Mount Elgon National Park
Mountain Elgon National Park
At 4321m Mountain Elgon is East Africa's 4th highest mountain and the 8th in Africa. It was at one time the highest of Africa's mountains, far exceeding Kilimanjaro's 5,895m but thousands of years of erosion have reduced its height. Mt Elgon is an extinct volcano and one of Uganda's oldest physical features, first erupting about 24 millions years ago. Measuring 50km by 80km, the mountain has the largest volcanic base in the world. Its caldera, covering over 40km, is known to be the largest intact caldera in the world.
Mountain Elgon is shared between Uganda and Kenya with its highest peak at Wagagai (4321m) is situated in Uganda.
Flora and Fauna of Mt Elgon
The cool and wet mountain heights support a diversity of flora and fauna. The vegetation varies as one ascends the mountain, ranging from lush Montana forests and mixed bamboo that are rich in bird species, then fascinating heath and moorland, studied with endemic plant species such as the giant lobelia and groundsels.
Mountain Elgon National is home to various animal species including primates such as baboons, black and white Colobus, blue, red tailed, vervet, and De Brazza's Monkeys. Other animals in the park include rock and tree hyraxes, elephants, buffalos, Defassa waterbuck, oribi, bushbuck, duiker, forest hog, bush pig, leopards, civet and serval cats, spotted hyena, and aardvark.
The mountain hosts over 300 species of birds including among others Moorland Francolin, Moustached Green Tinkerbird, Alpine cat, Jackson's Francolin, Black-collard Apalis, Black-shouldered Kite, Tacazze Sunbird, and the endangered Lammerger.
Mt Elgon serves as an important catchment area for a number of rivers including Suam that drains in to Lake Turkana, Nzoia and Lwakhakha which into Lake Victoria.
The Local People
The two major tribes of, the Bagisu and the Sabiny, inhabit the mountains slopes. The Bagisu in particular possess deep cultural connections with the mountains. They believe the mountain is the origin of Bamasaba (Bagisu) people. A lot of Arabic Coffee is grown on the slopes of the mountain.
What to do in Mt Elgon National Park:
Hiking and Trekking
Trekking Mt Elgon is not the common approach that entirely looks to getting to the summit or the peaks. The trek is an adventure filled with lots of beautiful discoveries. The different vegetation zones of the mountain support a variety birds, primates, animals and plants many of which you sight during your trek. You also come across interesting features such as caves, rivers, pools and the scenic mountain peaks that make your trek the more interesting.
- Kampala - Jinja - Mbale - Kapchorwa - Mt Elgon National Park