Mountain Elgon National Park is a man and biosphere reserve located in the eastern part of Uganda at the border with Kenya. The park is located in the districts of Mbale, Bududa, Manafwa, Kapchorwa, Sironko, and Suam. Inside the park, there is a 4321-meter mountain Elgon which is an extinct volcano that last erupted over 24 million years ago.
Mount Elgon National Park is Uganda’s oldest physical feature in Africa offering mountaineering and hiking services. The trail to the peak of the mountain passes through via unique vegetation zones that are limited to Africa’s highland mountains.
Mountain Elgon features the largest caldera in the whole world which measures about 40km2. It is because of the vulcanicity activity that forced magma from deep inside the earth’s surface that later led to the collapse of the cone. Its believed that mountain Elgon was the highest in Africa but due to erosion forces, the size and height were reduced to 4321meters making it the 4th highest in East Africa.
Mountain Elgon features volcanic soils that have facilitated the growth of variable vegetation types on alternate altitudes. The different vegetation types on Mountain Elgon National park include montane forests, bamboo forests, basically on higher altitudes, and the alpine moorland
vegetation which is close to the peak of the mountain. Still, Mount Elgon rises 3000m above the hot dusty plains of Karamoja to provide a cool break for humans and a refuge for flora and fauna. Mountain Elgon National park provides an important water catchment area with several tourist activities that surpass tourist expectations. Tourists can do hiking and nature walk safaris. You will need a minimum of three days to hike up to the summit of the mountain as you overlook the beautiful Sippi falls on which are just outside the park.
Historically mountain Elgon National park was first gazetted as a forest reserve in 1929 by Uganda colonial administration and since then it has been elevated until 1992 when it was declared as a national park.
Bagisu and the Sabiny are the main tribes of people that reside around the park practicing agricultural activities. Mainly Arabic coffee plantations are being grown since there is a presence of volcanic soils especially on the lower sides of the Mountain Elgon. On the uppermost of the mountain, the place was reserved for wildlife protection and this is done with coordination of Uganda Wildlife Authority and the local community members, and Kenya Wildlife Services. The Uganda Wildlife offices handling Mount Elgon national park are located in Mbale Town along Masaba road.