Mount Elgon national park is one of the oldest and largest solitary volcanic mountain in East Africa.it has got the largest and widest volcanic base in entire worlds which is about 4100 kilometers large. It had a vast form, 80 kilometers diameter that upsurges more than 3,000 meters above the neighboring plains. The mountain’s calm elevations offer breather from the hot savannahs below, with the basic altitudes providing a sanctuary for flora and fauna.
Mount Elgon National Park is household to more than 300 species of birds, together with the rare Lammergeyer. Forest monkeys, buffalos, Small antelopes, and elephants also stay on the foothill. The greater hills are sheltered by national parks in Kenya and Uganda, generating an widespread trans-boundary preservation space which has been acknowledged a UNESCO Man & Environment Reserve.
A hike on Mt. Elgon’s isolated moorlands exposes a superb and organized wilds without the summit-oriented tactic shared to numerous highlands: the final goal on arriving at the top of Mt. Elgon is not the last climb to the 4321m Wagagai Peak, but the succession into the massive 40km² caldera.
Climate and When to Visit
The best seasons to climb Mount Elgon are during the dry seasons between June-August and December-March. Though, it should be well-known that ascending Mt. Elgon can be done throughout the year.
Mount Elgon National Park is found just 235 kilometres east of Kampala. A tarmac road goes through Jinja to Mbale town at the western base of Mount Elgon, before ascending to Kapchorwa on the mountain’s north-western side. Dirt roads lead off the Mbale-Kapchorwa road to touch the numerous trail heads.
Areas of attraction around and outside Mount Elgon national park.
Forest Exploration Centre
The Forest Exploration Centre is found at Kapkwai, just 13km from Sipi town, pairs as an educational center for schools and the trailhead for mountaineers who use the Sipi trail to the caldera. Three trails of around 3 to 7 kilometres m stretches through the nearby redeveloping forest, where tourists can come to see the caves, waterfalls, escarpments and viewpoints; and witness birds and primates. Bird species can be seen such as Lemon Dove, Mountain Yellow Warbler Hartlaub’s Turaco, Eastern Bronze-napped Pigeon, Alpine Chat, Thick-billed Honey guide, Dusky-Turtle Dove Black-throated Wattle-eye, Grey Cuckoo-Shrike.
Mount Elgon’s peaks are punctured with caves left by stirring lava and obliteration of soft volcanic deposits. The utmost accessible cave is Kapkwai cave which is close to Forest Exploration Centre, and Khauka Cave on Wanale Edge. Generally, such features represented as housings for local residents and their cattle; earlier on, they delivered manure in the form of bat fertilizers. More lately, they were used by mountaineers and their caretakers, up to today, areas are still placed at Hunters Cave, Siyo Cave (close the hot springs), Mude Cave and Tutum Cave – perfect for overnight excursions.
Jackson’s Pool and Jackson’s Peak
Jackson’s Pool outlook at 4,050 metres above the sea level and is a natural pool with low waters. This pool is found in the shadow of the 4,165m high Jackson’s Peak, a free-standing volcanic padding increasing from the western side of the mountain. These landscapes were baptized after the visit of explorer Frederick Jackson, who in 1889 was the head European to climb Mount Elgon. The peak is used by the locals as a place to interconnect with their descendants.
The peaks and the caldera
Mount Elgon’s uppermost summits are molded by high points around a pointed border encircling the largest caldera in the world which is at 40km long and 8km wide. The highest peak is the 4,321 metres Wagagai, Sudek (4,303m) being the next, Koitobos (4,222m) and finally Mubiyi (4,210m).
The Caldera was molded as a result of magma being exhausted from the cavity. When it couldn’t support the superimposing volcanic cone, it distorted into a depression-like form. In the eastern bend of the caldera, hot springs are found at the start of the bottomless Suam Valley. In the northwest, Simu Valley was shaped by the pure heaviness of the water in the caldera splitting into two stream couches out of the fragile volcanic residue and agglomerate barriers.
Mt. Elgon’s vegetation is lined into comprehensive regions whose features are verbalized by elevation and rain. The lesser mountain hills are enclosed with thick forest and redeveloping forests, suspended with vine-like lichens lianas and epiphytes. The ground is sheltered with a flooring of orchid’s ferns, and flowering plants. Mutual tree species can be viewed in the tropical montane forest about 1,500-2,500metres are prunus africanas, olive Oleahochstetteri, allophyllus tombea ,Elgon teak, Cordia, Neoboutania podocarpus, cedar, and Aningueriaadolfi-friedericii.
The region changes to assorted bamboo at 2,500-3,000m. The bamboo combines into open woodland conquered by hagenia abyssinica and African rosewood sprinkled with Hypercom – a giant form of St. John’s wort.
Nkokenjeru Ridge and Wanale
Nkokenjeru Ridge is a characteristic extremity of forest spreading centrifugally from the key chain of Mount Elgon. It deceits at an altitude of 2,347m and shelters a 25km-long tongue of lava that poured out of the side of the volcano after the conduit malformed to chunk the key vent. Nkokenjeru Ridge concludes at the excellent Wanale Cliffs which post above Mbale Town; the periodic Nabuyonga and Namatyo Waterfalls are found here. A path at this western end of the edge hints you to Khauka Cave where horrified wood can be found.
