Mount Elgon National Park
Mountain Elgon National Park is located in the Eastern region of Uganda bordering with Kenya and covers an area of 1145 sq km. Mount Elgon is a 4,321m extinct volcano that first erupted 20 million years ago and is said to have remained active for another 14 million years. The tallest peak of Mount Elgon is Wagagai(4,321m) and lies in the southwest caldera rim. Mount Elgon’s eruption also contributed to the formation of the rift valley million years ago. The other major peaks of Mount Elgon include Kiongo (4,303m), Jackson’s Summit (4,160m) and Mubiyi (4,210m). Mount Elgon offers great hiking opportunities and although it has been less visited by travellers in the past, the Uganda Wildlife Authority is encouraging travellers to travel to this less visited gem.
Mount Elgon national park has vegetation zones that consist of Afro-montane forest, low-canopy montane forest, bamboo and Afro-Alpine with giant lobelia and groundsel.
Birds of Mount Elgon National Park
Mount Elgon national park hosts 296 bird species with mainly forest birds and bird species that are endemic to East Africa’s montane moorlands. The bird species of interest include Jackson’s Francolin, Green Tinkerbird, Hunter’s Cisticola, Black-Collared Apalis. Wildlife to look out for includes a small number of elephants, buffalo, bush pig, sitatunga, debrazza’s monkey, blue monkey, black-and-white colobus monkey and common duiker.
Activities in Mount Elgon National Park
Mountain Hiking and Climbing Mount Elgon
Mount Elgon is not a difficult mountain climb and is often an option for hikers who are looking for a less strenuous mountain to climb while on a mountain climbing and hiking tour in Uganda. Mount Elgon can be climbed in 3 days from Budadiri to Wagagai which is the tallest peak, there are different hiking routes including the five day and six day hike. Hikers have opportunity to walk through the forest as they look out for wildlife like monkeys, a variety of bird species and spectacular views of the Mountain. The best time to hike Mountain Elgon is between the dry months of June – August and December – March.
Bird watching Tours
Mountain Elgon national park is less visited but is home to over 296 species of birds making it a great place to include in your birdwatching trip in Uganda. Mount Elgon national park hosts a variety of forest birds including several species being endemic to the national park.
Hiking and Nature walks in Mount Elgon
The park has nature walks that travellers can go on as they explore the forest along the different trails. The hiking trails take 3-4 hours with some trails passing through caves, waterfalls, stunning view points in the forest. The nature walks offer opportunity to look out for bird species, tree species and wildlife like monkeys.
Sipi Falls Hike
The Sipi falls hike is a prime activity in the Mountain Elgon area. The Sipi falls are found on the foot hills of Mount Elgon and a short hike takes you to these beautiful falls where you can take photos and even stand in a safe space as the water droplets from the falls splashes on your body. The hike takes you to cliff above the Sipi River offering you spectacular views of the lush green scenery of Sipi.
Coffee and Cultural Tours
Coffee tours are one of the activities in the Elgon area as it is a leading area for growing Arabica coffee in Uganda. The coffee tour takes visitors through the process of making coffee and touring of the coffee plantations with the coffee farmers.
The cultural tours offer an experience in to the way of life of the bagisu who are the natives of Mount Elgon as you look at their culture, customs and their mountain life.
Accommodation in the Mount Elgon National Park
Mount Elgon national park has few accommodation options since it is mainly a hiking destination. Visitors here are usually looking for a place to spend the night before starting their hike the following day. Luxury, mid-range and budget facilities are available and these include;
Sipi River Lodge – This is a luxury lodge facility located in Kapchorwa district situated on the foothills of Mount Elgon. The lodge named after the famous Sipi Falls of Eastern Uganda features 14 cottages that have double rooming, single rooms and a family cottage that can accommodate up to five family members. The lodge is the best accommodation option in the area.
Lacam Lodge – Lacam Lodge is a lodge overlooking Sipi Falls located in eastern Uganda. The lodge identifies as a mid-range facility but we consider it a budget option lodge facility. The lodge consists of green gardens and log cabins set on the foot hills of Mt. Elgon. The lodge also has a restaurant and bar area present.
UWA Bandas – These are budget bandas managed by the Uganda Wildlife Authority and are the best budget option when visiting Mount Elgon National Park. The bandas have self-contained and non-self contained rooming (shared bathroom). Staff at the bandas can help in ordering for guests meals while at the facility.