Mount Elgon national park
Mount Elgon is an extinct volcano and one of the oldest physical features, located in the Eastern part of Uganda away from Mbale town. the mountain covers 1,145km2 and measures 4,321 meters in height its first eruption was 24 million years ago. Mt. Elgon was Africa’s highest mountain but due to the soil erosion that was flooding in the area, the mountain was reduced to 4,321m making Mt. Kilimanjaro the highest at 5,895m. Mt. Elgon with Wagagai is the highest peak, the 4th in East Africa and the 8th in the African Continent.
Mt. Elgon has the largest volcanic and oldest in the world at 4,000km2. the dormant volcanic mountain is shared by two countries that are Uganda and Kenya but the largest part in Uganda covers 1,110sq km.
The park was first gazetted in Kenya that was in 1968 and covered 169km2 in 1992 Uganda gazetted it as a national park. Mt. Elgon is a home of two tribes: Bagisu and Sabiny the Bagisu are known as the BaMasaba and consider Mt. Elgon as the home of their gods known as Masaba later named the mountain by the name.
The journey takes 4-5 hours before reaching the park through the beautiful city of Jinja and passing through River Nile to reach Mt. Elgon which mountain sits 80 kilometers in diameter rising over 3000 meters above sea level. The mountain is where the might River Sipi forms the falls and where locals get their local dish, Malewa.
Attractions and Activities are done at Mt. Elgon
Birding: The park is home to 300 bird species including the endangered Lammergeyer vultures and 12 endemic bird species which include; Moorland Francolin, Marsh Widowbird, Alpine Chat, Wyn’s weaver, Moustacled green tinker bird, Jackson’s Francolin, Hunter’s cisticola, Black-colored Apalis, Red-throated wryneck among others.
Mountain Elgon: Is the main attraction in the park, it is the 4th highest mountain in East Africa and 8th in Africa hiking the 4 key peak points shared by Uganda and Kenya, you will have to get permits from Kenya Wildlife Services in Kenya and Uganda Wildlife Authority in Uganda. The hike to the peak takes 3-5 days depending on the fitness of the tourist.
Sipi falls: One of the best attractions at Mount Elgon national park. The falls are formed when the water comes out from the Tutum cave and the falls are formed when the water from the river meets the volcanic rock at the edge of the cave which forms that magnificent waterfall that attracts people there.
Wildlife: Apart from mountain climbing, there are also wildlife species that can be spotted when going for a hike. Primates, monkeys and also water bucks, duikers, spotted hyenas, Oribi, and squirrels among others.
Basigu culture :The Bamasamba(bagishu) has a very unique culture and the people who live around Mount Elgon, have a culture that is nationwide celebrated annual which is circumcision known as the Mbalu done for the males in that land whereby during the ceremony, the males who are going to be circumcised are smeared with ash, dust, soil, and dance around the village. the guests who visit during the time of the ceremony usually also join the dance which is fun and interesting.
Accommodations are mostly found in Mbale town where they include, Sunrise inn, Mount Elgon, Mbale resort Hotel, and also the wooden camping Bandas, and the meals are prepared on the order of the clients.