Mount Elgon National Park Tours-Mountain Elgon climbing,Sippi day Falls tour,Arabic Coffee experience tours,Mountain climbing in Uganda, wildlife tours in Mount Elgon Uganda
This is an extinct volcano located on Uganda’s eastern border with Kenya. The mountain boasts numerous interesting features including gorges, ancient caves, waterfalls and hot springs. Birdlife is abundant on the mountain although various wildlife may also be encountered. Mt. Elgon is the fourth highest mountain in Eastern Africa, with the second-highest peak in Uganda (Wagagi Peak – 4321 meters). Mt. Elgon contains crater covering over 40 kms at the top of the mountain, surrounded by a series of rugged peaks.
The ascent of Mount Elgon passes through a series of roughly concentric vegetation zones. The lower slopes of the mountain are intensively farmed up to the park boundary. The first zone of natural vegetation is montane forest which runs from the park boundary up to 2500m. this is followed by bamboo and low canopy forest (2400-3000m), then high montane health (3000-3500m) which includes the giant heather (Philipea excelsia) growing up to 6m tall. Above 3500m, cold temperatures and fierce winds force the heather to give way to open moorland. Finally, above 3800m, dramatic afroalpine vegetation is found among tussock grasslands and Carex bogs. This rare and spectacular vegetation type is restricted to the upper reaches of East Africa’s highest mountains and includes the giant groundsel (Senecia elgonensis) and the endemic Lobella elgonensisi.
Mount Elgon supports a variety of wildlife including elepahant, buffalo, Defessa’s waterbuck, oribi, bushbuck, leopard and spotted hyena. However, as usual in forest environment, most of these species are rarely seen. The most commonly seen creatures are black and white colobus, blue monkey, duiker and tree squirrel.
The mountain is also home to 296 birds including 40 restricted range species. Birds whose Ugandan range is limited to Mount Elgon include Jackson’s francolin, moustached green tinkerbird, and black collared apalis, the Uganda ranges of which are limited to Mount Elgon. The bronze-naped pigeon, Hartlaub’s turaco and tacazze sunbird are limited to Mount Elgon and few other mountains in eastern Uganda. Mount Elgon is also one of the few places in Uganda where the endangered Lammmergeyer can be seen, soaring above the caldera and Suan gorge.
Places of interest in Mount Elgon National Park
Forest Exploration Centre in Mount Elgon National Park
The Forest Exploration Centre at Kapkwai is about 13km from Sipi town and it doubles as an educational Centre for schools and the trailhead for climbers using the Sipi trail to the caldera. Three circuits of between 3-7 km run through the surrounding regenerating forest, where visitors’ can visit caves, waterfalls, escarpments and viewpoints; and observe birds and primates. Bird species encountered here include Hartlaub’s Turaco, Lemon Dove, Dusky-Turtle Dove, African Hill Babbler, Alpine Chat, Black-throated Wattle-eye, Thick-billed Honey guide, Grey Cuckoo-Shrike, Mountain Yellow Warbler, Eastern Bronze-napped Pigeon,
Caves in Mount Elgon National Park
Mount Elgon’s slopes are comprised of various caves left by moving lava and erosion of soft volcanic deposits that erupted some years back. The most accessible of these caves are Kapkwai Cave which is near the Forest Exploration Centre, and Khauka Cave on Wanale Ridge. Long ago, the precious features acted as shelters for livestock of the local people who were the traditional inhabitant of the Mountain. On later days the caves also provided manure in form of bat droppings and recently they are used by climbers and their porters as their resting grounds when hiking the mountain, also campsites have been set at the formerly Hunters Cave, Siyo Cave which is near the hot springs and Mude Cave, Tutum Cave are ideal for overnight expeditions.
Jackson’s Pool and Jackson’s Peak in Mount Elgon National Park
Jackson’s Pool which is said to be standing at 4,050m is a natural pool occupied by the shallow waters. The pool lies in the low land of the 4,165m high Jackson’s Peak, a free-standing volcanic plug rising from the western flank of the mountain. These physical features were named after the explorer Frederick Jackson, who in 1889 was the first European to climb Mount Elgon. The peak has traditional attachments to the locals since they use it as spot to communicate with their ancestors who left them long time.
