Mount Elgon National Park, Uganda Safari Attractions, Activities, Accommodations & How To Get To Mount Elgon National Park Uganda
Find Here ALL Important Information About Mountain Elgon National Park In Uganda Such As- Mount Elgon Trekking Safaris In Uganda, Attractions In Mountain Elgon, Activities, Mount Elgon National Park Accommodation/Lodges (Where To Stay), How To Get A Mount Elgon Trekking Permit, Mountain Elgon Trekking Tips/Advice, What To Wear For Hiking Mountain Elgon, When To Go (Best Time To Trek Mount Elgon In Uganda).
Measuring 1,121km², Mount Elgon National Park is a fantastic Uganda adventure safari destination that offers great volcano/mountain hiking in Uganda on Mountain Elgon, amazing nature walks, camping, caving, birding, rock climbing, cultural tours, and much more.
Mount Elgon National Park Location – (Mount Elgon)
The park is located in Eastern Uganda on the Uganda-Kenya border and is named after Mount Elgon, a significant Uganda safari attraction. An extinct shield volcano, Elgon is East Africa’s oldest volcanic mountain. At 4,000km², Mountain Elgon has the broadest volcanic base in the world. It was once Africa’s tallest mountain, far exceeding Kilimanjaro’s current 5,895m. But millennia of erosion has reduced its summit to 4,321m, lowering it to the 4th highest peak in East Africa, and 8th on the continent.
Other amazing features of Mountain Elgon National Park include Afro-montane forest, Afro-alpine vegetation, caves, cliffs, caldera, rivers, waterfalls, hot springs, gorges, animals of Uganda, and over 300 species of birds in Uganda. For the local Bagishu people, Mt Elgon is the embodiment of their founding ancestor Masaba and refers to the mountain by this name. They assert that Masaba emerged from one of the Elgon’s caves 500 years ago.
Mountain Hikers often choose Mt Elgon as an exciting alternative to climbing Rwenzori in Uganda or Tanzania’s Kilimanjaro because it requires no technical hiking experience to reach the top and offers a milder climate, lower elevation, as well as much more reasonable prices. Treks follow different trails of varying lengths. Shorter day hikes explore the montane forest and bamboo to reach the caves and waterfalls. The full trekking circuit to the summit takes 4-7 days.
Once you’re on the top, remember to spend some time exploring the world’s largest intact mountain caldera which is 40km2 wide.
History Of Mountain Elgon National Park
Mountain Elgon National Park was first gazetted as a forest reserve in 1938. In1993, its status was upgraded to a National Park. To further increase its conservation status, this Uganda safari park was designated as UNESCO Man and Biosphere Reserve in June 2005 in Paris, France.
Locally known as “Masaba” by the local Bagisu people, Mount Elgon was named by the British explorer, Joseph Thomson, the first European to reach its lower slopes, who approached it from the direction of Maasailand in1883, and named it Elgon, an anglicization of the Maasai name Ol Doinyo Ilgoon (literally, ‘Breast Mountain’).
The first person to document its existence was the British Explorer Henry Morton Stanely who obtained a distant view of its peak in 1875. The first recorded summit took place in February 1890, when Fredrick Jackson and Ernest Gedge ascended to the caldera from a base camp at modern-day Kapchorwa and climbed one of the subsidiary peaks.
Top Attractions In Mount Elgon National Park ∣ Things To See On Your Mountain Elgon Trekking Safari In Uganda
From the amazing mountain peaks, the world’s largest mountain caldera, unique flora and fauna, caves, cliffs, rivers, waterfalls, hot springs, to fascinating local people and culture, Mountain Elgon National Park is simply a fascinating destination for nature lovers and adventurers on Uganda safaris.
Here are the details about the top attractions in Mt Elgon National Park:
The Scenic Peaks Of Mountain Elgon
Many travelers undertake adventure Uganda tours to Mount Elgon National Park to explore its amazing peaks. Mountain Elgon peaks are less strenuous to climb compared to other East African mountain peaks but almost offer the same scenic views. Wagagai, at 4,321m, is Mt Elgon’s highest peak. It is also the 4th highest point in East Africa, the 8th highest in Africa, and the second-highest point in Uganda after the snow-capped Margherita Peak (5109m) in the Rwenzori Mountains National Park.