This ridge also provides lands for those concerned in paragliding over the Mbale town.
The Nabuyonga Trail is a 5km circle with birding, fauna and flora. Lookouts oversee Mbale town, Lakes Kyoga, Bisina and Salisbara, and the uneven mountains in Karamoja region. On a vibrant day, you may enjoy views of Wagagai uttermost and even parts of western Kenya. Be cautious of flinging a stone into the Nabuyonga stream indigenous folktale entitlements that if you do so, a rainstorm will assault before you consent.
Beyond the park
The western northern edges of Mount Elgon upsurge in sequences of enormous basalt rock face, often numerous kilometers in distance, over which the mountain’s rivers fall as good-looking waterfalls. The most common are the three waterfalls at Sipi on the Kapchorwa road, just outside the park. The bottommost of these falls is the most remarkable as it waterfalls over a 100m bluff. The second, one is Simba, falls 69m over the entering to a cave. Tourists can stand in the cave and enjoy a sight of the hindmost of the falls. The third waterfall, named as Ngasire, floods over an 87m high edge. Sipi falls not more than 1 hour drive from Mbale on a surfaced road.
Simply reachable waterfalls can be got from Sisiyi, Bulago, Chebonet and Wanale and many more are dispersed across the mountain, proposing remarkable sights.
This is found outside the park, overseeing Sipi Falls is the hill where, in the 1960s, Chemonges Kingo, King of the Sabiny would encounter his subjects. At the top you can sight the three falls, the Karamajong grasslands and the Wagagai peak.
Pian Upe Wildlife Reserve and Matheniko Bokora Wildlife Reserve
In the grasslands of Karamoja to the north of Mount Elgon there is Matheniko Bokora Wildlife Reserve and the extensive Pian upe Wildlife Reserve, the subsequent main sheltered area in Uganda, with a space of 2,788kilometers. Some of the Wildlife found here are the infrequent species such as the lesser kudu, Bright’s gazelle roan antelope, and ostriches which, in Uganda, can be encountered only in Kidepo National Park. Wildlife is focused about the Loporokocho swamp; bird species encountered here include Hartlaub’s Turaco, Eastern Bronze-napped Pigeon, African Hill Babbler, Lemon Dove, Alpine Chat, Dusky Turtle Dove, Mountain Yellow Warbler, Black-throated Wattle-eye, , Thick-billed Honey guide and Grey Cuckoo-Shrike.
Rock images found at numerous places within the Matheniko Bokora Wildlife Reserve are supposed to date back over 3000 years and were fashioned by the Kushite and Nilotic peoples.
Nyero Rock Paintings
65km north of Mbale, the Nyero Rock Paintings are the finest of several rock art sites in the region. Three panels are found within the extensive granite outcrop of Moru Ikara, 10km from Kumi Town and 55km from Mbale on the Soroti road. The most impressive is Panel Two which includes two canoes bearing human figures.
Scenic viewpoints outside the park
A detour to Bulago off the Mbale-Sipi road reveals a village standing high above a waterfall facing the Simu Valley towards Butandiga ridge. The route to Kapchorwa beyond Sipi Falls to the north provides a stunning view towards Mount Kadam and the vast plains of Karamoja. The top of the Sironko Valley in Budadiri, enclosed by the Mudangi Cliffs and the Nkonkonjeru Ridge, provides a picturesque view of the montane forest and caldera peaks. Visitors should also drive to the top of Wanale Cliff for panoramic views over the town of Mbale.
ACTIVITIES IN ELGON NATIONAL PARK.
Mountain/Volcano Climbing in Mt. Elgon
Most tourists find Mt. Elgon an exhilarating substitute to the more vigorous hikes in East Africa. It is tranquil to reach during the year, less crowded and has several of the similar magnetisms, with a slighter climate and lower altitude. Ascending to the mountains necessitates no special gear or technical skill.
The Sasa path is the shortest but hardest path to the summits, crossing the community land and letting you to see the sights BaMasaba farming settlements and culture. The curved trip takes about 4 days and the hiking starts at Budadiri town at an altitude of 1,250m. The hardest hike of over 1,600m is finished on the first day, before crossing the park’s biggest section of bamboo forest and fleeting Jackson’s Pool on the way to Wagagai Peak.
The Sipi trail 4-6 days is roughly 56km round trip and starts at 2,050metres at the Kapkwai Forest Exploration Centre. It is the extensive trail to the summits, fleeting through the northwestern slopes of the mountain viaTutum Cave to enter the caldera and access Wagagai Peak. The trail starts softly, but becomes harder on the third day from Kajeri Camp.
