Mount Elgon National Park

Mount Elgon National Park

Mount Elgon National Park, Elgon is the eighth -highest mountain in Africa and it rises from the broadest base of any freestanding mountain in the world. Like most other major East African Massifs, Elgon is the relic of an extinct volcano, whose formation was associated with the tectonic activity that created the Rift Valley several million years ago. Elgon’s tallest peaks form a jagged circle around the more-or-less-intact caldera.
It is possible to climb to the peak in as little time as three days on a less strenuous ascent than other peaks in Eastern Africa. On the wooded slopes, are Caves, Gorges waterfalls and hot springs as some of the features of some of the most stunning in Uganda.


The Mountain is positioned approximately 100 km northeast of Lake Victoria and straddles the border of Uganda and Kenya. The International boundary is marked by the Suam and Lwakaka Rivers, and the beacon on Sudek Peak. Administratively, the Mountain falls in two districts (in Uganda), Kapchowra District to the north and Mbale District to the South.

Mount Elgon National Park History

Although Mount. Elgon was well know to Arab traders passing along old slaving routes to its East (Kenya), explorer Henry Morton Stanley was the first to write about Mount. Elgon when he presumably saw it while circumnavigating Lake Victoria in 1875. Joseph Thompson, a British explorer and geographer was the first European to visit Mt. Elgon in 1883. Thompson referred to the mountain as “Masawa” or “Elgon” and generated curiosity among the explorers.

In 1890, with a 400 men caravan, Frederick Jackson of the Imperial British Exploration Association was the first European to visit the Caldera and to climb any of the major peaks. Ironically, Jackson climbed from the south and probably never even saw Masaba peak which was later named Jackson’s summit after him.
Mt. Elgon has been called a “Mountain of Illusion” partly because of the number of hiking parties lost on its slopes in the past and because no one could determine its highest point. Sudek and Koitobos peaks (Kenya) were both proclaimed “the top of Elgon” at different times. Wagagai, the highest peak (4321m), does not protrude markedly above the caldera rim and conceals its height well. In fact, Wagagai peak was overlooked by explorers until the early 20th century.

The Mount Elgon National Park
The fourth largest Ugandan National park, Mount Elgon National Park encompasses and stretches between 0052′-1025′ N and 340 14′ -340 44′E. The majority of the park is situated above 2000m and extends up to the highest peak i.e. Wagagai at 4321m. Hikers on Elgon are unlikely to encounter many large mammals aside from blue monkey and black-and –white colobus. A small number of elephants are resident on the mountains is a population of leopards, bushpigs, buffaloes, sitatunga and common duiker.

The park is known to Harbor more than 24 mammal species and 305 bird species. Of which 20% are unconfirmed. 12 of the species listed for Elgon occur in no other Ugandan National parks. For instance the moorland francolin, Jackson’s francolin, Hunter’s cisticola, red throated wryneck, Alpine chat and many others. Birdlife is particularly abundant. Elephant, Leopard, hyena, buffalo, bushbuck, duiker and tree hydrax may also be encountered. Mount Elgon also offers plenty of alluring prospects such as the Lovely waterfall at Sipi, accessible from Mbale in less than an hour on a newly surfaced road.

Getting there and away

The national park can be explored only on foot, but most of the trailheads can be reached on public transport. The most established route up Elgon is the Sasa Route, the trailhead for which is at Budadiri on the western slopes. From Kampala to Mbale it takes about 4 hours and a 4WD is recommended.

Mount Elgon National Park safaris
•Mountain hiking tours
•birding safaris
•Sippi Falls Tour
•Cave Exploration
•Wildlife Safari