Besides Wagagai Peak, Mount Elgon also features 4 other outstanding peaks including:
- Sudek – 4,302m/14,114ft on the Kenya/Uganda border
- Koitobos – 4,222m/13,852ft, a flat-topped basalt column in Kenya
- Mubiyi – 4,211m/13,816ft in Uganda
- Jackson’s summit – 4,161m/13,652ft in Uganda
The World’s Largest Mountain Caldera
Another top highlight for many who want to explore Mount Elgon National Park on their Uganda safari tours is to marvel at the world’s largest Mountain Caldera. About 2 million years after Mount Elgon’s last major eruption, its top collapsed creating the world’s largest mountain caldera. The caldera resembles a large ‘bowl’ and is surrounded by a ring of rugged peaks. It covers approximately 40km dotted with small crater lakes and hot springs created by Pleistocene glacial activity.
Unique Vegetation Of Mount Elgon National Park
Mount Elgon, like other major mountains in East Africa, is known for its unearthly high-altitude vegetation. Its lower slopes are clothed in the tropical montane forest with extensive stands of bamboo. Above 3000m, the forest fades into heath and then afro-alpine moorland, which blankets the caldera. Rare plant species present here include the giant groundsel and the endemic Lobelia elgonensis. Plumes of small blue flowers, ladies’ mantle tussocks, and pink and white everlasting flowers are also present.
Beautiful Birds Of Mt Elgon National Park
Mountain Elgon National Park supports a rich birdlife, with over 300 species recorded. In this UNESCO Man and Biosphere Reserve, you will see a fascinating variety of forest birds and several Afro-montane moorland endemics. It contains 3 of the 8 Kenya Mountains Endemic Bird Area species, 5 of the 13 species of the Sudan-Guinea biome species, and 47 of the 70 species of the Afrotropical biome.
A list of key Uganda bird species you can look for on your Uganda birding tour in Mt Elgon Park:
- Bearded vulture / Lammergeyer
- Jackson’s Francolin
- Moorland Francolin
- Mustached green Tinker-bird
- Red-throated Wryneck
- Black-collared Apalis
- Hunter’s cisticola
- Alpine chat
- Marsh widow bird
- Weyn’s weaver
- Hartlaub’s Turaco
- Eastern Bronze-naped pigeon
- Tacazze Sunbird
- Golden-winged sunbird
- African Goshawk
- Chubb’s Cisticola
- White-chinned Prinia
- African Blue Flycatcher
- Chinspot Batis
- Mackinnon’s Fiscal
- Doherty’s Bush-shrike
- Baglafecht Weaver
- Cinnamon Bee-eater
- Black-shouldered Kite
- Cinnamon-chested Bee-eater
- Black-and-white casqued Hornbill
- Bar-tailed Trogon
- Grey-throated Barbet
- Montane Oriole,
- Mountain Greenbul
- Black-collared Apalis
Animals In Mount Elgon National Park
The animals of Mount Elgon National Park are not well known. But on your Uganda wildlife safari you will have a chance to see a small number of Elephants reside in the forest, the striking De Brazza’s monkey, Bushbucks, Forest hogs, Civets, Serval cats, Bushpigs, buffalos, Sitatungas, and common duikers.
Mount Elgon National Park also supports rock and tree hyraxes, Defassa waterbuck, oribi, spotted hyena, Leopards, Aardvark, and several rodent species. The most common species or the most encountered animals by visitors on Uganda hiking safaris and tours here are;
- Blue monkeys
- Olive baboons
- Red-tail monkeys
- Vervet monkeys
- Mantled Guereza
Kapkwai Forest Exploration Center
Kapkwai Forest Exploration Center is located about 3km from Sipi town at an altitude of 2050m immediately inside Mountain Elgon National Park boundary. It was originally designed as an educational facility but now also serves as a base for tourism. The main Uganda safari attractions at Kapkwai is a network of day trails that provide access to Afro-montane forests and allow you to see a variety of monkeys and birds. It also has a comfortable rest camp with 4 cottages that offers affordable banda, dormitory accommodation, and a beautiful garden.
