MOUNTAIN ELGON NATIONAL PARK

Mount Elgon locally known as Masaba is located in Uganda straddling the Kenyan border. The mountain was named Elgon after the Elgonyi tribe, who once lived in huge caves on the south side of the mountain. It was known as "Ol Doinyo Ilgoon" (Breast Mountain ) by the Masai and as "Masawa" on the Ugandan side. Mountain Elgon has been an extinct volcano that first erupted more than 24 million years ago.

With the largest surface area of any extinct Volcano in the world (50km by 80km), Mountain Elgon is the fourth highest mountain in East Africa, with the second highest peak in Uganda (Wagagai peak, 4321 m) second to Marghraita peak of Mountain Rwenzori. Mt Elgon contains the largest intact caldera, a collapsed crater covering over 40kms at the top of the mountain, surrounded by a series of rugged peaks. Being one of Mt. Elgon consists of five major peaks:


Mubiyi (4,211m or 13,816 ft)
Masaba (4,161m or 13,650 ft)
Wagagai (4,321m), being in Uganda.
Sudek (4,302m or 14,140ft) in Kenya
Koitobos (4,222m or 13,248 ft), a flat topped basalt column (Kenya Side)

 

Mount Elgon  is one of the largest mountains in the world. Its located in eastern Uganda straddling the Kenyan border and covers an area of 1145square kilo meters Elgon slops supports a huge variety of vegetation ranging from Montana forest of high moorland with elephants in the lower slopes, like other east African huge mountains of east Africa, Elgon is a result of volcanic eruption associated with the tectonic activity that created the east African rift valley.

 

This most probably first erupted at least 20 million years ago and remained active for another 14 million years. Elgon’s tallest peaks form a jagged circle shape which is an intact caldera. This has a number of small crater lakes and hot springs created by Pleistocene glacial activities. It peaks are Wagagai (set in Uganda and is the highest peak), Kiyongo, Mubiya and Jackson’s summit.

Its spectacular scenery is the main attraction to hikers, but there is variety of forest monkeys and antelopes. The hikers are likely to encounter many monkey aside from the blue monkey and a black and white colobus, a number of elephants are residents of the mountain and the localized and De brazza’s monkey as well as the leopard, bush pig, buffalo, sitatunga and common duiker. The official check list of mammals of 24 mammal species will surely expand when the official survey is done especially as an increasing number of animals is closing from Kenya to Uganda. The bird check list is 305species. The park supports a rich variety of forest birds.

For less serious hikers, Mount Elgon offers plenty of alluring prospects, the lovely water falls in Sipi is less than on a newly surfaced road, is trenched as the most popular destination in this part of Uganda.

 

The nearest mountain Elgon exploration centre at Kapkwai is a great base of day hikes on the foot slopes of the Elgon massifs. More adventurous might want to explore the seldom used but scene tic road leading past Sipi to the Kenyan border. Other attractions include ancient caves, hot springs within the calderas.


HIKING
a daily hiking fee of USD50 which includes the park fee and the guide additional fees are the USD8 for camping and UDS 4 for a porter. Aspirant hikers need to be reasonably fit.


GETTING THERE AND AWAY
The national park can be explored on foot but most of the trails can be reached by public means. The most established route up Elgon is sasa route.

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