Mountain Elgon National Park-Hiking Tours in Uganda
Mountain Elgon National Park is located in the Eastern Part of Uganda spanning across the Ugandan and Kenyan border. The Park is 140 kilometres (87 mi) North East of Lake Victoria covering an area of 1,279 square kilometres (494 sq mi) with the Uganda part having 1,110 km2 (430 sq mi) and Kenyan 169 km2 (65 sq mi).
The Park includes Mountain Elgon which is an extinct shield volcano with Wagagai Peak being the highest point on the Mountain. It is also a water catchment area for the Nzoia River that flows to Lake Victoria and Turkwel River referred to Suam River in Uganda that flows to Lake Turkana.
Climate of Mountain Elgon National Park
Mountain Elgon National park includes moist to moderate dry climate with annual rainfall amounts over 1,270 millimetres (50 in) with the dry season running from June to August and from December to March. However due to the location of the Mountain close to the equator, it can rain anytime.
Vegetation at Mountain Elgon National Park
Mountain Elgon National Park has different vegetation types ranging from montane forest to open moorland studded with the giant lobelia and groundsel plants and this varies with altitude.
The Slopes are covered with olive Olea hochstetteri and Aningueria adolfi-friedericii wet montane forest whereas the higher altitudes have olive and Podocarpus gracilior forest then Podocarpus and bamboo Arundinaria alpina zone.
As you go higher, you find the Hagenia abyssinica zone, then moorland with heaths Erica arborea and Philippia trimera, tussock grasses such as Agrostis gracilifolia and Festuca pilgeri, herbs such as Alchemilla, Helichrysum, Lobelia, and the giant groundsels Senecio barbatipes and Senecio elgonensis.
Mammals at Mountain Elgon National Park
Mountain Elgon National Park has various wildlife animals i.e Elephants, Buffalo, small antelope, Duicker as well as numerous Monkeys like the black-and-white colobus, blue monkey and red-tailed monkey.
Birds of Mountain Elgon national Park
Mountain Elgon National Park is also a birder’s paradise with about 144 bird species and these include the Jackson’s spurfowl, eastern bronze-naped pigeon, Hartlaub’s turaco, Tacazze sunbird and the endangered lammergeyer. There are also numerous species of butterfly around the Mountain.
Safari Activities to do at Mountain Elgon National Park
Mountain Climbing at Mountain Elgon National Park
Mountain Climbing at Mountain Elogn National Park Park is carried out along Mountain Elgon where hikers take on Day Walks to Hikes for several days. To get to the highest point of the Mountain-Wagagai Peak, you follow different trails which include;
- The Sasa trail is the shortest but steepest route to the peak taking hikers about 4 days through bamboo forest and the Jackson’s pool.
- The Sipi trail which takes 4 to 6 days starting at the forest exploration center at Kapkwai to tutum cave.
- The Piswa trail which is a 7 day round trip starting at a village off Kapkwata to podocarps forest. However, hikers can also mix the different trails, ascending by Sipi trail and descending along Sasa trail hence experiencing and exploring various other features of the mountain.
Nature and Hiking walks at ountain Elgon National Park
Mountain Elgon National Park is ideal for travelers looking to take on Nature Walks along the trails inside and outside the park watching green vegetation, local communities and these begin from 2 hours to full days. Some of the walks include; a full Day Hike through Budadiri to Mudange Cliffs referred to as the Walls of Death. En-route, you watch the Black-and-white Colobus monkeys and Baboons.
Abseiling at Sipi Falls near Mountain Elgon National Park
Abseling near Mountain Elgon National Park is an exciting safari activity carried out along the Sipi Falls and involves going down the cliffs of Sipi Falls at a drop of 100m facing the ridge next to a pool of water from one of the sipi falls. Along the drop enjoy views of the green scenery, birds. Take a dip in the pool then ascend back up to the top of the hill.
Rock Climbing near Mountain Elgon National Park
Rock Climbing near Mountain Elgon national Park is an exciting activity to carry out around the Park and this takes place at Sipi with 14 Climbs requiring you to use Rock Scaling Techniques. The Toughest Climb is 35m whereas the easiest is 15 m.
Bird watching at Mountain Elgon National Park
Mountain Elgon National Park is a birder’s destination with numerous species of birds that can be watched along the Kapkwai forest exploration center to the Chebonet river and the birds you watch include; the white-chinned Prinia, Luhders and Doherty’s Bush-shrikes, Chubb’s Cisticola, African Goshawk, African Blue Flycatcher and Baglafetcht weaver.
Sport fishing at Sipi Falls near Mountain Elgon National Park
Sports Fishing at Sipi Falls near Mountain Elgon National Park is done at the 3rd waterfall fall of the Sipi Falls and it is done in company of skilled local guides. When you reach the waterfall, catch the Rainbow Trout with either you own fishing equipment or that hired from Sipi River lodge.
Mountain Biking at Mountain Elgon National Park
Mountain Biking is also an exceptional safari activity carried out along the various routes while you traverse the area. All the Biking Routes begin from the Sipi Trading Center to Chema Hill in Kapchorwa with en-route views of the Karamoja Plains and various waterfalls.
Caving at Mountain Elgon National Park
Caving at Mountain Elgon national Park is also a very prominent safari activity carried out around Mountain Elgon for there are various caves that were left by moving lava when the mountain was formed many years ago. The most prominent of all caves is the Kapkwai cave and Khauka cave on Wanale Ridge.