Caves in Mountain Elgon National Park
Several caves have formed on the Mount Elgon slopes as a result of moving lava and erosion of the soft volcanic deposits that erupted 1000,000s years ago. The most accessible caves are Kapkwai Cave near the park’s Forest Exploration Centre and Khauka Cave on the Wanale Ridge. Local people and their livestock used these valuable features as shelters. Trekkers and their porters used them more recently, and campsites are still available at Siyo Cave (near the hot springs), Hunters Cave, Mude Cave, and Tutum Cave for overnight expeditions.
The Striking Nkokenjeru Ridge & Wanale Cliffs
The Nkokenjeru a ridge of lava extruded through a parasite vent on Mt Elgon’s western side. It is situated at an elevation of 2,348m and is 25km long. It culminates at the stunning waterfall streaked Wanale Cliffs that dominate Mbale city’s eastern skyline. A 20km road from Mbale climbs up onto the ridge through a cleft in cliffs, meandering through superb mountain scenery before terminating at a cluster of radio mast horizons.
Uganda Wildlife Authority offers guided walking trails to the ridge and cliffs through regenerating forest. The trail has great views of Mbale town, Lakes Kyoga, Bisina, and Salisbara, and the rugged mountains of the Karamoja region.
On a clear day, you can have spectacular views of Wagagai peak and even parts of western Kenya. If you throw a stone into the Nabuyonga stream, be careful. According to local legend, if you do so, a thunderstorm will strike right before you leave.
Jackson’s Pool & Jackson’s Peak on Mt Elgon
Jackson’s Pool, a natural pool with shallow waters, is located at 4050 meters. The pool is in the shadow of Jackson’s Peak, a free-standing volcanic plug rising from Elgon’s western flank at 4,165 meters. Frederick Jackson was the first European to climb Mount Elgon in 1889, and the pool and peak were named after him. Locals use the peak to communicate with their ancestors.
Attractions Outside Mount Elgon National Park
Mountain Elgon National Park is surrounded by a variety of interesting Uganda safari attractions. These may be visited either before or after your Mt Elgon National Park tour and include:
Sipi Falls On Mount Elgon
The beautiful Sipi Falls was named the most romantic waterfalls by the Lonely Planet guidebook. They are arguably the most spectacular waterfalls in all Uganda and East Africa at large. Sipi consists of 3 waterfalls created by the Sipi River as it cascades downstream at 100m, 85m, and 65m from the top of Mount Elgon into the Kyoga Basin.
The largest fall attracts the crowds but the 85m and 65m falls are beautiful and easily accessed. The falls are serviced by several Uganda safari lodges and resorts that cater to all tastes and budgets of travelers on Uganda tours and travels. It is a very peaceful and pretty spot, and it makes a most agreeable base for gentle day hikes in the surrounding hills, which offer stunning views to the lowlands further west and a glimpse of Mount Elgon peaks on a clear day.
The area around Sipi Falls is also famous for Arabica coffee grown by Bagisu. Bugisu Arabica only grows at an altitude of between 1,600 and 1,900 meters.
People & Culture Around Mount Elgon
Your Uganda safari to Mount Elgon National park also offers a unique cultural experience as you explore the fascinating cultural practices of the local Bagisu and Sabiny people. The Sabiny speak Sebei, a Nilotic language and the Bagisu speak a dialect of the Lumasaba language called Lugisu.
The Bagishu People & Mbalu Ceremony
Residing on the southern and western slopes of Mount Elgon are proud Bagisu people. Their origin is not well known but their oral traditions simply assert that the founding father Masaba emerged from a cave from Mt Elgon, 500 years ago. Masaba, also the local name of Mt Elgon is believed to still inhabit the mountain’s upper slopes where he holds meeting with lesser deities at a place where stone have been laid out to form chairs and tables.
Bagisu people, however, are best known for their Imbalu – male circumcision ceremony – a pivotal occasion in their society that involves the entire local community. It is this ceremony in which the Bagisu boys are publicly circumcised with a special knife without pain killer to initiate them into manhood. It is held in August and December of even-numbered years.
