Mount Elgon National Park
Mt. Elgon is an extinct volcano that first erupted more than 24 million years ago. With the largest surface area of any extinct volcano in the world (50 km by 80 km), Mt. Elgon is the fourth highest mountain in Eastern Africa, with the second-highest peak in Uganda (Wagagi Peak – 4,321 metres). Mt. Elgon contains crater covering over 40kms at the top of the mountain, surrounded by a series of rugged peaks.
MOUNT ELGON ATTRACTIONS
The secondary forest and thick scrub along the Chebonet River camp is a favourite spot for the African Goshawk, Chubb’s Cisticola, White-chinned Prinia, African Blue Fly-catchers, Chin-spot Batis, Mackinon’s Fiscal, Doherty’s and Luhder’s Bush-Shrikes and Baglafecht Weaver.
Flora and Fauna
While ascending Mt. Elgon’s enchanting slopes, you will pass through dense montane forest and mixed bamboo belts teeming with birdlife. You will then enter the fascinating heath and moorland zones containing several interesting endemic plant species such as Giant lobelia and groundsels. Wildlife enthusiasts will be pleased to spot primates such as the Black and White Colobus Monkey, Blue Monkey, and hundreds of fascinating bird species, including Golden Winged and Tacazze sunbirds, Ross’s and Hartlaubs Turacos, Black and White Casqued and Crowned Hornbills, the endangered Lammergeier eagle and the Jackson’s Francolin which is found nowhere else in Uganda. If you are particularly observant you can also see buffalo, duiker, hyena or even the elusive leopard.
UGANDA SAFARI DESTINATION
EXTINCT VOLCANOE MOUNTAIN
Current Time in Kampala – Uganda
RECOMMENDED SEMULIKI SAFARIS
All our tours are born out of a desire to share authentic African Safari experiences. Offering travellers individual journeys, designed to match your interests, tastes and budget, we provide tailor-made tours to Mount Elgon National Park. Enquire with our team of experts to start planning your safari journey today.
OTHER TOURISM ACTIVITIES
Visiting Mount Elgon National Park (MENP) presents an exciting setting for extended hikes. In addition to the interesting and unique flora and fauna, you can expect to experience magnificent waterfalls, enormous caves, scenic peaks and gorges, and hot springs which bubble up at 48’C. The best times to visit are during the drier seasons from June to August and December to March. However, even in the wetter months trekking is manageable. No technical climbing equipping or skills are required, and all major peaks are accessible to hikers.
Trekking Trailheads and Routes.
There are two main trailheads (starting points) which lead to the mountain’s peaks. Sasa Trail (Buddukiro trailhead) is the most easily accessible from Mbale and is the most direct route to the peaks. It passes through the Park’s largest area of bamboo forest. However it is also a steep and rugged climb of over 1600m on the first day. For a gentler climb (660m first day) you may choose to ascend via Piswa trail (Kapkwata trailhead). Along this route you can explore a vast Podocarpus forest, an excellent place for wildlife viewing.
The full trekking circuit to the peaks takes 4-5 days to complete.
Five basic campsites are located at strategic points along the trekking circuit. Please respect Park regulations by camping only at designated campsites. No camping is allowed within the caldera. MENP camping is primitive, and all necessary camping equipment must be carried by the trekker. Some items such as tents and sleeping bags can be hired through the Park office in Mbale. Make sure not to forget a warm jacket and rain gear, as extreme weather conditions will add to your Mt. Elgon adventure! Also, it is advisable to carry a fuel-efficient camp stove if possible to avoid placing additional pressure on Mt. Elgon National Park firewood resources.
Guides Porters & Ranger Escorts.
We support local community members and encourage continued conservation of MENP’s valuable resources by hiring local guides and porters. All certified guides have received training in natural/ cultural histories, emergency first aid and communication. Porters will assist you by carrying up to 18 kg of your gear as well as preparing meals, setting up/taking down your camp, and collecting your water. The wages cover the guide or porter’s park visitation fee and the cost of sufficient food and supplies. Make sure to ask to see a guide’s license before hiring. For additional safety reasons, a Park ranger escort must be hired when visiting the calderas or ascending the peaks. You will meet your ranger escort at Sasa or Piswa patrol hut where you must present your park receipt before proceeding upwards.
Day Time Hikes.
The Forest Exploration Centre has three “day” trails ranging between 3 and 7 km. These trails offer an excellent opportunity to experience Mt. Elgon’s unique plants and wildlife in shorter time period. A fourth trail has recently been opened to reach the enormous Tutum Cave, 11 km from the centre. This trail also passes through a range of vegetation types and offers opportunities to see wildlife such as Black and White Colobus Monkeys and a variety of birds.
ATTRACTIONS OUTSIDE ELGON PARK
Outside the park are marvelous walking opportunities, notably at Sipi Village, where the Sipi River plunges over three lofty waterfalls in quick succession. The Sipi Falls are located 66 km from Mbale, en-route to the Forest Exploration Centre and Kapkwata. Several trails in the area allow for intriguing day hikes through friendly local villages and beautiful farming country.
Essential Items to Carry
Tent, sleeping bag, warm clothes, gloves, hat, sturdy hiking shoes, flashlight, water bottle, rain gear, first aid kit, cooking equipment, sufficient food supplies.