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Mount Elgon National Park In Uganda

Mount Elgon National Park situated in the east of Uganda 255km from Kampala covers a geographical surface of 1,121km2. It contains the 4th tallest mountain in the East African region which was once the tallest in Africa higher than Kilimanjaro but as a result of denudation, it was reduced to 4,321m above sea level.  Mount Elgon is the oldest and largest standalone volcano in East Africa with the last eruption estimated to have occurred about 24 million years ago. Mount Elgon has got the largest intact mountain caldera in the whole world extending to 42 km2 and the largest volcanic base in the world stretching to 4,000 km2.  The protected area has gone through series of gazettion with the first occurring in 1929 when it was established as a forest reserve followed by its establishment in 1940 as a crown forest and as a Central Forest Reserve in1951. In 1993, the area eventually gained a national park status. The protected area has had several issues with the local communities which led to degazettion of 6000 ha to the Benet-Ndoroboss who had encroached on it in 1983 but by 1993 more 1500ha had already been encroached upon.

Mt Elgon is a traditional dwelling of the Bagisu and the Sabiny along with Ndorobos thriving in the Benet forest. The Bagisu have great cultural attachment to Mount Elgon which they refer to as Mount Masaba since they consider it as origin of their ancestor Masaba. The extinct Mount Elgon is a great watershed that forms the source of range of streams that are intercepted by basalt cliffs forming impressive water falls such as the famous Sipi falls. The range of vegetation zones poses a series of diverse encounter offering great floral species. The Park also has other geological features including; cliffs, caves, gorges, mesas, hot springs among others.

How to get to Mount Elgon National Park in Uganda

Mount Elgon National Park can be connected to from the following originating areas;

Tourist Attractions in Mount Elgon National Park in Uganda

Mount Elgon.

Mount Elgon is considered as the oldest and largest stand-alone Volcano in East Africa. It is also the fourth tallest mountain in East Africa and eighth in Africa which was the highest in Africa but reduced to its current stand by forces of denudation. This historical and significance as a geographical landmark makes it an attraction worth of encountering while on safari in Uganda. The top of it is crowned by the world’s largest mountain caldera 42km2 in length and 8km wide.  Mount Elgon is marked by series of peaks with the highest Wagagai standing at (4,321m) followed by Sudek (4,303m), Koitobos (4,222m) and Mubiyi (4,210m).  On the east side of caldera, there stands the deep Suam gorge with hot spring while the north western side is marked by the Simu gorge formed as a result of cutting of caldera waters through the weak volcanic ash and agglomerate walls. This combines to make it thrilling for Uganda safari undertakers.

Vegetation of Mount Elgon National Park in Uganda

Mount Elgon has got different vegetation zones that occupy different altitude levels. The lower mountain slopes are covered with a regenerating dense forest marked with vine-like lianas, epiphytes and lichens while the floor contains a variety of ferns, orchids and flowering plants. Common tree species encountered in the tropical montane forest (1,500-2,500m) are olive Oleahochstetteri, Elgon teak, prunus africanas, podocarpus, cedar, Cordia, allophyllus tombea, Neoboutania and Aningueriaadolfi-friedericii.  Mixed bamboo at 2,500-3,000m depicts the change of zone where it amalgamates into open woodland conquered by hagenia abyssinica and African rosewood intermingled with hypericum. The heath zone (3,000- 3500m) is marked by giant heather interposed with grassy swards of blonde tussock grass dotted with pink and white everlasting flowers (ericriceum brownie and jonstonii), blue delphiniums, flame-colored gladioli, and red hot pokers. The moorland or Afro-alpine zone (3,500-4,321m) is marked Erica tree, senecio elgonensis, giant lobelias with hairy leaves and plumes of tiny blue flowers, ladies’ mantle tussocks (archimilla elgonesis) and pink and white everlasting flowers while the top of the mountain is marked by rare Afro-montane species like giant forms of lobelia and groundsel. These vegetation ranges are an attraction to Uganda safari undertakers.

