Mt Elgon National park
Mount Elgon National park is situated close to Mbale in the Far East of Uganda. It covers a total land area of 1145sq km. The park was named after the most significant natural feature “Mount Elgon” that stands at a height of 4321 meters above sea level. Mount Elgon is an extinct Volcanic Mountain found on Uganda’s border with Kenya. At 4000sq km, Mt. Elgon has the largest volcanic base in the whole world. It is a massive solitary volcanic mountain, 80km in diameter, and rising up to 3000m above the surrounding plains. It is believed that millions of years ago, this mountain was higher than Mountain Kilimanjaro which is present day’s highest mountain in Africa. Although mountain Elgon is shared by the two neighboring countries of Uganda and Kenya, its highest peak the Wagagai peak found at 4321 meters is found on the Ugandan side of the mountain. There are three other outstanding peaks on this mountain; the Jackson’s summit at 4165 meters, Kiongo at 4303 meters and Mubiyi at 4210 meters.
The local people living around this mountain locally refer to it as Mt. Masaba. The name Masaba was for the founding ancestor of the neighboring Bagisu people and he is believed to have come from one of the cave found on the slopes of this mountain a number of centuries ago. This mountain is a significant watershed for a number of rivers such as River Sipi that forms the renowned spectacular Sipi falls. The mountain slopes support a great array of altitudinal vegetation zones that range from the montane forest to the towering open moorland scattered with the huge groundsel plus lobelia.
Although the beautiful scenery is the primary attraction, Mt. Elgon national park has a diversity of animal species among which are buffaloes, tinny antelopes, forest monkeys and elephants of fauna species found in the park. The park as well is habitat to more than 299 bird species with a couple of them not being seen in any other part of the country. Some other tourist attractions within this park are the very old cave paintings near the trailhead found at Budadiri, stunning caves plus the hot springs inside the crater, in addition to the renowned Imbalu dances plus ceremonies conducted by the native people during their initiation ceremonies.
How to get there
Mountain Elgon national park can be accessed on road via a tarmac road that runs from Kampala through Jinja to Mbale town at the western base of Mount Elgon. It’s a stretch of up to 235km away from Kampala city (3-4hrs)
The main tourist activity in the park is mountain climbing. Mountaineering Mt. Elgon isn’t very difficult and the climate is not harsh so this activity is not only enjoyed by experienced climbers but by medium climbers as well.
Enjoy Community visits/cultural encounters, and participate in their cultural ceremonies such as Imbalu dances. Enjoy nature walks, hiking, rock climbing, sport fishing and mountain biking.
Varieties of accommodation facilities include Suam guest house (UWA), Kapkwata guest house, forest exploration centre, Sipi river lodge, the crow’s Nest camp, Sipi falls resort, Twilight campsite, New Mt. Elgon view hotel and many others.