Mt.Elgon National Park

Mt.Elgon National Park

Mountain Elgon National Park is an extinct volcano located on Uganda’s eastern border. The park covers an area of 1,279 square kilometers (494 sq. mi) and is bisected by the border of Kenya and Uganda. The Ugandan part of the park covers 1,110 km2 (430 sq. mi) while the Kenyan part covers 169 km2 (65 sq mi). Elgon, whose name is derived from the Maasai name, Ol Doinyo Ilgoon (‘Breast Mountain’), has five major peaks with the highest, Wagagai (4321m), rising on the Ugandan side. It’s the second-tallest mountain in Uganda (after Mt Stanley at 5109m) and the eighth in Africa.  Above 3000m the forest fades into heath and then afro-alpine moorland, which blankets the caldera, a collapsed crater covering some 40sq km. The moorland is studded with rare plant species, such as giant groundsel and endemic Lobelia elgonensis, and duiker bounding through the long grass and endangered lammergeier vultures overhead.

Mount Elgon National Park is uniquely split down the middle by the Kenyan-Ugandan border. Mount Elgon is an important water catchment for the Nzoia River, which flows to Lake Victoria, and for the Turkwel River (known as the Suam River in Uganda), which flows into Lake Turkana.

There exist more than 300 bird species including the rare Jackson’s francolin, the eastern bronze-naped pigeon, alpine chat, Hartlaub’s turaco, the Tacazze sunbird, the endangered lammergeier and white-starred forest robin. Various wildlife may also be encountered. It is a good place to spot various primates and larger fauna, including leopard, antelopes, blue monkeys, black and white colobus monkeys, hyena, buffalo, and elephants. Maathai’s long leg, an endangered dragonfly was also discovered here in 2005 and named after Nobel Prize winner Wangari Maathai. Half of Uganda’s butterfly species have been reported in Mt. Elgon.

Most visitors come for the hiking and impressive landscapes that are peppered with cliffs, caves, gorges. The spectacular Sipi Falls are all-natural attractions here that you may enjoy exploring. There also tour coffee plantations, fish for trout on the Sipi River, and a hike to see the prehistoric Nyero Rock Paintings.

Together with the fauna and flora, the park has a variety of scenery; this includes cliffs, caves, waterfalls, gorges, mesas, calderas, hot springs, and the mountain peaks. The most popular areas are the four explorable, vast caves where frequent night visitors such as elephants and buffaloes come to lick the natural salt found on the cave walls. Kitum cave, with overhanging crystalline walls, enters 200 m into the side of Mt. Elgon. At the Endebess bluff there a panoramic view of the areas’ escarpments, gorges, mesas, and rivers. The highest peak of Mt. Elgon on the Kenya side, Koitoboss, measures 13,852 ft (4,155 m), and is easily reached by hikers in about two hours from the road’s end.

Other attractions include ancient cave paintings near the trailhead at Budadiri and hot springs in the former volcano’s crater which bubble at temperatures of up to 48 °C.

Activities in Bwindi impenetrable forest