Wildlife in Mount Elgon National Park in Uganda

Mount Elgon National Park has a range of wildlife that include; elephant, Defassa’s waterbuck, buffalo, oribi, bushbuck, spotted hyena and leopard. However, these species are rarely seen in the park. The most encountered species include; blue monkey, black and white colobus and tree squirrel duiker.

Birds in Mount Elgon National Park in Uganda

Mount Elgon National Park contains 296 species of birds of which 40 is restricted to Mount Elgon thus providing birders with rewarding birding opportunities. These birds include among others; Jackson’s francolin, moustached green tinker bird, black collared apalis, bronze-naped pigeon, Hartlaub’s turaco and tacazze sunbird and endangered Lammergeyer. 

Local people in Mount Elgon National Park in Uganda

Mount Elgon National Park is surrounded by various tribal communities including the Bagisu, the Sabiny and the Ndorobos.  The Bagisu and Sabiny are famously known for their circumcision festivities for males and females respectively. The Imbalu ceremony is a big festivity that pulls crowds from various areas to undertake safaris to Uganda. Bagisu refer to Mount Elgon as Mount Masaba and consider it to be the origin of their founding ancestor Masaba. Their traditional cuisine Malewa which is got from Bamboo shoots is also an amazing thing to encounter while in Uganda. The Ndorobos are re-known for traditional bull fighting experience.

Sipi Falls in Mount Elgon National Park in Uganda

Although Sipi falls is found out of the park, it offers an exceptional thrill to Uganda safari undertakers. The west and north sides of Mount Elgon rise in sequence of basalt cliffs for a range of Kilometers upon which various flowing streams plummet as impressive water falls.  Apart from Sipi falls which is the major water fall positioned along Kapchorwa road out of the park, the area laso has other water falls including the Simba falls which plunges 69km over the cave entrance offering an opportunity to travllers to view its back. While the third water fall – Ngasire flows over an 87m high ridge.  The famous of the three waterfalls in the area is Sipi on the Kapchorwa road, just outside the park while the lowest of them is yet the most spectacular as it torrents over a 100m cliff. Simba falls, plummets 69m over the entrance to a cave presenting visitors an opportunity to view its back from the cave. The third waterfall, also known as Ngasire, streams over an 87m high ridge. Connecting to Sipi from Mbale takes about one-hour drive. The area has other water falls at Sisiyi, Bulago, Chebonet and Wanale all having impressive views to encounter while on safari in Uganda.

Tourist activities in Mount Elgon National Park in Uganda

Birding in Mount Elgon National Park in Uganda

Mount Elgon National Park with 296 species of birds of which 40 is restricted to the area offers impressive birding encounters.

  • Kapkwai Forest Exploration Centre and the Loop trails that push to Cheptui falls offers impressive birding encounters including species like; Chubb’s Cisticola, African Blue Fly-catcher, African Goshawk, Chinspot Batis, Dohertys, Mackinnon’s Fiscal, Luhders Bush-shrikes, Baglafecht Weaver, White-chinned Prinia, Cinnamon Bee Eater, Hartloub`s Turaco, Moustached Tinker bird, Tacazze Sunbird, Black Kite Olive- and Bronze-naped pigeons and Black-collared Apalis.

Cultural encounters in Mount Elgon National Park in Uganda

This enables you to encounter the life of the locals that surround the park. The Bagisu and Sabiny farming communities and the Ndorobos pastoralists. The Imbalu (Circumcision) ceremony among the Bagisu is very thrilling along with their famous Kadodi dance and the malewa cuisine. The Ndorobos have got interesting bull fighting encounter. A visit to local coffee plantations is also very interesting.

Mountain climbing in Mount Elgon National Park in Uganda

Mount Elgonis very ideal for mountain climbing and can be summited through the following trails;

The Sipi trail. This takes 7 days and commences from the forest exploration center – Kapkwai which is a few kilometers north of Sipi falls. The trail passes via the impressive Tatum cave that is hidden within the extensive forest.