The peaks and the caldera. Mount Elgon’s highest peaks are formed by high points around a jagged rim enclosing one of the world’s largest calderas, at 40km long and 8km wide. The tallest peak is the 4,321m Wagagi, followed by Sudek (4,303m), Koitobos (4,222m) and Mubiyi (4,210m).
The Caldera was formed as a result of magma being drained from the chamber. When it could no longer support the overlying volcanic cone, it collapsed into a depression-like shape. In the eastern corner of the caldera, hot springs are found at the start of the deep Suam Gorge. In the northwest, Simu Gorge was formed by the sheer weight of the water in the caldera cutting two stream beds out of the weak volcanic ash and agglomerate walls.
Nkokenjeru Ridge and Wanale in Mount Elgon National Park
Nkokenjeru Ridge is a distinctive finger of forest extending outwards from the main massif of Mount Elgon. It lies at an elevation of 2,347m and covers a 25km-long tongue of lava that flowed out of the side of the volcano after the cone collapsed to block the main vent. Nkokenjeru Ridge culminates at the superb Wanale Cliffs which tower above Mbale Town; the seasonal Nabuyonga and Namatyo Waterfalls are located here. A trail at this western end of the ridge leads you to Khauka Cave where petrified wood can be found.
This ridge also offers grounds for those interested in paragliding over the Mbale town.
The Nabuyonga Trail is a 5km loop with birding, fauna and flora. Viewpoints overlook Mbale town, Lakes Kyoga, Bisina and Salisbara, and the rugged mountains in Karamoja region. On a clear day, you may enjoy vistas of Wagagai peak and even areas of western Kenya. Beware of throwing a stone into the Nabuyonga stream – local folklore claims that if you do so, a thunderstorm will strike before you leave.
Beyond Mount Elgon National Park
The northern and western sides of Mount Elgon rise in a series of massive basalt cliffs, often several kilometres in length, over which the mountain’s rivers plunge as beautiful waterfalls. The best known are the three waterfalls at Sipi on the Kapchorwa road, just outside the park. The lowest of these falls is the most spectacular as it cascades over a 100m cliff. The second, known as Simba, plunges 69m over the entrance to a cave. Visitors can stand in the cave and enjoy a view of the back of the falls. The third waterfall, also known as Ngasire, gushes over an 87m high ridge. Sipi Falls is less than an hour’s drive from Mbale on a paved road.
Easily accessible waterfalls are also found at Sisiyi, Bulago, Chebonet and Wanale and many more are scattered across the mountain, offering spectacular views.
Tourist’s activities in Mount Elgon National Park
Mountain /Volcano Climbing in Mount Elgon National Park
Visiting Mount Elgon National Park offers an impressing setting for extended hikes. In addition to the interesting and unique flora and fauna, you can expect to experience magnificent waterfalls, enormous caves, scenic peaks and gorges, and hot springs which bubble up at 48’C. The best times to visit are during the drier seasons from June to August and December to March. However, even in the wetter months trekking is manageable. No technical climbing equipping or skills are required, and all major peaks are accessible to hikers. There are two main trailheads (starting points) which lead to the mountain’s peaks. Salsa Trail (Buddukiro trailhead) is the most easily accessible from Mbale and is the most direct route to the peaks. It passes through the Park’s largest area of bamboo forest. However, it is also a steep and rugged climb of over 1600m on the first day. The other trail is the Piswa trail which is long and but gentle trail.
Birding in Mount Elgon National Park
The forest Exploration Center at Kapkwai is an excellent birding site where visitors can enjoy watching the unique bird species. The regenerating forest characterized with thick shrub along the loop routes extends to cover Cheptui Falls and these cool green environment favors the survival of the various bird species such as White-chinned Prina, African Goshawk, Chinspot Batis ,Chubb’s Cisticola, African Blue Fly-catcher, Dohertys and Luhders Bush-shrikes, Baglafecht Weaver, Cinnamon Bee Eater, Moustached Tinkerbird, Hartloub`s Turaco, Tacazze Sunbird, Olive- and Bronze-naped pigeons, Black Kite and Black-collared Apalis.
