Mount Elgon – the best hiking trial

Mount Elgon is found at Uganda’s border with Kenya and accommodates the world’s largest caldera. The mountain has the biggest surface area of all extinct Volcanoes on the planet and it is the 4th highest mountain in East Africa, it is best hiked on the Uganda side.

The mountain is an enormous watershed with its slopes supported by a rich diversity of altitudinal vegetation areas that range from the lush Montana, the mixed bamboo-belt forest to the intriguing high open moorland, dotted with the really uncommon worldly plant species such as the large lobelia plus the groundsel plants rare to Africa. The thick shrubs plus luminous wild eternal flowers are another major attraction to enjoy on your Mountain Elgon safari Uganda.

The native of the area are Bagishu and the Sabiny are the two ethnic tribes that live around the gorgeous Elgon Mountain.

Mount Elgon National Park can only be explored on foot, on routes that range from day walk to extended hikes over several days to reach the upper mountain. You can also make you hike a trans-boundary adventure thus ascending the Uganda slopes and descending on the Kenyan side or the other way round. The hike requires prior arrangement to meet with Kenya Wildlife Service rangers at a crossover point at the springs in the caldera.

Trained ranger guides are required on all treks. Local porters make your hike easier, each carrying up to 18kg of supplies and are capable of collecting water, cooking and preparing the camps.

Mount Elgon is best hike in the months of the dry seasons that is June-August and December-March. Hiking doesn’t require any technical climbing equipment skills to reach the main peaks.

The caldera and the peaks are the mail destinations all the trails pass via interesting and unique flora and fauna, waterfalls, lakes, caves and gorges. Rain gear and both cool and warm clothing are required as the area is subject to sudden weather changes.

Sasa trail, this route is covered in 4 days, it starts from Budadili town, is the closest to Mbale town and is the most easily accessible. It also provides the most direct route to the peaks, albeit with a stiff climb of over 1,600m on the first day. It crosses the park’s largest area of bamboo forest and passes the lovely Jackson’s Pool on the way to Wagagai Peak.

Sipi trail, it is requires 7days to the summit. The route starts at the Forest Exploration Centre at Kapkwai, a few kilometres upstream from the Sipi Fall which lie just outside the park. The trail visits the spectacular Tatum cave hidden within extensive forest.

Piswa trail takes 7 days to the highest peak. The trail starts at Kapkwata, 30km beyond Kapchorwa, is a long route, but starts at a higher and follows a more gradual route to the caldera. It is notable for the Podocarpus forest.

Suam trail, this is also long and little used trail starts at the village of Suam on the Kenyan border crossing. It follows the Suam River through the steep and spectacular Suam Gorge to the hot spring on the eastern side of the caldera.

There is a good number of accommodation facilities available these include; Lacam lodge just adjacent to the great Sipi falls with a magnificent view of the scenery. Sipi River resort provides great comfort to the visitors, Mbale Resort with unmatched services provides a greater alternative for visitors who prefers sleeping like high class. The National park provides dormitory accommodation and self-contained wooden cottages at the Forest Exploration Centre at Kapkwai.

Mount Elgon National Park lies 235km east of Uganda’s capital city and can be reached through a tarmac road that passes through Jinja to Mbale town.

Hiking is the main tourist attraction with its spectacular scenery, the mountain Elgon sights a variety of unique forest monkeys and small antelopes, huge elephants and buffaloes.

Sipi falls is another attraction of the ancient enormous Stone Age cave paintings close to the Budadiri trail head, the scenic mountain peaks, the hot springs that bubble up at 4800c and gorges.

There are over 300 bird species that can be viewed by safari tourists, and many bird species have not been recorded elsewhere in Uganda.

The 2days hiking safari covers 3-11kms of the areas and allow you to explore Mount Elgon’s diverse unique montane forest, rare plants and wildlife.