Mount Elgon National Park. “The world’s Largest Caldera”
Mountain Elgon National Park is situated in Eastern Uganda bordering Uganda and Kenya with the largest surface area of any extinct volcano and a caldera that covers 40 square kilometers.
The park derived its name from Mount Elgon, an extinct volcano located within the park rising to more than 3,000m and 80km in diameter. The higher slopes are protected by national parks in Uganda and Kenya creating a trans-boundary conservation area that was declared a UNESCO Man & Biosphere reserve.
Mount Elgon is the 8th highest mountain in Africa and it acts as a watershed supporting the various vegetation zones and the surrounding areas.
The mountain can be climbed from either side of the border but the trailheads in Uganda are more accessible.
The tallest peak on the mountain is Wagagai (4,321m) and is in Uganda on the Southwest, Sudek in the South, Mubiyi in the North and Masaba in the East.
Mount Elgon is home to the Bagisu and the Sabiny and also live in the surrounding areas.
The best time to visit Mount Elgon National Park
The park can be visited anytime of the year but the best time to visit is during the dry season when the trails are less slippery and the wildflowers are in bloom.
Be advised to carry the right clothing because the park receives rainfall at any time of the year, even during the dry season.
Attractions in Mt. Elgon National Park
Mountain Elgon National Park is inhabited by wildlife species in the lower slopes and these include; elephants, buffaloes, black and white colobus monkey, blue monkey which are rarely seen.
The bird list in Mount Elgon National Park stands at more than 300 species and some of these include; Ayre’s hawk-eagle, Taccaze sunbird, Montane nightjar, white wagtail, Pearl spotted owlet, Pink-footed puffback, Crested Guinefowl, Crested malimbe, Golden crested wood pecker,
Other attractions in the park include; the caves and Sipi falls.
Activities in Mount Elgon National Park
Inside the park
Hiking Mount Elgon is an exciting and less strenuous climb than other mountains in East Africa. Different routes can be used to climb to the top. The sasa trail which ascends to Wagagai from budadiri and is the shortest and most direct route. Other routes that can be used are the sipi trail, piswa trail.
The park provides excellent bird sightings. Kapkwai has a high concentration of bird species and is therefore recommended for bird lovers. Some of the resident species include;
Nature walks are taken within the designated trails in the forest. This brings you closer to nature and a close observation of bird species and any other animal that may be spotted in the forest.
Outside the Mount Elgon National Park
Located just outside the national park is a series of three waterfalls. Sipi is a very peaceful and beautiful spot, perfect for day nature walks that offer spectacular views of the lowlands.
Mountain biking is an exciting activity done in the trails that run from Sipi giving you stunning views of the waterfalls and the surrounding environment.
Coffee is one of the largely grown cash crops in this region. During the tour, you will visit a coffee plantation and observe how coffee is harvested, processed and roasted. The tour ends with sipping a cup of coffee.
How to get to Mount Elgon National Park
The park can be accessed by road from Kampala to Mbale via Kampala – Jinja road.
Accommodation facilities in in Mount Elgon National Park
Sipi Safari Lodge