Anybody including tourists can attend this boisterous, colourful event. It usually takes place in the morning, before 10:00, and involves all initiates – anything from one to several dozens of young men being matched by a whistling, cheering crowd to the circumcision ground.
Origin of Imbalu
The origin of this tradition is uncertain. Legend has it that the first Mugisu man to be circumcised had a reputation of seducing the wives of his neighbors, and was taken before the committee of elders, who ordered that he should be semi-castrated as both a punishment and deterrent. The plan backfired when, having recovered, he went back to his seducing ways, and-it was whispered-had become even more proficient lovers following the operation. After that, his rivals decided that they too would have to be circumcised to compete for sexual favors!
Top Activities On Your Mountain Elgon National Park Safari In Uganda
Trekking to the top of Mount Elgon tops most visitors’ list of things to do in Mount Elgon National Park. However, there are several other exciting activities you can do on Mountain Elgon National Park adventure tour in Uganda. The park and its surroundings offer incredible scenic day hikes and nature walks, birding, mountain biki, waterfalls hikes, rock climbing, cultural tours, and more. The top Uganda safari activities you can do in Mount Elgon National Park include:
Mt Elgon Hiking – Trek To Mount Elgon’s Summit
Trekking to the top of Mountain Elgon is one of the most amazing Uganda safari adventure experiences. Mount Elgon National Park offers generally a less strenuous climb compared to other Mountainous East African safari destinations but offers the same scenic views. It is also accessible throughout the year and the hiking trails are less congested than other trails of East Africa, allowing you to enjoy its stunning scenery without the crowd. Mount Elgon National Park has 3 main hiking trails which vary in length and difficulty:
- The Sasa Trail
- The Piswa Trail
- The Sipi Trail
The Sasa Trail
This shortest but most challenging trail is a 4-day round trip. It starts from the Budadiri town at 1250m above sea level. On day one, you undertake a stiff 6 to 8-hour hike via the village of Bumaifwa to Sasa River Camp at 2,900m.
On day 2, it’s a 4 to 5-hour trek to the Munde Cave’s 16-berth hut at 3,50m. You can also use the spare afternoon at Munde Cave to ascend Jackson’s Summit at 4,165m, which is a round trip of around 5 hours. On day 3, you ascend from Mude Cave to Wagagai at 4321m and back, a long hike of 8 to 9 hours. If you are doing a standard 4-day route, you’ll descend from Munde Cave to Budadiri the following day. Alternatively, on day 4 you do a full trek to Kapkwata proceed from Munde Cave to Hunters Cave Camp at 3,870m via the hot springs, a trek of at least 10 hours.
The Piswa Trail
The Piswa is less strenuous but a longer alternative to the Sasa Trail. It is about 49km and takes about 7 days. The trail starts Kapkwata village on the mountain’s north side and passes through the softwood plantation to the Podocarpus forest. Piswa trail is famous for its breathtaking views of Uganda’s Karamoja Plains and Kenya’s Kapeguria and Nandi Hills, as well as rich wildlife. It also passes the hot springs on the way to the caldera and the peaks.
The Sipi Trail
This is the longest trail covering 56km and takes around 4-6 days to complete. It starts at 2,050m at the Kapkwai Forest Exploration Centre and passes through the northwestern mountainside through Tutum Cave to enter the caldera and reach Wagagai Peak. It starts gently but becomes tougher on the third day from Kajeri Camp.
Scenic Day Hikes In Mount Elgon National Park
Mountain Elgon National Park also offers some very interesting day trails for visitors who are not staying long enough to camp and climb the mountain itself. Several 3-7km day hikes depart from the Kapkwai Forest Exploration Centre near Sipi Falls, the most popular being a trio of short loops taking in valleys, ridges, and caves. Also from the Mbale side of Mountain Elgon, you can access the stunning Wanale Ridge where day-long hikes can be organized to pass through a variety of health and moorland landscapes with caves along the way.
Birding In Mount Elgon National Park
With over 300 species, birding in Mt Elgon national park will give you species that you cannot find anywhere else in Uganda including the endangered Lammergeyer or Bearded vulture. The popular Uganda birding trail on Mount Elgon is the 3km/2hours Ridge View trail from Kapkwai Forest Exploration Centre which involves a relatively easy ascent of the ridge, where it connects with the other trails at the main viewpoint.