Hiking/Nature Walks in Mount Elgon National Park
The four hour mountain bamboo trails to Kapkwai Cave passes through tropical and bamboo forest. Along the trail are many primates, birds and rare trees such as Elgon teak and Elgon olive. The 5km walk to the Chebonet Falls and 3km walk to the Kapkwai caves follow the ridge view trail. There is also an 11km hike to the Tutum Cave, with the option of camping overnight beside the cave.
In Wanale, a visit to Khauka Cave takes three to four hours. Alternatively you can go to the viewpoint through Nabuyoga loop where you can see Jackson’s Summit and Wagagai peak.
In Budadiri, short day hikes are available covering the Mudagi Cliffs, Sasa River Camp and Drigana lower falls. These are great for bird watching, nature walks and overnight camping.
Mountain biking in Mount Elgon National Park
Mountain biking trail runs from Sipi trading Centre to Chema Hill in Kapchorwa town. It should take 1.5 hours and provides views of various waterfalls and the Karamoja plains. Bikes can be hired from Sipi River Lodge. Over the past few years of exploring, a few main routes have been opened in the area, the nature of the routes are a downhill single track-mostly compacted local trials which are perfect for riding and most of the times always empty of people, Whilst mountain biking in Sipi falls is still in its infancy there is unlimited potential since it has the perfect terrain for all types of biking, another exciting possibility is to climb Mt.Elgon with bike. So if you are into your biking get yourself here for great unforgettable experience.
How to access Mount Elgon National Park
Mount Elgon National Park lies 235km east of Kampala. Atarmac road runs through Jinja to Mbale town at the western base of Mount Elgon, before climbing to Kapchorwa on the mountain’s north-western flank. Murran roads lead off the Mbale-Kapchorwa road to reach the various trail heads.
HOW TO ACCESS MOUNT ELGON NATIONAL PARK FROM DIFFERENT CORNERS
Accommodations at Mountain Elgon National Park
Simple accommodation facilities are available inside the Park at the Kapkwata Rest House and the Forest Exploration Centre at Kapkwai. Around Sipi area, there are lodges such as Sipi River Lodge, The Crow’s Nest Camp, Sipi Falls Resort, Lacam Lodge. In Kapchorwa, one can spend night in Masha Hotel, Noah’s Ark Hotel among others.
WHERE TO STAY ON YOUR SAFARI IN UGANDA
Kampala as Capital City of Uganda has a stylish collection of individually designed hotels offering first-class accommodation services across the city. Modern function spaces are flexible for conferences, exhibitions and private event use, and are equipped with WI-Fi integration and most importantly, natural daylight or high specification intelligent lighting in all suites. The city is served with all types of accommodations right from luxury/upmarket, Mid-range to Budget hotels as seen below;Kampala Serena Hotel is an inspirational blend of 5-star polish, pan-African panache, social style and business reliability. Strategically located at the Centre of Kampala Business district, Kampala Serena hotel sprawls on 7.2 acres of landscaped grounds and water gardens. An oasis of cool and green, encircled by the seven hills of Kampala, the hotel is focal point for regional, national, business ,political and social life
Entebbe International Airport is the main international airport in Uganda and is located near the town of Entebbe, which is situated on the shores of Lake Victoria, Africa’s largest lake. Other attractions in the area include the Entebbe Wildlife Education Center, the Entebbe Golf Course and the Sesse Islands. There are several hotels located near these attractions and within 5 minutes of the airport.Entebbe International Airport is the main international airport in Uganda and is located near the town of Entebbe, which is situated on the shores of Lake Victoria, Africa’s largest lake. Other attractions in the area include the Entebbe Wildlife Education Center, the Entebbe Golf Course and the Sesse Islands. There are several hotels located near these attractions and within 5 minutes of the airport.
