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Mount Elgon National Park is the oldest extinct volcanic mountain with the largest volcanic base in the world of 4000 km2. This mountain is shared with Uganda and Kenya and Uganda takes the largest area coverage of 1,121 km2 and Kenya 169 km2, the Kenyan part of this park was gazetted in 1968 and the Ugandan part in 1992. The highest peak is Wagagai, 4,321m. The local people, Bagisu used to call this mountain, “mount “Masaba”, while “Elgon” is named after the Anglicization of the Masai “El Kony”.

The best time to visit Mount Elgon is May and September, November and December. Its mountainous terrain introduces variety to an otherwise monotonous regional landscape. Its cool heights offer respite for humans from the hot plains below and its higher altitudes provide a refuge for flora and fauna.

Species in Mount Elgon National Park

While ascending Mount Elgon, there are four different forest zones: the lush montane forest, the mixed bamboo belt, the health and the spectacular moorland hierarchs, which contain rare species like the giant Lobelia Elgonensis and clusters of groundsels which are unique to Africa. At least 300 species of birds are recorded, including Jackson’s francolin, guinea fowls, sunbirds and turaco. The checklist for mammals includes at least 24 species.

Activities in Mount Elgon National Park

There are several trekking trails around Mount Elgon i.e. Sasa, Sipi and Piswa all open to everybody as this is not a difficult mountain to climb. The full trekking circuit to the peaks takes about 5 to 6 days to complete. Nature walks can be done, allowing one to view the various flora and fauna and the enormous caves.

One-day hikes are possible from the Forest exploration Centre at Kapkway. Particularly fascinating is the hike from the Sipi trading center to the Sipi Falls, a series of four pretty waterfalls culminating in a 99 m drop at an altitude of 1,775 m, along the river Sipi, which originates from Mount Elgon.

Accessibility to the national park

Mount Elgon lies 235km east of Uganda’s capital city, Kampala with a tarmacked road that runs through Jinja to Mbale town at the western base of Mount Elgon, before climbing to Kapchorwa on the mountain’s north-western flank. A good road leads off the Mbale-Kapchorwa road to reach the various trailheads.

Accommodation facilities in the national park

The park has quite a good number of lodges that provides good services to clients and these include the Mbale resort hotel, Mountain Elgon Hotel, Sipi falls lodge, Lacam lodge, Sipi river lodge and more.

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