Mountain Elgon National Park
Mount Elgon National Park is a UNESCO Man and Biosphere Reserve located along the border between Uganda and Kenya. The park covers an area of 494 square miles. A larger part (430 square miles) of the park is on the Ugandan side of the border. The Ugandan Park section was elevated from a forest reserve into a national park in 1992. The park gets its name from Mount Elgon which is a prominent physical feature in the park. Mount Elgon is an extinct volcano that erupted over twenty four million years ago. It is the highest volcanic mountain in East Africa and the 8th highest mountain in Africa. Mount Elgon has the largest caldera in the world which is about 60 kilometers long and 40 kilometers wide. This particular Caldera is a result of magma getting drained from the bottom leading to the collapse of the cone. Scientists believe that at one point in time, Mount Elgon was the highest mountain Africa before millions of years of erosion reduced its height substantially.
The fertile slopes of Mount Elgon encourage the group of vegetation that varies depending on altitude. They include montane forests in the lower areas, bamboo forests on higher grounds and alpine-moorlands towards the summit. Over 400 species of plants and 143 of birds have been recorded. Half of Uganda’s species of butterflies are found in Mount Elgon National Park with the endangered Maathai’s Lon leg dragonfly was discovered in 2000. The lower slopes of the mountains support a variety of mammals like black-and-white colobus, blue monkeys, buffalos, elephants, red-tailed monkeys, spotted hyena, Oribi, Defassa waterbuck, Bushbucks and smaller antelopes. The main tribes living around Mount Elgon Park are the Sabiny and Bagisu. These tribes majorly rely on subsistence farming. The Bagisu have specialized in the growing of Arabica coffee which does well in the fertile soils on the lower slopes of the mountains. The higher slopes of the mountains are protected and managed by the Uganda wildlife Authority.
How to get to Mount Elgon National Park
Mountain Elgon National Park is located in the Eastern Part of Uganda traversing both the Uganda and Kenyan borders offering remarkable Hiking Adventure Tours along the majestic Mountain Elgon. The National Park is situated approximately 235 km East of Kampala and it is a 4 to 5 hour drive along the tarmac road that goes from Kampala through Jinja to Mbale town located at the western bottom of the tremendous Mountain Elgon.
Accommodation at Mount Elgon National Park
There various facilities which provide accommodation around Mount Elgon sampling the best both budget and luxury facilities these include; Wash and Wills Country Home, Sipi Falls Resort, Masha Hotel, Forest Exploration Center Bandas, Twilight Campsite, Community-run Camp, Mbale resort Hotel, savanna Guesthouse and many more.