Jinja is the second largest towns in Uganda and the former industrial town of Uganda. Jinja described as adventure capital of Uganda is endowed with a number of tourist attractions and place where the world’s longest river “The Nile River” sets of its course of 90 days to the Mediterranean Sea in Egypt.
Jinja is located about 80kms East of Kampala Uganda’s capital city and is accessible by road, and air in small air craft and a number of tourists visit to see the sources of the Nile, to do Birding in Uganda’s Mabira forest, Bunjee jumping on the Nile, Sunset Cruise on the Nile, White water rafting and spot fishing.
This famous tourism destination in Uganda is served with number of hotels, lodges, apartments that range from budget, mid-range to luxury. All these are established to cater for all categorizes of visitor on business or leisure stay in Jinja.
Located on the junction to Kasese 2 kilometers from the Mbara town Centre, Lake View Mbarara Hotel is a large modern multi storied hotel set in its own serene environment. The perfect location of the park makes it a convenient stop over offering overnight accommodation to tourists travelling to and from south -Western Uganda as well as visitors to Lake Mburo National Park. Lake View Resort Hotel offers accommodation in 70 tastefully designed rooms with Adjoining Rooms for Families, Air-conditioning, and ensuite Bathroom. At Lake View Resort Hotel, you are free to choose from the hotel wide- range of Standard or Superior rooms. With over 15 years’ experience in event placement and organization, Lake View Resort has the very best venues for your conferences, board meetings, training sessions and parties in Mbarara.
Mbale District is one of the largest districts located in eastern Uganda and is home to Uganda’s second highest mountain, the Mt. Elgon. Mbale is mainly covered by hills and a very famous agricultural town of Uganda. Mbale is mainly occupied by the Bagisu tribe and the local language used is Lugisu , though English and Swahili are also used. Mbale town is one of the towns in Uganda that receive a large population of travellers mainly hikers and those interested in cultural tourism. Below is a list of affordable hotels in Mbale, that one can choose from while on his or her next tour to Mbale.Mbale Resort Hotel is a five-star hotel situated in the Centre of Mbale town. The hotel is located within a walking distance from different places of including the Elgon Ranges, the historic Rocks precinct, Mbale Opera House and the beautiful Botanic Gardens, local market, super Markets among other places.
The hotel has 94 rooms where visitors can experience luxury Mbale accommodation. Some of the rooms have balconies with spectacular panoramic views of the Wanale, the Pool and the Amphitheater. All rooms have carpeted floors, Satellite TV, High Speed Wifi, Room service, Mini bar, Coffee and tea making facilities, Dresser and easy chair, Room telephone, Air conditioning, Hair driers and Bathrobe and slippers Mbale Resort Hotel has 3 restaurants and 2 bars
Fort Portal Town in western Uganda is a major tourist herb and the cleanest town in Uganda. Located in the foot hills of Mountain Rwenzori also nicked named Mountains of the Moon, Fort portal is a gateway to different national parks including Kibale, Semuliki, Queen Elizabeth, Bwindi Impenetrable, Rwenzori and Toro-Semuliki Wildlife reserves. It is famous for the stalagmites and Nyakasura waterfalls linked to the rich Chwezi culture. The area is surrounded by scenic crater lakes, beautiful tea plantations and the Rwenzori mountain ranges besides a cool climate and hospitable people boasting of the youngest and most handsome king in the world. It is also known for the Bigodi wetland sanctuary. With search attractions, comes with them a variety of hotels and below is a list of the affordable world class hotels in Fort portal. Fort Motel is one of the most popular hotels in Fort Portal, thanks to its unique location in the heart of the town. With our modern rooms and suites that feature beautiful views of the Rwenzori Mountains and endless greenery that is characteristic of Fort Portal. Our guests soon discover the unique ambiance of gracious living which is without equal in our locality.
