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Mount Elgon National Park

blue monkeys, hiking trails, salt-licking elephants, birds

For thousands of years, a dormant giant has towered over the Uganda-Kenya border. The locals, the Bagisu, call the mountains Masaba. They believe it is the home of their ancestor, Masaba. Visit and trek up this giant for the breathtaking view of East Africa, at an overwhelming height of 4,400m

hikers camp in mt elgon national park, uganda - kwezi outdoorsMt. Elgon National Park has over 300 bird species including the endangered and rare Lammergeyer, and the bearded vulture, also known as the ossifrage. Other species to look out for are the Moorland Francolin, Black-shouldered Kite, Tacazze Sunbird, Moustached Green Tinkerbird, and the famous Alpine Chat. The Jackson’s Francolin and Black-collared Apalis are bird species that you will only find in Mt Elgon National Park. 

The most commonly sighted mammals in the park the blue monkeys, and black and white Colobus. There are also scattered herds of elephants in small numbers. These elephants are known for mining salt in the mountain caves. Some of the caves in Mt. Elgon National Park are Kitum, Ngwarisha, Chepnyalil, and Makingeny.

Mt. Elgon is an extinct shield volcano and the eighth-highest mountain in Africa. The national park was established to protect the diverse ecosystems around the mountain, including its unique flora and fauna.

A misty morning in the mt elgon national park in uganda

Highlights of Mt. Elgon National Park:

Mountain and Volcano:
Mt. Elgon is an ancient shield volcano with a caldera that collapsed several million years ago. The mountain is known for its vast surface area, and its lower slopes are covered with montane forest.

Hiking and Trekking:
The park offers various hiking and trekking opportunities for visitors of different skill levels. The Sipi Trail is a popular choice, leading to the stunning Sipi Falls. More challenging treks take you to higher altitudes, offering panoramic views of the surrounding landscapes.

a hiker with a wildlife ranger in the mt. elgon national park in uganda - kwezi outdoorsSipi Falls:
Sipi Falls is a series of three waterfalls on the slopes of Mt. Elgon. The falls are a picturesque attraction, and visitors can enjoy guided hikes to explore the viewpoints and surrounding landscapes.

Caves and Caverns:
Mt. Elgon has several caves and caverns, some of which are easily accessible to visitors. Kitum Cave is famous for its salt-licking elephants, who visit to obtain essential minerals.

Bird Watching:
The national park is home to a variety of bird species, including the endangered Lammergeier vulture. Birdwatchers can spot a range of montane and forest birds while exploring the different habitats.

While Mt. Elgon National Park is not as well-known for its large mammals as some other parks in Uganda, it is home to a variety of wildlife, including buffalo, antelope species, and colobus monkeys.

Flora and Vegetation:
The park’s diverse vegetation includes various types of forests, such as montane forest and bamboo zones. The higher elevations feature heath and moorland. The flora is adapted to the different altitudinal zones.

Community and Cultural Encounters:
The communities around Mt. Elgon have a rich cultural heritage. Visitors can engage with local communities, learning about their traditions, agricultural practices, and daily life. Uganda’s best coffee – arabica coffee – is grown here. A coffee experience that takes you from plantation to coffee cup is one to look forward to.

The Bagisu are best known for their elaborate and captivating circumcision initiation ceremonies. The ceremony, which comes every even year, is the rite of passage for boys to men. No anesthesia is used during the ceremony. 

Conservation and Research:
Mt. Elgon National Park plays a role in the conservation of unique ecosystems and biodiversity. It also serves as a site for scientific research and monitoring of environmental changes. One of the world’s largest calderas sits at the top of this mountain.

Mt. Elgon National Park offers a serene and less-crowded alternative for those seeking outdoor adventures and natural beauty in Uganda.

Altitudinal Variation:
Mt. Elgon National Park features a wide altitudinal range, from the lowland plains to the rugged peaks. This variation contributes to diverse ecosystems, including montane forest, bamboo zones, heath, and moorland.

Hiking in the Mt. Elgon national park in uganda with kwezi outdoors
Hiking Safaris in Rwenzori Mountains in Uganda
A trail in Mt. Elgon National Park in Uganda. Kwezi Outdoors runs hiking safaris to Mt. Elgon

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