Mt Elgon National Park is the world’s largest Mountain Caldera; it is 400 square kilometers in size and the oldest volcanic mountain in Africa. Mt. Elgon is surrounded by forests and offers beautiful vistas, numerous caves and cascading waterfalls. Climbing up to the Wagagai peak and the caldera is most enjoyable. There is a 8 km in diameter shattered wall of the collapsed central caldera at the main peak. Here, at the world’s largest caldera, you will encounter many glacial lakes and numerous hot springs.
The park is right on the Kenya-Uganda border and the mountain base is 80 kms in diameter and rises 3,000 meters above the surrounding plains. The cool temperatures at this height, offer a relief from the heat at the plains below. The flora and fauna on the mountain sides are most unique and picturesque.
There are 300 species of birds in the park as well as small antelopes, forest monkeys, elephants and buffaloes. The trans-boundary (Kenya-Uganda) conservation area has been declared a UNESCO Man & Biosphere Reserve.
Compared to the more strenuous climbs of most East African Mountains, Mt. Elgon proves to be an exciting alternative. It features a milder climate and lower altitude to its competitor; Mt. Elgon requires no special equipment or technical experience.
There is a 1.5 hour mountain biking trail, which runs from the Sipi trading center to the Chema hill in Kapchorwa town. There are views of various waterfalls on this trail.
Around the Kapkwai Forest Exploration Center and the loop trail to Cheptui Falls, there are excellent birding opportunities. Common sightings include the African Goshawk, Chubb’s Cisticola, the White chinned Prinia and the African Blue Flycatcher.
Many of the trails pass caves and waterfalls; overnight camling is an option on the mountain slopes. Mt. Elgon contains many primates, numerous bird species and rare tree species. These trails are not as challenging as other mountain sites in East Africa, and as such are very inviting for children especially.
Just outside the Mt. Elgon National Park one can enjoy various nature walks; good views of Sipi Falls, the Walls of Death and across the Karamoja plains one can see a most beautiful African sunrise.
At Sipi Falls, just outside the Park, one has the opportunity to do some rock climbing. Various levels of rock climbing techniques are available at the 14 different routes. The easiest is a 15 meter climb and the most difficult is a 35 meter climb.
At Sipi, the highest of the waterfalls, sport fishing is very popular. Here one can encounter the elusive Rainbow Trout, a beautiful colored fish with great fighting abilities. Anglers from near and far come to fish at Sipi.
Located on the mountain sides are many coffee plantations. The Arabic coffee here is called Sipi or Bugisu by the farmers. Some of the finest washed Arabic coffee beans in Kenya and Uganda are produced here.
Access to the Mt. Elgon National Park is via Mbale, on the western base of Mr. Elgon. The Mbale-Jinja road is tarmacked and the trip from Kampala is 235 kms to the east. After Mbale, one travels on a dirt road through Kapchorwa to the north-west.
Foreign Non-Residents: $35 for adults, $5 for children
Foreign Residents: $25 for adults, $5 for children.
Saloon Cars $10 US, Minibuses $15 and 4 WD vehicles $15 US