The hotel is conveniently situated in a quiet location just a little outside Gulu Town Center off the main road to Juba in an enticingly serene natural green environment. Wherever your final destination, whether you are travelling for business or pleasure we guarantee your satisfaction.
The hotel has 28 spacious rooms designed with your comfort in mind. The hotel rooms are distributed as 4 Executive Suites, 2 Deluxe Twin rooms, 2 Executive Deluxe rooms, 8 Suite Single rooms and 12 Deluxe Single .The rooms are fully self-contained and have features like en-suite with solar water heaters, Bath and/or showers, 21-inch color TV’s showing local and satellite channels, Intercom system, Spacious study area with reading desk and light as well as Complimentary wireless internet connection.
The hotel also has tastefully designed multipurpose hall for conferences, seminars and workshops with 200 seat capacity and air-conditioning.
PLACES TO VISIT IN UGANDA, UGANDA SAFARI ATTRACTIONS
Queen Elizabeth National Park is understandably Uganda’s most popular tourist destination. The park’s diverse ecosystems, which include sprawling savanna, shady, humid forests, sparkling lakes and fertile wetlands, make it the ideal habitat for classic big game, ten primate species including chimpanzees and over 600 species of birds. The bird species include the black bee-eater, 11 types of king fisher, Shoebill storks and several species of falcons, eagles and other raptors.Set against the backdrop of the jagged Rwenzori Mountains, the park’s magnificent vistas include dozens of enormous craters carved dramatically into rolling green hills, panoramic views of the Kazinga Channel with its banks lined with hippos, buffalo and elephants, and the endless Ishasha plains, whose fig trees hide lions ready to pounce on herds of unsuspecting Uganda kob.
The park is known for its volcanic features, comprising volcanic cones and deep craters, many with crater lakes such as Lake Katwe where salt is mined. The national park has Maramagambo Forest and neighbors with Kigezi and Kyambura Game Reserves, Kibale National Park plus the Virunga National Park in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and Kasese lying on its north-western wing.
Bwindi Impenetrable national park is located in South Western Uganda, on the edge of the western rift valley, shared by Rukungiri, Kabale and Kisoro Districts. The Park with its dense ground cover of vines and shrubs is home to the world’s endangered species of the mountain gorillas, of which they are only 880 still left in the entire world and out of this, 400 hundred, are in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park. Bwindi Impenetrable National Park remains the only park in the whole world where mountain gorillas co-exist with wild chimpanzees although there are no trekking chimps since no community has been habituated. Bwindi is one of the richest areas for flora in Eastern Africa. The forest is also sanctuary for Columbus monkeys, chimpanzees and many bird types including some endangered species. Because of its importance in protecting given bio diversities, Bwindi Impenetrable forest was recognized and up graded to a status of being a world heritage by UNESCO in 1994.
Mgahinga National Park is Uganda’s smallest national park situated in the extreme southwestern part of Uganda in Kisoro district. The park is located on the northern slopes of the three northernmost Virunga Volcanoes namely; Mt. Muhavura (4,127 m), Mt. Gahinga (3,474 m), and Mt. Sabinyo (3,645 m). Mgahinga National Park covering an area of 33.7sq.kms was gazetted in 1991 to protect and conserve the species of the rare mountain gorillas that inhabit the park’s hilly dense forests.
Mgahinga Gorilla National Park is one of the parks in Uganda with an exceptional diversity of habitats, ranging from Afro-montane vegetation; plentiful bamboo vegetation to Lobelia Haegenia which supports the survival of at least 39 species of mammal and 79 birds found in the park. The Larger mammals supported in the natural habitat includes elephant, leopard, buffalo and bush pig but these are rarely seen. The famous ape species supported by the habitat involve the mountain gorilla and the less famous but equally rare and deserving of protection is the golden monkey which is found only in the Virungas and in one other forest in Rwanda. Notable bird species include the Rwenzori turaco, crowned hornbill, black kite and crowned crane.
