MOUNT ELGON NATIONAL PARK

 

Mount Elgon National Park lies on the border of both Uganda and Kenya. Elgon National Park Uganda is found in the Eastern side of the country and it is a recognized UNESCO Man and Biosphere Reserve. The park is named after Mount Elgon home to world’s biggest intact caldera that measures 40 sq.km. Mt. Elgon rises up to height of 4321 meters and it is East Africa’s 4th highest mountain. Other peaks include Mubiyi (4210m), Koitobo (4222m) and Sudek (4303m). Elgon National Park (Uganda) was gazetted in 1992 and its boundaries extend up to 1145 sq.km.

Other attractions in Mount Elgon National Park

Wildlife or animals in Elgon National Park

Mount Elgon National Park isn’t only famous for its iconic volcano, but also holds some unique animal species. The park protects animal species such as oribis, Defassa waterbucks, buffaloes, elephants, bushbucks, spotted hyenas, bushbucks, black and white colobus monkeys, red-tailed monkeys, and more.

At the mountain slopes of Mountain Elgon, there is fertile soil that supports growth of varied vegetation. The lower area of the park comprises of bamboo forest, alpine-moorland, montane forest, 400 plant species and more.

Birds

Over 300 bird species reside within the different habitats of Elgon N/Park. These include 40 species of Uganda birds that only exist in Mount Elgon area. The park’s bird species include Chubb’s cisticolas, African goshawk, Lammergeyer, tacazze sunbird, black collared apalis, black-shouldered kite, Jackson’s francolins, crowned hornbills, black and white casqued hornbills, African blue flycatchers, Baglafetch weaver birds, African goshawk, Chin-spot batis, Golden winged sunbirds, white-chinned prinia, Doherty’s & Luhder’s bush-shrikes, Eastern bronze napped pigeons, and more.

Tours & Activities to do in Mount Elgon National Park

Mountain hiking

Elgon National Park offers exhilarating mountaineering adventures. Climbers visit the park to conquer the Wagagai Peak (4321 meters) and there are various trails leading not only to this peak but also other peaks. The notable trails include the Sasa trail which is 4 day-trek, Sipi trail 4-6 day hiking trail, Piswa trail taking hikers 7 days and others.

Abseiling

Abseiling is a distinct and the most thrilling adventure conducted on one of the Sipi Falls cliffs. Visitors drop down 100 meters while overviewing the ridge near the water pool from one side of the Sipi waterfalls. You will be enjoying the breathtaking sceneries as you abseil down the rock and later ascend back to the cliff on the top of the hill.

Rock climbing

Mount Elgon NP features a myriad of thrilling adventures and rock climbing is a must-do. This is done at the Sipi Area where you can conquer the 14 climbs but need some scaling techniques to make it to the top. The toughest of all the hikes is the 35 meters hike and the simplest is 15 meters.

Cave exploration

Elgon Mountain has exceptional caves at its slopes. These are some of the natural landforms that were created after lava flow many years back. The caves are accessible by walking and you need fewer days to explore them. The caves to visit include the Khauka, Kitum, Mackingeny, Chepnyali, and Kapkwai caves. The Khauka & Kapkwai caves exist around Wanale Ridge.

Birding

Birders on a tour in Mount Elgon N/Park are never left out. There are numerous birds to be spotted and include the chin-spot batis, black and white casqued hornbill, African goshawk, African blue flycatchers, Chubb’s cisticolas, Doherty’s and Luhder’s-shrikes, Rosss’s and Hartlaub’s turacos, Eastern bronze-napped pigeon, white-chinned prinia, Jackson’s francolins, crowned hornbills, black-shouldered kite, tacazze, Mackinnon’s fiscal

Agro tourism and cultural/community visits

Elgon N. Park lies in Bugisu, an area with fertile soils and supports Arabica coffee growing. On Bugisu community walk (Eastern Uganda), you will be taken through the coffee shambas along Mount Elgon slopes and learn how the coffee is grown till and stages/process it takes to get ready for consumption. Another area of interest for visitors on a community tour is the Abuyudaya Jews tour at the Sipi and Elgon Mountain areas. The Jews groups are believed to have lived for more than 100 years. They are not Jews by birth but converts to the Jewish traditions.

There is an option of exploring Bagisu traditions and cultures, especially during the Imbalu festivals. These take place after every even year and Imbalu is a cultural practice where young men are changed to adults. On every even year, the ceremony takes place around August and December –the activity is conducted in urban areas and villages.

Forest/nature walks

Visitors can also explore the surrounding areas of Mount Elgon National Park on a guided forest/nature walk. The possible hikes/walks are conducted at the Sipi Falls and Elgon Volcano slopes. The full day hike can be done along Budadiri-Mudange cliffs.

Trout fishing

Trout fishing is a unique fishing experience where you catch trout fish. You will be using a rainbow trout and it is a catch and release sporting experience. Anglers will be accompanied by experienced guides in the area.

Sipi Falls hike

Lying on the cliffs of Mount Elgon are the charming triple waterfalls- the Sipi Falls, also iconic attractions in Eastern region. These waterfalls are set in the varying cliff altitudes of 85 meters, 65 meters and 100 meters.

When to visit Mt. Elgon NP (Uganda)

Mount Elgon National Park is open to visitors all year-round, however, the best time to enjoy adventures like mountaineering is during the dry season. This is from June to August and December to February. Essentials to carry for your Elgon N/Park tours include waterproof hiking boots, first aid kit, water, rain jacket, flashlight/torch, snacks, waterproof daypack and comfortable clothes.

Where to stay

The available lodging facilities in and around Elgon National Park include Mbale Resort Hotel, Kayegi Hotel, Kapkwai Forest Cottages, Noah’s Ark Hotel, Mount Elgon View Hotel, Sipi River Lodge, Masha Hotel, and others.

Getting there for a holiday

Mount Elgon National Park (MENP) is lying in the Eastern part of Uganda, and getting there takes 4 to 5 hours. You drive along the Kampala-Jinja highway to Mbale-Kapchorwa route.