The trail passes extensive bamboo stands and offers a good chance to see blue monkeys and black-and-white colobus monkeys. It is highly rewarding for visitors on Uganda birding tours because many of the bird species in the park can be spotted in its vicinity. The riverine shrubs close to the rest camp are home to the:
- Lovely cinnamon-chested Bee-eater
- Doherty’s bush Shrike
- White-chinned Prinia
- Chubb’s Cisticola
- African Goshawk
- African Blue Flycatcher
- Golden-winged Sunbird
- Baglafetcht weaver
Sipi Falls Hike – Mount Elgon
During your Mount Elgon trekking safari in Uganda, a 3-hour hike to the three Sipi Falls is a must. Situated at an altitude of 1,775m, the hike can sometimes be muddy, but they’re deserving of your energy. When you reach and marvel at these beautiful falls, you will forget about your aching feet and mud-stained trousers. The hike follows a river, making it easy to stay on track. It takes you through farmlands and local communities.
The 2nd-highest of the waterfalls comes first. It plunges 85m before concluding in a spectacular splash. The next fall is the smallest, at 65m. When it’s dry, you should be able to stand under it. If it’s been raining, you can stand in the cave behind the falls, and watch as the water crashes in front of you. The last fall is the tallest at 100m. Make sure to pack a swimming costume, as the plunge at the bottom is large enough to swim in.
Abseiling The Sipi Falls On Mt Elgon
If you’re missing a bit of adrenaline in your day at Sipi, you can abseil/rappel from the top of the 100-meter-high falls. Hanging from a rope in the cool mist of the cascading falls right beside you, you will have a stunning panoramic view of the valley below. Here, professionally trained guides at Mulima Mountain Adventures use CE-approved equipment and conduct regular safety audits with the help of the Mountain Club of Uganda.
Mountain biking Around Mount Elgon
There is also a well-developed mountain biking trail around Mountain Elgon National Park that runs from Sipi Trading Center to the popular Chema Hill in Kapchorwa. The adventure lasts about 1½ hours, offering you riveting views of the breathtaking waterfalls and the vast Karamoja Plains. If you are interested, you can hire mountain bikes from Sipi River Lodge.
Rock Climbing Near Mount Elgon National Park
This adventurous Uganda safari experience is different from mountain/volcano climbing and is conducted outside Mountain Elgon National Park near Sipi Falls. The around Sipi has several basalt cliffs that can be safely climbed.
About 14 climbs are available all requiring various levels of rock scaling techniques but the more challenging is the 35-meter climb and the easiest being just 15 meters. Both offer you a picturesque view of the main falls and the Karamoja plains. You can hire climbing equipment at Sipi Falls Tourist Guides Association.
Community & Cultural Tours
Before or after your Mountain Elgon National Park safari, you can also enjoy amazing rich cultural interactions and experiences with the local Sabiny and Bagisu People. Here are the best Cultural experiences around Mount Elgon National Park:
Another highlight of a tour to Mountain Elgon National Park is the coffee tour where you trace the story of coffee from farm to cup. Since 1999, the Sabiny and Bagishu people have farmed Arabica coffee on the slopes of Mount Elgon. Elgon’s Arabica Coffee is some of the finest in the world. It grows only grows at an altitude of between 1,600 and 1,900m.
If you’re interested in learning about the coffee process, we can organize a tour where you’ll join a household. It is a ‘hands-on’ experience and is very interactive and participatory. It involves learning the origin and the process of coffee from the time of planting, weeding, harvesting, pulping, washing, removal of husks, roasting them on an open fire, grinding into powder with a traditional mortar, before – the best part – finishing with a fine cup of strong Arabica coffee.
Proceeds from the tour help in maintaining coffee trees, raising awareness about the dangers of female circumcision – traditionally practiced in this region, and paying school fees.
Attending The Bagisu Imbalu Ceremony
The Bagisu or Bamasaba are best known for their Imbalu – male circumcision ceremony – a pivotal occasion in their society that involves the entire local community. It is this ceremony in which the Bagisu boys are publicly circumcised with a special knife without pain killers to be initiated into manhood a Uganda cultural safari encounter like no other.