Kibale National park is positioned in the two districts of Kabarole and Kamwenge in western part of Uganda. The park covers an estimated area of about 795km and it’s acknowledged to have one of Uganda’s most gorgeous tropical forests. The park was established in 1993 to help protect the large areas of natural forest that were at first managed and protected as a logged Forest Reserve. The park is the only Park in the whole of east Africa that has both montane and lowland forests. It’s also considered to the only park in Uganda the pearl of Africa that has the highest number of primates with 13 different species inhabited in the park including many families of chimpanzees and several types of Columbus monkeys. Bushbuck, waterbuck, duiker and giant forest hog may also be seen. The forests and the grasslands support abundant bird life – almost 375 species have been identified and 144 types of butterfly.
Mbarara district locally known as the land of milk and honey is situated in southwestern Uganda and is bordered by isingiro, Kiruhura, Sheema among other district. Because of its strategic location, Mbarara town has become a significant stop over town for travellers on Uganda safaris to Bwindi Impenetrable National Park, Lake Bunyonyi and Queen Elizabeth National Park. The district is also key tourism destination in Uganda and the key tourist attractions of the district are given below;Lake Mburo National Park is situated about 240 kilometers south-west of Kampala, 30 kilometers east of Mbarara town. At first, this park was located in Mbarara town but due to the creation of new districts, the park is part of Kiruhura district. In Lake Mburo National Park one can enjoy game drives to view unique wildlife such as buffaloes, Zebras, leopards, impalas, hippos among other animals. One can as well enjoy a highly adventurous boat cruise on the lake Mburo. For travellers who are bird lovers, Lake Mburo National Park is a home to exclusive bird list including rare shoebill stock. Within Lake Mburo national Park, there many lodges where one can spend a night. These include Mihingo Lodge; Mantana tented Camp, Rwakobo Rock, Mburo Safari Lodge, Arcadia Cottages and Rwonyo Camp.
This is an extinct volcano located on Uganda’s eastern border with Kenya. The mountain boasts numerous interesting features including gorges, ancient caves, waterfalls and hot springs. Birdlife is abundant on the mountain although various wildlife may also be encountered. Mt. Elgon is the fourth highest mountain in Eastern Africa, with the second-highest peak in Uganda (Wagagi Peak – 4321 meters). Mt. Elgon contains crater covering over 40 kms at the top of the mountain, surrounded by a series of rugged peaks.The ascent of Mount Elgon passes through a series of roughly concentric vegetation zones. The lower slopes of the mountain are intensively farmed up to the park boundary. The first zone of natural vegetation is montane forest which runs from the park boundary up to 2500m. this is followed by bamboo and low canopy forest (2400-3000m), then high montane health (3000-3500m) which includes the giant heather (Philipea excelsia) growing up to 6m tall. Above 3500m, cold temperatures and fierce winds force the heather to give way to open moorland. Finally, above 3800m, dramatic afroalpine vegetation is found among tussock grasslands and Carex bogs. This rare and spectacular vegetation type is restricted to the upper reaches of East Africa’s highest mountains and includes the giant groundsel (Senecia elgonensis) and the endemic Lobella elgonensisi.
This great Park is located in the rugged, semi-arid valleys of the remote Karamoja region in north eastern Uganda between the border of Uganda, Kenya and South Sudan. The park which covers 1,442square kilometers of land is arguably the most diverse fauna of any park in Uganda. With over 77 species of mammal, several of which are restricted to the Kidepo and Karamoja region, the park also has circumscribed carnivores such as the bat-eared fox, cheetah, striped hyena as well as caracal and aardwolf. Other carnivores accommodated in the park area are lion, leopard side-striped jackal, spotted hyena, and black-backed. The rarely ungulates species include the lesser and greater kudu, chandlers Mountain reedbuck, klipspringer and Guenther’s dikdik among others. Other large ungulates include elephant, Rothschild’s giraffe, Burchell’s zebra, bush pig, warthog, Capped buffalo, eland, bushbuck, hartebeest and oribi, Defassa waterbuck, Bohor reedbuck, Jsckson’s hartebeest and oribi. Five pronounced primate species are recorded in the park including the endemic Kavirondo bush baby.