Mountain Elgon National Park

Friday, 16 December 2011 07:16 administrator

Mt. Elgon National park is located near Mbale in the Eastern part of Uganda. The park covers 1,145 sq km. It is named after Mt Elgon (4,321m), an extinct Volcanic Mountain that lies on Uganda’s border with Kenya. In the prehistoric times this mountain stood taller than Kilimanjaro Mountain, the highest mountain in East Africa. Though the Mountain is shared by Uganda and Kenya its highest peak Wagagai peak (4321m) lies in Uganda. The mountain has got three other major peaks which are Kiongo (4303m), Mubiyi (4210m) and Jackson’s summit (4165m).

Mt. Elgon is known locally as Mt. Masaba. Masaba is the name of the founding ancestor of the Bagisu who is said to have emerged from a cave on the slopes several centuries ago. Masaba’s spirit is believed to be personified by Jackson’s Summit, but more probably the taller Kiongo peak. Mt. Elgon is also an important watershed for various rivers including the Sipi River which forms the spectacular Sipi falls. The slopes support a rich variety of altitudinal vegetation zones ranging from montane forest to high open moorland studded with the other-worldly giant lobelia and groundsel plants.

Though the spectacular scenery is the main attraction, there is also a variety of faunal species found in the park. These include forest monkeys, small antelopes, elephants and buffaloes. The park is also blessed with over 300 bird species with many species being not recorded elsewhere in Uganda. These birds range from forest birds, as well as several endemic species adapted to East Africa’s montane moorlands. Twelve of the species listed for Elgon occur in no other Ugandan national park and these include Jackson’s francolin, Moorland Francolin (elsewhere commonly in Ethiopia’s Bale Mountains), Moustached green tinker bird, Red-throated wryneck, black-collared apalis, Hunter’s Cisticola, Alpine chat, Marsh Widowbird and Weyn’s weaver.

Other attractions include ancient cave paintings close to the trailhead at Budadiri, spectacular caves and hot springs within the crater, as well as the famous Imbalu dances and ceremonies held by the local people during initiation ceremonies.
The Park can be accessed by road. The journey takes around 3-4 hours from Kampala along a good tar road.

Safari activities

Hiking is the major tourism activity. Climbing Mt. Elgon is not so much challenging and therefore can attract both medium climbers and the experienced climbers.

visits to the lovely Sipi Falls for scenic viewing

Nature walks from Budadiri trailhead.

Community visits and participation in Imbalu dances.

Last Updated on Saturday, 17 December 2011 08:08