Mountain Elgon National Park
Mountain Elgon National Park lies in Eastern Uganda and it is that one magical safari to explore if you are to get the best of experiential African safari. It covers an area of about 1145 square kilometers and inhabits the extinct volcano-Mount Elgon one of oldest physical features in Uganda. This volcano once featured as the Africa’s highest mountain exceeding the Kilimanjaro’s current 5895 meters but due to erosion, it 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.
This park derived its name from the spectacular Mount Elgon which straddles at the border with Kenya. Its diameter is about 80 kilometers and stretches up to 3000 meters. A visit to this stunning park gets you the best of its 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 at Mount Elgon National Park
A trip to Mountain Elgon National Park rewards travel endeavors with exciting birding experience. The birds to look out in this park include the 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 one of the most explored sites and 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
Three (3) main trailheads 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.
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 explored 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.
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, Mountain Elgon Hotel, Country Home, etc.
While on Uganda safari to Mount Elgon National Park, you can choose to stay in.
Masha Hotel (Mid range)
This is situated in Kapchorwa side about one kilometer from Kapchorwa town to the Sipi area. It has 23 rooms both single and double.
Noah’s Ark Hotel (Mid range)
This is found on Mount Elgon slopes and offers al types of accommodation right from Luxury tom mid range. It has 3 branches with the capacity of over 100 people.
The Sipi Falls Resort (Mid range)
For adventure safaris to Sipi area, this is the best place for you to stay. It is situated about 100 meters from Mbale-Kapchorwa.
Kapkwai Forest Cottages (Budget)
This lodge is located about 2050 meters at the entrance of the Mount Elgon National Park and it is mainly used as a student center.
Rose’s Last Chance (Budget)
This is strategically located near Mount Elgon National Park information center at 1250 meters above sea level.
In Mbale town, you can spend a night at Mbale Resort Hotel (Luxury). Other accommodation facilities include the Moses Campsite (Budget) and Suam Guesthouse (Budget).