How Imbalu Ceremony Is Conducted?
The Imbalu Circumcision Ceremony is held in August and December of even-numbered years. Anybody including tourists can attend this boisterous, colourful event. It usually takes place in the morning, before 10:00, and involves all initiates – anything from one to several dozens of young men being matched by a whistling, cheering crowd to the circumcision ground.
The initiates have their faces plastered in ash, and they are stripped below the waist on the way to the circumcision site, where they must line up in front of a crowd of family and friends of both sexes and all ages. The operation lasts for about a minute. The initiate holds both his arm rigidly in front of the circumcisor, clasping a stick in his hands, and staring forward expressionlessly. The circumcisor then makes three bold cuts around the foreskin to remove it from the penis.
When the operation is complete, a whistle is blown and the initiate rises his hands triumphantly in the air, then starts dancing, proudly displaying bloodied members to an ululating crowd. Any initiate who cries out during the painful procedure is branded a coward, as is any Mugisu man who is circumcised by a doctor under a local anesthetic.
Once the crowd is satisfied with his bravery, the initiate is led away to a quiet place by a few friends and wrapped in a cloth while he waits for the breeding to stop. While it is acceptable for a Mugisu man to delay circumcision into his late 20s, he will not be considered a ‘true man until he has undergone the rite and will be forbidden from marrying or attending an important clan meeting.
Accommodation In Mount Elgon National Park ∣ Where To Stay-Lodges In Moutain Elgon National Park?
Before, after, or during your Mount Elgon hike, there is a variety of Luxury safari lodges in and aroung Mount Elgon National Park (Uganda safari lodges), hotels, and camps where you can stay – ranging from Budget, Midrange to Luxury. While on the hike, the only option is camping. Several basic campsites are located at strategic points along the trekking circuit.
You are advised to respect park regulations by camping only at designated campsites for your safety and also to protect biodiversity. Camping equipment must be carried with you. This is the reason that porters are recommended to help carry your luggage. You can hire the camping equipment or you can purchase them in Uganda.
Luxury Accommodation At Mt Elgon National Park
- Sipi River Lodge
Sipi River Lodge is set within the grounds of a unique restored former residence.
The lodge consists of the main house and 7 detached accommodations, each individually designed with a thoughtful perspective on the backdrop of Kapsurur Falls. Within this scenic setting, you experience intimate fireside dining, a comfortable reading lounge, an airy veranda, and a bar stocked with beers, wines, and a fine selection of single malt whisky. Its location in the foothills of Mount Elgon, famous for three spectacular waterfalls, is home to an incredible number of bird species, some of the best Arabica coffee in the world, and magical sunsets.
- Waterfall Cottages are secluded, spacious, and thoughtfully designed each offering its exclusive view of the waterfall.
- Waterfall cottages feature an ensuite bathroom, one king-sized bed, one 4×6 bed, one 3×6 bed, a lounge with a sofa/daybed, and a private veranda.
- Riverside Bandas that reflect local building traditions; with round walls and authentically crafted thatched roofing these rustic riverside bandas blend into the local landscape.
- Each banda can accommodate one or two people sharing a twin or double room.
- Fireside dining inside the lodge
- Organic Arabica Coffee tours
- Private path to the waterfall
- Mt. Elgon Hotel & Spa
Mt. Elgon Hotel & Spa is housed in a grand colonial building dating to the 1950s and located in the leafy suburbs of Mbale. Known for its half a century tradition, the peace, and tranquility of its setting and now for its impressive renovation promises the warmest of welcomes, vibrant experiences, and vivid memories of your stay.
- Junior rooms with a private shower, air conditioning, satellite TV & mini-fridge
- A spacious superior rooms for a small family each with a private shower, air conditioning, satellite television, & mini-fridge
- A very spacious elegant executive suite furnished with a queen-sized bed, a writing desk, two-seater sofa, a couch, a coffee table and provided with a spacious private shower, AC, satellite TV & mini-fridge
- Free Wi-Fi
- Swimming pool, gym, Jacuzzi, steam, and sauna
- Minigolf (the only one in the region)
- An exceptional restaurant
- Cocktails & wine tasting
- Private dining in a wide green garden or poolside.
