Mount Elgon is on the Uganda – Kenya border, it is an extinct volcanic mountain standing at 4,321 meters above sea level. And with a 3840 km2 has the mountain the largest volcanic base in the world. The park was gazette in 1993. Mount Elgon is perfect for mountain climbers, nature lovers, hikers and birders. But the park has more to offer. Mount Elgon has amazing caves left by moving lava and erosion of soft volcanic deposits and a natural pool named after the early explorer Jackson. That is why they call it now, Jackson’s natural Pool. It was names after him as Frederick Jackson was the first one to climb the mountain in 1889.
Sipi Falls can also be found in this area. On the western sides of the Mountain are 3 waterfalls that are beautiful to see. Next to those rock paintings, wildlife and birds are among the great things you can find here. The wild life that can be seen here include Leopard, Hyena, Buffalo, Bush Buck, and Water buck, duiker and tree Hydrax.
- Mountain/ Volcano climbing/hiking
- Nature walks,
- Sport fishing,
- Abseiling, rock climbing and mountain biking
- Agro Tourism (Elgon Coffee Plantations & Processing Centres)
Mountain / Volocano climbing in Mt. Elgon:
Many travellers have found Mt. Elgon an exciting alternative to the more strenuous mountain climbs in East Africa. It is easier to access throughout the year, less congested and has cool attractions, with a milder climate and lower elevation. Climbing the peaks requires no special equipment or technical experience which will interest the climber.
The Sasa trail , Sipi trail and Piswa trail allow you to navigate through the flora and founa around this place. You can visit the hot springs here too.
A full-day nature hike leads from Budadiri to the Mudange cliffs, known as the Walls of Death, at the boundary of the national park. These cliffs are located in the tropical forest, and blue monkeys, black-and-white colobus and baboons are likely to cross your tracks.
At Sipi Falls, guides from the local community can organize walks of a few hours up to a full day around local viewpoints. In Kapchorwa, a 20-minute Sunrise Trek at 6am from Noah’s Ark Hotel leads to the nearby Tewei Hill to watch dawn spreading across the vast Karamoja plains at the base of the mountain.
Excellent birding opportunities exist around Kapkwai Forest Exploration Centre, in particular in the secondary forest and thick shrub along the loop trails extended to cover Cheptui Falls. It supports the African Goshawk; Chubb’s Cisticola, White-chinned Prinia, African Blue Fly-catcher, Chinspot Batis, Mackinnon’s Fiscal, Dohertys and Luhders Bush-shrikes, Baglafecht Weaver, Cinnamon Bee Eater, Moustached Tinkerbird, Hartloub`s Turaco, Tacazze Sunbird, Olive- and Bronze-naped pigeons na d many more.
Agro-tourism is the kind of tourism which encourages agriculture which is combined with tourism; this has been tried in Uganda where farming has been developed as a tourism product.
Sport fishing is done above the highest of the three waterfalls at Sipi outside the park. It provides exciting challenges to anglers who take pride in battling with the rainbow trout because of its beautiful coloration and fighting ability.
Rock climbing at Mt. Elgon:
This activity takes place outside the park at Sipi. There are 14 climbs requiring various levels of rock scaling techniques. The toughest is a 35m climb while the easiest is 15m. Both have a view of the main falls and the Karamoja plains.
Mountaing Biking in Mt. Elgon:
A mountain biking trail normally runs from Sipi trading centre to Chema Hill in Kapchorwa town. It takes 1.5 hours and provides views of various waterfalls and the Karamoja plains. Its all a good experience for sports lovers to work out.
Sipi Widows’ Group
Have you ever wondered where your coffee comes from! Grown on the mountain shambas (an area of cultivated ground) of Mt Elgon is the Arabica coffee also named Sipi or Bugisu by the farmers – who have a reputation for producing some of the finest washed Arabica in Kenya and Uganda. When here, you cant fail to see these ever green coffee plantations, as well as interacting with the farmers to find more about them.
You will also learn about life of the Sabiny as you meet local residents, and participate in traditional weaving. Learn about African cuisine through the preparation, cooking and tasting of local dishes. A visit to the women’s handcraft shop in the trading centre is also highly recommended. Proceeds from the tour and shop are invested in maintaining the coffee trees; raising awareness about the dangers of female circumcision (traditionally practiced in this region); and paying school fees for orphans. Its alot much to just express it in mere words you have to reach this place.
There are simple camping sites inside the park. Come with your equipment for camping and if you don’t have hire from the National Park office in Mbale. Each tent goes for 10,000/= per day, Sleeping bags at 2000/=. Remember to bring warm clothing.
Simple accommodation facilities are available inside the Park at the Kapkwata Rest House and the Forest Exploration Centre at Kapkwai. Prior arrangements through the MENP Visitors’ office in Mbale are necessary as these facilities do not accommodate large numbers of visitors.
Other Accommodation areas include:
- Sipi Falls Resort,
- Lacam lodge,
- Sipi River lodge,
- Mt Elgon NP include Masha Hotel,
- Noah’s Ark Hotel,
- Mbale Resort,
- Sunrise Inn,
- Mt Elgon Hotel,
- Landmark Inn, the Elgon view and
- Sayona Hotels in Mbale town
- Protea Hotel Mbale.