Sasa trail. This takes 4 days and commences from Budadiri town adjacent to Mbale offering a direct route to the peaks thus involving a steep climb of 1,600m on the day of start. The trail passes via the largest Bamboo tract and the lovely Jackson’s pool on your way to Wagagai peak.

Piswa trail. This takes 7 days and commences at Kapwata which is 30km after Kapchorwa. It starts at a higher altitude and tends to be long. It offers sights of podocarpus forest en route where a range fauna tends to thrive.

Suam trail. The Suam trail commences in Suam village close to the boarder of Kenya This long and little used trail starts at the village of Suam on the Kenyan border crossing. It follows the Suam River through the steep and spectacular Suam Gorge to the hot springs on the eastern side of the caldera.

Mountain biking in Mount Elgon National Park in Uganda

This is another adventure in Mount Elgon Area. The bikes are got from Sipi river lodge and cycling is done through Sipi trading center to Chema hill in Kapchorwa town. The activity exposes you to waterfall sights and the views of Karamoja plains. The encounter takes 1.5 hours.

Nature walks in Mount Elgon National Park in Uganda

Mount Elgon National Park also offers opportunities for nature walks. The hikes from Budadiri to the Mudange cliffs also known as the wall of death are very interesting with views of the forest, fauna like black-and-white colobus and baboons. The walk in the Sipi falls area range from few hours to whole day with Sipi falls as the core product. The 20 minute sunrise trek commences at Noah’s Ark Hotel connecting to Tewei hills offering the sights of the sun dawning across the plains of Karamoja.

Accommodation in Mount Elgon National Park in Uganda

Suam Guest House in Mount Elgon National Park in Uganda

It is operated by Uganda Wildlife Authority and offers self-catering services.

Kapkwata Guest House in Mount Elgon National Park in Uganda

It has three main rooms with a sleeping capacity for seven people and offers kitchen services, but visitors have to bring their own food supplies or provide money to buy on arrival.

Kapkwai Area in Mount Elgon National Park in Uganda

There is dormitory accommodation and self-contained wooden cottages at the Forest Exploration Center Kapkwai. Meals are available on request.

Masha Hotel in Mount Elgon National Park in Uganda

This has 23 rooms, located in a serene residential area 1 km from Kapchorwa town center in direction of Sipi. It has both Single and double rooms self-contained with TV though non self-contained rooms are also available. Room rates include breakfast. It also has a good restaurant and bar.

Noah`s Ark Hotel in Mount Elgon National Park in Uganda

This hotel has a range of guest rooms including single and double rooms both self-contained and non-self-contained, Executive rooms and Suites. It located close to the town center of Kapchorwa from the main road with secure parking, DSTV services and busy restaurant worth of stay while on Safaris in Uganda.

Savannah Guesthouse in Mount Elgon National Park in Uganda

It is located on 3-5 Kasumbein Road, London Bridge/Kapchorwa Suam Road, Kapchorwa providing overnight stay services including bar and restaurant.

Sipi River Lodge in Mount Elgon National Park in Uganda.

The lodge is located in the out skirts of Sipi trading center on the road inclining towards Kapchorwa. It provides a multiplicity of accommodation elegances with close proximity to the main house. The main house contains a dining room with a log fire, trendy bar, relaxed reading lounge and airy veranda while internet access is available to guests on prime Uganda Safari-tour with own laptops. Accommodation cottages include;

Kapsurur and Aniet Cottage; these are luxury cottages with private, spacious and elegant design with scenic views of the falls. They have en-suite bathroom with a double shower, king sized double bed, second twin bed, lounge and veranda.

Chepkui Cottage. The cottage contains en-suite flushing toilet and power shower, a master bedroom with giant double bed and a separate lounge with sofas, day bed and a bunk bed. It has a maximum capacity of five guests and is suitable for families, couples or large groups.

