Mount Elgon National Park
Mount Elgon National Park is located 140 kilometers[89 mi]northeast of Lake Victoria. The park covers an area of 1279 square kilometers [494 sq. mi] and is bisected by the border of Kenya and Uganda . The Uganda park covers 1110 kilometers squared [430 sq. mi ] while the Kenyan part covers 169 kilometers squared [65 sq. mi ].The park got its name from the largest tourism attraction found in the park that is Mount Elgon an extinct shield volcano on the border of Uganda and Kenya and second highest mountain in Uganda. The park is home to over 300 species of birds ,including the endangered lammergeyer, small antelopes, forest monkeys, elephants and buffalos also live on the mountainside .The higher slopes are protected by national parks in Uganda and Kenya, creating an extensive transboundary conservation area which has been declared a UNESCO man and Biosphere Reserve. The park is home to a plethora of wildlife. The lower slopes of mount Elgon are inhabited by elephants ,buffalo and a variety of small antelopes.
The dense montane forest contains primates such as the black -and -white colobus monkey and the blue monkey. The park is also home to over 300 species of bird including the Tacazze sunbird and the lammergeier. The park is also home to two tribes, the Sabiny and the Bagisu , these tribes undertake subsistence farming.it is abundantly rich in water with the Nzoia River making its way to Lake victory, while the Turkwel River [called the suam River in Uganda] flows into Lake Turkana, not forgetting the sasa river, the sipi falls from the mountain forming the sipi falls. The sipi falls is one of the key tourist spots found in mountain Elgon national park, the spectacular Tutum cave which is hidden in the middle of the extensive forest, The fall is formed when River sipi meets the end of a volcanic rock at the edge of a cave.
History of Mount Elgon National Park
The park is administered by two countries those are Uganda and Kenya. The park was gazette in different years as each country did it at its own time. Kenya gazette the park in 1968 as a national park and Uganda gazetted its side in 1992.The park is mostly in Uganda with the largest part. The Bagisu and Sabiny are the natives and inhabitants of mountain Elgon and they locally refer to the mountain as mountain Masaba ,its because the Bagisu believe that their ancestor Masaba comes from one of the caves of the mountain back in the centuries hence the name Mountain Masaba.
Mount Elgon National Park activities
Mount Elgon National Park is the most accessible and easiest mountain to climb in East Africa throughout the year. with wagagai peak, which is the highest peak [4321m] can be reached in 4 days by walking to the top there 2 major trails such as the sasa trail, piswa trail and also the sipi trails which are developing. It has many of the same attractions, with a milder climate and lower elevation, and requires no special equipment or technical experience.
Mount Elgon National Park hosts over 296 bird species and 40 bird species are only limited to mountain Elgon like the black collared Apalis, Jackson’s Francolin, Lammergeyer, Black-shouldered kite, Tacazze sunbird, African Goshawk among others. Excellent birding opportunities exist around Kapkwai Forest Exploration Center, particularly in the secondary forest and thick shrubs along the loop trail to Cheptui Falls.
Mount Elgon National Park favors all types of hikers, it offers both long and short hour hikes, The mountain bamboo hike covers 7 km to Kapkwi caves which pass via tropical and bamboo forest.it offers the opportunity of viewing primates, birds and rare trees like Elgon teak and Elgon olive. visiting chebonet falls can cover 5 km, kapkwai caves 3km and also tutum cave for 11km,visiting Khauka cave takes 3-4 hours , traveler can also head to Nabuyoga loop were you can have a clear view of the of jackson’s summit nd wagagai peak ,short hikes can also be done and clients can be able to visit mudagi cliffs, sasa River cam and Drigan lower falls.
The faming culture on the slopes of Mountain Elgon ,visitors to this place will come to find out where the Arabica coffee comes from. Also been named as Sipi or Bugisu by locals in the area as it is grown in the mountain shambas of Mount Elgon. the farmers also have a reputation for producing some of the finest washed arabica in Uganda. Tourists will also learn about the lives of the Sabiny tribe as you meet and interact with locals.so visitors can engage in activities like explore the region’s cultural dances ,food preparations ,folklore and its famous Malewa bamboo shoots.
The mountain biking trail runs from sipi trading center to chema Hills in Kapchorwa town. It should take 1.5 hours and provide views of various waterfalls and the karamoja plains, Bikes can be hired from sipi River Lodge.
Mount Elgon National Park ,With numerous trails both inside the park and outside walking through Mount Elgon National Park vegetation, The guides take you on walks that can start from two hours to a whole day where you will have views of the Karamojong region and sebi region, full hike from through Budadiri to Mudange cliffs, and are located in a tropical forest at the boundary of the national park.
This takes place at sipi with 14 climbs that require rock-scaling techniques. The easiest climb is 15m and the hardest is 35m
At the height of the sipi falls, there is an opportunity for sport fishing which will keep you busy, joined by some locals. It provides a good challenge to anyone interested in rainbow trout. Tourists should come with their own equipment.
There are many caves which were left by moving lava, when the mountain was formed. the most accessible are Kapkwai cave and Khauka on Wanale Ridge. They currently act as locations for camps.
The rivers plunge over massive cliffs on the northern and western side of the mountain forming some of the most beautiful falls. These are outside the park known as the sipi Falls , the lowest of the falls flows over 100m cliff, followed by simba at 69m and then Ngasire at 87m. A hike to all the falls is a fulfilling experience.