Located at the Eastern boarder of Uganda and Kenya, Mount. Elgon has the largest volcanic base in the world. Mount. Elgon national park was declared and gazetted as a national park in the year 1994. The park plains create a trans-boundary conservation area since it is protected on either sides by Uganda and Kenya. The park has was declared a UNESCO man and Biosphere Reserve later after being established.
Mount. Elgon is part of Uganda’s oldest physical features whose first eruption happened about twenty four million years ago. It is also believed that Mount. Elgon was once the highest mountain in East Africa before its height was reduced by erosion to make it the fourth highest peak in East Africa and eighth in the entire African continent.
The park is a home to more 300 species of birds some of which are endangered species. It is also a home of several animal species such as elephants, forest monkeys and buffaloes.
Hiking Mt. Elgon doesn’t require skilled climbers compared to other areas in Uganda. The activity is a one of a kind experience that introduces you to spectacular views of the surrounding areas, encountering with the local people.
Those interested in mountain biking can put Mt. Elgon national park on their priority list since it provides spectacular biking experiences. The trails stretch from Sipi trading center all the way to Kapchorwa town characterized by views of quite a number of water falls.
Climbers get to see a number of primate, animal and bird species along the way.
Mt. Elgon national park offers one of the best guided nature walks in Uganda and East Africa as a whole, you get to walk through various trails of the park as you explore vast flora species and vegetation cover at different levels.
Visiting caves is one of the activities one should not miss while on a visit to Mt. Elgon national park. The park comprises of four major caves i.e. the Kitum caves, Rongai caves, Chepnyalil caves, Makikengy caves. A visit to these caves introduces you to bat species and several animal species such as elephants common at Kitum caves since they usually come to feed on the sodium rich salt here.
While at Sipi falls, you can be part of the magical sport fishing activity where you get an opportunity of battling with fish as they try to dodge being caught. The activity is done at the highest of the three waterfalls of Sipi.
Mount. Elgon national park is a reliable destination for birders since it is a home to over 300 bird species. Some of the birds are endangered species and others are restricted to the area. African Goshawk;, White-chinned Prinia, African Blue Fly-catcher, Mackinnon’s Fiscal, Bronze-naped pigeons, Baglafecht Weaver, Cinnamon Bee Eater, Moustached Tinkerbird, Hartloub`s Turaco, Black Kite and Black-collared Apalis are some of the common species of birds found in Mt. Elgon national park.
While at Mt. Elgon national park, one can visit the neighboring communities of the Budadiri area. You get to learn about their traditions and see the uniqueness of the coffee plantations. They are one of the hospitable communities Uganda has ever had.
While at Mt. Elgon National park, one should expect rain any time much as the overall climate of the area is moist to moderate with rainfall of 1270 mm. The dry spell usually happens between the months of June to August and December to March.
Mt. Elgon national park can be accessed by both road and air transport.
By road, one can drive the 135 kilometer Kampala – Jinja- Mbale – Mt. Elgon road which is tarmac and requires a 4WD vehicle for quick access.
By air, you can get on a chartered flight from Kajansi airstrip and connect to Soroti airstrip which is the nearest and then drive for one hour to mount. Elgon Park headquarters.
While on a trip to Mt. Elgon national park you have a choice on where to stay. The lodges range from budget, midrange and luxury. Some of the accommodation areas include; Rafiki Lodge Sipi, Sipi Valley Resort, Lacam lodge, Home of Friends, Mbale Resort Hotel, Pretoria Hotel, Sipi River Lodge, etc.
Mt. Elgon national park is open for tourism through the year, however, the best time to visit is during the dry seasons of June to August and December to March. This is when the area is favorable for most of the activities such as hiking, birding and nature walks.