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Mount Elgon National Park

Mount Elgon National Park is 140 kilometres northeast of Lake Victoria, it covers an area of 1,279 square kilometres and is bisected by the border of Kenya and Uganda. The Ugandan part of the park covers 1,110 km² while the Kenyan part covers 169 km².

Mount Elgon National Park is home to over 300 species of birds, including the endangered Lammergeyer.  The higher slopes are protected by national parks in Uganda and Kenya, creating an extensive trans-boundary conservation area which has been declared a UNESCO Man & Biosphere Reserve.

Mount Elgon National Park lies 235km east of Kampala. A tarmac road runs through Jinja to Mbale town at the western base of Mount Elgon, before climbing to Kapchorwa on the mountain’s north-western flank. Dirt roads lead off the Mbale-Kapchorwa road to reach the various trailheads.

The best time to climb Mount Elgon is during the dry seasons between June-August and December-March. But climbing Mt. Elgon can be done all year round. Mount Elgon has moist to moderately dry climate.

What to Do

Day hikes in Mount Elgon National park. A visitor can go for day hikes from Budadiri or in the Mount Elgon Forest Exploration Centre. The center has 3 day hikes of about 3 and 7 km and offer visitors great chance to experience Mount Elgon and its plant and wildlife in a short time.

There is also a new and 4th trail to Tutum cave which has also been opened. It is 11km from the exploration Centre. This trail has vegetation that supports black and white colobus monkeys and different types of birds found in the region

Mountain hiking on Mount Elgon: Mount Elgon has two main starting points that get to the highest summit of the mountain. There is the Sasa trail that can easily be accessible from Mbale. The sasa trail passes through the biggest area of the bamboo zone.

With this trail, however, comes a very steep and rugged hike of about 1600m on the first day. The less steep climb is via the Pisa trail which starts from Kapkwata. With this route, you will discover Podocarpus forest, which is also a bird watchers haven.

To get to the highest peak, it takes 4-5 days to complete the full circuit. We have 2 packages that can take visitors to the peak in those days. We recommend that you visit the park in the drier months of June-August and December-March, however, it is possible to trek the mountain even during the wet months.

Birding watching safaris: There are about 300 bird species in Mount Elgon National park, which makes it an idea place for bird watching.

The forest area along the Chebonet River supports many birds like the Chubb’s Cisticola, Mackinon’s Fiscal, African Goshawk, African Blue Fly catcher, White chinned Prinia,  Doherty’s and Luhder’s Bush Shrikes, Chin spot Batis and Baglafecht weaver. We have bird watching safaris which can be tailor made to including birds of Mount Elgon National park.

Game viewing: The Mountain supports primates and mammals giving visitor an opportunity for game watching. Expect to see forest monkeys such as the black and white colobus and blue monkeys, elephant, buffalo and small antelopes that include the duikers.

Sipi Falls hikes: Visitors can visit Sipi Falls at the foot of Mount Elgon. It is about 66km from Mbale town to the beautiful Sipi Falls. There are different trails visitor goes through to get to the falls passing through local communities and their farms. There are local guides who can take you to the three waterfalls of Sipi.

Rock climbing at Sipi Falls: This is the only place in Uganda where you can go for abseiling down the 100m Sipi Falls. It is safe and some of the equipment used was imported. The activity doesn’t require special training and it is perfect for the adrenaline junkie. Visitors can also go for rock climbing

Caves: There are a number of large caves here that are worth a visit. Some of the caves especially the one near the trail head at Budadiri has painting. Viewing cave paintings near the trailhead at Budadiri.

Where to Stay

Kapakwata Guest House and Exploration centre at Kapkwai: Visitors who wish to stay at this guest house should make prior reservations through Mount Elgon National park visitors’ office in Mbale town.

The accommodation is small and visitors should bring their own food or money to buy food upon arrival as they prepare for the park’s activities.

A kitchen is available too. However, you do not have to go through the hustle and let Gorilla Link Tours organize everything.

Camping: Mount Elgon National Park has 5 basic campsites that are located strategically along the hiking circuits. You can only camp at campsites designated by the national park.

All camping equipments must be brought by you and some like the tents and sleeping bags can be hired from the park office in Mbale.