For any plans to visit Eastern Uganda, Mount Elgon National Park is that one magical destination you need not to miss to pay a visit. It covers an area of about 1145 square kilometers and inhabits the extinct volcano-Mount Elgon which is features not only as the Africa’s highest mountain but also its expansive base that rates it as the world’s largest caldera. Due to erosion, its height reduced to 4321 meters making it the 4th highest peak in East Africa and 8th in Africa. There are also 2 tribes that live around here-the Bagisu and Sabiny as well as the marginalized Ndorobos who lived deep in the forest of Benet. This volcano spans for over 4000 square kilometers thus featuring the largest volcanic base in the world.
It is from this volcano that the park derived its name and lies in eastern Uganda just at a border with Kenya. It has a diameter of about 80 kilometers and stretches for about 3000 meters. This park comes with unique flora and fauna including more than 300 bird species, thick montane forest, mixed bamboo belts, endemic plants for instance the giant lobelia and groundsels. The wildlife species to spot here include the black and white colobus monkeys, blue monkeys, birds like golden winged and tacazze sunbirds, Ross’s and hartlaub’s Turaco, Jackson’s Francolin, lammergeyer, crowned hornbills, black and white casqued hornbills among others.
Things to do in Mount Elgon National Park
A visit to this pristine national park offers you a great deal to spot out birds like golden winged and tacazze sunbirds, Ross’s and hartlaub’s Turaco, Jackson’s Francolin, lammergeyer, crowned hornbills, black and white casqued hornbills, African blue fly catchers, chin spot batis, luhders bush shrikes, baglafetch weaver, Doherty’s, white chinned prinia, Chubb’s cisticola and others.
Hike to Sipi falls
This is a rare tourist site that you shouldn’t miss to pay a visit to while on Uganda safari in this park. It features an ancient enormous Stone Age cave painting close to the Budadiri trail head, scenic mountain peaks and hot springs which bubble strongly and gorges among others. The Sipi falls are found about 66 kilometers off Mbale, en-route to the Forest Exploration Center and Kapkwata. The available accommodation in this area is Sipi Falls Resort.
Trekking through Mount Elgon
There are 3 main trailheads which take you to Mount Elgon peaks, one of which kick starts from Budadiri- the Sasa trailhead, the Sipi trailhead-forest exploration center to Kapkwai or use the Kapkwata also known as Piswa trailhead. The Sasa trail passes via the park’s vast area of bamboo forest and it is a direct route to the mountain peaks.
This park features about 9 basic campsites for you to embark on camping experiences. They are strategically located on the trekking routes and camping can be done in designated campsites. For any need to do camping here, you need to come with your camping gear including tent, sleeping bag, gloves, hat, sturdy hiking shoes, flashlight, rain gear, cooking equipment, food, first aid kit, warm clothes and others.
You can also embark on day hikes in any of the 3 day trails at forest exploration center. They range from 3 to 7 kilometers and they provide the best experience as it comes with amazing encounters of rare plant and wildlife species. The 4th trail takes you through distinct vegetation zones then to Tutum cave and provides excellent sights at wildlife species like black and white colobus monkeys as well as several bird species.
When to visit Mount Elgon National Park
Mount Elgon National Park can be visited at any time of the year but it is ideal during dry season. This season is usually experienced from June to August and December to mid-March. But this doesn’t mean that it is not possible for you to explore this park during the wet season. The wet season equally comes with its unique experiences especially scenic views of waterfalls.
Other activities include fly fishing, rock climbing, mountain biking, coffee tour, forest walks a mention but a few.
Where to stay in Mount Elgon National Park
The available accommodation options for you to spend a night in this park include the Kapkwata Rest House and the Forest Exploration Center. The others include Mbale Resort Hotel, Sunrise Inn, Mount Elgon Hotel, Country Home and many more.
How to get to Mount Elgon National Park
This park is situated around Mbale about 235 kilometers drive from Kampala. If you are in Kidepo Valley National Park, you can as well get into this park.
For exceptional safari experiences in Eastern Uganda, visit Mount Elgon National Park and you will be rewarded with unique experiences.