Mountain Elgon National park is located on the Uganda-Kenya border and it is the oldest and largest volcanic mountain in East Africa. The park is found in East of Lake Victoria. The park covers an area of 1279 km² and is bisected by the border of Kenya and Uganda. Mount Elgon has a good catchment of water for the Nzoia River which flows to Lake Victoria and for the Turkwel River which flows into Lake Turkana. Mt Elgon is a place of two tribes, the Bagisu and the Sabiny and also the Ndorobos who were forced to dwell deep within the forest of Benet. The Bagisu who are also known as the BaMasaba, consider Mount Elgon to be the embodiment of their founding father Masaba and refer to the mountain by this name.
Mount Elgon National Park is has over 300 species of birds which include the endangered Lammergeyer, areHartlaub’s Turaco, Jackson’s Francolin, Eastern Bronze-naped Pigeon and Tacazze Sunbird.
Elephants and buffalo can be found on the lower slopes. The park is also has a variety of small antelope and duiker and forest monkeys which include the Black-and-white Colobus, Blue Monkey, Red-Tailed monkey. Both leopard and hyena existed there in the park. Other attractions include fauna and flora, the park has a variety of scenery which includescaves, cliffs,gorges , waterfalls, calderas, hot springs, and the mountain peaks. The most popular areas are the four explorable, vast caves where frequent night visitors such as elephants and buffaloes come for natural salt found on the cave walls. Kitum cave, with overhanging crystalline walls.
Birding is an activity done in Mountain Elgon National,one can be in position to see the African Goshawk, African Blue Fly-catchers ,Chubb’s Cisticola, White-chinned Prinia, Chin-spot Batis, Mackinon’s Fiscal, Doherty’s and Luhder’s Bush-Shrikes and Baglafecht Weaver.
There are two main trailheads which lead to the mountain’s peaks. Salsa Trail is the most easily accessible from Mbale and is the best direct route to the peaks. The trail passes through the Park’s largest area of bamboo forest. Youmay alsochoose to ascend via Pisa trail. Along this route you can find a vast Podocarpus forest, an excellent place for wildlife viewing.
The full trekking circuit to the peaks can take 4-5 days to complete. All visitors are encouraged to discuss options with an Information Clerk at the visors centre.
Accommodations in Mt.Elgon National park is so easy because there are number of hotels and lodges which include, Suam Guest House (UWA), Green Gardens, Moses’ compsite, sipi falls resort.
ACTIVITIES IN MOUNTAIN ELGON NATIONAL PARK
Birding in Mt. Elgon
Birding opportunities exist around Kapkwai Forest Exploration Centre. Species may include Goshawk; Chubb’s Cisticola, White-chinned Prinia and African Blue Flycatcher among others.
Mountain Biking in Mt. Elgon
Mountain biking trails starts from Sipi trading centre to Chema hill in Kapchorwa town. The bike takes 1.5 hours and provides views of waterfalls and the Karamoja plains. Bikes can be hired from Sipi River Lodge.
Cultural Encounters in Mt. Elgon
Here you will learn about life of the Sabiny when you meet the local residents, and participate in traditional weaving. Also you will learn about African cuisine through the preparation, cooking and tasting of local dishes. A visit to the women’s handcraft shop in the trading centre is also highly a great experience.
Nature walks in Mt. Elgon
Here a visitor may enjoy views of Sipi Falls, the Walls of Death and the African sunrise across the Karamoja plains on these peaceful walks just outside Mt Elgon National Park