Mountain Elgon National Park is located on the eastern part Uganda and bisected by the border of Kenya and Uganda. The park is also the largest and oldest solitary, volcanic mountain in East African region. Its enormous areas form, eighty (80) km in diameter and rises more than 3,000m above the surrounding plains. The mountain’s cool heights offer respite from the hot plains below, with the higher altitudes providing a refuge for flora and fauna.
Covering a size of 1,279km², Mt. Elgon National Park is shared by two countries i.e. Uganda and Kenya. Ugandan part of the park was gazzetted in 1992 and covers 1110 km² while the Kenyan part gazzetted in 1968 covers 169 km. At first, the Uganda part of the park was first gazztted as Forest Reserve in 1929 and in 1937, the forest reserve boundary was finalized but the area covered by the Reserve were continually degazzetted to provide land for the local Residents. In the year1940 the area became the Mt. Elgon Crown Forest and in 1951 a Central Forest Reserve. These changes occurred until it was fully established as national park in 1992.
Mt Elgon was at first Africa’s highest mountain, far higher than the famous Kilimanjaro’s Mountain of Tanzania with current 5,895m high. However, the Millennia of erosion have reduced the park’s height or peaks to current 4,321m, pushing it to the 8th highest mountain in great African continent and the 4th in East Africa region.
Mount Elgon is a mainly a significant water catchment for both Uganda and Kenya. Its forests receive up to 3000mm of rain each year, which they store and release to support flora, fauna and more than a million Ugandans and Kenyans living at the adjacent areas of the Mountain.
The lower slopes of the Mountain are covered by tropical montane forest with expansive stands of bamboo. Above 3000m the forest fades into heath and then afro-alpine moorland, which blankets or covers the caldera, a collapsed crater covering some 40 sq km. The moorland is studded with rare plant species, such as giant groundsel and endemic Lobelia elgonensis, and you’ll often see duiker bounding through the long grass and endangered lammergeier vultures overhead. In September it’s usually decorated with wildflowers.
Mount Elgon National Park is natural habitat to over 300 species of birds, including the endangered Lammergeyer, rare Jackson’s francolin, alpine chat and white-starred forest robin, 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 expansive trans-boundary conservation area which has been designated a UNESCO Man & Biosphere Reserve
Mt Elgon is home to two tribes’ i.e. the Bagisu and the Sabiny, with the marginalized Ndorobos forced to dwell deep within the forest of Benet. The Bagisu, are most popularly known as BaMasaba. This group of people considers Mount Elgon to be the embodiment of their founding father Masaba and call the mountain by this name.
A climb on Mt. Elgon’s deserted moorlands unveils splendid and uncluttered wilderness without the summit-oriented which routine to different mountains: the ultimate goal on reaching the top of Mt. Elgon is not the final ascent to the 4321m Wagagai Peak, but the descent into the vast 40km² caldera.
more information about the MOuntain Elgon National park
Tourist Attractions within the park
Tourist attractions outside the park
How to access the park