Once the tallest mountain in Africa but relegated to the 4th position in East Africa and 8th in Arica after millennia of erosion, Mt. Elgon, is a volcanic giant measuring 4321 meters and at the center of Mount Elgon National park, quite literally. Located close to Mbale in Eastern Uganda, the park straddles 1,121km² and cuts a scenic picture with the diverse habitats that envelope the mountain slopes. An extinct volcano that first erupted more than 24 million years ago, Mt. Elgon has the largest volcanic base in the world (50 km by 80 km ) and has a crater covering over 40 km at the top of the mountain enclosed by a series of rugged peaks with the Wagagai peak being the highest at 4321 mts. Mt. Elton is a preferred option for inexperienced but enthusiastic trekkers as it doesn’t call for any special training and a trek to the top takes you through a fascinating array of vegetation that ranges from montane forest of podocarpus and huge bamboo forests and gradually ascending to the heather moorlands of Giant lobelia and groundsels. The park is also home to a wide array of wildlife and nearly 300 species avifauna. At the lower slopes of the mountain, you can see the elephants and buffalo, duiker, hyena, varieties of small antelope, or even the elusive leopard beside primate species like black-and-white Colobus and Blue Monkey. Among the birds species the park is home to endangered Lammergeier, African Goshawk, and Baglafecht Weaver and twelve species that are endemic to the mountain like- Weyn’s weaver, Jackson’s francolin, Marsh Widowbird, Moorland Francolin, Alpine chat, Moustached green tinker bird, Hunter’s Cisticola, Red-throated wryneck as well as the Black-collared Apalis. Besides mountain hiking you the park has some spectacular nature walks that throw open the pristine wilderness, stunning caves, gorges, cliffs plus the hot springs beside the very old cave paintings near the Budadiri, trailhead.
The park is open all year round for game viewing and Mt. Elgon is good for hiking around the year, but the best time to visit the park would be the dry seasons of June and August and December to March. April- October is the wet seasons and rains, snow, hails and dipping temperatures can make the hiking a tough deal.
The park is also home to a wide array of wildlife and nearly 300 species avifauna. Elephants and buffalo, duiker, hyena, varieties of small antelope, or even the elusive leopard besides primate species like black-and-white Colobus and Blue Monkey are the prime attraction among mammals while the endangered Lammergeier, African Goshawk, and Baglafecht Weaver beside endemic birds like- Weyn’s weaver, Jackson’s francolin, Marsh Widowbird etc keep you engrossed. You can take a nature walk to the three waterfalls at Sipi. Cultural interaction with the local communities and mountain biking, rock climbing and ancient rock paintings near the trailhead at Budadiri.
The National Park lies 235km east of Kampala and can be reached by road. The four-wheel drive takes about 3 to 4 hours from the capital city Kampala along a well-laid tarmac road.
The four-wheel drive takes about 3 to 4 hours from the capital city Kampala along a well-laid tarmac road.
Gorilla Trekking in Uganda is dreamlike and not at all like some other involvement.