Midrange Accommodation At Mt Elgon National Park
- Mbale Resort Hotel
Mbale Resort Hotel is set against the backdrop of the slopes of Mount Elgon in the heart of Mbale City. The hotel offers you 94 rooms. Some of the rooms have balconies with spectacular panoramic views of the Wanale, the swimming pool, and the Gardens
- Spacious executive twin rooms with AC, balcony, bathroom with bathtub & shower, coffee/tea making facilities, dressing table, electricity adapters, hairdryer, in-room safe, Wi-Fi, refrigerator, TV, and writing desk.
- Executive double rooms with a comfortable king-size bed, AC, balcony, bathroom with bathtub & shower, coffee/tea making facilities, dining area, electricity adapters, hairdryer, Wi-Fi, TV, and a writing desk.
- A large executive business suite with a comfortable sitting lounge
- A spacious executive triple.
- Noah’s Ark Hotel
Noah’s Ark Main Hotel sits in the heart of Kapchorwa Town – the home of the famous Sipi Falls on the slopes of Mt. Elgon. The hotel was carefully designed to leave a lasting impression on the guests. The gardens, restaurant, conference hall, and rooms are all decorated with beautiful patterns and art pieces that are not only captivating but also speak a lot about the local culture of the people.
- Single rooms with one single-size bed, 1 bathroom, power sockets, reading table and chairs, hot water, and television.
- Double rooms with double-sized beds, accommodate 2 people, has hot water, and television.
- Executive Suite with a bedroom and living room, TV, 1 bathroom, hot water, and can accommodate up to 4 people.
- A restaurant, preparing delicious African, Mexican and Continental dishes.
- A well-stocked bar with all sorts of hard and soft drinks.
- An all-green garden that provides a refreshing experience.
- Conference halls for corporate and non-corporate meetings
Budget Accommodation At Mount Elgon
- Kapkwai Forest Exploration Center
The Kapkwai Forest Exploration Center doubles as a budget accommodation and an educational facility. Here there are Bandas, a student hostel, and a campsite, where one can pitch one’s tent for the night. The Center is operated by the Mt. Elgon National Park. It is located 13 kilometers from Sipi Falls, inside the Mt. Elgon National Park itself.
- Bandas, Student Hostel, and Campsite for self-camping
- Educational Centre with well-informed personnel about all aspects of Mt. Elgon National Park
- Shop for consumables.
- Rose’s Last Chance
Rose’s Last Chance is located at the western entrance to Mount Elgon National Park, directly opposite the park’s Visitors Centre. At an altitude of 1,250 meters, it offers spectacular views of the peaks of Mount Elgon. With its beautiful site, comfortable accommodation, and friendly staff, Rose’s shows ten years of progress since 2000. It is the ideal stop before or after climbing Mount Elgon or trekking in the National Park.
- Seven single and double bedrooms
- A guesthouse that offers dormitory accommodation for up to 20 people.
- Self-tenting accommodation at a campsite furnished with showers and flush toilets.
- A wide range of camping gear is available for hire.
- Local crafts are displayed at the guesthouse for visitors to view or to purchase if they wish.
- A bar and a restaurant in an attractive garden setting.
- Both African and English cuisine is on offer.
- Packed meals are available for those participating in guided walks.
Frequently Asked Questions About Mountain Elgon National Park
Where Is Mount Elgon Located?
Mt Elgon is located in Eastern Uganda on the Uganda− Kenya border in Mbale district. The distance from Kampala to Mt Elgon National Park is approximately 235km (5 hours) drive. Mountain Elgon is found in Mount Elgon National Park in both Uganda and Kenya.
How Was Mountain Elgon Formed?
The formation of Mountain Elgon is associated with the tectonic activity that created the Rift Valley million years ago. It is East Africa’s oldest extinct volcano, having first erupted about 24 million years ago and remained active for at least 10 million years, standing far higher than Kilimanjaro does today in its explosive prime.
What Is The Local Name Of Mt Elgon?
