Mount Elgon National Park in Uganda

Overview of Mount Elgon National Park 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.

Map of Mount Elgon National Park

Tourist Safari Attractions in Mountain Elgon National Park

Mountain 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

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

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.

See More Attractions

Tourist Activities in Mountain Elgon National Park

Birding

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

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

Mount Elgon is 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 tend to thrive.

See More Activities

How to get to Queen Elizabeth National Park

Queen Elizabeth National Park can also be accessed on public means. Buses connect daily from Kampala to Kasese. There are other public means to Katwe and Katunguru trading centers which are very close to the park. From these centers, you can get a private vehicle to connect to your lodge.
Queen Elizabeth National Park can also be connected to by Air travel. Aero link operates scheduled flights from Entebbe International Airport to Kasese and Mweya Airstrips. Other charter carriers offer the same service from either Entebbe Airport or Kajjansi Airfield to Kasese or Mweya Airstrips.

Suam Guest House

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

Kapkwata Area

Kapkwata Guest House

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

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

Kapchorwa Area

Masha Hotel

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

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

See More Accommodation

Attractions

Tourist Safari Attractions in Mountain Elgon National Park

Mountain 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

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

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.

See More Attractions

Activities

Tourist Activities in Mountain Elgon National Park

Birding

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

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

Mount Elgon is 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 tend to thrive.

See More Activities

Getting There

How to get to Queen Elizabeth National Park

Queen Elizabeth National Park can also be accessed on public means. Buses connect daily from Kampala to Kasese. There are other public means to Katwe and Katunguru trading centers which are very close to the park. From these centers, you can get a private vehicle to connect to your lodge.
Queen Elizabeth National Park can also be connected to by Air travel. Aero link operates scheduled flights from Entebbe International Airport to Kasese and Mweya Airstrips. Other charter carriers offer the same service from either Entebbe Airport or Kajjansi Airfield to Kasese or Mweya Airstrips.

Accommodation

Suam Guest House

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

Kapkwata Area

Kapkwata Guest House

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

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

Kapchorwa Area

Masha Hotel

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

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

See More Accommodation

Our Partners

Payment Options

https://payments.pesapal.com/primeugandasafaris