4,303m, then Mubiyi peak with 4,210 and finally Jackson’s summit at 4,165m. The Bagisu and Sabiny are the natives and inhabitants of Mount Elgon and they locally refer to it as Mountain Masaba, this is because the Bagisu believed that their ancestor Masaba came from one of the caves of the Mountain back in the centuries hence the name Mountain Masaba.

Mount Elgon is home to over 300 bird species and among these include the endangered Lammergeyer, white chinned prina, Chinspot Batis, African Goshwak, eastern bronze-naped pigeon, Jackson’s spur fowl, Hartlaub’s turaco and Tacazze sunbird. The park also has some mammal species including forest elephants, buffaloes, antelopes, duikers, the black and white colobus monkeys, blue monkeys and Red tailed monkeys.

 

Activities in Mount Elgon National Park

There are a number of activities to engage in while at Mount Elgon National Park and they include;

Nature Walks and Hiking

Nature walks and hiking are done at the bamboo trail to Kapkwai Cave and it passes through tropical bamboo forest. There are many primates, birds, and rare trees along this trail such as Elgon teak and Elgon olive. Several other walks take you to the Chebonet Falls and the Kapkwai caves. In Wanale, you can go to the viewpoint through Nabuyoga loop where you can see Jackson’s Summit as well as Wagagai peak.

 

Mountain Climbing

This is the main activity that takes place at Mount Elgon National Park and it is done throughout the year. This activity needs no special equipment or technical experiences. There are a number of routes that ascend to the Mount Elgon summit and they include;

Sasa trail, this is accessed from Budadiri and it is quite steep with a climb of 1,600m on the first day.

Piswa trail, this is a gentler trail and it starts from Kapkwata near Siam.

Sipi Trail, this trail is for the less ambitious persons though still developing.

 

Birding

Mount Elgon National Park has a number of bird species amounting to over 300 bird species and among these, 40 species are only limited to Mount Elgon and they include black collared Apalis, Jacksons Francolin, Black-shouldered Kite, Lammergeyer, Tacazze sunbird, African Goshwak, Chinspot Batis, Chubb’s Cisticola, white chinned prina, African Blue fly-catcher, Olive and Bronze-naped pigeons, Black kite and Cinnamon Bee eater.

 

Mountain Biking

This amazing activity runs from Sipi trading centre to Chema Hill in Kapchorwa town and it takes about 1 and a half hours providing views of various waterfalls and the Karamoja plains.

 

When to Visit

Mount Elgon is open all throughout the year but the best time to visit is during the dry seasons in the months of June to August and also December to March.

 

How to Get to Mount Elgon National Park

Mount Elgon  reached by both Road and Air Transport means.

By Road, the park is about 235km from East of Kampala through Jinja via Mbale town.

By Air, Mount Elgon  accessed via Kisumu Airport.

 

Mount Elgon Entry Gates

Mount Elgon National Park  reached through various gates which include;

Chorlim gate

Kitale gate

Kiptogot gate

Kimothon gate

Kassawai gate

 

Accommodations in Mount Elgon National Park

The Accommodations in Mount Elgon range from Luxury and Mid-Range to Budget and they include;

Luxury Accommodations

Mount Elgon Hotel

Mbale Resort Hotel

Sipi Valley Resort

Acacia Premier Hotel

Grand Royal Swiss Hotel

Sarova Imperial Hotel

 

Mid-Range Accommodations

Kayegi Hotel

Wash and Wills Country home Mbale

Rafiki Lodge Sipi

Wagagai Hotel

Home of friends Mount Elgon