Others include; the Chepkui Cottage Annex, Piswa and Sasa Bandas, and Suam Bunkhouse.

Crow`s nest campsite in Mount Elgon National Park in Uganda

It is stunningly located at an elevation of 1770m on the gradients of Mount Elgon. It presents enormous sights of the three Sipi water falls. It has cottages, cabins and camping facilities. They also prepare meals for travelers on Safari in Uganda.

Sipi Falls Resort in Mount Elgon National Park in Uganda

The resort provides overnight stay in 5 cozy thatched cottages with private facilities as well as gorgeous sights of the gorgeous Sipi Falls and the Karamajong plains. The resort has a modern restaurant and bar.

Moses` Campsite in Mount Elgon National Park in Uganda

It is located near Sipi overlooking Sipi falls and it has descent accommodation in traditional African huts. It has no electricity, no bar and no meals provided. Food can be accessed in the nearby trading Centre.

Twilight Sipi Campsite in Mount Elgon National Park in Uganda

It is located near the crow’s nest providing accommodation in Dormitory with 12 beds, shared Banda, with 10 beds, twin Banda and self-contained Banda. It has restaurant and bar and the accommodation rates exclude breakfast.

Lacam Lodge in Mount Elgon National Park in Uganda

Lacam is a local Sabiny word literally meaning a cliff thus showing that Lacam lodge is situated on a cliff which is 1 km from Sipi trading center towards Kapchorwa. The lodge has cottages that are crafted out of domestic timber and grass thatch from the adjacent plains. Each cottage has enough space with two double beds, large verandas and en-suite shower with toilet. The lodge also has nice bar and restaurant preparing up to four course meals. It also has self-contained Bandas, shared facility Bandas and Catering camping services Uganda Safaris undertakers.

Rose`s Last Chance in Mount Elgon National Park in Uganda

Rose’s Last Chance is located opposite Mount Elgon visitors’ information Centre at 1250 meters ASL. It has seven single and double bedrooms plus a dormitory accommodation for up to 20 people. Self-tenting overnight stay is provided at a campsite equipped with showers and flush toilets. Hot water also available upon request while a variety of camping gear is accessible for hire. Restaurant and bar also available.

Mbale town in Mount Elgon National Park in Uganda

Mbale is the largest town in the region thus contains a variety of accommodation ranging from luxury, mid-range and budget to the visiting travelers on Uganda Safari. Some of these include;

Mbale Resort Hotel in Mount Elgon National Park in Uganda

It is a deluxe five-star hotel located at the Centre of Mbale town containing 94 hotel rooms and suites. A cross section of the rooms have balconies overlooking the scenic environs of Wanale ridge on Mt. Elgon helping the traveler invigorate his Uganda Safari memories during the stay.

Room facilities.

  • Satellite TV
  • High Speed Wi-Fi
  • Room service
  • Mini bar
  • Coffee and tea making facilities
  • Dresser and easy chair
  • Room telephone
  • Air conditioning
  • Hair driers
  • Bathrobe and slippers

The resort has 3 restaurants and 2 bars of international standard. It also contains modern swimming pool, health club and fitness center.

Mount Elgon Hotel in Mount Elgon National Park in Uganda

It is located in Mbale town opposite Mt Elgon National Park Offices offering superb traveler accommodation while on Uganda Safari that includes; standard rooms, superior rooms, executive rooms and junior suites with all rooms containing Satellite TV, free Wi-Fi access, and complimentary access to swimming pool, sauna, steam bath and Jacuzzi. It has modern bar and restaurant.

Hotel Services

  • Room Service from 6:30am-midnight
  • Daily Housekeeping
  • Concierge
  • Laundry Services

Guest Room Amenities

  • Satellite TV Connection.
  • Telephone Line
  • Safe Deposit Box
  • Complimentary Wi-Fi access.