Mt. Elgon National Park

The park lies 235km east of Kampala. A tarmac road runs through Jinja town to Mbale town at the western base of Mount Elgon, before climbing to Kapchorwa on the mountain’s northwestern flank. Murram roads lead off the Mbale-Kapchorwa road to reach the various trail heads.

Mt. Elgon is a massive solitary volcanic mountain on the border of Eastern Uganda and western Kenya. Its vast form, 80km in diameter rises 3070m above the surrounding plains providing welcome relief in more than one sense of the world. Its mountainous terrain introduces variety to an otherwise monotonous regional landscape. Its cool heights offer respite for humans from the hot plains below and its higher altitudes provide a refuge for flora and fauna.

Mount Elgon has been a regional land mark for along time; this extinct volcano is one of Uganda’s oldest physical features first erupting about 20million years ago. It was once Africa’s highest mountain, towering above Kilimanjaro’s 5895m. Millennia of erosion have reduced its height to 4321relagating it to 4th highest peak in East Africa (7th on the continent) However its 4000km2 surface area is still the largest base of any volcanic mountain worldwide. Mount Elgon is bisected by the international boundary between Kenya and Uganda. The mountains’ natural vegetation, and its role as a giant biological sponge, is protected by the Mount Elgon national park on both sides of the border. The Ugandan park, which was upgraded from a forest reserve in 1993, covers 1110 km2. Though its Kenyan counterpart measures 170 km2 it is adjoined by a forest reserve and a national reserve. These parks and reserves in both countries combine to form a trans-boundary conservation area covering 2229 km2 which have been declared man and biosphere reserves under UNESCO.

A climb on the Mount Elgon is to explore a magnificent and uncluttered montane wilderness without the summit oriented approach common to higher regional mountains. Indeed the ultimate goal on reaching the top of Mount Elgon is not the final ascent to the 4321m Wagagai peak, but the descent into the vast 40 km2 caldera.

Mount elgon Np supports a variety of wildlife including elephant, buffalo, deffassa’s waterbuck, leopard, oribi, bushbuck, spotted hyena. Most commonly seen are black and white colobus, blue monkey, duiker and tree squirrel. The mountain is home to 296 birds including 40 restricted range species. Birds whose range is limited to Mount Elgon include Jackson’s Francolin, moustached green tinkerbird, and black –collared apalis. The bronze-napped pigeon, hartlaub’s turaco and tacazze sunbird are limited to Mount Elgon and a few other mountains in eastern Uganda. The endangered Lammergeyer can be seen here soaring above the caldera and Suam gorge.