When its about a trip to Mount Elgon National Park, the key activity is always hiking and related Uganda safari activities. Hiking isn’t an ordinary adventure and therefore needs preparation but then even after preparation you can’t just return home and relax on your couch just like how you went. Your body will definitely react from the hiking experience especially for first timers but then how do you calm down your body and get back to your normal shape?
Mount Elgon in Eastern Uganda is a popular hiking spot for especially family hikers. The Mountain raises to an altitude of 4,321m(14,177ft) above sea level. This is the world’s largest volcanic base 50-80km, with the largest intact caldera covering about 40km2 . Mount Elgon is bisected by Kenya in the West and Uganda in the East. Mount Elgon National Park Uganda, the park that conserves Mount Elgon covers an area of about 1,279sq km(430sqmi). many hikers would love to hike to the peak of the mountain both during Uganda safaris and Kenya tours with their families because of the lower altitude in comparison with the surrounding mountains. There different trails to undertake on your safari and hee i give you a highlight such that you can prepare for what suits you.
Trails on Mountain Elgon
The piswa trail is long but most gentle trail that takes 7 days covering 49km. The trail starts from “Kapkwata” on the northside of the mountain traversing the soft wood plantation to the podocarps forest. This trail gives you an opportunity to sight wildlife and have a spectacular view of the Karamoja plains, the Nandi and Kapeguria hills in Kenya as you go past the hot springs.
The Sipi trail round trip is 56km, takes 4-6days and the longest starting from Kapkwai forest exploration center at 2,050m through the north western mountain side. The trail starts calmly as you hike to the caldera through tutum cave but becomes tougher on day three from Kajeri camp. This long trail is what any enthusiast hiker should take on their Uganda mountaineering safari on Mountain Elgon.
The Sasa trail round trip is the shortest but toughest route taking 4 days. The toughest climb of 1,600 is completed on the first day though the whole trek takes 1,250m.
Combined trail hiking is a perfect option for a memorable Mountain hiking safari tour in Uganda allowing you to traverse the caldera glimpsing at wildlife, birds and hot springs ascending from through Sipi-piswa-sasa trail and descending from the Sasa-Sipi trail. Trans boundary hiking can be organized for you as you ascend by a Uganda trail and descend in Kenya.
Mount Elgon trails may seem to be at a lower altitude but could pose a challenging time to the hikers, therefore be ready to hike no matter the trail. Possibly on a Mount Elgon safari when having a long trip, continuing to Kidepo Valey National Park offers you chance to see numerous wildlife. To make a round trip, you can continue to Murchison Falls National Park for more safari activities then return to Kampala or Entebbe for a departure flight.
Mountain Hiking Tips for Mount Elgon climbers
Mountain climbers or hikers should be reasonably fit and without heart or lung problems. This is because hiking is a rigorous activity and requires use of energy to get to the peak. And also remember the higher you go the cooler it becomes therefore health can be at risk with the temperatures and no good housing since you camp on the mountain during the hike.
At 3,000m above sea level, hikers may not feel hungry but they should always try to eat because you require energy to get to the peak and return.
Carbohydrates and fruits are recommended where as rich or fatty foods are discouraged since they are harder to digest.
Always keep hydrated. Take at least three litters of water daily since dehydration is one of the major reasons for failure to complete the climb. You will definitely lose some water during the hike when you get sweaty.
While starting the hike, you have a lot of strength however, don’t hike for so many meters because you may lose it all. Hike to an advisable height then relax and wait for the next day to continue with the hike.
What to carry for a Mountain Hiking trip
Consider water proof hiking Shoes: Your hiking with your legs therefore they should be priority. The nature of shoes also determines the distance that you will comfortably cover and the health of your feet after the hike. Let the only pain that you will experience be the unavoidable muscle pain and not pain caused by inappropriate shoes.
Carry Food Substance: Hiking requires energy but many hikers tend to carry snacks rather than take food. Fortunately, on a hike to Mount Elgon you can go along with porters who can provide food by cooking at the camping points. If you don’t eat well during a hike you may return home to fall sick and regret your choice of safari.
Carry Enough Drinking Water: Water covers a larger percentage in the human body fluids which makes it a substance that cannot be ignored. Lack of water may result in dehydration which is accompanied by side effects such as drying of lips and stomach disorders. Carry enough water to keep you hydrated all through your hiking.
Don’t Forget Warm Waterproof Clothing: Some people go hiking for one day while others go for more days. Warm clothing may sound ridiculous for people hiking for the first time. If you ask them, they will tell you; when do we wear warm clothing while we are sweating? This question only makes sense when it is a one-day hike and there is no rain but are you sure about the weather? Those hiking for many days should never question the suggested clothing because something to warm you through the night while you are resting and waterproof in case it rains or the obvious morning dew is necessary. If you want to avoid arthritis, chest problems, common cold and any diseases resulting from exposure to coldness, warm waterproof clothing should never be neglected; just avoid cotton.
There many attractions in Mount Elgon National Park and if you just can’t go far with the hike then you can opt for a hike to Sipi falls for a single day, take a nature walk at kapkwai forest or go for a community tour.
Here are 9 tips on how to recover after a hiking trip to Mount Elgon;
Take a few walking steps after the hike
After your hiking trip, plan to cool down by continuing to move around at a very low intensity for 5 to 10 minutes after finishing your hiking safari in Uganda. This helps to remove lactic acid from your muscles and may reduce muscles stiffness. warming up and cooling down are more helpful in cooler temperatures.
Drink a lot more fluids
You lose a lot of fluid during your hike and ideally you should be replacing it during the walk. Filling up after exercise is an easy way to boost your recovery. Water supports every metabolic function and nutrient transfer in the body and having plenty of water will improve every bodily function.
Have a proper meal
After this long walk, you will have depleted your energy stores, so you need to refuel to replace this energy, repair tissues, get stronger and be ready for the next challenge. Ideally, you should try to eat within 60 minutes of the end of your hike and make sure you include some high-quality protein and complex carbohydrate.
Stretch a little
After your hike, as you relax consider gentle stretching. This is a simple and fast way to help your muscles recover.
Perform Active Recovery
Easy, gentle movement improves circulation which helps promote nutrient and waste product transport throughout the body, this helps the muscles repair and refuel faster.
Rest Time is one of the best ways to recover (or heal) from just about any illness or injury and this also works after a long, hard hike. Your body has an amazing capacity to take care of itself if you allow it some time. Resting and waiting after a hike allows the repair and recovery process to happen at a natural pace. Consider resting from your trip by relaxing at home.
Go for a gentle Massage
Choose to take a gentle massage. Massage feels good and improves circulation while allowing you to fully relax.
Take an Ice Bath
Great for the summer, ice massage or contrast water therapy (alternating hot and cold showers) to recover faster, reduce muscle soreness and prevent injury. The theory behind this method is that by repeatedly constricting and dilating blood vessels helps remove (or flush out) waste products in the tissues.
Get lots of Sleep
Ensure to have a lot of sleep and let your body rest, with the uncomfortable sleep during the hike, you need a good sleep. During sleep, your body produces Growth Hormone which is largely responsible for tissue growth and repair.
First time hikers, these tips are so crucial and to let your body relax at least spend one day in one of the accommodations in Mount Elgon National Park. Don’t regret your hike ensure to be careful with the planning tips and help yourself with the recovery tips to ensure you get back into shape to either continue with a wildlife safari in Uganda or go for another excruciating gorilla trekking safari in Uganda to Bwindi Impenetrable National Park.
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