MOUNTAIN ELGON NATIONAL PARK
Mountain Elgon National Park Uganda one of the best destinations for tourists, mostly those who go for hiking. The park is located in the Eastern part of Uganda, covering 1,110square kilometers and was gazetted in 1992. This park is shared by two countries Uganda and Kenya.
Mountain Elgon National Park, embraces Mountain Elgon (4,321m high), an extinct volcano with the highest peak Wagagai which lies mostly in Uganda making it clear and easier to view.
Mount Elgon, first erupted approximately 25 million years ago, this made its height to reduce since its said to have been taller than the Kilimanjaro. It also has a crater on its top surrounded by jagged peaks and also a watershed for River Sipi.
The slopes of Mount Elgon are covered by a variety of vegetation due to the changing altitude, from the bottom there is a Montane forest to the bamboo stands and to the high open moorland covered with groundsel plants and giant lobelia.
Mount Elgon locally known as Mount Masaba and its attached to many cultural beliefs of the Bagisu.
HOW TO ACCESS MOUNTAIN ELGON NATIONAL PARK
Mount Elgon National Park can be accessed by using road transport and the journey is approximately 4 hours. The park can be reached from kampala, via Mbale and Kapchwora highway and also via Kidepo Valley National Park in north-east Uganda.
Mount Elgon National Park is located in Eastern Uganda, the slopes of Mount Elgon covered by a rich variety of vegetation ranging from montane forest to open moorland, making it a home for various species,
it has over 70 mammal species like elephant and buffalo which are rarely seen, black-and-white colobus, small antelope, butterflies and over 250 bird species for example Jacksons francolin, African goshawk, Hartlaub´s turaco, African blue flycatcher and the endangered lammergeyer.
Mount Elgon National Park is moist to moderate dry, with heavy rainfalls during the rainy seasons. During the dry season, there is moderate rain sometimes.
ACTIVITIES AND ATTRACTIONS AT MOUNTAIN ELGON NATIONAL PARK
Mountain climbing is the greatest activity done in Mount Elgon National Park and best done during dry seasons from June to August and from December to March. There are various routes that go up onto the Wagagai summit, they include; The Sasa Trail is the fastest way to the summit, though its somehow rough.
The trail starts at Budadiri in the Sironko Valley and then to Sasa camp and joins the Sipi tail from Mude camp; The Sipi Trail more is easier and steady, it takes five days.
The trail starts from Kapkway Exploration Center to Tutum Cave, then to Kajeri camp to Mude camp and then at the top of the peak and then descends to Budadiri near Mbale. It’s so satisfying and interesting to reach the top of Wagagai Summit since different wildlife is sighted as you climb up the mountain and interesting sites of the Tutum cave.
When going for mountain climbing, its essential to carry the following equipment along; sleeping bag, camping mat, camera, gloves, jumper or jacket, raincoat, and more others as required.
A Nature Walk is a 3-4 hours’ opportunity to enjoy the most beautiful and varied sceneries on the slopes of Mount Elgon covered by unique flora and fauna, along the walk, you will see caves, cliffs, gorges, calderas, waterfalls, hot springs among others.
These walks can be done in a group guided by a ranger or self-guided. Nature walks can also be done during the night where you get a chance to see elephants and buffalos that come to lick the salt found on the walls of Kitum cave.
BIRDING IN Mountain Elgon National Park
Mount Elgon National Park boasts over 250 bird species of which most are Forest birds and a few are the endemic bird species. Bird watchers can spot various species of these birds as they enjoy the various activities in the park.
Forest birds can be viewed with the help of our experienced tour guides, on the various trails at different tourism sites. Some of the birds at this park include; Jacksons francolin, Weyn`s weaver, African goshawk, Hartlaub´s turaco, African blue flycatcher, Tacazze sunbird, white-chinned prinia, Alpine chat, Red-throated wryneck, Moorland francolin and the endangered lammergeyer.
The Rwenzori mountains slopes was a home for to two ethnic tribes, the Bagisu and the Sabiny. The most interesting cultural tradition is the circumcision ceremony (Imbalu) were the young boys are initiated into Manhood, the special “Kadodi´´ dance, songs and other rituals are performed giving the visitor unforgettable experience. This ceremony is done twice a year. There are also different caves with paintings that display the unique tradition of these tribes.
There are so many accommodation facilities located in and around Mount Elgon National Park, they range from the budget facilities to the midrange facilities to the most luxury facilities.
These facilities offer different types of accommodation including lodges, campsites luxury tents and hostels managed by the UWA. Around the park are good accommodation facilities found in Mbale and Sipi towns.
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