Mt Elgon is locally known as “Masaba” by the local Bagisu people. The Bagisu (also known as BaMasaba) consider the mountain to be the embodiment of their founding father Masaba, who legendarily emerged from a cave on its slopes several centuries ago. Masaba’s spirit is personified by Jackson’s summit, which appears to appear to be the mountain’s tallest peak from most vantage points, while Wagagai the actual tallest peak is named after Masaba’s wife.
Who Named Mt Elgon?
Mount Elgon was named by the British geologist and explorer, Joseph Thomson, the first European to reach its lower slopes, who approached it from the direction of Maasailand in1883, and named it Elgon, an anglicization either of the Maasai name Ol Doinyo Ilgoon (literally, ‘Breast Mountain’) or else of El Kony, the name of the tribe that inhabits the eastern foot slopes.
- How Tall Is Mount Elgon?
At 4,321 meters, Mount Elgon is the 4th highest mountain in East Africa. It is the 8th highest peak in Africa and it is the second-highest mountain in Uganda after Rwenzori. Mountain Elgon’s tallest peaks are Wagagai, Jackson’s summit at 4165 meters, Kiongo at 4303 meters, and Mubiyi at 4210 meters above sea level.
How Long Does It Take To Climb Mount Elgon?
It takes about 4 to 7 days to climb to the peak of Mountain Elgon depending on the route chosen. The Sasa trail is the shortest but most challenging trail and takes a 4-day round trip. The Piswa trail is a less strenuous (but longer) alternative to the Sasa Trail and takes around 7 days. The Sipi trail takes about 4-6 days. There are also day trails that are perfect for travelers who want to get a taste of Mount Elgon’s beautiful scenery and wildlife within a short period.
Is It Safe To Trek Mount Elgon?
It is very safe to trek Mount Elgon. Mountain trekking is one of the major Uganda safari activities and therefore your safety is guaranteed. You are assigned armed rangers for the duration of your hike to the peak of Mount Elgon to protect you and your guides from wild animals and any uncertainty. Volcano hiking and other activities have been going on for years on Mt Elgon, and your safety is our top priority so you can have an unforgettable experience.
How Much Does It Cost To Hike Mt Elgon?
Mount Elgon hiking activity is under the management of the Uganda Wildlife Authority and according to the 2020-2022 tariff, hiking costs USD50 per person per day for foreign non-residents and foreign residents, Uganda shillings 50,000 per person per day for East African citizens.
The cost is inclusive of Entrance fees and guiding fees but excludes porter and cook fees. Hiking permits are issued at UWA offices at each trailhead. The total cost for a hiking trip to Mountain Elgon includes hiking fees, transport, accommodation, guide fees, and all services. We will tailor your Mountain Elgon hiking Uganda trip and send you an all-inclusive package.
How To Get To Mount Elgon National Park?
Mountain Elgon can be assessed from Entebbe/Kampala by road transport via Kampala- Jinja-Sipi road. The distance from Kampala city to Mount Elgon is about 235km. Your journey will start early morning at 7:00 am to escape the traffic Jam and you will stop in Jinja – the source of the Nile River for Lunch and later continue to Mbale/Kapchorwa for an overnight.
The road trip is approximately 5 hours’ drive with a lot to see on the road namely; River Nile, the Mabira forest, Plantations, and the hospitable people. You can also access Mountain Elgon from Kenya via the Uganda-Kenya border and you will be required to secure an Uganda Visa of USD50 or an East African Visa at the Airport in Kenya or online.
What To Pack For Hiking Mt Elgon?
- Warm clothing
- Plenty of drinking water,
- Good raincoat
- Waterproof over trousers
- Bring plastic bags to separate wet and dry clothing in your rucksack
- Sturdy walking boots
- Insect repellant.
- Sunscreen and
- Field guides.
- Plenty of energy-giving snacks
- Camera and extra batteries
- Pairs of binoculars
When To Visit Mount Elgon National Park?
You can visit Mountain Elgon at any time of the year because climbing is done year-round. You are advised to book your Mountain Elgon National Park trip months or weeks in advance for convenient preparation. The best time to climb Mount Elgon is, however, during the dry seasons between June – August, and December – March though this coincides with the rainy season. Please note that seasons are unpredictable and it can rain at any time.