Mountain Elgon National Park
Mt. Elgon has been an extinct volcano that first erupted more than 24 million years ago. With the largest surface area of any extinct volcano in the world (50 km by 80 km), Mt. Elgon is the fourth highest mountain in East Africa, with the second highest peak in Uganda (Wagagai Peak 4321m). it contains the largest intact caldera, a collapsed crater covering over 40Kms at the top of the mountain, surrounded by series of rugged peaks. The Bagisu and the Sabiny are the two ethnic tribes around the mountains.
They practice subsistence farming and conduct circumcision ceremonies every even year to prepare young men for challenges of adulthood. The two communities have made agreements with the part for sustainable harvest of traditional forest products. Flora and Fauna While ascending Mt. Elgon’s enchanting slopes you will meet four distinct forest types; the lush montane forest where you will find the Elgon peak, mixed bamboo belt, the fascinating health and spectacular moorland hydrachs which contains stands of some of the most rare and endemic plant species, like the giant lobelia elgonensis and dotted clusters of peculiar groundsels, which are unique to Africa. You will also encounter the dense shrubs and brilliant wild everlasting flowers that will add to your Mt. Elgon Adventure. Bird lovers will enjoy about 300 bird species including the endangered lammergeiers, the rare Jackson’s francolin, guinea fowls, sunbirds and turacos among others. A number of primates inhabit the mountain. Other animal include bushbluck, Antelopes, Civet, Wildcat and the elusive Leopard roam below. Bush duike,r hyena, Jackal, rock hydrax, Buffalo and elephant rove between the forest and the moorland. Many of these animals visit Mt. Elgon’s bat filled caves for their valuable mineral deposits. Climbing Mt. Elgon: Visiting Mt. Elgon National Park presents an exciting setting for extended hikes, interesting and unique flora and fauna, Magnificent water falls, enormous caves, scenic peaks, gorges and hot springs which bubble up at 48°C. The best times to visit are during the drier seasons from June to August and December to March. No technical climbing equipment or skills are required, as all major peaks are accessible. There are three main trial heads (starting points) that lead to mountain’s peaks. You may choose to begin your ascent from either Budadiri (Sasa trial head), forest exploration centre – Kapkwai (Sipi trial head) or Kapwata (Piswahead). Sasa Trial is easily accessible from Mbale and is the most direct route to the peaks though steep with rugged climb of over 1600m on the first day. It passes through the Park’s largest area of bamboo forest. Sipi trial offers the spectacular Tutum cave hidden within extensive forest, while Piswa trial is renowned for the towering podocarpus forest, an excellent place for wildlife viewing. In contract, Sipi and Piswa trials start at much higher elevations with a longer more gradual climb to the peaks. After visiting the peaks you can either return using the same trials or descend via a different route. Each trial or route has camping stages with nearby water source, as well as tent pads and latrines. Mt. Elgon National park (Uganda) also engage in cross boarder tourism with Mt. Elgon. National Park –Kenya (KWS) hand over of visitors to either team (Uganda and Kenya) takes place at the Hot springs). The full trekking circuit to the peaks takes about 5(five) days to complete. All visitors are encouraged to discuss options with an information clerk at the Mable, Budadir, kapkwai or Kapkwata visitors’ centers. Day Hikes : Two different day hike areas allow you to explore Mr. Elgon’s diverse mountain forest. The popular forest exploration center trial loop site can make one enjoy the cool mist a chebonet falls, Kapkwai cave, the talking tree and a spectacular viewpoint, which lies just beyond. Along “arm” of Mt. Elgon bears the Wamale trials loop site. It has vertical cliffs or ridge and several cascading waterfalls that make a very scenic drive. Look for petrified wood in the Khauka caves as to enjoy splendid panoramic view over the plains of Eastern Uganda. These two-day hike areas have short walk trails ranging between 3 and 11 Km that offer an excellent opportunity to experience Mt. Elgon’s unique plants and wildlife in a short time period. Jungle walking shoes and rain gear are recommended in addition to extra cells for your flash light if you plan to explore the caves.