Mountain Elgon National Park, Mountain Elgon is an extinct volcanic mountain with the largest surface area in the world (50 km by 80 km) and a caldera with a diameter of about 8 km. The highest peak is Wagagay, 4.321 m. It lies at the border with Kenya. The National Park is 1.145 km in extension. The local people, Bagisu used to call the 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. It’s cool heights offer respite for humans from the hot plains below and its higher altitudes provide a refuge for flora and fauna.
Species found in Mountain Elgon National Park
While ascending Mount Elgon, there are four different forest zones: the lush Montane Forest, the mixed bamboo belt, the heath, 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 Mountain Elgon National Park
There are several trekking trails around Mountain Elgon, all open to everybody as this is not a difficult mountain to climb (Sasa, Sipi, and Piswa trials). The full trekking circuit to the peaks takes 5 to 6 days to complete. The nature walks allow you to see flora and fauna, the enormous caves, gorges, and hot springs. One-day hikes are possible from the Forest Exploration Centre at Parkway. Particularly fascinating is the hike from Sipi trading center to the Sipi Falls, a series of four pretty waterfalls culminating in a 99m drop at an altitude of 1.775 m, along the river Sipi, which originates from Mount Elgon.
Accessibility to Mountain Elgon National Park
Mountain Elgon National Park lies 235 km east of Uganda’s capital city. A tarmac road runs through Jinja to Mbale town at the western base of Mount Elgon, before climbing to Kapchorwa on the mountain’s north-western flank. Tarmac road leads off the Mbale-Kapchorwa road to reach the various trailheads.
Accommodation facilities in Mountain Elgon National Park
The park has quite a good number of lodges that provides good services to clients and these include the Mbale resort hotel, Mount Elgon Hotel, Sipi falls lodge, Lacam lodge, Sipi river lodge, and more.