Mount Elgon National Park
Mount Elgon National Park Travel Guide
Mount Elgon National Park -This park is situated on Mt. Elgon which is an extinct volcano at the border of Uganda in the East and Kenya in the west with a width of 80km and 3000m above the sea level. It is one of the oldest volcanoes said to be over 24 million years. The national parks in Uganda and Kenya protect the slopes of this mountain as a major trans-boundary conservation area which was declared a UNESCO Man and Biosphere reserve. In Uganda, this area is occupied by two tribes; the Bagisu who consider the mountain to be a representation of their original father Masaba and they believe that he came from one of the caves on the slopes of the mountain. Another tribe here is the Sabiny.
The distance of about 231km from Kampala through Jinja to the park can be reached in about 3-4 hours along a good tarmac road. A visitor is permitted to access the park after paying US$35, US$25 and UGX15,000 if they are foreign non residents, foreign residents and East African citizens respectively.
The park is famously known for having the world’s largest caldera and the mountain is a source of rivers like River Sipi which forms the epic Sipi falls. These falls give a very beautiful background for photography. The park has over three hundred species of birds some mammals, caves and beautiful vegetation.
Major tourism activities done at M. Elgon national park
Hiking in Mount Elgon National Park
Hiking on Mt. Elgon is not so challenging and there are porters who help to carry the hikers’ gear and other property. Most of the amazing attractions expected to be seen on the hike are the beautiful scenery of the mountain and the surrounding area, hear the roars of sipi water falls and some animals like elephants, forest monkeys and antelopes. It also had three trails of about 3-7km and the fourth trail has been opened 11km from the visitors centre to the huge Tutum cave.
At a fee of US$50 for foreign non residents and foreign residents and UGX50 for East African citizens, the park management provides a ranger guide to lead through the mountain whereyou will pass through different vegetation types. The lower slopes have a dense forest because of high rainfall, bamboo forest at about 2,000m high and ahead of that are the open woodland and finally grass and flowers before reaching the 40sqkm caldera.
A visit to the east is only complete after a hike or nature walk to the wondrous beauty of Sipi falls. The water of river Sipi flows down a steep high rock to form the splendid waterfalls. Visiting the caves behind the falls gives an awesome experience and there is a trail that leads you to the peak where you can view water from above.
Trail excursions in Mount Elgon National Park
To climb to the peak of the mountain, there are two major tails. From Mbale, one can easily connect to Buddukiro trailhead which is the shortest route to the summit. It is steep and rugged and involves moving through a wide bamboo forest. Alternatively, you could prefer a more gentle escalade through Pisa trail. This provides the chance to explore Podocarpus forest and appreciate wildlife.
This activity takes 4-5 days at a fee of US$150 for foreign non residents and foreign residents and UGX150,000 for East African citizens.
Bird watching in Mount Elgon National Park
Some of the wonderful birding points in Mt. Elgon national park are Kapkwai forest exploration centre in the secondary forest and thick shrub along river Cheptui. They are favourable for a number of bird species including the white-chinned prinia, mackinnon’s fiscal, Goshawk, Chubb’s cisticola, Chinspot Batis, Hartloub’s Turaco, African blue fly-catcher.