Looking for a family fun friendly mountain on your Uganda safari? In the eastern region of Uganda, lies a mountain of your dream, Mount Elgon National Park that is described as the “family friendly hike mountain” because of its lower altitude about 4,321km above sea level compared to Mount Rwenzori in the west 5,109m above sea level. The park itself covers an area of about 1,279sq km(430sqmi) within mountain Elgon with an altitude of 4,321m(14,177ft) above sea level at the highest peak known as “Wagagai” that one can hike to on a Uganda tour.
The mountain was once Africa’s highest mountain far exceeding Kilimanjaro’s current 5,895m however, unfortunately it was constantly reduced by erosion to 4,321m ranking it as the 4th highest peak in East Africa and 8th in Africa. But anyway, more accessible than any other high peak in East Africa. In 1940 the area became the mount Elgon Crown Forest later on in 1951 made a central forest reserve and upgraded to a national park in 1992.
Named after mountain Elgon- an extinct massive shield volcano where the park is located, Mount Elgon National Park is home to the world’s largest volcanic base 50-80km with the largest intact caldera covering about 40km2. Mountain Elgon is also known as “Masaba” by the Bagisu who consider it as the embodiment of their founding father Masaba.
Mount Elgon National Park is located in the Eastern region of Uganda near the district of Mbale-the largest town in the region. Mountain Elgon is bisected by Kenya in the West and Uganda in the East. The climate of the mountain that sits here is moist to moderate with an annual rainfall of over 1,270mm(50in). There are lots of charming attractions like the;
Sipi Waterfalls in Kapchorwa
Welcomed by the thunderous sound from the cascading waters, the exceptional Sipi waterfalls are a great stop point. The waters are so fresh surrounded with lush vegetation offers a spectacular view.
Uganda has a number of waterfalls and one of the amazing ones is Sipi falls on Mount Elgon. Sipi falls is situated in Eastern Uganda’s Kapchorwa district at the edge of Mount Elgon National Park close to the border with Kenya. Sipi falls is formed by the Sipi river that attains its name from “sep” a plant indigenous to the banks of the river. Sep is a medicinal plant resembling a wild banana that is used to treat measles and fever.
The Sipi falls is made up of three waterfalls each flowing from different altitudes. The highest and major waterfall cascades from 100m above sea level and is taken as the main attraction of Sipi. The second waterfall flows from about 75m above sea level with upper cascades before the plunge. The third waterfall cascades from about 85km above sea level with a beautiful lush view around it. Hiking to see all of the three waterfalls involves a 7km hike through steep muddy slopes.
Sipi Falls area is one of the starting points for many hikes up to low elevated Mount Elgon using the Sasa trail. The Sasa trail round trip is the shortest but toughest route taking 4 days. The whole trek covers 1,250m however, the toughest climb of 1,600m is completed on the first day. Hiking around the falls offers beautiful scenic views of Karamoja plains, Lake Kyoga and slopes of Mount Elgon. A hike to Mount Elgon is one of the popular activities in Mount Elgon National Park.
Along sipi falls is the locally grown Bugisu Arabica coffee popular in many of the farms. For a farm experience, a walk through the plantations can be organized and a tourist can participate in activities of their interest.
The Sipi falls form a cool climate for the region. Within this region is a magical experience whereas you hike it can rain several times of the days and shines again, its like a cycle of the showers and sun. This cool climate favours the surrounding areas and agriculture in the region. Don’t miss out on this attraction in Mount Elgon National Park by planning a safari in Uganda to the Eastern region.
Vegetation in Mount Elgon National Park
The vegetation is very magnificent with slopes that support a rich variety of four distinct vegetation types ranging from the tropical montane forest on the lower slopes, mixed bamboo belt, heath and dense shrubs to high open spectacular moorland studded with the rare endemic plant species like the giant lobelia and groundsel plants.
Scenery in Mount Elgon National Park
Mount Elgon scenery is filled with peaks, cliffs, caves, waterfalls, mesas, gorges, calderas and hot springs that give accompaniment to the attractions in Mount Elgon National Park. The towering peaks of the Elgon mountain cool height offer a cool breeze for the people from the hot plains below that watch in admiration of the peaks above them.
Wildlife in Mount Elgon national park
The cool admired peaks have varied wildlife including the black and white colobus monkeys, blue monkey, red-tailed monkey, elephants, buffaloes, small antelopes and duiker. The other mammals include bushbuck, civet, wildcat, elusive leopard. The wildlife on the mountain is in various points of the mountain.
Bird species in Mount Elgon National Park
Birds to find a home in the series of rugged peaks, counting to more than 144 species including the Beautiful Jackson’s Francolin, Hartlaub’s turaco, the eastern bronze -naped pigeon, Tucazze sunbird, guinea fowls, sunbirds and endangered Lammergeier. A passionate birder who loves mild hiking should definitely put these bird species as the key things on what to see in Mount Elgon National Park.
Caves in Mount Elgon National Park
The historic caves like Kitum, chepnyal and mackingeny where mammals visit to lick salt at night are amazing to visit as you hike the mountain.
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