The Piswa trail (seven days, 49km round trip) is extensive and the gentlest trail. Beginning at the village of Kapkwata on the north foothills of the mountain, it crosses the soft wood plantation to the Podocarpus forest. It’s distinguished for its numerous wildlife and outstanding sights of the Karamoja grasslands in Uganda and the Nandi and Kapeguria hills in Kenya. The Piswa trail is also close to the hot springs on the way to the caldera and the peaks.
Alternative hiking options
The numerous trails can be combines, climbing the Sipi/Piswa/Sasa Trail and sliding along the Sasa/Sipi Trail for example. This permits a cross of the caldera and sight see to the hot springs.
Tran’s boundary hike/cross border tourism: The upper hills of Mount Elgon are united is next to national park in Kenya and a trans-border climb can be organized. After climbing to the caldera with a UWA guide, mountaineers cross the border to incline with a Kenya Wildlife Service escort.
Rock climbing in Mt. Elgon
This is carried out outside the park at Sipi. There are 14 trials requires numerous stages of rock climbing skills, and all climbing gears can be borrowed from the Sipi Falls Tourist Guides Association. The hardest is a 35m hike while the tranquil is 15m. Both acknowledge charming outlooks of the core falls and the Karamoja grasslands.
Mountain Biking in Mt. Elgon
The trail for mountain biking starts from Sipi trading center up to Chema Hill in Kapchorwa town. This takes around 1.5 hours and offers outlooks of numerous waterfalls and the Karamoja grasslands. Bikes can be borrowed from Sipi River Lodge.
Birding in Mt. Elgon
Exceptional birding openings happen nearby Kapkwai Forest Exploration Centre, in specific secondary forest and dense bush besides the round paths prolonged to shelter Cheptui Falls. It funds the Chubb’s Cisticola, African Goshawk;, White-chinned Prinia, Moustached Tinker bird, Chin spot Batis, Mackinnon’s Fiscal, Black Kite Doherty’s and Luhders Bush-shrikes, Baglafecht Weaver, Cinnamon Bee Eater, Hartloub`s Turaco, Tacazze Sunbird, Olive- and Bronze-naped pigeons, African Blue Fly-catcher, and Black-collared Apalis.s
Hiking/Nature Walks in Mt. Elgon
The 7km (four-hour) mountain bamboo trail to Kapkwai Cave goes through humid and bamboo forest. Besides the pass, there are many primates, birds and rare trees such as Elgon olive and Elgon teak. The distance of 5 kilometers to Chebonet Falls and 3km walk to the Kapkwai caves follow the ridge view trail together with climb to Tutum cave which is about 11kilometrsand there is the option of camping overnight beside the cave.
In Wanale, tour to Khauka Cave which takes 3-4 hours. On the other hand you can go to the lookout through Nabuyoga ring where you can view Jackson’s Peak and Wagagai summit.
In Budadiri, small day climbs are accessible casing the, Sasa River Camp, Mudagi Cliffs and Drigana lower falls. These are countless for nature walks, bird watching, and overnight camping.
Cultural Encounters in Mt. Elgon
Budadiri Community Walks Ecotourism Experience
This group is grounded in Budadiri, and offers services such as car hire, accommodation, guided coffee tours community nature walks and cultural dances. Tourists can realize the region’s food preparation, cultural dances, folklore and its well-known malewa bamboo shoots.
There is also a visit to Mt Elgon’s well-known Arabica coffee processing plants, which ropes indigenous farmers. Nature paramours can pander in one of the three trails, 1 day trek to Namugabwe Cave, passing via BaMasaba community land and banana plantations to access a ancient cave occupied with bones; the Dirigana Round Trail to the Dirigsana Falls and Gabushana Cave via the indigenous markets and the “Walls of Death”; or the three day walk to Sipi Falls which reveals the culture of two neighboring tribes.
Sipi Widows’ Group
This is where coffee beans are grown from. The coffee seed are grown on shambas found on Mt Elgon and they are named as Arabica coffee by Sipi or Bugisu farmers – who have a repute for manufacturing some of the best splashed Arabica in Uganda and Kenya. The Sipi Widows’ Group will take you on a guided visit coffee plantation representing how to plant, pick, grind, store and wash the coffee.
Sport fishing in Mt. Elgon
Sport fishing is carried out on top of the three waterfalls at Sipi which is found outside the park. It offers thrilling tasks to anglers who take conceit in attacking with the rainbow trout because of its lovely coloring and aggressive aptitude. The biggest weighing 3 kilograms.
Fishing is limited to selected places and sites. Those who would like to do sports fishing should always book earlier. Attracted sport fishers are advised to carry their own equipment and obtain a permit from Sipi River Lodge.
Suam Guest House (UWA)
Kapkwata (Piswa trailhead)
Kapkwata Guesthouse (self-catering)
Forest Exploration Center Bandas, student hostel and campsite
Noah’s Ark Hotel
Sipi Falls area
Sipi River Lodge
The Crow’s Nest Camp
Sipi Falls Resort
Rose’s Last Chance – Community-run Camp
Along the Sasa Trail
Sasa River Camp
Mbale Resort Hotel
Mt. Elgon Hotel
Wash and Wills Country Home
New Mt. Elgon View Hotel